75 thoughts on “General Discussion – Week of 1-6-2014

  1. Here is an interesting topic, when is the next time the Phillies can be expected to contend based on the new TV contract, new manager, starting caliber prospects and their proximity?

    I think if everything breaks right, the 2016 Phillies will look a lot like the 2006 Phillies. A team on the rise with some good young talent.

    2016 Lineup

    1. Roman Quinn-CF (S)
    2. J.P. Crawford-SS (L)
    3. Aaron Altherr-RF (R)
    4. Ryan Howard-1B (L)
    5. Maikel Franco-3B (R)
    6. Cesar Hernandez-2B (or more likely free agent) (S)
    7. Andrew Knapp-C (S)
    8. Carlos Tocci-LF (R)
    9. Pitcher

    1. On second thought, Tocci probably doesn’t make the 2016 team. Maybe Altherr CF and Dugan/Cozens RF

      1. I honestly do not think the lineup will have 3 of those guys. I think you are too optimistic on Tocci, Quinn, Altherr and Knapp. If Ryan Howard does not produce, he could be moved by 2016. I think Hernandez goes in a trade before this year is out, and the only one in the lineup is Franco, with Crawford showing up by July.

      2. Given that Tocci is going into his Age 18 season (turns 19 in Aug) and will almost certainly repeat in Lakewood, I would agree that was a tad too optimistic on him. In two years, if everything breaks right, he should be bashing the ball in Reading and hoping for a callup to Lehigh.

      1. Im really hoping Utley, Lee, Ruiz, and Howard are not still starting on this team in two years. They probably will be and that’s a scary thought. The bullpen looks like it could be good though

        1. Lots of money and time still tied into these vets of 2008.

          Revere, Utley, Franco, Brown, Howard, Ruiz, Dugan, Galvis
          Asche and Hernandez filling in with Altherr and maybe Rupp.
          Knapp, Quinn, and Crawford as possible callups.

    2. See, to me that looks pretty mediocre unless EVERYTHING breaks right with the young guys, AND they have a significantly above average staff.. And that’s worse than betting the house on an inside straight. It’s also kind of depressing to see Howard still in the clean-up spot.

      But I admit I am a pessimist. Among other things, I’m assuming for one thing that Quinn is pretty much done as a prospect at this point. That kind of injury on a guy whose main asset is speed is career destroying.

      1. You’re right to be pessimistic with that lineup, but one would hope a trade or signing might help bolster it a bit. That and a few years of experience.

      2. Pessimism has a pretty good record the last few years.

        I would be surprised to see the Phillies make a deep run before 2017.

      3. Larry i wouldn’t say you are pessimistic on Quinn. That is a major injury and along with Morgan and Watson they need to prove health before they can be considered top prospects anymore. But from what we know about Achilles injuries it takes more than a year (around 2) for athletes to show what they have left after the surgery. Most likely this year is a wasted season for him. If he plays at all this year he will have put in a tone of time.

        1. Which means he will have basically lost two seasons. Not good for a guy who had zero developed skills apart from speed. I’d say move him off SS straight to CF and hope he develops enough of a bat to play there. The lost time sort of kills his development as a SS, with Crawford having passed him by.

    3. I always laugh when I see these lists and, believe me, I’m not laughing at your particular selections.

      When I was a kid growing up outside NYC (yes, rooting for the dreaded Mets, I admit it), I would also buy the yearbook and at the end of the book they would have an “on the farm” summary and with it, a look at the Mets projected line-up 3 or 4 years in the future with many of those top prospects starting for the Mets. But, truth be told, only about one in 4 of those players ever made it in the majors at all and the line-up the team ended up fielding in that gilded “year of the future” never looked ANYTHING like the projected line-up, even when the projected line up of the future included several younger players that were on the major league team at the time the list was published (we were all “shocked” Doug Flynn and Steve Henderson [yes, THAT Steve Henderson] didn’t have longer career with the Mets). I’m guessing that the Phillies line-up in 2016 looks very little like what you suggest above and, from a selfish standpiont, I sure as hell hope that Cody Asche is around in a few years, even if he isn’t playing third.

      1. It’s a useful baseline. It lets you know what the assets currently under contract look like.

        Of course there will be trades and signings, but you can’t trade for more than you give unless the other team makes a mistake, and you can’t sign someone for less than their worth unless you outsmart the rest of baseball.

        Honestly, under current management I don’t have high hopes for us outsmarting other teams.

