General Discussion – Week of January 28: The Rate the Offseason Edition

It has been an interesting offseason to say the least,  I have add a poll to gauge opinion on how this offseason has gone so far.  You can vote for all of the moves you agree with.  Top 30 resumes on Monday with #16.

 

About Matt Winkelman

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

247 thoughts on “General Discussion – Week of January 28: The Rate the Offseason Edition

    1. Have to disagree with you as he filled six positions when he was close to the salary cap and still stayed under the payroll limit and penalties.

  1. There was no one move that was great, but I can make sense of most of the moves. The one move I can not understand is the trade for Michael Young, so early in the process. Taking on that salary early, limited the moves they could make to improve the Outfield.
    In hindsight, after seeing what the Braves traded for Justin Upton, I would have preferred the Phillies save their assets and attempted to go for a bigger piece.

  2. Ruben left them with a lackluster lineup last year and we know what happened there. This year’s lineup is worse. Thank god for milb.

    1. how is this year’s lineup worse. We will have howard and utley for the whole season. Upgrade offensively at 3rd and a better player imo in revere in center. ok right field is a downgrade

      1. Are you sure we have Utley for an entire season? At this point last year we thought we would have him for an entire season too. I hope we do, but lets not count on it just yet.

        Revere is a downgrade over Victorino. Even with Victorino struggling through injury last year and Revere having the best season of his career… they have very similar OPS’. There is reason to believe Victorino may improve off that performance whereas Revere we are not so sure he can maintain let alone improve off last year.

        Michael Young is not an upgrade of Polanco in this stage of his career. Yes, for his career he is a better hitter, but he was not a good player last year and at 36 I don’t think we can reasonably expect him to bounce back to his previous form. Offensively, he was basically the same player as Polanco has been the last 2 years and defensively he is half the player Polanco is.

  3. I would really like for this team to start building from the ground up, rather than add injury question marks and players past their primes. I still don’t think we’ve seen the true collateral damage that will be caused by Ryan Howard’s awful contract. There’s almost too much loyalty towards some of these guys, and when you fall in love with people who are in the twilight f their careers it works to the detriment of your organization.

    1. The moves they made this season are a step in that direction. Michael Young fills a hole at third short-term until Asche is ready. Revere is a young piece in CF. Brown and Ruf are by all accounts going to have an opportunity to win a job. The farm appears to be headed in the right direction, with more talent at the lower levels than we’ve seen in a long time.

      As for Howard … I’m giving him a pass for last season, considering he was essentially playing on one leg. Yes, the contract is not the greatest, but he still brings massive power to the middle of this lineup. I think he bounces back this year and helps this team immensely.

      1. I agree with what you other than Howard. The fact that his power and average numbers have been on the decline for quite some time really discourages me. I just hope they add some bats early on in the upcoming draft, and I really do like the arms and bats that we have in the lower levels.

      2. I’m not going to go into a rank about Howard. Let’s jsut say that I think he will bounce back some also, but the problem with the contract is that even with a best (reasonable) case bounce back the contract will remain awful and Howard will be a liability in the field, on the base paths, and less of an asset than the average first baseman even at the plate.

        That aside, certainly the moves this off season were an attempt in that direction. But not a very good attempt. Despite my kind words below for Revere, he’s not really going to be a centerpiece of a contender, but he could be a piece of one. My objection to the M. Young deal is lessened by the subsequent failure to make moves to put the team even in marginal contention; now my biggest objection to the deal is the (admittedly small) cost of the deal in terms of who we gave up.

        The D. Young move, OTOH, unless one thinks that Amaro is lying is butt off, or that events will force a contrary decision (through injury or ineffectiveness even beyond his norm), actively undermines any rebuilding scheme. I just don’t see any reason to believe at this point that Brown will get a fair shot to prove himself. And Ruf’s chances of doing so are also probably somewhat diminished; can you really imagine the defensive nightmare of both players playing the field at the same time?

        1. I don’t know what RAJ is thinking re: Young, but I do believe Ruf and Brown will be given every chance to win a full-time job. If Brown is raking in RF, he will be the everyday RF. If Ruf continues to hit big league pitching and plays passable defense in LF, he will be there every day. I don’t think Young is in a “it’s his job to lose” scenario, based on what he’s being paid and his past track record.

          Also, I don’t think a Ruf/Revere/Brown outfield would be that terrible, as long as Ruf is able to read fly balls and take good routes to the ones he can reach. Revere and Brown have the speed to cover a lot of ground, and both can cheat toward left when Ruf is in. Brown will still be an adventure in RF, of course.

          1. I think the Ruf/Revere/Brown outfield would be passable; it is when replacing Brown with Young that we get into the realm of the unacceptable.

            As for the rest, obviously you are willing to give Amaro and Manuel a lot more credit that I am, and just as obviously we won’t know who is right for another few months. I just think that, even past decision making aside (which IMO supports my skepticism, but let’s ignore that for the moment), the public statements by Amaro and by Manuel simply make your scenario untenable. The ONLY way I see it happening, even then not likely, is if Young isn’t ready for the first month of the regular season and Brown just absolutely rips the ball. Once Young is ready, he is the full time right fielder, like it or not, unless Brown is playing not just well, but at an all star level. And I’m not sure that it’s even certain that Brown gets that chance; I could see them using Mayberry in right, Ruf in left, and Brown at most getting some platoon at bats.

            All that said, I think Brown most likely gets traded before the season starts. All the signs are there.

            1. Moreover I’d say if a Ruf-Revere-Brown outfield isn’t acceptable I could live with Ruf/Nix-Revere-Brown/Mayberry or even if Ruf fails a Young/Nix-Revere-Brown/Mayberry. The only thing I really object to is having Young in RF or Ruf and Young in the outfield together.

            2. Although he said it, I do not believe for one second that Amaro intends on Delmon Young being his everyday RF. He is lying. I don’t know if he is playing some kind of mind game to motivate Brown to win a spot (that is obviously his), or it is to divert negative press and fan reaction from Dom Brown to Delmon Young. Either way, there isn’t a chance in the world that the Phillies would start a Ruf, Revere, Young OF.

            3. RA doesn’t, but Cholly does. That signing was a sop to Cholly and he’ll go with Young until YOung’s performance proves 110% that he can’t be our regular RF, then he will platoon, then he will sit. Unfortunately, by then we will be at the trade deadline and Cholly will renew his griping about needing an OF bat. The signing of Young means no chance for Brown. RA couldn’t have been any plainer about that and Cholly’s opinion on the matter is also fully clear. Those who are arguing otherwise are just saying what they hope will happen, without a shred of evidence that this is the team’s plan.

            4. I hope you are right. Though “not a chance in the world” is (at least) overstating the case. Even the unconvincing, bend over backwards to be fair article from Ryan Lawrence quoted below confirms that they “intend” to play Young in right, and there’s abundant evidence that the left field job is Ruf’s to lose (for better or worse).

              But it’s kind of sad when the people claiming that Amaro is a liar and doesn’t understand player psychology are his defenders!

              Enough on Young, as tempting as it is to respond more fully to the Lawrence article . I may have more to say about Brown in a bit.

          2. I like to see an outfield of Ruf (LF), Brown(CF) and Delmon Young (RF)….just alone for the laughs. I assume there is a defrillbulator in the dugout – for Charlie.

    2. I think you are correct on the Howard contract extension which limits the club’s ability to take on additional salary and diminishes the value of assets like Singleton and Ruf but wrong about contracts to veterans unless its a 3-year deal for a Raul Ibanez. Free agency is all about signing veterans for which salary is the only cost. The trick is to make sure that the contracts are not overly long or too expensive. You can’t point to any such signings of that type this off season by Amaro although nearly half of MLB’s GM’s were guilty of that this off season

      1. The problem with the Ibanez contract was that Amaro went out and sign Ibanez early in FA for more than he needed to. There was not a great run on OF’s that year and many others were signed later and much better contracts. Amaro was basically bidding against himself.

  4. I think people know what I think of the off season, but I’m going to try to do something a little different, though obviously I can’t hide my criticism entirely and remain honest.

    First, we should ask two separate questions: do we agree with one might call the philosophy of the moves, and do we agree with the execution? The philosophy – not stated by Amaro, but based upon his actions and giving him the benefit of the doubt – is that this is a transitional year and the team should avoid moves which could deprive them of young talent or financial flexibility down the road, and avoid high or mid priced free agent signings. I don’t fully agree with that philosophy – though I do think the team needed to avoid mortgaging their future in what is, indeed, a transitional period – but it is defensible. The execution, on the other hand, was really bad, IMO a consequence of poor talent judgment on Mr. Amaro’s part.

    Despite this, could the moves “work out?” I guess it depends on how you define “work out.” I don’t see the team making the playoffs this season; anything can happen (heck, the Met’s could make the playoffs), but the Phillies are are best the 7th best team in the league. Could they work out in the sense of setting the team up for success down the road? I am a skeptic there also, but admit that a lot of my skepticism is related to my lack of respect for Amaro’s decision making process going forward. I’ll put it this way: if Delmon Young ends up with more than 200 PA, that will be a very bad sign going forward.

    But to be fair about the last paragraph, I don’t think even a brilliant series of moves would have made this team a playoff favorite. Too much age, too many holes, and – an insufficiently recognized fact – the competition on the whole made very good off season moves. Washington of course, the Dodgers are poorly led but make up for it with an infinite payroll, St. Louis as always made all the right moves, and other teams (Reds, GIants, Braves) at least filled some holes in teams that already were better than the Phillies. Yeah, if the Phillies broke the bank and signed, say, Hamilton AND Upton, they could have been seriously in the playoff hunt. However, while I think they should have been more active in the FA market, I’m not sure that this was the off season to go hog wild.

    That said, what were the best moves? Probably adding Revere. I have my reservations about him and the deal, but even if he makes no strides as a hitter, his defense and base running make him an above average center fielder, team controlled at a low cost. That aside, the Adams move was okay, but would have made more sense if the team was in more of a “win now” mode; I don’t hate the Lannan signing as much as I did, but it’s kind of meh at best, and some of the other moves were okay but low impact and/or obvious. The moves that most bother me – apart from not signing a significant FA, which as I said is (barely) defensible – are the acquisitions of Young and Young, the second infinitely worse than the first..

    1. The thing that sucks about a core of players hitting their primes at the exact same time is that they all get old at the exact same time.

      I’m glad they didn’t go out and overpay for a free agent with warts. The Upton brothers are underachievers, Hamilton is Hamilton, Bourn is a declining player waiting to happen. I’d have taken Swisher, but he’s not a game-changer. I agree that Revere was the best move, providing plus-defense and speed on the basepaths. I also like Adams to strengthen the pen and Lannan as a low-risk addition to the rotation. Delmon Young is cheap and low-risk, Michael Young is a placeholder motivated to return to form. In all, RAJ is keeping the team competitive while not committing big dollars and years to players who may not be worth the risk.

      1. I would beg to differ. I see D. Young as high risk in the sense that Chawley will play him until it is 2 months after every other person in MLB realized he should be on the bench which will end up ending the chance of Brown hitting his potential as a Phillie. Best case is Chawley plays Young, gets fired at mid season due to a horrible record, then gets replaced by Sandberg, and Ryne turns RF over to Brown. I don’t feel a proper transition period can happen under Chawley. This being said, i do feel Chawley was perfect for the contending Phillies teams of the last few years and am in no way a unreasonable hater.

  5. I’ll add this … I recognize that (a) the FO may actually believe public statements that they can contend this year, and (b) even if not, they may want to avoid the public relations problem of admitting that they are going to be rebuilding. But, given an apparent decision not to “go for it” this season, one wonders if perhaps they should have gone one step further. Not, not a complete tear down of the team, I’ve long stated my objections to that. But maybe trading the one marketable older player on the team – Lee. I love Lee, and they would have taken their lumps if they traded him again, but if he could have gotten them a decent prospect or two it might have been the right move to make. Even setting aside my doubts about Amaro, it is hard to imagine that Lee will be a big part of the next contending Phillies’ team.

    OTOH, he may have more trade value during the season, especially if he “rebounds.” And the move may be more palatable to the fans if the team is sitting at or under .500 at the time.

