156 thoughts on “General Discussion – Week of 1-21-2014 – Vernon Wells – A Play in One Act

    1. The Chad quota comment is very funny, but this is a good signing. He pitched quite well last year as a swing man and still has good velocity. He gives the team good flexibility and depth. Honestly, there may be very little difference between him and some of the guys who signed $30 million contracts this off season. It’s not a sexy move and it could go badly, but there’s a good amount of upside for zero risk. Nice move for Amaro.

      1. If only Chad had not groped that nurse’s behind in the Vegas hospital last year! But can you blame the guy…she was a hottee.

        1. pitched well, but total dbag move . I havent heard about anything else he’s done , maybe it was just a mistake. I wouldnt sign him

      2. I actually like the signing as well. A minor league deal for a guy who could be a middle reliever or starter is a good signing.

  1. If we are going to sign someone who was last good 5 years ago, how bout Grady Sizemore.

    Think the Gaudin signing could be good especially since it was a minor league deal. Now sign James McDonald and Suk Min Yoon, go back in time and not sign Fausto and we would have depth and upside.

  2. I love Kershaw, but think 30 million is nuts, just my opinion, there has to come a point when tickets will just be too much for a family to attend a game.I am wondering if the dodgers do sign the kid from japan, say for 7 years 140, how in the world can they have that much payroll, and pay the tax, with a fan base that leaves to beat traffic in the seventh, even if its a no hitter, I went into dodgers ticket sales to see, field seats along first and third base can run from 237.00 to 800.00 dollars, the same tickets for Phillies are eighty dollars, quite a difference. Vernon wells really??

    1. A fan leaving in the seventh inning has still bought a ticket and doesn’t hurt revenue. Despite your disparagement of Dodger’s fans’ dedication, the team drew over 3.7 million last season, nearly 400K more than the next closest NL team. They have a huge TV deal and are virtually assured of the highest revenue stream in the league for years to come, unless they totally ruin the club. If any team can afford these deals, the Dodgers can. Actually, compared to the Howard premature extension, the Kershaw deal makes terrific sense and I write that as one who thinks it stupid for teams to allow a player the option of deciding in or out on the last years of a contract.

  3. We can hope he is healthy, but Gaudin reportedly ended the season with carpal tunnel syndrome, not good for a pitcher. Physical therapy can do wonders with carpal tunnel if caught soon enough.

  4. The Gaudin signing isn’t a bad move since it’s just a minor league deal, but his success last year was pretty surprising. It’s like the Giants have some magic dust they can sprinkle on their pitchers. Before last year, Gaudin’s best year was arguably one in which he had more walks than strikeouts.

  5. I hope he stops grabbing women and getting arrested, with the dodgers and Yankees spending, very few teams will be able to compete, baseball will become the next nba, teams tanking to get high draft choices, without a hard cap, no way in the future teams will compete, say what you want, if 30 million is a good deal, this sport will go in the toilet, how good is it if he becomes the next linecum? There is no protection in these contracts for the owners, and the small owners make one mistake, and they are dead, I wouldn’t mind paying if you have a option to terminate like football, you have to make the team. look at Vernon wells 14 million for what this year. but I guess the younger guys just think its okay, the people who will suffer are the young kids, whos parents cant afford the prices, look at dodgers tickets 800 dollars for a seat along first or third base, the Phillies charge 80 for same seat. But as you get older you see things as how in the world can I spend that much to see a ball game, when I have other responsible,

    1. It won’t be like the NBA, where one player can turn an entire franchise around and where high draft picks immediately make an impact and where you can hardly find star players after the first 5 picks. The games are too different for that to happen.

      1. Handzus my point is, in the future I fear that the quality of players will get worse, the Pittsburg’s and marlins, Kansas city, will not be able to field quality teams. you see it now look at the Marlins, there owner is making money he could care less about the product on the field, and in the future we can have teams play high draft choice , to generate interest from there fan base, this sport is heading in a bad direction . it could be just me, cause I am older and cant really, as I stated before afford these prices, my first love is basketball, and I haven’t been to a game, for me to take out that kind of money to go to a game with my kid, I just cant justified, to go to a Dodgers game and spend 250 a ticket and up to sit on the base line is nuts, and Handzus one player isn’t going to change a bad team to good in basketball, yes you need less players, but Miami had to go out and get lebon,bosh and others to win, when they had a great player in wade, le bron couldn’t win in Cleveland without help but that is a different subject. This sport needs a hard cap, and a commissioner who know what he is doing, looking at the marlins, why is there a team there? all the guy is doing is claiming small market, and getting money from major league baseball to pay his teams salary which are lower, I bet than what he is getting as a small market, every 20 or so years he might get a good team , from drafting so high, but that is still hard to don .Even the cardinals will have a hard time keeping there scouts and personal people if you let teams spend like the Yankees and dodgers are without a hard cap.