      1. Id like to see that. I dont get it, why start Quinn at SS for years of failure and not give Asche the same chance at second…

        1. Because of their physical profiles, age, and offensive development. If you move Asche to 2B you are looking at likely another year in the minors to get him to try and learn the position. Meanwhile you stunt his growth offensively. Quinn has time to learn and an easy fall back position. Asche’s problems at 2B (footwork, actions, instincts) were not going to improve with more time.

          On the subject of Quinn, do not be shocked if he makes a stop at 2B before going to CF. At 2B you give him a little more time to make the transition from field to throw, which has been his biggest problem.

    4. I think Brown is in RF, Howard is gone, Franco is at 1B, Asche is at 3B, and Rupp is catching.

        1. Not sure Halladay is a lock though he should be. Lee and Utlely are going to need to maintain their current level of play for a few more years to have a chance. Rollins has no shot.

          Hate to say it, but the next guy to get in, other than possibly Halladay, is probably not in the organization yet, unless it’s Crawford (and that’s premature to say the very least). I’m 53 and I probably won’t live to see it.

          1. That’s what got me thinking – I’m 50. I’ll make you a deal, I’ll hold out and hold on until then if you do!

          2. If JRoll bounces back and has two fair years in Philly, similar to his 2012, he could be one of those guys who inspires a lot of late year support based on the totality of his career numbers obscuring a less than awe-inspiring peak.

            I don’t think he would ultimately be deserving, but he could wind up with over 500 2b, 100 3b, nearly 250 HR, (that’s a stretch, I think, but he did hit 23 in 2012 so in this scenario, he’d be close to 250), nearly 500 steals, and around 50 bWAR of fWAR, (which is low for modern HOF SS but top 20 all-time), plus things many voters like such as 4 gold gloves, an MVP and six years where he either received MVP votes or was an All-star or both, and a WS title. Add “leadership” or whatever you want to call it, and I could see people latching on to him. If he tacks on 5 WAR to his total and retires a Philly, it could be an interesting argument – however, like you, one that I think pro-Rollins folks will ultimately not win, but interesting enough to keep him on the ballot.

            When it comes down to it, Alan Trammell was a superior player by WAR, and he’s likely not getting in, so even with my supposed pair of 2-3 WAR years, Rollins would take some serious fudging from what will be a more modern BBWAA in 2028-2030 or whenever he’d have been around long enough to start garnering that “late but deserving” acclaim. If I am guessing, I say he gets 12-15% of votes for a couple years, then maybe into the 20-30% range for a couple years, and then tails off.

            He would really need to break out in a big way the next few years and extend his career productively to have any kind of hope to go in. And as he seems to be tailing off now without being injured, per se, we could easily be watching the last year of a fading star, who could garner just minimal support and fall off the ballot his first year. I hope that’s not the case, but it’s fairly realistic based on his 2013.

            1. I couldn’t agree more. Trammel is the best “equivalent” of Rollins; and his votes are falling, unfortunately.

              There is one thing you eluded to but didn’t mention outright: Rollins is the face of the franchise; whereas Trammel never was. Rollins’ guarantee that will we win the division, then backing it up with an MVP season, really put Rollins in the spotlight in a way Trammel never had (at least from my memory, and I’m 41, so I remember Trammel in his prime).

              I’m hopeful for three solid seasons from Rollins–and I think that’s what it would take for him to get in–though, sadly, I’m not really expecting it.

  2. While not strictly minors talk, the new TV deal affects the whole organization. The big round $2.5 billion number sounds big, but I think it’s disappointing for fans. The Rangers got $5 billion for a team that is in a similar market size, but their ratings couldn’t have been as good as the recent good run by the Phillies. The Phillies also got some advertising revenue as well as 25% ownership in CSN. This might get them close to $5 billion but the problem with this is that no one knows how much they’ll actually be getting so there is no accountability to the fans. As anyone who’s followed the team since 90’s surely remembers, this is a team that has always been run cheaply. One can attempt to refute this with the high payroll of recent years, but ownership saw this TV deal on the horizon and knew how much money could be gained if they put a better team on the field to create better ratings thus more leverage in TV contract negotiations. So if the team continues being run poorly by Reuben Amaro Jr. and his successors there could come a day when the luxury tax threshold is $225 million, but the team isn’t drawing well and the ownership can claim they don’t have any more money to spend because they’re already spending $170. The unknowable amount they get from advertising or the revenues from CSN (which also may be equity, not cash like the Rangers deal) creates a perfect storm for ownership to claim poverty. What do you think?