  6. I would give the whole I’d give the offseason a conditional C-. Nothing too good but nothing too horrible. In reality I think the offseason rating will be a D- if the Phillies do in fact hand D. Young the starting job in RF once he returns from injury. I could live with D. Young as an insurance policy against Ruf not being ready and Mayberry needing to be in a platoon in RF who could be cut loose with little lose if his services proved unnecessary. But as a regular in rightfield I don’t think can bear to watch.

    I also wanted to note that while I don’t hate the Lannan signing I was hoping for someone with a little more upside. I just saw that Marcum signed a 1 yr $4 million deal ($8 million with incentives) with the Mets. I suppose it depends on how reachable those incentives are but this was much more of what I was hoping the Phillies would do for the back-end of the rotation. A solid four with three potential for a reasonable incentive laden contract.

    For reference:
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/01/mets-notes-marcum-bourn-alderson.html

  7. I tend to mostly read the comments on General Discussion and post only when I feel I can contribute something more than just my opinion but thought I would give this two tries today – one on Delmon Young (later) and one on the offseason (this).

    Independent of the moves Amaro has made, I think, emphasis on the word think, the front office has decided a few things this offseason (1) we are not going all in to try and win one more title before this core retires / goes elsewhere, and (2) we are not ready to rebuild just yet, or ever. Now I know I’m assuming the front office is thinking critically about this and I’m giving them a benefit of the doubt that I know some others have a different opinion on that, but this is what I think they might be thinking.

    I believe what RAJ is doing is avoiding any additional long term contracts that will further limit the future of this team. The reason for this is they believe this season could go two different ways – the first way is Howard, Utley, and Rollins all return to play like all star caliber, healthy players, Ruf and Brown prove to be solid or better starting OF’s, Ruiz is Ruiz, and Hamels, Lee, and Halladay are on pace to win 55 games between them. In this scenario, the Phils have money, and hopefully prospects (depending how the minor league system evolves at that point) to make a big move at the deadline for a position of need. I strongly believe this is the least likely option.

    The second option is this team continues to age – M Young is better than last year but not close to his former self, Ruiz has a solid year but not his last year’s performance, Howard Utley and Rollins even if healthy, a big if, are not stars anymore, Brown is OK, Ruf is in AAA because of either poor defense or poor hitting or both, and Halladay continues to regress. If all this happens, the team is likely behind or well behind ATL and WASH, and then the front office goes into rebuild mode. Free agents to be include Ruiz, Utley, Kendrick, M Young, D Young, and Lannan. Other possible names who could be trade options in a sell mode could include Lee, Papelbon, Adams, and Rollins. Depending on performance and contract, some of these names could bring back some good young pieces for the future. In this option, it could be a September of Joseph, Cesar, Galvis, Asche, Ruf, Brown, Pettibone, Martin, and Morgan, among others.

    Unfortunately, I think the most likely scenario is that this team hangs on somewhere in between, where performance is good enough that they are close in the race to the point they can’t go the full rebuild mode, but are not realistically contenders either. That will lead to more tough, unclear decisions.

    As for my opinion of this offseason – if the goal was to contend in 2013, it was a complete failure. If it was with the above intent in mind, I’m okay with this approach. By giving up Worley, May, Bonilla and Lindblom, I think the Phils lost a very replaceable middle reliever, a replaceable 4th or 5th starter, and two future relievers with some upside but more risk. So I don’t think they did anything to mortgage their future this offseason and they kept their #1 pick in the upcoming draft. I also feel strongly that signing aging CF’s to long term contracts is a very bad thing to do so I’m pleased they didn’t fall into that trap. In summary, I don’t think there was anything RAJ could have done to make this team the champs in 2013 this offseason, but think he’s at least positioned the team where if everything goes right, they could be a key move or two at the deadline away from getting there. To me, what will really be important about the future of this team is not how the aging core players play, but whether Ruf, Brown, Revere, Galvis, and some key minor leaguers like Aumont, DeFratus, Cesar, Asche, Joseph, Valle, Biddle, Pettibone, Martin, and Morgan develop into bonafide big leaguers / prospects. That’s what I’ll be watching this season just as much as wins and losses.

    1. I think you have a pretty good read on the FO and the moves from this offseason, although think there is a less chance that the Phillies remain in contention then you do, thier ability to get much return on their movable pieces, and their willingness to rebuild.

      The biggest problem to me is Amaro’s and Manuel’s values of veterans, production as measured by RBI’s, and a desire to avoid a full-scale rebuilding that may cause a dropped in attendance. Unless many (and even unexpected) in the Farm system make giant leaps forward or they make shrewd judgments on the returns they get for tradable pieces I think this team is years away from truly contending. But that calender gets pushed back even further if they try to put together 82-88 win teams.

      If Manuel leaves after this season like many seem to think he will it will be interesting to see what the values of the next manager are and if they are compatible with Amaro’s.

    2. I think people are missing something critical in this analysis and it’s something I have wrote many times throughout the last few years. You are thinking about the Phillies in the wrong way. This is not your 1998 Phillies or even your 2003 Phillies. This Phillies team has become an economic juggernaut. If I were the owner or President of the Phillies, I would not want the GM to come into my office and tell he was going to blow up the team and start over. I would look at him and tell him to think about it for a few days and come back into my office the next week with a different plan because that plan does not work; in fact it sucks. I would remind him that while the team could have a minor hiccup and regroup – all organizations have do that from time to time, even the Yankees and Red Sox – but there is no plan I would ever want to see on my desk where drawing 45,000 people every single game was not the likely outcome. Given their farm system and their economic resources, the only model for this team to emulate is the model that the Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals and Dodgers have – the team should always, always be either putting a playoff worthy team on the field or should have a reasonable hope of putting one on the field within a year or two at most and if it’s that long, there need to be some exciting players on the team that the fans want to see.

      If the Philllies don’t move to this model they are morons and if they keep a General Manager that does not consistently put them in a position to contend or have a feasible game plan to contend within a very, very short time frame, they are insane.

      1. I think you are missing a key point. If all goes wrong this year and the Phils go into rebuild mode, they’ll do that in season and they’ll spend the off season improving the team to try and contend via trade and free agency. Look at the Red Sox, they have the same economic situation as the Phils and they dumped a ton of salary last season so they could start over. That’s what the Phils would do in this scenario.

        1. Yeah, my comment wasn’t directed to you in particular, but more along the lines of people wanting this team to start from the ground up with no high priced players. This team can’t afford a 3-5 year re-build. It would be suicidal. So, what you are talking about is more of a reboot, for lack of a better term, dump players, get prospects, and spend money in the off season. The one hitch I am seeing is that, more and more, it is getting difficult to rely on free agency to rebuild. It’s not so much the money as it is the opportunity. Teams are just not letting their good players get to free agency. What is left are often second tier guys and those really looking to break the bank. It’s less than ideal.

        2. Buddy, the problem is that the next FA class is horrible.

          Look, I am fully prepared to agree that, in many ways, the Phillies were in a no win situation this off season. But the strategy you outline, it seems to me, consigns us to at least a couple of years out of contention. Maybe there was no way to avoid that without unacceptably hurting the team’s long term prospects. I think otherwise, but reasonable minds may differ. But if Amaro made a simple decision to wait for the 2013-2014 FA class, then he may be even less intelligent than I give him credit for.

          Yes, you mention “trade” as well, and we’ll see about that. But, as we saw this past off season, the team currently lacks the prospects or major league players to acquire an impact player in trade. i suppose that could change.

          1. Good points, the reason I believe trades are more viable than previously is that often times now you can a) acquire a player and pay his salary and give up low value players, or b) acquire a player and give up good prospects and the other team pays most of the salary. The Phils are in a spot financially where they could add a player or two at the deadline or next off season under option a. In the past, the Phils gave up more in players to acquire veterans and had the other team pay some salary – ie Oswalt.

    3. I think you contradicted yourself on the front office never seeking to rebuild and then describing how, under certain conditions, they might do precisely that. I think any analysis of the off-season has to factor in the Phils’ expensive but rejected offer to Hamilton. It said to me that the Phils were willing to hedge their chances on a real difference maker but recognized that this free agent market offered prospects of few (arguably only 2) difference makers.

      Having already said that I disapproved of the Howard extension, I think the Phils will continue to find themselves in a corner when it comes to making sweeping moves and will mostly rely on affordable free agents and the hopes for good health among their veterans as well as eventual help from within their farm system. By this thinking, I don’t get too disappointed because my expectation for this off season was never that great.

    4. Buddy, that was a true “addition” rather than a purposeless opinion. I too feel the team appears to be in some sort of limbo. Not too good to contend, not too poor to strip off the aged vets and go back to square one. For all we know RAJ may been told to stay within financial bounds, keep the team interesting et. al. due to an upcoming media contract, and don’t do anything crazy. He appeared to have done that despite his mediocre grades only he knew the true amount of rope he had to hang himself. Conjecture to the contrary who is qualified to truly comment ?

  8. Do people not understand how the poll works(that you can choose more than one option), or are people really that down on the Phillies offseason? I didn’t expect any of the options to get 90+% support, but I thought there’d be a little more support for at least some of them. Scratch that. Not picking up Polanco’s option should get 90+% support. At the time it happened I don’t remember anyone suggesting they should pick it up[if there was here I probably missed it]. Even if you wanted him back, he ended up signing for $2.75 million. Decline the option and sign him for $3.5 million and you are still a million dollars ahead of the game.

    1. I think we’re down on the off-season. I couldn’t bring myself to check either Young. Since Delmon YOung is so awful, I really wish we kept Schierholtz instead, so couldn’t check that. I checked Revere, although I think we overpaid. I didn’t check not signing a FA CF, since I think Pagan will be better than Revere and we would still have Worley and May. I checked Adams, checked signing some minor leaguers, and checked not bringing Polanco back. The money spent on the two Youngs, and the prospect, should have gone to getting one guy who has a future beyond 2013 and who can contribute more in 2013. Whether you are looking to the future or looking to win in 2013, this off-season was an awful jumble of mixed-messages and bad deals. If the goal was to raise a cloud of dust, look like he did something, and have a talking point, then RA sort of succeeded, but when you are trying to sell the values of the two Youngs, that’s a tough sell.

      1. “The money spent on the two Youngs, and the prospect, should have gone to getting one guy who has a future beyond 2013 and who can contribute more in 2013.”

        Michael Young will make $6M in his one year with the Phils. Delmon Young will make a minimum of $750K and a max of $3.5M (I think). What player who can contribute more in 2013 and has a future beyond that could have been had at a position of need for between $7 and $10 million annually?

        1. Even in today’s game, $9 mill is not a teensy salary. Beyond that, the Philies are several mill below the cap.

  9. I dont want to hear luxury tax. they can afford to go over the tax. with there dollars, if imo they screwed up with some contracts, and have to go over to contend then do it. this team has gotten tremous support, so money shoulnt stop them. instead of young at third.give me galvis. and sign hamilton. he was the best free agent, so do it, i am not happy with there reason for not improving the outfield,

    1. Roccomr, baseball is a business and the cost of non compliance will be astronomical. Everybody complains about the Phillies but look what happened to the NY Yankees this off season. The only team to break the luxury tax limit are the Dodgers who will regret this very soon.

  10. So now for a post on Delmon Young. I’ve been quietly reading everyone’s reaction to this and was quite shocked by the negative reaction so I went and looked at the numbers and read the stories, etc and I thought well he won’t play much, he’ll just be a reserve player. Then I saw the story where RAJ said he’ll be the starting RF this season and after I picked myself up off the floor, I thought this must be a mistake, our GM can’t possibly think this is a good idea.

    Now before I continue on about Delmon Young, and I tell you why if RAJ is a sniper genius (meaning he’s smart and the rest of us, myself included, are just too dumb to see how smart he is) this may actually be a potentially good move, let me comment on RAJ in the context of thinking about this move. I started to think about his major moves as GM and even the smaller ones to see if there was some hidden brilliance that I’m missing, and I just can’t find it. So let’s think about some of them:

    1 Re-signing Cole Hamels – so I think he made the right move, but what GM wouldn’t have resigned Cole Hamels?
    2 Signing Cliff Lee – at the time, everyone thought this was a great move, and it did lead to a great regular season team performance, but should he really be lauded with praise that he signed a free agent that wanted to play in philly more than anywhere else and got paid $24M per season?
    3 Trading for Hunter Pence – some of you knew this was a terrible trade the day it was made, the rest of us realized it after we saw Pence play
    4 Trading for Roy Halladay / Trading away Cliff Lee – hard to argue against getting Halladay, but the need to trade away Lee to “restock the farm system” was a joke. It led to having to acquire Oswalt less than a year later where we traded away some of that farm system.

    I’m not trying to say he hasn’t made any good moves, but my point is that his good moves were moves other GM’s would all make in the same situation, he hasn’t done anything all that exceptional, especially when you compare his track record to Mr Gillick before him, who consistently made nuanced little moves that paid big dividends. So that’s why this “nuanced” signing of Delmon Young I think is a disaster waiting to happen, whereas if Pat Gillick made it I’d have more faith. My theory….

    RAJ is lying, he in no way intends on starting D Young as the everyday RF. How does someone just simply hand a starting job to a guy with numbers like his and behavior that’s even worse? D Young is the most obvious example of a guy you might hand a minor league contract with an invite to spring training where he’d have to come into camp in great shape, act like a total professional throughout camp, play well, and then he’d make the team as a reserve OF who will have to prove in limited opportunities that he deserves more playing time and then perform great in those opportunities….then, and only then, would he become an everyday RF. So RAJ can’t possibly mean what he said and be so dumb to just hand him the job via the media a month before camp opens……unless he’s sending a message.

    So that brings us to D Brown. RAJ must believe that Dom has serious issues with playing hard and having the drive he needs without being pushed and challenged. I think most or all of us agree the best thing for the Phils would be for Brown and Ruf to impress this spring and start the season with a young, promising OF of Ruf, Revere, and Brown, with Nix and Mayberry mixed in from time to time as reserve OF’ers. I think RAJ also believes this, and I think he believes that annointing Young publicly will push Dom to show up and fight harder for playing time. The end result being that Ruf and Brown play so well that they either bench Young or cut him.

    So then I thought why would you sign him then at this point to a guaranteed contract? Well its only $750K, which is less than half of one percent of the team’s payroll this season. So the reality is they could VERY EASILY cut him and not even miss the money. So I believe RAJ not only doesn’t plan to have Young start in RF, I’m not even sure he plans to keep him on the roster. He’s just using him to get to one of his young players. Which leads us to….

    What makes RAJ think he’s such a briliant manipulator of the mind? What has he done with Dom to this point other than hurt his development? If a guy is going to be an everyday player in the bigs, he doesn’t need this type of pressure. If it takes this much work to convince Dom to try hard, RAJ should just move on now in a different direction.

    In conclusion, I don’t think RAJ is dumb for signing D Young because he can’t see the numbers and thinks he’s an everyday RF at this point. I think RAJ is dumb because he thinks he has to mentally manipulate D Brown into playing hard. The only right approach to D Brown at this point is to tell him he’s going to play, probably a lot, and the better he plays the more he will play, and send him out there to sink or swim. I can guarantee, barring injury or an insanely amazing spring by D Young, Brown will be the starting RF on this team on opening day, not D Young.

    1. Wow, I like the way you think. Very astute observation. I hope you’re right, because with the talent Brown has, he can at least be a 1-2 WAR player to be a legit starting RFer, and that’s with him not living up to full expectations, which heightens the chance he’ll be useful.

    2. What kind of jedi mind trick was he trying to play when he said he doesn’t care about walks? Our GM is either a liar or a moron. I guess in the big picture, the former wouldn’t be so bad. But if that’s what he’s really up to, I agree that it wouldn’t make sense to call out Brown. It’s not like he’s even had a chance to play regularly over a full season. Just like he hasn’t had much of a chance to succeed, he hasn’t had much of a chance to fail.

      1. To see what happens when a GM gets the reputation as a liar just look at Miami. Good luck to them getting any free agents to sign there under the current regime.

    3. Ryan Lawrence says today:
      ‘The Phils did sign Young with the intent to play him in right, a place he calls his natural position, but neither manager Charlie Manuel nor general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has handed him the job. Amaro said only that Young would “IDEALLY” be the team’s everyday rightfielder. Well, in an ideal world, Halladay, Howard and Utley would also be healthy and putting up numbers as if it were 2007, not 2013. And in an ideal world, Delmon Young would match his former top-prospect potential with a breakout season. But before he can even become a regular in the lineup, Young must get healthy (he had ankle surgery in November), show he can play the field (see above), stay out of trouble (he was suspended after being charged with making anti-Semitic remarks last April and did community service) and stay in shape (he has weight clauses in his contract). Fiction: Domonic Brown got the shaft when the Phils signed Delmon Young. (Related: Darin Ruf got the shaft when the Phils signed Delmon Young.) The Phillies wanted to add two outfielders all winter, so there was never a plan to go with two unproven commodities in the two corner outfield positions. The Phils broke camp with question marks in right (2011) and left (2012) in each of the last two seasons, and the results were less than favorable.
      That said, Young’s arrival doesn’t mean Brown and Ruf won’t get the opportunity to be everyday players. There is still a giant vacancy sign in leftfield, where both played in 2012. Both will get every opportunity to win that job this spring. Brown has a chance to prove he can live up to his former high-ceiling potential. But he must stay healthy and stay on the field; some inside the organization have grown frustrated with his inability to do so.’

      1. Saying that the team will leave it up to Spring Training performance doesn’t make me feel any better. Is Brown going to have to hit .350 in ST and in the first month of the season to be allowed to play?

        1. This. Basing personnel decisions like this on 40 meaningless spring at-bats and a few weeks of regular season is insane. What if D. Young get lucky and hits .400 in spring, while Brown ‘only’ has a 260/325/425 line? That would be disastrous.

          1. That’s the thing. Delmon Young isn’t going to tear up the spring. He’s recovering fron surgery. I still believe that Young is insurance for Darin Ruf, but for some reason RAJ won’t say it. As bad as you can believe some of the moves RAJ has made, you can’t believe that he is silly enough to put an out-of-shape, DH, in RF, to play everyday.
            IMO, the ploy may be to have a veteran sooo objectionable as a possibility in RF, that if Dom Brown isn’t impressive in Spring Training, he still is the media and fan choice for the position. Young isn’t here to push Brown’s performance, he is here to push the fans to favor Brown.
            I heard the commentary with Mike Missanelli live. His mistake is he underestimated the audience. He didn’t expect Missinelli to ask him about walks. He expected to have to defend Young’s character growth. He came on the show to SELL the signing by talking about HRs and RBIs. I really believe he got caught off guard by a really good question you don’t hear from older radio hosts.

            1. You know that I think you are kidding yourself, that Amaro really is that “silly.” I think Young doesn’t HAVE to tear it up in spring training. Unless Brown gets off the a ridiculously good start, the day Young is healthy enough to play he is the regular right fielder. Time will tell. (The only relevance of the small size of his contract is that, if he fails spectacularly, i.e., has a poor season even by Delmon Young standards , he might be benched.)

              But I think you get something else wrong. Reading other web sites, I think the vast majority of Phillies fans love the signing, and will be disappointed if Brown gets the starting job over him. So if Young is here “to push the fans to favor Brown,” it is yet another of Amaro’s many, many miscalulations.

          2. What do you base the decision on then? I love Dom Brown as much as anybody else, and honestly believe he has the potential to be an XBH machine in RF for the Phils, but he’s got to win the job at some point. He’s had nearly 500 big league plate appearances at this point. He has to step up at some point and show he can handle the gig. Why not spring training?

            1. Yea he’s had 500 ab’s….over 3 years. He’s had some injuries to deal with and even when it looked like he was starting to hit a stride (July 2011) they went out, traded for Pence and sent him down so they could continue playing Ibanez. Give him 500 ab’s in one season, see if he sinks or swims, stop yanking him back and forth.

            2. This. It’s not like the guy you brought in was even better than Brown last year. Why challenge his playing time with an older, inferior player who seems to be a headcase?

      2. What an idiot this guy is. We stank in 2011, because we depended on a rookie OF? No, actually we won 102 games. Then the expensive vet OF we acquired went cold in the playoffs. We missed the playoffs in 2012, because we depended upon one rookie OF? Well, no. Anybody with half a brain and the desire to write something other than apologist drivel might think the injuries to Utley, Howard, and Halladay were the big key to missing the playoffs last season. Some might next point to off seasons by Pence and Victorino or a few key bullpen injuries. I think depending upon a young corner OF would be quite low on my list for why we failed last season. I’m not saying it wasn’t part of the picture, but doubt anybody we would have put there would have given us the extra wins needed to take us to the playoffs.

    4. I think you totally discount the presence of Cholly Manuel. He will start Young until at least June, even if Brown has a 1.200 OPS in ST and Young is hitting .150. I think RA signed Young as the cheapest available sop to keep Manuel from whining to the media all season. Cholly requires veteran names. They can’t be stinky players and horrid personalities, but if they are vet ‘names’ Cholly is happy. He can’t tolerate losing with somebody who hasn’t already paid his dues. Cholly is the shop steward for the Players’ Association.

      1. We’ve had this conversation before, so I won’t belabor the point. But if you honestly believe that Charlie will stick with DELMON YOUNG if he’s hitting .150 while Brown is killing it, you are delusional.

        1. I was exagerating, but yes, I think Brown will have to be way, way better than Young to get the job over him. Have you seen anything about Cholly that argues otherwise. He just loves his vets. He chose Ibanez over a hot Mayberry, he’ll choose a barely adequate performance from Young over a good+ performance from Brown. He’ll rationalize that Brown is young and will get his chance in 2014, while Young is playing for his career and bonuses. That huge a ratio of salary puts any manager in a tough spot and Cholly is more susceptible than most to a plea to just give the vet a few more chances to make good on his incentives.

    5. Buddy, some good points on Delmon Young. I wonder how would people react if the Delmon Young of 2010 showed up? That player almost hit .300 and drove in over 100 run and by some accounts was the Twins MVP that year..

      1. Well that’s a good point and one I glanced over because I think the chances are very small. Before I looked up his numbers, I thought maybe this is the next Jayson Werth. But for a guy his age to have played DH the last two years because he couldn’t cut it in the OF, that’s not Werth. And Werth’s issue was an injury holding him back, in Young’s case its more him being his own worst enemy. But again, for $750K why not give it a shot. The risk I see is if Ruf earns a spot on the roster and everyone is healthy, this could lead to the trade of Mayberry as I believe he is out of options. I like the idea of having Mayberry around for the next few years as an affordable and good 4th or 5th OF.

      2. I really need to get back to work …

        The truth is, and I know what some people will say about this, but in some sense my biggest fear is that he does repeat 2010 (and by no REASONABLE account was he the Twins MVP that year – he was a slightly below average major league regular, no more, and the Twins 8th best position player). Not likely, but it could happen. If it does, it would probably mean two things (1) Brown doesn’t get a shot at a full time job (yes, in theory he and Young could both be full time corner outfielders, but I’m not holding my breath), and (2) you know that, if he does repeat 2010, the team will offer him a 2 or 3 year deal at around 10 million AAV. And then we can watch him from 2014 to 2016 proving that, while lightning sometimes does strike twice, it never strikes three times.

  11. I did not disagree too much with Ruben Amaro. I think Schierholtz is better than D. Young, but I also feel that D. Young is a ruse to get brown and Ruf ready to take the open jobs. He can say that Young is the starting right fielder, but nothing that Young has done gives an indication that this will be the case. They have Young in AAA if Ruf or Brown fail. Brown needs patience though. I think he’ll be fine if they let him play. Ruf will have many adjustments to make. He may need a bit more time in AAA. We’ll see very soon.

    1. You disbelieve the awarding of a starting job to an established vet at your own peril. The Phillies simply do not think the way that you are thinking.