    1. I actually don’t think the Phillies’ owners are cheap. I just think they’re disinterested.

      I recall reading an article which said that they like to set expenditures equal to revenues so it’s a breakeven enterprise. Everything I’ve seen suggests that’s just what they’re doing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they keep doing it. So as the Comcast money kicks in, I expect payroll to rise proportionally.

    2. The $2.5 bil is just a baseline for what is eligible for revenue sharing. The equity stake and ad revenue isn’t subject to the revenue sharing program. The Phillies have dumped money into the product over the past 10 years. By keeping that equity share and ad revenue into their own coffers, they can invest more.

      1. Are there any real numbers as to what the equity will bring? I’m down on management like everyone else, but I can’t imagine that they signed a low ball deal with CSN without bringing Fox in. The equity is a way around the revenue share, so to sign a deal similar to other markets, I assume the equity and advertising share brings in between 30 and 50 million per season. Just a guess.

        1. From what I have seen 5 to 7m a year. There were other reasons why the Phils didn’t get the Rangers deal. Things have changed in the cable landscape over the last 2 years. A la cart is coming very soon. The whole dynamic changes.

    3. The basic problem is talent evaluation and development. A subsidiary problem is not lack of spending, but allocation of spending. The cause of that is ultimately unknowable, but IMO is a combination of (a) desire to support the commissioner’s agenda regarding incoming talent (the draft and international FAs), and (b) the aforementioned talent evaluation issues.

      The good news is that rule changes have mitigated the spending allocation problems, and the contract should allow the team to continue to spend at or near the luxury tax threshold. The bad news is that talent evaluation and development don’t appear to be getting any better, and the increased TV money for most teams, added to rules limiting spending in all respects, has leveled the playing field and dissipated the advantage of big market teams.

    4. The following is one argument which I don’t buy, and goes against my stated and still held beliefs. But let me throw it out there anyway:

      The fact that the TV deal is done strengthens the argument for a total rebuild, since one argument against a total rebuild was that it might have upset the TV negotiations and hurt the team’s long term financial health.

      My reasons for not buying this are several, but start and end with two facts: aside from maybe Lee and Hamels, the veterans aren’t getting you worthwhile assets on the trade market, and the team’s current young talent is either going to play anyway, or isn’t good enough. A total rebuild basically losing extra games for no real benefit.

      But I will say this – I do think the team needs to be a little more aggressive in shopping veterans at the trade deadline this year than they (apparently) were last year. IF Lee in particular can get them a top 50 prospect (no, he’s not getting more than that, and he might not get that), then he probably should be traded.

    5. That day has already arrived, with the Phillies far short of the lux cap for the upcoming season. The cap was raised and we won’t even be spending up to the old cap.

  3. http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10262864/chris-wheeler-gary-matthews-philadelphia-phillies-broadcasters

    Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews are out on broadcasts. Both have been offered roles within the organization to stay, but will no longer be a part of tv/radio broadcasts as requested by the network(CSN I assume). Although since the Phillies own 1/4 of CSN this is kind of like your Mom having your Dad tell you to do something to not look like the bad one.

    1. Sorry to say it out loud, but this is fabulous news. Wheeler, although he actually provides some content, is the world’s most obnoxious know-it-all (and he didn’t get along with Harry Kalas, which tells you all you need to know about the guy) and Gary Matthews (who seems to be a very nice, high chararcter fellow) was simply the most dreadful announcer I’ve ever heard, no exceptions. Tom McCarthy is okay – he’s actually better as a network guy (when he stops all the chummy nonsese you hear on the Phillies broadcasts) than a local TV guy. All of that said, Franzke and Anderson are wonderful and, seriously, Franzke is an all-timer – one of the cleanest, most-exciting, best-sounding, tolerable play-by-play guys ever. I hope to goodness Franzke starts getting a little air time on TV (3 innings?) – he’s simply superb.

  4. I think this might be the best news of the offseason. I liked Sarge he had credibility as a former player. IMO Wheeler never had credibility in his role. McCarthy is good Franzke is a little better. In the end I hope that go with a former player to remain along side either.

    Former players can add context to a broadcast others cannot. Granted Sarge wasn’t the best speaker but his insight was keen.

    1. Sarge may know a lot (I’m sure he does), but his commentary was beyond inane (he would constantly say things like “you’ve got to get the bat on the ball to drive in runs” or “you have to throw strikes to keep men off base” – it was one meaningless platitutde after the next). I mean really, he sounded positively dopey up there, even though I know Sarge the person is not a dope.