  12. The Phillies will contend or not contend for three main reasons: Hamels. Lee. Halladay.

    Let’s not throw dirt on the Phillies graves just yet or fire the GM. We have a legitimate Big Three. It cannot be overstated how important this is. Say it again and again, you’ll feel better: Hamels. Lee. Halladay.

    While I worry about the defense and batting, nothing will be more important this season than getting Halladay back to form. If any one of the Big Three misses significant time or underperforms, as Halladay did last season, it won’t matter if we have Josh Hamilton or Delmon Young in the outfield.

    In other words, Halladay’s off-season matters way more than Ruben Amaro, Jr.’s off-season does.

    Having said that, I like the Revere trade and the Adams signing because it supports the pitching. I am concerned about Michael Young’s defense but I believe he will bounce back with the bat and we can sub Galvis late in games with a lead. At the plate, if the good health reports are to be believed, it’s reasonable to expect Howard and Utley to trend towards better performance as well. The gloom and doom is overdone. The Phillies can win the division, especially if a move is made at the trading deadline.

    1. For 2013 I would agree with you on most of this. But for the future of the team I still think it’d be a big help if Dom Brown is a productive part of it.

      *In Lumberg voice*

      So, if the team could just, stop screwing that up… Yeah, that’d be great.

          1. Ruben’s given me a case of the Monday’s with this Delmon Young stuff. I wish the season were starting sooner so we wouldn’t have to jump to conclusions.

  13. The Nats and the Brave were very patient as players like Jason Heyward, Ian Desmond, and MIchael Morse developed. They just let them play, and the Braves managed to contend even when Heyward hit around .230 in 2011 (so this theory that you cannot both contend and develop players is false!). The Phillies refuse to give Brown opportunities to get comfortable in the big leagues. .The Braves and Nats are now reaping the rewards of their patience. Brown Is not going to develop coming off the bench (2010), and having to deal with make-or-break spring trainings saps confidence. I’m still hopeful he can come through, though, and the Philly fan base should get behind him at this point, since his struggles have made him the sort of scrappy underdog that they identify with.

    1. Exactly! The Phillies did WSC in 2008 with a team that depended heavily upon home-grown players, who hadn’t yet become senior citizens, including some quite young. Since then, they’ve been afraid to trust young players, tried to short-cut the process of building a team through trades and FA signings of expensive vets, and continued to finish farther and farther behind in the post-season. Sort of the same fate the Eagles have met in recent years. The team will look back and find that they slammed their own window shut by diverting too many resources from the farm, trading too much young talent, and being unwilling to live with the growing pains of their talented rookies. All in the name of one elusive last World Championship.

      1. Yup – for all of our disagreements on this site, I think we all believe this at some level. If you continually rob Peter (the farm) to pay Paul (the latest championship drive) and you do it every freaking year, you wake up one year and your team is old and you are toast. Ruben has dug himself a hold down to his waist. It may still be possible for him to dig out – or for a great young prospect or two to dig him out – but a lot of things have to go right and getting guys like Delmon Young at any price won’t help matters any.

      2. Every time I watch Brown, I think: he just needs to play and then he’ll break through, possibly in a bug way, It’s not like he’s been horrible when he’s played, either, But Ruben always manages to mess up his development by bringing decent but still frustrating players like Pence and Delmon Young (who are moreover unable to take a walk, unlike Brown!), or, worse, Manuel uses him as a bat off the bench!

    2. I feel like a lot of people tend to overlook the fact that Dom’s defense was atrocious when he came up and is still bad.

      Jason Heyward never had that problem. In all the talk about the mishandling of Dom Brown, seems everyone has forgotten that he really didn’t do himself any favors with the way he played. A big part of the excitement about Brown was that we believed he was a 5 tool player. Now, it seems really unlikely that he will be anything more than an adequate defender and baserunner. That has nothing to do with the way he was handled.

      I am a Brown supporter and I hope he starts and plays a lot. I still think he can develop into a good player if he has an opportunity to play. I guess I just don’t blame the Phillies for he failure to this point as much it seems everyone else does, at least no more than I blame his poor play and injury.

  14. Curious, Larry? You said that as usual, St. Louis made all the right moves in the off season. Like what, pray tell? Unless you know that they have secretly res-signed 16 game winner Kyle Lohse. In fact, the Cards have done absolutely nothing this off season to improve the team. Also, you mentioned the Giants having improved their team. Really? By re-signing guys who were already on the club?

    Look, I a not going to defend or criticize what RA has done this off season, I am going to let it all play out before making a complete judgment. But if you are going to criticize the Phillies for their moves and compliment teams like the Cards and Giants, you need to back up those compliments with facts. In fact, people in St. Louis are very concerned that the Cards have basically sat out the off season and if staying the same [the Giants] makes you better, then they need to change that old adage of “if you are standing still, you are actually moving backward.”

    1. The Cards had only one need (SS) and no one on the market available. I am actually surprised they haven’t moved anyone because they have a ton of starters on the way and they need to find room in an OF corner for Oscar Taveres.

      The Giants resigned their guys which has always been their MO, you could have argued they should have gotten Bourne or Upton instead of Pagan but at the money it isn’t a huge difference.

    2. I probably should have phrased the comment differently regarding the Cardnals (but see Matt’s comment). For the Giants, though, I’d say that ” re-signing guys who were already on the club” understates how successful their off season was. They were smart enough to re-sign Pagan to a reasonable deal (yes, with some risk on the 3rd and 4th years, but an AAV of 10 million at a position where talent is thin is a good deal for a player like Pagan). They got some push back on the Scutaro deal, but, given the alternatives, it seems like a solid move.

      And of course both teams had far less need than the Phillies to make moves. More to the point, my comment was, if anything, an attempt to be charitable towards the FO strategy, the fact that, on the whole, the competition got stronger is, given where the team is, arguably somewhat vindicates the conservative off season strategy. (Because they would have had a tough time contending even with more aggressive moves.) It’s the execution of that strategy that I question – and, while I applaud valiant attempts by people around here to defend the execution of the strategy, IMO it’s pretty weak tea.

  15. great posts guys, my two cents:
    FO thinking v we need to behave like Yanks/Sox to pack 45K in every night at the Bank – the attendance is a minor bottom line revenue generator when compared with the TV deal. IMO this is all about the Comcast deal to be negotiated during/after the 2014 season. One final hurrah with the core this year, recognize the ‘pen killed us last year [add Adams and dream that Sept. young arms performance was for real], a wing & a prayer and hopefully be close enough at the deadline to add a big piece. The worse we are this year, the more leverage Comcast gains in the deal so this year really is about the core; RJA has said 100x we go as far as they take us this year. Because as much as we puffed out our chests over the last few years claiming we are the Yanks of the NL, the Yanks have a 100mill radio contract and we have Middleton and a bunch of small time partners writing the checks
    DYoung/Brown/Ruff/MYoung/Revere/Prospects – when you look at it, an acceptable risk assessment can be made for all of these. you have to start with the fact that it is all about the pitching and with all the bad stuff last year, if the bullpen is good, we make the playoffs. Adams improves the bullpen, if he is healthy! Starters are healthy, anyone who does not think Doc will be solid this year, did not watch as last year progressed and does not know Doc. Cole should be better, Cliffie as well and if Kendrick becomes a little more consistent, he could easily will 10-13 this year. And who really cares about the 5th starter…Time will tell.
    Ruff looked great in Sept, is it real – time will tell! LF is about a bat, it is so small out there, i could play it. Myoung is a class act and will be an excellent addition in the line up [see his sept last year after he discovered his problem and adjusted, Jeter and Cal Ripken went through the same process and suceeded going forward]. Revere is a significant upgrade over Victorino, who was solid in 2008 and then after that trended down especially defensively [remember playoffs with Cards in 2010, he cost us a game easily]. DBrown, for who, for what, but Pence was terrible so it is not a huge downgrade and as far as DYoung goes, again a risk, many talented underperformers rake in their walk year and we will see.
    And as far Charlie goes, he is an American League manager and an excellent people person, the kind of boss you enjoy working for, but you would never let him near your work because he is clueless…the best part is he is a hitting guru, are your kidding me, have you guys watched this team? But Ryno will be the new sheriff in town next year and there will be massive changes around that, so for me, i can’t wait for the season and think a WC is definetly possible if the pen is terrific and the pitchers stay healthy…

    1. If the team is healthy, a WC is definitely possible. I’m not expecting much from the two Youngs, however.

  16. Sporting News has the Phillies farm ranked at 26th. Atl and Nats have more top prospects then the Phillies at this point.

  17. The whole problem with Amaro’s strategy is that he still seems to think that the 2008 core still has another championship in them. They don’t! Utley, Howard, and Rollins are no longer elite players! Guys like Heyward, Harper, and Posey have taken over. Amaro therefore needs to start transitioning to the future, and yet he harms the future by trying to protect the 2008 core with acquisitions like Pence and D. Young that damage the development of players like Brown. The premise of these moves was that the 2008 core had another championship in them and Brown was/is holding them back because he is too raw. In 2010, when the Phillies went through that awful slump in the regular season and then went back into it against the Giants in the playoffs, it was clear that the 2008 core was done. It was time then to start letting some players like Brown get comfortable, He has the skill set, he just needs time, like Heyward, Freeman, Desmond, Detwiler, all of who struggled mightily at some point but whose organizations allowed them to get comfortable because they had the skill se1. Amaro has really done nothing: he inherited a great team, and this team has won the division a couple times during his tenure, but Ruben has done nothing to move forward into a new era, and we might be headed for the cliff, like Houston was after the Bagwell, Biggio era.

  18. You guys were busy this weekend. That was a good Monday morning read. I can’t add much but I do have a few observations.

    In one breath RA says DYoung would ideally be the starting RF and then shortly after he says he expects him to start the season on the DL. My take away from that is that he is trying to play some mind game with Dom. While I don’t like mind games it is for all intensive puposes up to Brownie to put on his big boy pants and play the caliber of ball we saw from him in the minors.

    After that I tend to agree with Buddy RA wants to see what this team has. If they got nothing he will probably have some chips to move to acquire some young talent.

  19. I think the DYoung signing is going along the lines of high-risk/high-reward. I also think this came about because RAJ finally has seen that Brown might just not cut it at all. The problems I see with Young is his past issues and his BB rate is pretty darn bad.

    To the guy referring to Brown as a “underdog”, you need to get your head out of the sand. A underdog would be a guy stuck in the minors for years not getting a shot, then finally proving himself in the majors. Not a “top prospect” who has done nothing in the past two years of chances he has gotten in the majors to prove anything other than bust. If he doesn’t do anything this year, ship him out. And if Young goes back to his pre- ’11 form, it’ll be Dom Who? If Young bombs out there, then its just another shitty RAJ deal that we’re all used to.

    I’d feel much more comfortable with a Ruf/Revere/Young combo in the OF, if you have Mayberry and Brown off the bench, you might not be horrible out there.

    For me also, I still think 3B is a slight issue. What is MYoung doesn’t cut it, Fransden did a real nice job last year, but its obviously in the Phils eyes, he’s no more than a UT du jour. What if Asche bombs in AAA and isn’t ready next year?

    This off-season will try the theory that buying a Chevy Aveo is much better than buying a Ford truck. Welcome baseball season 2013: You Shall Be Very Interesting!

    And that IS THE TRUTH!

    1. The truth? The truth is you are simply in love with name vets, even if they stink. Brown was the #5 rated minor leaguer in all of baseball. He has never had a sustained chance to play in Philly and is recovering from a hamate bone break, but you know he is no good. On the other hand, Frandsen comes up from the minors and plays very well, but you know he also really stinks. So, whether one of our minor leaguers does a good job or a bad job, in your eyes they stink and need to be replaced by a vet. That seems to be your truth.

      1. First off, I never said Frandsen stinks, to the contrary, I think it was great to see him play so well last year. I said that how the Phils view him, as RAJ did a interview after last season that pretty much said he’s no more than a UT and thats it. I’m a blue collar guy, and I root for the blue collar, hard working type like Frandsen, don’t know where you got me mixed up there. Also loved it when Kratz got his shot last year, he went to HS right by me and I remember him back then and he busted his butt for years in the minors to get his shot. I love to see our prospects do well, but too many times in the past, we’ve had the “next big thing” touted, and they’ve amounted to jack squat.

        Hey, Brandon Wood was a top 5 prospect too, what’s your point? You want me to throw out more top 5 prospects who busted in the majors? I have all day if you want.

        Brown isn’t a bust persay like a Hewitt (aka the new millenium Jeff Jackson), but people are rubbing his knob here wayyyyy to hard thinking he’ll do good this year.

        I’m all about having guys from our system help the team and not trading them, unlike RAJ who just views them as pawns most of the time. That pence deal is going to come back and bite them in the butt, and I’m really not sold totally on Joesph either, unlike 99% of the people here.

        To LarryM, he was awful in those years? And how old was he then? What was Brown doing in the majors to that point and now? I rest my case. He’s only 2 years older than Brown and has accomplished 10 times what that hack has accomplished here in Philly. If you are saying hitting over .280 your first 4 years in the majors (at age 21-24) is “awful”, then what is Brown. I already stated Young’s downfalls, but if he can be the player I know he can be and has proven, then he is a giant upgrade over Brown.

        I’ve said it before, if Brown pulls off the miracle, I’ll eat my words and drink a 6 pack of PBR as punishment. If I am right, at the end of this year, then I’d love to see what everyone here has for an excuse this time around.

    2. To put it mildly, there is plenty here to disagree with. Let me just highlight the most obvious: there is no “pre 2011″ Delmon Young. He was awful in 2006-2009 as well. He had ONE decent – not good, but decent – season (2010) based on a two month hot streak.

      How ironic – giving another chance to a former prospect who (a) has motivational problems that make Brown (if he has any at all) look like a combination of Chase Utley and Pete Rose by comparison, and (b) has failed miserably in a sample size almost an order of magnitude greater than Brown’s.

    1. Yeah 1.1 mill for Chad Durbin. I guess we really don’t like all our young relievers… Either that or this might be the precursor to someone being injured in the pen like say Mike Adams.

  20. In another puzzling move the Phillies have brought back Chad Durbin on a major league contract. This is by no means a negative move because Durbin has been a dependable long man and will likely be just as average in 2013. I just don’t understand why you would spend 1.1 million (up to 1.4 million with incentives) to fill a role that you have a long list of candidates for. The bullpen is really crowded and unless they plan on using guys like Stutes, Schwimmer, De Fratus, Diekman, and Horst (who should have been the long man) as a taxi squad to AAA, I just don’t understand how you keep everyone.

    If they go with a 7 man pen (in order to keep Galvis and Frandsen and 5 outfielders). You have as locks right now Papelbon, Bastardo, Adams, and Durbin. You figure that Aumont has a place and you need another lefty so it is one of Valdes, Diekman, and Horst. That leaves two spots for Stutes, Schwimmer, Valdes, Diekman, Horst, De Fratus, Ramirez (only here because he is out of options), and Cloyd (long man potential). You then have not on the 40 man Giles, Simon, Friend, and Knigge who are really close as well.

    Durbin just doesn’t seem necessary.

    1. If last year taught us anything, injuries happen. Having another vet in the pen doesn’t hurt one bit. One of those names you listed will get hurt and having capable arms there to soak up innings isn’t a bad thing.

      1. There is enough injury insurance there already, for a team crying poor there is no reason to buy long men/mop up relievers. That list does not include Pettibone, Morgan, or Martin all of who could force the issue and you move Lannan or Kendrick back to the pen. Again not a negative move per say, just an illogical unneeded move.

        1. There is limited upside to this signing I agree. But Stutes and DeFratus are coming off injury. Aumont and Diekman are both unknown quantities. Horst probably pitched over his head last year. And the deal is only for a year with a club option for a 2nd.

          However, when has the team cried poor? I hope we’re not falling into the mindset of just because we don’t like the GM, every move is criticized even if it makes sense for the team.

          1. The problem isn’t the cost of the move. The problem is that is another example of the team’s refusal to give young kids a chance, even in a semi-rebuilding year.

            The combination of the team’s new bargain basement approach and the lack of faith in prospects is a deadly one. I’m less enthused at our major league ready talent, but relief pitching is the one area where our major league ready talent is strongest.

            1. I think the team is giving the young BP arms a chance. There is a ton of potential with those arms, however none of it has shown up yet. Durbin was a decent reliever for the Braves last year. If Aumont, DeFratus and Diekman show that they belong in the show and become the arms we hope they are, while Durbin stinks up the joint, Durbin will be DFA’d.

            2. And now one fewer player will have a chance to show that potential in the major leagues.

              Either:

              (1) This team has a decent chance to be a contender – in which case, the non signing of a real free agent was a blunder.

              (2) This team is unlikely to be a contender – in which case, signing Durbin, signing Betancourt, even to a minor league deal, signing D. Young, arguable even some of the other “veteran” moves, were blunders.

              There is no paradigm under which the team’s off season moves are defensible. Amaro is really floundering at this point. On the pitching side, at least the guys he is acquiring have talent (Lannan the arguable exception, but time has dulled my opposition to that move). In terms of position players, one can only marvel at a series of moves that seem almost designed to horrify anyone with even a hint of understanding of how runs are scored and the importance of defense.

            3. RAJ’s offseason moves make perfect sense if we assume he is a poor talent evaluator, has to do something, and is hard up against a budget constraint.

          2. A kid may not be a sure thing, although I think ‘unknown quantity’ is a tad extreme. On the other hand, the performance of guys like the two Youngs and Durbin are also not a sure thing. In fact there are quite reasonable doubts, especially with the Youngs, based upon both performance and in the case of Michael, extreme age. The big point is that the Phillies under Cholly consistently refuse to give the kids a fair shot and put their faith in iffy veterans. This has repeatedly hurt the team. The acquisition of these vets has ramped the budget and siphoned off young talent, as well as preventing the normal development of other young talent. I have concluded that the Phillies slide will continue as long as Cholly is running the team. He is a one-man road-block to the normal process of rebuilding on the fly. The Phillies could have stayed strong as the core aged, slowly putting replacement pieces in place. Cholly has aborted all of that and presented us with the cliff. No skin off his back, he’ll be gone. It is a severe risk for any organization in any business to allow to much power to a guy with zero interest or stake in the organizations intermediate-term future.

            1. Oh I’m not arguing for the Youngs. I didn’t like either move. I just don’t see the harm in bringing in another reliever when the rest of those young arms are really unproven at this point.

    2. This sehould not be as much of a surprise as it is to you. It is all too predictable. The best predictor of how the Phillies will behave is how they have behaved in the recent past. If one discounted Montgomery’s comments that money would be no object this winter and that the team was willing to exceed the lux cap, and simply observed that the Phillies have yet to exceed a spending cap of any sort, you would have been right on this off-season. If you recognize that Cholly is a veteran’s manager and that he pretty much detests having to depend on rookies and kids who haven’t paid their dues, then the signing of Durbin and Young and the trade for the other YOung make perfect sense. This is a Cholly-type team. His forte is his relationship with vets, whom he courts by having their back and protecting them from losing their position when a kid would do a better job. His best chance to make his mark is by renewing the career of a vet, who has gone bad. I think he believes that the Cholly-care will salvage them. He isn’t good with kids, because basically he can’t bring himself to trust them.
      I think the other key to understanding what RA does is to recognize that he does not have normal GM authority. There is ample evidence that ownership gives him a budget and allows no deviation, even short-term. We have seen this by his behavior in his big trades, where he almost always takes back money, at the expense of more/better prospects, to stay flat on current year spending. The Lee dump to quickly balance off the Halladay acquisition is evidence of how hard this line is enforced. RA has also not been allowed to choose his own field manager. It is clear that Cholly outranks him, since Cholly can browbeat RA in the media for whatever vet addition he desires, with no fear of reprisal. He forced the Pence deal, which dimmed the future of the franchise, when the team was doing just fine and Mayberry in particular was hitting and fielding well. He then sat Mayberry to play Ibanez, who was not playing well at all. But Cholly liked and trusted Ibanez and he didn’t trust Mayberry.

    3. Matt, this provides flexibility on the occasions that Papelbon is not available which happened last year.

      1. How, at what point are you confident using Durbin over Rosenberg or Schwimmer. All of them belong in low leverage mop up situations. If Papelbon is no available, Adams closes, Bastardo sets up and Aumont pitches the 7th, if one more guy is out you plus Horst or De Fratus in. There just is no need for the move.

        1. It seems to me that there are usually several pitcher injuries during the typical season and the old adage “you can never have enough pitching” is still true today.

        2. Durbin had an excellent year for the Braves last year and I have no problem going with the safer option(Durbin) until Schwimmer or Rosenberg prove they are MLB ready.

          1. By excellent year you mean .3 WAR, 4.1 BB/9, 7.2 K/9, and a BABIP of .254 (career babip of .296, and yes there is enough sample size to make that a good baseline). Additionally Atlanta used him exclusively in 1 inning outings (which eliminates his long relief aspect) and in low leverage situations. He is the last guy in a bullpen, he is not really a “safer” option.

            1. Durbin only had 0.3 WAR, but BJ Rosenberg had -0.5 WAR and Schwimer had -0.1 WAR.

              He wasn’t much, but he was better than them.

  21. Okay, Brown and then to work. (If I post again in the next 8 hours, please remind me to get back to work.)

    (1) No one knows how much of his problems so far are from (a) injuries, (b) luck, (c) mishandling by the team, or (d) true defects in his game. But less than 500 PA is not a sufficient sample size to make a final judgment. That goes double for a player has faced multiple injuries over the course of the past 2 years (none of which are worrisome from a long term basis, but the hamate could well still have been affecting him last year) and has been jerked in and out of the lineup.

    (2) For those of you who don’t buy #1 above, stop reading now, I won’t convince you. But for those who agree that he should get another chance, what does that mean? It’s absurd that such a chance will depend upon him having a great spring training. Major league teams don’t operate that way and they shouldn’t. Sure, the team should expect that he arrives in shape and motivated. If he passes that bar, he should get a chance to play full time all season. Period. ESPECIALLY in what is in unacknowledged reality a rebuilding year.

    (3) The argument that his poor defense is something which separates him from somewhat like Heyward is a reasonable point. But let’s break this down: in 2011 his problems with his error rate seemed to be more in his head than anything else. IMO a confidence issue, but in any event he solved that problem in 2012. His throwing – he always had a strong arm – was also more effective in 2012. That leaves his effective range, which, by the numbers, was still below average in 2012. Subjective opinion of same varied. But people seem convinced that a slow guy like Ruf who has almost no experience in the outfield can learn to run good routes at the age of 26; certainly a speedy, younger guy like Brown can do so as well.

    (4) To the extent that any of Brown’s problems are “in his head,” there is to be a dispute between the “needs to be motivated” camp and the “lacks confidence” camp. Normally I would accept the opinion of the insiders, which, by implication, seems to be the former. But I don’t really trust Amaro’s judgment, and from the outside it looks more like a confidence issue. Regardless – even if it is a motivational issues, Amaros’ apparent head games are at best useless and at worst ruinous. As Buddy said, motivation ultimately comes from inside; Brown has it or he doesn’t. And it’s almost sick that he is at risk of being replaced by a guy who is the poster child for a player whose promising career was wrecked because he just doesn’t give a sh-t.

    More generally regarding the “win a job in spring training” and “earn a job” arguments – they’re bunk. There are a limited number of major league jobs open to players who have yet to prove themselves, dozens of candidates (at least potentially) for every job. Players don’t “earn” jobs, so much as the scouting department makes judgments, based upon in person scouting, minor league performance, tools, etc., which prospects are most likely to succeed at the major league level. Those players get shots at jobs, and they either perform well enough – over a sufficient sample size – or they don’t.

    There are occasional spring training competitions for jobs, but they occur almost always for non-contenders, and they occur when the team has a hole in the lineup and no “real” prospects to fill the hole with. And sometimes you get a player “winning” such a competition and succeeding. Scouts are not infallible. But when you have a real prospect, denying him a job because he performs poorly over a few dozen spring training at bats is lunacy.