      I’d love for Ricky Bottalico to get a shot – he’s really quite decent. Ben Davis is a nice guy, but he couldn’t possibly be more clueless as to the statistical stuff.

      1. The guy who I think would be exceptional is that career-minor league catcher who the Phillies brought up a couple years ago as a back-up, after a decade or so in the minors, can’t recall his name now. He is originally from North Dakota…Chris something
        But when he talks he is absolutely knowledgeable and excellent.

        1. That would be Chris Coste I believe you’re thinking of. He’s done some Phillies pre/post game on CSN so they have familiarity. I believe he’s a college coach so I’m not sure which area of the game (broadcasting or coaching) he is more interested in. Obviously becoming a regular of the TV crew would mean he would leave coaching.

    2. I cannot take TMac on the game-air…he is a continual vocal orgasm.
      When he is analyzing pre or post-game…he is very concise, logical and actually pretty good.
      Sarge kind of grew on me over time……kind of like…’Costanza’

      1. So true on Tmac. Verbal diarrhea. I have a soft spot for Sarge. I know he wasn’t a great announcer but he seemed like a great guy and he was funny. As for Wheels, he knows baseball. There, the compliments end. He had the same chattiness that Tmac has but managed to be more annoying. A friend of mine was over watching a game with me in 10 or 11 and Wheels was doing play by play. He went on and on about something (can’t recall what) and my friend, a mild mannered type had enough. “Shut the F up. 30 seconds! Be quiet! C’mon Wheels, throw me a bone”! Still funny.

  5. Wheels and Sarge will stay in the Philies org and remain on payroll.
    Who knows, they could be part of Ruben’s new analytical team.

  6. My god, this is like a Xmas gift you find after the tree has been cleared out!! Only thing that could top this would be RAJ going bye bye, but we know that wont happen.

    I’d love to see Andersen and Franske get promoted to TV, no clue why Andersen is not there to begin with, just love listening to the guy. Coste is really great too, but I would totally say no to Ricky Bo. Just comes off with a know it all/my shit dont stink vibe that I do not like at all (aka another Wheels).

  7. Ole, Ole ,Ole Ole I never thought i would live to see this day. Somewhere in heaven Harry Kalas is laughing. And somewhere on earth Scott Graham is too. As for me this is the best late Christman EVER. Mathews is probably a nice man but …… Wheeler on the other hand is the worst of mankind. No longer do i have to try and hit the mute switch while watching game . In short
    OLE

    1. Happy New Year to you…….how about Ricky Ricardo for the replacements, though he is doing the Spanish side now.
      As TMac says, ‘just hit the SAP button on your Comcast remote’

  8. Please steal Tommy Hutton from Florida (he must be sick of the Marlins by now)

  9. Would harry kalas’s son be a viable option? That be a great new way to bridge the old and the new.

      1. I think he’s still with the Rays, but not doing play-by-play. He was the guy down on the field / in the stands.

    1. He used to do games for the Phillies. He’s okay and everything – even sounds like his father. But he’s no Harry.

  10. By the way, in a bit of under-the-radar bad news, I see that the Phillies have retained Ray Burris as their AAA pitching coach. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think this is very bad news. Last year, all of their pitchers took serious steps backwards while Burris coached in AAA. Worse yet, there seemed to be a serious disconnect between what Burris and the folks at AAA were preaching and what guys were being told to do in the majors. Maybe they’ve worked this out and Burris is on board with what “Troy” McClure (Simpsons fans will get that joke) and Rod Nichols are trying to do, but my first inclination to be disappointed with the failure to change direction. I mean the guys in AAA almost all went in full throttle reverse last year and many significantly improved when they finally got to the majors and got instruction there – it’s a big red flag to me.

    1. I don’t agree. We know of one person, Aumont, who had trouble. I can look at Rosenberg, Diekman, and Martin and say that all three improved dramatically over the course of the season. I even think a few of the journeyman parked there improved. I’ve heard mostly good things about Burris (although it was true that he wasn’t really considered for the major league job).

  11. Kalas, Hutton or Porky Pig would be an improvement.
    Ricardo would be fabulous but he is too honest for this team.

      1. Glanville glove we all cant be brilliant like you, now just wondering if Comcast will really have some say over spending, like some writers have written. have a nice day Glanville you mor

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