    1. Sigh, a good post ruined because I accidently lost my paragraph breaks when editing.

      Can Matt or Gregg or someone else with the ability to edit comments please fix this for me.

      Matt – Fixed as best I could

    1. I assumed this was a joke until I read the post at MLB trade rumors.

      I’m just really stunned. This is beyond belief.

      Among other things, can anyone now doubt that Amaro really means it when he says that he “doesn’t care about walks?” If he adds Jose Lopez, he will have a full set of the three worst players at drawing bases on balls. Though at least Lopez, unlike Betacourt and Young, a one point could play a little.

      Sorry, I’ll get back to work.

        1. Riggs, you don’t get it, do you? The problem isn’t so much that the off season moves doom the team to mediocrity in and of themselves. The strategy pursued by the team limited the extent to which the moves could hurt the team in the long and short run. The only move which could hurt the team significantly in the long run is the Young signing IF it means that Brown doesn’t get a fair shot at a job.

          The problem is two fold. First and foremost, they confirm terrible talent judgement by Amaro, at least with regard to position players. Secondly, less harmful but significant given the team’s current makeup and the need to rebuild, the moves confirm an unhealthy tendency to rely upon veterans. The Betancourt move, even though a minor league signing, goes to both issues.

          1. A minor league signing? C’mon man. I agree with much of what you post here so I’m not out just for an argument. There is zero risk in a MiL signing. Does anyone remember Luis Castillo? Let’s have a little perspective here. This is the time of the year when teams are dumpster diving to find a useful player. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, sometimes it does. It has nothing to do with how teams evaluate talent.

            1. Except that Luis Castillo was good once. Well, more than, once, for a long time, actually.

              You sign players to minor league contracts for basically three reasons:

              (1) Guys who were once good and who could be again (Castillo).
              (2) Filling out a AAA roster.
              (3) Taking a flier on a former prospect who never got a real shot at a major league job, derailed by injuries or something else.

              Bettancourt fits none of these. He is like Young, a replacement level player who, despite that, got over 3000 plate appearances to prove beyond all doubt that he was a replacement player. That it is only a minor league deal mitigates that but not by much. There is no conceivable circumstance under which Betancourt can help a major league team. Even with a catastrophic serious of injuries, you can do better than Bettancourt off the waiver wire.

            2. So maybe the team felt they wanted a SS at LV while Galvis is in Philly. Again, this is not something to go off the reservation about.

      1. Since it’s a minor league deal, I’m going to assume he’ll play all year in AAA (because if I don’t I’ll probably end up with a headache). I don’t even remember who the Pigs’ SS was last year. He’s not blocking anybody down there, so, meh. There’s literally no upside to this except maybe he helps LHV win a few games, and there is some downside. Hopefully it just becomes a nothing move that we can forget about after a couple months.

  22. This one is tough to defend. As Larry says this is the one area where we are strong in young talent. I mean if they wanted to sign him to stash in AAA fine but not to take innings away from DeFratus and Aumont.

  23. So just for fun I reverse sorted the worst players in baseball by WAR in 2012 (Baseball Reference). Of the 30 worst players, 5 of them will be in Spring Training for the Phillies in 2013. Since 2009 a full 10 of the 30 worst players will have worn a Phillies jersey at some point.

    1. Of course this means that the Phillies have had the worst record in the league in that timeframe then right?

      1. Of course not, but a lot of that is because of startring pitching ot through position players that Amaro inherited.. He has not shown the ability to properly evlauate positon players so the future does not bold well for the Phillies post Halladay/Lee or with inevitable decline of rollins/utley/ruiz/howard/etc

        1. That wasn’t the argument presented however. The post was about all the terrible players the Phillies have had on their roster since 2009. It was not talking about the future whatsoever.

  24. I wonder if the types of careers both Charlie and RAJ had in the bigs plays into at all this propensity to keep cycling veterans onto the roster.

    I wonder how much Ryne agrees or disagrees with the shaping of this club from the stand point he has a young guy that was traded out of the org to go on and have a HOF career…

  25. So let’s talk about walks and taking pitches and its importance, since this seems like a good time since the Phils have both a manager and general manager that seem to place little or no value in OBP as a key metric. For the most part, teams today have 12 man pitching staffs, comprised of 5 starting pitchers, a closer, an 8th inning setup man, and 5 relief pitchers that cover the balance of those innings. To me, one of the big keys in baseball, is how can you face those 5 relief pitchers as much as possible, as typically they are the 5 worst pitchers on most teams, for the most part.

    To see this art mastered, you need only look at the 1993 Phillies or the more recent versions of the Red Sox and Yankees in the 00′s. Often times starting pitchers would last just 5ish innings and those “other 5 relievers” would pitch 2-4 innings per game. This of course is driven by pitches thrown by the starting pitchers so working counts is key, which may or may not equate to walks. If you ignore pitches thrown, OBP in essence has enough strong arguments on its own merit as larrym and many others have pointed out on this site countless times over the past few years, which I fully agree with. More though to me, is the ability to also get a good starting pitcher out of the game quicker in this era of pitch counts and get middle relievers in the game quicker to feast on before you get to high K, LHP vs LHB and RHP vs RHB matchups in the late innings.

    Even if you look at the 2008 Phillies, (not RAJ constructed), Werth, Burrell, and Utley at least were very disciplined hitters who took a lot of pitches. Somebody can correct me if I’m wrong, but I also feel like Howard saw more pitches and walked more back then becuase he was a bigger threat than he is today but I didn’t look up the numbers to confirm that. This current team, and the direction RAJ is taking it, makes OBP and working pitchers’ pitch count look like the last thing he cares about which is very unfortunate.

    This is getting very scary to watch.

    1. Great post.

      Time permitting (i.e., after work) I plan to make a list of the career BB% (not a perfect measure, I know) of all players Amaro has acquired who have played for the major league team. I’m not expecting a pretty picture. Off hand, with a cut off of 100 PA, I think that none of them have exceeded the MLB average (8.4% over the past 4 seasons). I think Ben Francisco at 8.2% may lead the pack.

        1. Never loved him as a player. Said he was a good back up, miscast as a regular, though probably not as badly as people believed at the time. His career has gone a bit south since then, though.

          Here’s a comparison for you. He was then and is now a better player than Delmon Young. Better fielder, better hitter, better base runner on a career basis. In a similar length career, he has packed in more value than Young despite about half as much playing time.

    2. Howard has always been comfortably above 1 BB/10 AB. Last year was the first time he fell below that threshold.

      1. Not an Amaro acquisition. There are several players on the team who are above average but were part of the organization when Amaro took over.

        Schneider is at 9.3% on a career basis. I don’t think he does much to refute the point.

        1. Oh, you were responding to buddy, not I. My bad.

          Howard, in recent years especially, is not terribly patient as a hitter. He remained above average in BB% because pitchers pitched him carefully and didn’t give him much to hit.

    3. What’s funny is that Amaro has picked up 2 pitchers who are elite when it comes to not walking batters. He clearly the value of preventing walks. I wonder what he thinks happens to guys after they get walked?

  26. I’m not really sure that means all that much. If you look back on the last 3 seasons and the teams that were in the WS you find the following

    2012
    Giants 13th in BB and 8th in OBP
    Tigers 9th in BB and 3rd in OBP they lost

    2011
    Cards 6th in BB and 3rd in OBP They won
    Rangers 20th in BB and 5th OBP

    2010
    Giants 21st in BB and 19th in OBP
    Rangers 18th in BB and 6th in OBP they lost

    If its so important why aren’t the leaders in those categories making it to the WS more consistently?

    1. Well let’s not get ridiculous. Obviously it is one of the most important from anoffensive perspective. However there are pitching and defensive aspects of the game. You’re also not taking into account the possibility that teams actually hit way better in the playoffs (see Giants) than they do in the regular season. That’s just a matter of “getting hot”

    2. Of this 6 teams listed, only one falls barely into the second half in OBP, while 4 of the 6 are in the top 20%. Since defense/pitching is half the game, I’d say that extremely small sample size of facts (really anecdotes) if anything, points to OBP being very important.

      1. DMAR’s point is that commenters on this site overly stress and opine for the BB and OBP, and of course pitching/defense are key and crucial contributors to a team’s success.

        1. 5 of the 6 were top 10 in OBP. Hardly consider that a rubutal of the importance of OBP to a teams success, The Giants team in 2010 relied heavily on it’s pitching staff to make the playoffs and than had the fortune of half their line-up getting hot at the same time.

        2. You’re “of course” phrase I think encompasses why it appears that (but is not in fact true that) some people “overly stress and opine for the BB and OBP.” Because, despite the wide range of disagreement on this site about almost everything, virtually everyone agrees about pitching/defense and most components of hitting. “Of course.” What some people disagree on are BB and OBP.

          -we have the Amaro contingent that “doesn’t care about BB” at all.

          -some people will agree that BB and OBP matter for top of the lineup guys, but not for middle of the order guys,or even complain that middle of the order guys should swing away instead of taking walks.

          -some people will grudgingly agree that BB matter a little bit for everyone, but at the end of the day place little weight on them.

          -some of the same people refuse to distinguish between a bad BB rate and a REALLY bad rate, not understanding there is a point where BB rate is so low that major league success is impossible.

          And so on. Because of these comments and beliefs, the issue comes up more often than other issues where there is more consensus.

          The fact is that, over a sufficient sample size, the single non-analytic stat that is most highly correlated with scoring runs is OBP. More so than SLG%, which is second. Much, much more so than BA. Even DMAR’s small sample size, which disproportionately features a team (the Giants) which is highly atypical, shows that, as ATown points out.

          Now of course BB rates are only a component of OBP. It’s possible for a team to succeed despite relatively low BB rates. it’s possible for a team to succeed with relatively low HR rates. Hard, but possible. You still don’t want your GM to say – or believe – that “he doesn’t care about home runs.” And, as with any important component of a successful baseball team, over time, a GM who significantly under values that component is throwing wins out the window.

          The fact that the SABR point of view on BB and OBP now dominates conservative, slow to change front offices, is, in addition to the empirical evidence (intentionally omitted because there isn’t enough space her to do it justice) and Buddy’s logic, very strong evidence that we are right. Traditional beliefs about the game are not overturned lightly in major league baseball..

  27. Did they really sign durbin, i hate him, so mediore, why him. lets give the young kids a chance, damm.

  28. Now onto this bullpen mess. It’s important to note, as some of you have above, to have more than 7 major league ready relievers in your organization as injuries do of course occur. So let’s list exactly who the Phils have that are either a) major leaguers, b) ready to be major leaguers, or c) likely to be ready at some point during the upcoming season. In no particular order:
    1 Papelbon 2 Adams 3 Durbin 4 Bastardo 5 Diekman 6 Horst 7 Valdes 8 Rosenberg 9 Aumont 10 Stutes 11 DeFratus 12 Schwimer 13 Cloyd 14 Savery 15 Ramirez

    There are probably a few more non-roster names I forgot and I left starting pitchers off that could also be considered for these roles such as Pettibone and Martin, or more likely, if Pettibone is pitching great at AAA, they could always call him up and use him as a starter and push Lannan or Kendrick to the bullpen, but let’s just assume for now the number is 15.

    So let’s just say the Phils go north with Papelbon, Adams, and Bastardo as their late innings relievers, with another LHP such as Horst on the team, with RH middle guys Durbin and Aumont, and a long reliever like Savery. That leaves a AAA bullpen of Diekman, Valdes, Rosenberg (unless he starts), Stutes, DeFratus, Schwimer, Cloyd (he would probably start for AAA), and Ramirez (if he’d clear waivers, if we’d want him to clear waivers).

    The reality is that there is ZERO reason for signing Chad Durbin. Even if 2 guys get hurt in spring, let’s say Adams and Horst. That moves DeFratus and Diekman to the major league roster, and you still have at least 5 guys major league ready in AAA. Not to mention during spring training and during the season, journeymen guys, think Nelson Figueroa, always get released or put on waivers and can be claimed / signed to add depth at AAA. Speaking of Nelson Figueroa, I could probably add Rodrigo Lopez as #16 on the list above.

    This is an over-reaction to what happened last year, but that’s flawed because a) all of these pitchers have a year more experience, b) Adams is not Qualls, and c) the odds of all those pitchers getting injured again like last year is not likely or something you have to plan for every season.

    1. You have to split your list into LHP and RHP. We aren’t as deep with RHPs as it first seems. If Aumont and DeFratus are on the team, that leaves you a choice of Durbin, Schwimer, Stutes and Rosenberg. I have to think Stutes isn’t ready to come back yet after his shoulder surgery and he wasn’t that good to being with. Schwimer is probably in the doghouse after haggling over the injury and demotion last september and Rosenberg might have a shot to go back as a SP. I like the depth, last year we were really short with RHP once Qualls got the boot and Stutes and Herndog went on the shelf.

    2. I disagree ‘there was zero reason to sign Durbin’. Last year’s bullpen was a disaster because they were totally dependent on these Iron pig relievers. I don’t blame them for signing another veteran. I do have a slight problem with the amount, but no big deal.
      I find it interesting that fans have so much faith in guys like De Fratus, Stutes, Schwimer and Rosenberg. To the point that it is an outrage to pay a veteran 1.1 million.
      Durbin isn’t anything special, but with Kendrick an Lannan in your rotation back-to-back, you need a rubber arm to throw multiple innings on the nights when those guys only go five innings.

      1. “These Iron Pig relievers” in 2013 are not the same as 2012. Guys like Diekman, DeFratus, Aumont, Rosenberg, and Schwimer have much more experience than they did a year ago and are more qualified to contribute now than they were a year ago, so I don’t think that is a fair statement.

        As to having faith, if the Phils have Papelbon and Adams locking down the 8th and 9th innings on most nights, all you need is two other pitchers, a LHP and a RHP, i.e., Bastardo and Aumont to step up and serve as solid middle to late innings guys and you are in good shape. You don’t need “sure things” after your first 4 relievers. You need a long man who can throw some innings, and you have 2 spots for guys you can take a chance on and hope they perform well. If we need guys more guaranteed to be successful than DeFratus and Stutes in those 2 spots, we have big problems with this team.

        1. “You need a long man, who can throw some innings…” That is why they signed Durbin. All of this outrage because they overpayed about 400K and it may cause BJ Rosenberg to get sent to AAA? BJ Rosenberg!?

          1. Yeah I don’t get it either. Durbin is solid and injuries happen. I think it is a good signing. So what if an extra one of our unproven young bullpen arms sits in AAA awaiting a call-up. Most relievers are so inconsistent from year to year that depth is key (see last year).

            I criticize Rube for a lot of things, but I won’t for this.

          2. Isn’t the plan to stretch Rosenberg out as a starter anyway? I’d imagine that would have to happen at LHV.

            Here’s what I think: Ruben Amaro could announce today that he’s invented a time machine, traveled through spacetime and prevented the Ryne Sandberg and Ferguson Jenkins trades, and there will be a contingent that finds something wrong about it.

            1. You’re actually going to compare what RA has done this winter to retaining to youngsters who were about to burst out as HOF players? He’s brought in an ancient mariner to play 3B, who brings to mind the old quote about Dick Stuart from that poem ‘he stoppeth one of three’.

            2. I’d argue that most of the players who signed big money contracts this season have major warts, so I’m glad the Phils didn’t make long-term, expensive commitments there. I also believe that bringing in M. Young to hold down third for a season before Asche is ready was a smart move, that Adams and Durbin are solid signings for the bullpen, and that Delmon Young is just another bat in the mix, no matter what RAJ said at the press conference. In short, it wasn’t a sexy offseason, but they’re addressing needs without making long-term commitments.

            3. Mike – To say that is pure heresy. I expect a waterfall of posts declaring how stupid you are to follow.

            4. Here’s what it comes down to re: D. Young: If you believe the RF job is his to lose, then you can justifiably be upset by the signing, even at the bargain-basement price. If you believe, as I do, that he’s simply another bat the club took a cheap flier on — like a scratch-off ticket — there’s really not much to hate.

              My belief is that Ruf and Brown will be given every opportunity to win everyday roles in LF and RF, respectively. But if one or more fails, or if one gets hurt, it can’t hurt to have a guy with some pop ready to plug in, even if his on-base skills are only slightly worth than his personality is alleged to be.

            5. There are at least 1,000 players in the majors or minors, most who could be had for a bag of baseballs, that it would make more sense for the Phillies to plug into a corner outfield spot is all other options fail. The move is absolutely indefensible whatever you believe regarding the true intentions of the village idiot.

      2. I don’t have a big problem with it either. However, I wish that they won’t hesitate to put Durbin at the back of the line if he struggles or is just so-so and give the younger guys a chance. There’s way more upside with Aumont, De Fratus, Diekman and probably Rosenberg than there is with Durbin.

  29. stutes wasnt that good anyway?? he only has pitched 62 innings and was 6-2 with less hits than inning pitched, i like stutes a lot, better than schwimer or durbin, i also love de fratus though
    ,rosenberg is a mystery man to me . good fastball, with no location and its straight, have to wait on him

    1. He was pretty lucky in 2011 with just a .259 BABIP. His career K/BB ratio is less than 2 and his BB rate is over 4. He’s is a pretty mediocre relief pitcher with health concerns at this point. His career WAR is 0.0.

  30. Manuel on Ruf yesterday before Philly Sportswriter Dinner via Bob Brookover: “Manager Charlie Manuel remains enamored with Ruf. “We got a situation in the outfield that is going to be good, especially with Ruf,” Manuel said without being asked about the power-hitting outfielder recently. “He could make it real interesting.” Those words jarred Manuel’s memory from his days in Cleveland. He recalled the time when Indians general manager John Hart acquired Ruben Amaro Jr. from the Phillies in exchange for Heathcliff Slocumb. “John Hart and I talked and we thought that Ruben and Wayne Kirby were going to be platooning in right field,” Manuel said. “The only trouble was a guy by the name of Manny Ramirez came by at the age of 19 or 20 years old.
    “So you get what I’m talking about with Ruf? Ruf might be ready.”

      1. He’s not comparing them as players. He’s saying the Indians went into ST with a plan for their RF situation, and it changed dramatically when Ramirez showed he was ready. What Charlie’s saying is that just because a platoon is envisioned for LF right now for the Phils, he wouldn’t rule out Ruf coming in and winning the full-time job.

    1. Yeah I mean Darin Ruf and Manny Ramirez are exactly the same. Well except that Ruf is 27 and a first baseman, but yeah totally the same.

    1. We’d be naive to think this still isn’t going on. We’ll see how the in season testing goes. Ritalin is rampant because it moves through the system very fast and HGH is another one they could still get away with.

      Having said that now that baseball is going to create a testosterone base line for each player individually it should become less prevalent. But there are dosages that a player could take with the help of a good doctor and regular testing that could keep those T Levels in an acceptable range.

      I’m not surprised with the amount of money at stake vs. the risk of 50 Games I’d be tempted.

  31. Question: which of these players, who broke in at about the same time, is a better hitter:

    A .284 BA,31 doubles, 15 HR, 67 runs, 81 RBIs, 24 BB.
    B .282 BA, 25 doubles, 10 HR, 74 runs, 54 RBIs, 53 BB.

    Career stats in on a seasonal basis (i.e., per 600 PA). Assume similar hitting contexts (but not similar lineup contexts) and other hitting stats roughly the same. (Note that one of the players is a MUCH better player for other reasons beyond hitting, but the question just goes to their hitting.)

    1. see that is a very interesting comparison because the difference in total bases (counting walks) seems negligible. i imagine their ops would be very very close. but since obp is actually more valuable than slugging, because not making outs is the best thing a hitter could do, i have to say B. but of course there are tons of unseen things that might have larger effects on the comparison. park effects for one could make a big difference. one guy could be a good base stealer, or triple machine. and of course that is just offensive production.

      1. I stated other hitting stats (not base running, which for this exercise is separate) are roughly the same, and context similar.

        You’re analysis is 100% correct. OPS is very close, and I picked the comp on that basis. I was/am wondering – legitimately curious – whether the BB skeptics would/will see it the same way. Note that player B isn’t a LOT better* as a hitter, but better he is. I would think that guys who just look at the “traditional” slash line (BA, RBIs, HR) are going to pick player A.

        *overall he is much better, big edge in terms of position, defense and base running, even a small edge in “make up,” though he’s another guy with … issues).

        1. Player A is Delmon Young I’m guessing. Player B is Yunel Escobar? I cheated on that one, but he fits the profile. That’s an odd comparison.

          Larry, we get it when it comes to Young. He’s not of any use unless he’s platooned in LF and by definition a platoon LF has very little value. It seems like the RAJ idiot comments about walks are giving some commenters the impression that there still needs to be an argument made for OBP and BB. There doesn’t. RAJ is an outlier and this whole argument is a straw man. Intelligent baseball people for literally the last hundred years have understood the value of not making outs. Branch Rickey understood it, Earl Weaver understood it, hell even Casey Stengel understood it. Look at the walk rates since the beginning of the live ball era. There hasn’t been a significant change for a long time. We’re not covering any remarkable new ground here.

          Back to Escobar… He has an amazing contract for a guy who is consistently a 3 win player. $5MM team options for 2014 and 2015? What the hell was his agent thinking? What’s even weirder is he was traded for a left handed hitting shortstop. That’s just awesome. I can’t remember the last SS who hit solely left-handed. Of course the Rays drafted the guy.

          1. It’s not a “straw man” for the typical fan, and even for a significant minority here. Or apparently for Amaro. And I’ve made the point myself that this isn’t entirely new knowledge either on other occasions, admittedly not so much lately.

            And this time I wasn’t try to beat the dead horse on Young (or Amaro), which admittedly I’ve done on other occasions, but was genuinely trying to get a sense as to how the BB skeptics would value these two guys (of course you got them right). But those guys never confront the issue head on.

            And on top of that I thought it was a nice, illustrative comp. 6 doubles and 5 HR might well be more valuable than 29 BB, but they aren’t more valuable than 29 more BB AND 20 fewer outs. (And 2 more singles, if you want to be precise).

        2. honestly the thing about this comparison is that, just based on the batting line, i’d pick whatever player i thought my team could use. so if i needed a little more pop in my lineup i’d probably lean towards the first guy, but if i needed more baserunners for my power hitters i’d take the second. i do think that a lineup benefits from a variety of types of hitters, especially when players are otherwise close in value.

  32. Wish raj would of given Jair jurjens a look in fa. Got peanuts from Balt. Think it would of been a smart gamble.

  33. MLB.com’s Jonathon Mayo did his top 100 and guess who he has at #80? That’s right, our own Ethan Martin. One thing I’ll give Mayo is that he goes with his own rankings, not giving a crap what others think. Still, its a nice shoutout to Ethan Marting. Biddle btw was #60.

    1. He’s got some head scratchers for me Leonys Martin not to be in the 100 is a clear over sight and not having Adam Eaton in the top 50 is a huge slight.

      the Rangers felt comfortable enough with Martin to let Hamilton go and not pull the trigger on the Upton trade. The DBacks felt comfortable enough with Eaton to move Upton. Do you think Daniels and Towers know something he doesn’t.

      Man the Rangers are deep!

      1. I agree on your Martin comment. Eaton is good but not exceptional, Eaton didn’t force the Upton trade, signing Cody Ross did. Eaton forced the Chris Young trade.

        1. Wow really you don’t think Eaton is exceptional? Dig into him a little more. I didn’t say he forced the trade just that I think he gave Towers the confidence to move Upton’s production.

          ross is a nice player but kind of hard to sell the fan base on him over Upton. However I think Eaton will make them forget pretty quickly about Justin.

          1. Eaton is an above average regular, he might make an All-Star game but this isn’t a star. The real reason that Upton was traded is Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson just didn’t like him.

  34. Sports Illustrated has the Phillies off-season moves rated as a “D”…no surprise there. A third place finish in the division, again no surprise. But let’s check out SI Power rankings February 1, 2012 … oh, and keep in mind that back then they were also using “information” and “facts” to back their arguments.
    #3 Phillies ??
    #10 Braves
    #12 Nats
    #15 SF Giants
    #28 Baltimore
    #29 Oakland
    Hmmm!

    1. Phillies injuries last year were a lot worse than expected. I remember that all winter Utley was supposed to be fine. Howard had the infection and second surgery on his ankle, which cost him at least two extra months on the DL. There had been discussion over the winter that he might even be ready to go by start of season. Halladay had a bad year. The pen had multiple injuries. In terms of playing up to expectations, I think both Victorino and Pence massively underperformed and neither Mayberry nor Brown took off. The OF turned out to be far less than it was reasonably expected to be.

    1. Asche probably isn’t as good as Headley. He can be an average major league starting 3B. Headley is already better than that. Asche has the advantage of being able to be an average starter quite cheaply, until hopefully, Franco can come along and be above average. I’m going to guess that if Asche were given the starting 3B job for the Phillies at around the All Star break, he’ll do as well or better than Michael Young.

    2. Well Asche and Headley have similar minor league stats. I doubt if Asche will ever have a season like Headley just had but I think they are comparable.

      1. Not truly that similar, Headley showed limited power up until 2012 but was a prodigious walker. His BB% in his two full minor league years was 13% and 14.2%. Asche has a similar hitting profile but his plate discipline is much worst and he posted a BB% at similar levels this year of 4.4% and 7.6 %

        1. The other point is that Headley’s 2012 was a huge outlier. Makes one consider PEDs as a possibility, considering this latest burst of potential undetected offenders.

  35. Here’s a question for those of you still somewhat on the Amaro band wagon.

    I agree that the mere facts facts of the D. Young and Y Betancourt signings, by themselves, are not enough to conclude that Amaro deserves to be fired, if you weren’t already convinced that Amaro deserved to be fired. But, for those commenters who recognize how bad those guys are, but defend Amaro in the assumption that he wouldn’t really be stupid enough to actually give either one significant playing time, can we agree that, if he does, it will be time to join the fire the village idiot band wagon?

    I would posit that, even with a rash of injuries, and certainly without a rash of injuries, more than 200 major league PA for Young, and more than 20 major league PA for Betancourt, would be absolutely conclusive evidence that Amaro deserves to be fired. Mind you, I need no additional evidence; this is for the few informed commenters on here who are still clinging to the notion that Amaro isn’t a complete idiot.

  36. Brian Cashman in a recent interview alluding to the to the Yankee model: …..’I think to emulate the Yankee model you have to be in a pretty significant market. I know the Red Sox have emulated the Yankee model, but there are some other teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies. I’m not sure what the difference between the city of Philadelphia and the city of Pittsburgh is, but Philadelphia is turning into a behemoth financial stronghold here in the National League East as well as in all of baseball with their contract commitments and their success. They built the new ballpark, had World Series appearances and won a recent World Series as well. As you may recall, we were able to beat them the second time when they were in the World Series here recently.’

    1. Cashman on quantative analysis: ….’I’ve been with the team here about 15 years now, and going on my 16th year, and I have changed over time as a department head. One of the changes I’ve made is to take the Yankees into the 21st century. When you see things in the industry improve and change, you’ve got to keep up with the challenges. We have created a quantitative analysis department and hired a director of quantitative analysis. That department has grown to some 14 people who manage a number of different information streams. Not only do they pool that information, but then it is dissected and produced in a meaningful way about what is truly taking place on the field in present performance and then future predictable performance. That has certainly allowed us to make safer, more informed decisions. You’ll never be perfect or right all the time, but I think I’m in a much better position to make decisions and be comfortable with those decisions if they are educated-based.’

      1. I picture the Yankees’ Quantitative Analysis Department: 14 guys meeting in a big swanky office, going over the most recent data they collected. I picture the Phillies’ Quantitative Analysis Department: one guy hunched over a small table with a stack of papers on it in a janitor’s closet, eating a tastycake from a vending machine because the other guys on his floor forgot to ask him to lunch again.

        1. If Rube and the FO were smart…no need to hire a large quant/stat/SABR staff…just post questions/concerns about player projections no this site under an alias and get the results for free.

    2. The difference between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is 2.5 million people from a regional perspective (4.5 million to 2 million). Philadelphia is also a larger media market than Boston. I don’t know why that statement bugs me, but it does.

      1. Phillies may have a larger market for stadium attendees, but with all of New England, the Red Sox have a larger media market.

    3. Here’s the thing … I used to defend Amaro. And I do consider carefully – and give due credit to – intelligent defenses of him. Part of the reason I am so down on him is that even the smart defenses are so unconvincing. But there are some positive things you can try to say about him – a couple of good moves (though, except arguably for the Halladay trade and contract, nothing that any other GM who inherited a team with a good farm system and a ton of money couldn’t have accomplished), and you can defend this off season’s moves philosophically (though not the execution of that philosophy).

      But the idea that the fact that he inherited a world series winner, and didn’t immediately run the team in the ground – it took 3 years to do that instead – is some kind of defense of him is a laughable. Look at the ’09 through ’11 teams – with a (very) few exceptions, the key players on those teams were on the team, or at least in the organization, prior to Amaro taking over. Halladay and Lee are the only real exceptions. A trained monkey could have done as well. Better most likely.

      Amaro inherited an organization with a huge number of pluses – talent, money, a good minor league system, good scouting and development personnel. That he ran that franchise into the ground so quickly is a disgrace,

      Going forward, even a good GM would be hard pressed to salvage anything decent for the next 4 or 5 years. Murray’s response to my comment about the 2015 lineup was smart on one level – “they will have money for free agents” – but ignores the fact that the next FA class in particular is garbage, and, increasingly, almost without exception the best free agents get signed to extensions before they hit FA. People were saying that Amaro made the right move by abstaining from the FA market this year because all of the major free agents had flaws, but what they don’t realize is that this FA season is the new normal.

      I think the team HAS to play the FA market if they want to avoid a 95 loss season in the next few years, but actual return to contention – even if they weren’t led by the worst GM in Phillies’ history – would be tough. Of course since they are led by an idiot, after the next couple of years, when a .500 record might still be possible because of the pitching staff, a string of 85/90/95 loss seasons is inevitable. The only questions are how long it will take for the village idiot to get fired, and how long it will take the franchise to recover.

      1. I mostly agree with you but lets at least wait till they play a few games in 2013 before we say they are no better than an 82 win team.

        1. The Phillies may well be a wildcard in 2013. I think Larry’s larger point of what is down the road remains valid. We saw this year how lean and expensive the FA market is. It won’t be a ton better the next few seasons. The nucleus of most very good teams is largely homegrown with perhaps a star and wrap-arounds from FA or trade of prospects. The Phillies seem to be reaping the not unexpected negative results of trying to go largely FA. Now they are aging, have a quite weak farm, and are maxed out on major league budget. The optimists say something to the effect of ‘don’t criticize RA, unless you can offer something better than what he did this winter’. But, that misses the point. Those of us who argued that the Phillies were drastically underspending on draft and international bonuses, combined with trading away two many prospects, some in unnecessary and quite unspectacular trades, were told something to the effect of ‘ but you don’t realize that we are now a big money team and big money teams only use the farm to provide kids to trade for established players, because the goal is to keep winning now to keep the revenue flowing’. Well, that is proving to be quite unsustainable.

          1. I don’t really disagree with you, long term. The sad thing is, a FA strategy this winter IMO would have sustained the team transitionally at very little long term cost, given the payroll that will be available in the next few years. No, it’s not enough, in in the long term, yes, you need (more than ever, at least int he FA era) to develop your own talent, but it is almost as if the current “strategy” is the worst of both worlds.

            Making a fetish out of the #15 pick does not help. Even a top 3 pick won’t rescue a franchise..

        2. Setting aside extreme results – and assuming reasonable health – which includes 120 plus games from Utley and rebounds to at least some extent by Howard and Halladay – AND the absence of irrational personnel decisions during the season – quite an assumption IMO – I agree that the team could have close to 90 wins. Which IMO probably won’t be enough to make the post season. And with more reasonable injury luck and the Amaro factor – if you want a prediction, I’d say 82 wins, just over .500.

          I think it goes down hill from there, even absent the Amaro effect. New blood doesn’t make up for continued aging of key pieces.

          2015 COULD be different, with some luck combined with free spending in the 2014/2015 FA market. Which WILL mean some risky contracts, and some over pays which will make most of this year’s FA contracts look like bargains. That’s of course in the abstract. With the Amaro factor … well, you know where I’m going with that.

            1. Line on 2013 World Series Winner:
              Detroit Tigers 7/1
              Los Angeles Dodgers 7/1
              Los Angeles Angels 7/1
              Washington Nationals 8/1
              Toronto Blue Jays 10/1
              New York Yankees 12/1
              Cincinnati Reds 12/1
              St Louis Cardinals 14/1
              Philadelphia Phillies 14/1
              San Francisco Giants 14/1

            2. Most of the betting lines I’ve seen, have the Phillies tied with Giants as the 6th/7th team in the national league. The odds basically fluctuating between 14/1 a16/1. Same as you posted.

  37. Ruben Amaro wanted to strike while the iron was hot. Lock up the essential players for the long run and get the best pitching possible. He did all of this. It is difficult to win a world series and more difficult to repeat. With the money from the new television contract and the ability to attract top players, along with a promising farm system delivering in four or five years, the Phillies should be ready to challenge again. Amaro will be wiser too.

    1. Let me say one last thing and then I’ll shut up about Amaro – until the next screw up.

      One can extend what I’ve said about this off season to his entire career as GM – you can defend the philosophy (in this case, the “strike while the iron is hot” strategy), but the execution has (on the whole) been horrible. Really one good move (Halladay), a couple of okay moves, and a ton of bad moves.

      Going forward, the hope I guess would be that he would muddle through, as he did for the first few years, the organization’s strengths making up for his manifest inadequacies.. I no longer have any hope of that. He’s not getting any wiser, and, as the team’s position players age or leave, his biggest weakness – talent judgment of position players – has an increasingly magnified negative effect.

      Just not much room for optimism IMO.

      1. Money spent on free agents this off-season—Phillie twentieth.
        1. Dodgers — $172.35 million
        2. Angels — $164.5
        3. Red Sox — $126.45
        4. Tigers — $115.5
        5. Braves — $107.5
        6. Yankees — $95.7
        7. Cubs — $95.05
        8. Diamondbacks — $86.375
        9. Giants — $80
        10. Indians — $69
        11. Nationals — $65
        12. Blue Jays — $54
        13. White Sox — $54
        14. Reds — $40
        15. Pirates — $39
        16. Rangers — $30.75
        17. Rays — $25.8
        18. Royals — $25
        19. Mets — $25
        20. Phillies — $21.35

        1. Nobody this offseason is worth the asking price. Criticize the Phils for many things, but they’ll fork it over when they like somebody.

    1. Well that puts the “Mikael Franco will start at Reading” talk to bed. I wonder if H-Mart will get a chance to have at-bats there, assuming Asche starts in AAA or is promoted there quickly.

  38. If only Rube would have gotten Cespedes like most of us wanted, also Solar, the future would be much brighter. Also Rube got greedy with Oswalt and Pence, two moves that were unnecessary.

    1. If’s, would’ves and could’ves can be applied to anything.
      IF the Phillies would’ve drafted selected the toolsy and raw Tajuan Walker, instead of Jesse Biddle and selected Jackie Bradley instead of L Greene jr, the system would be ranked in the top ten, not in the mid-twenties. IF the Phillies would have selected Anthony Renaudo over Biddle or Tyler Greene over Larry Greene both selections would have been reasonable and maybe even popular. The Phillies system would obviously be worse.
      Either way, it is so easy to find moves in hindsight, that would’ve made the system better. You also have to recognize the good decisions, in hindsight, that the professionals make, that the amateurs didn’t see.

      1. VOR, to be honest JMIlls is alluding to non-draftable scenarios. The FA Cubans last summer were a exception clause to draft/slot dollars and LA money restrictions. The As, Cubs and Dodgers took advantage of the bigger Cuban FA opportunities. But then again, you are correct about the ‘ifs, would’ves and could’ves’. Every team has them in their closet somewhere.

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