        1. I’m not sure what your point is about baseball headed in the wrong direction. The Pirates did just field a good team. The Marlins could easily afford to field a better team. One of the reasons it’s so hard for the Phillies to find a halfway ‘reasonable’, halfway ‘good’ FA is that more and more teams are able to hang onto their own players and compete for FA. There is more revenue sharing and national TV revenue than ever. Yes the Dodgers now spend a lot. There have always been teams that spent a ton. Actually, the gap between the old Yankees and the the rest of baseball greatly exceeded the current gap between the have and have not teams. The cap is harder than it ever was and more teams are respecting it. I see baseball moving toward more balance, not less. The Phillies have more than enough $ to compete. They’ve just been incredibly stupid the last few years. The Dodgers didn’t even have the first, second, or third best record in the NL last season.

        2. The Marlins have a terrible owner, and that will sink any team no matter what sport it is. You could have a point about the increasing costs to go to the games, but that’s separate from your point about the on-field product.

          MLB teams won’t tank like NBA teams because, unless you’re lucky enough to get a Harper type phenom, you can’t draft a guy who will immediately energize a fanbase like a top pick in the NBA. No LeBron didn’t win it all by himself in Cleveland but he did take a moribund franchise to the finals with almost no one around him. Mike Trout can’t even get his team into the playoffs, as great as he is.

          MLB teams will still be able to level the playing field somewhat with superior scouting and player development, and that includes picks after the first round.

    2. It has been said for years that spending by the large market clubs will crush the small market clubs and it has not happened.

      If a team wants to waste money on the luxury tax let them. There are enough small to mid sized market clubs doing well to more than counter that assertion.

    1. The team has been media-linked to Wells, however real that may have been. He and Abreu aren’t exactly the same kind of bench guy, since they hit from different sides, but I would doubt the team would bring in Wells at this point. For one thing, would Wells really see a place for himself to earn playing time with Abreu’s bat in camp and both guys needing to play a corner OF spot? Doubt it.

      Now, if the Phils believe Wells can still be a backup CF and they offer him a chance to supplant Mayberry, that would be a different story.Wells would be cheap, since he’s still got his big league deal with whoever’s paying whichever portions of it, and they can dump Mayberry for less than his contract as well if they do it by a certain date, opening day minus 5 days or something, maybe – someone who knows the CBA better than I do might have that off the top of their head, but I’m not going to look for it right now.

  6. A lot of people will laugh at the Abreu signing but I think he is a decent person to have as a pinch hitter. He still gets On base.

    1. That’s a good point, is there a metric that can be used to manage something like that? Like how often a guy does get on base? That would be pretty sweet.

  7. When you think about how hard it is to get a decent hitter with a good eye to sit on the bench every game and take a low salary, you realize how difficult it is to fill that job. Abreu probably was the best readily available option. But, still . . . Bobby Abreu?

    1. “low” of course is a relative term – I think most of us would love that bargain basement salary.

  8. The Abreu signing is laughable. His last three seasons in mlb he hit: .255, .253, .242 .. Amaro is just trolling us at this point.

      1. He has no power left, can’t play defense, and lost all his speed.. Other than that he’s the perfect guy to come off the bench.

        1. I know it’s VZ, but he hit for a lot of power this postseason. And this is a big league tryout deal – not guaranteed to make the big league club. Not seeing the downside to taking a look and maybe finding a guy who’s healthier than he’s been and seeing the ball and cutting him if it’s not the case.

    1. Real Phillies fans don’t care about OBP. It’s batting average. Walks are for cowardly wimps — that’s why the Phillies announcers and really solid baseball fans drove Abreu out of town the last time. What kind of player takes a walk with RISP?

      1. atown….are you being facetious?. If I remember correctly, what could have been the straw that broke the camels back in his exodus from Philly, was the fact Bobby was afraid of cyclones…..fences that is, not atmospheric phenomena. The right field wall and warning track were danger zones for bodily mishaps for Bobby.

        1. He was also ridiculed for taking too many walks. Our announcers absolutely did not understand OBP. Yes, he was criticized for his D — over-criticized in my mind. Running into fences really isn’t a good idea. Rowand got his Philly rep for that, but also missed a lot of games. We’ve had a lot of worse fielding OF than Abreu, who really haven’t gotten that much grief. Young stank, but the broadcasters weren’t all over him. Ibanez stank. Luzinski stank. Burrell certainly was not good.

          1. But none of them played RF…..a position of critical defensive abilities, that as a prerequisite is required. Though Bobby had a great arm.
            Also, the ‘fence’ in RF is actually a cyclone meshed fencing that is pretty soft….not a wall or concrete structure or even a rail that Rowand happened to encounter.

            1. I always looked at Abreu as a slider not a diver. For that, he gets points off? Probably should not. He missed the potential for a few spectacular plays at the expense of keeping the ball in front of him. In his almost 9 years in Philly, BRef says he gave up about 1.8 runs on defense. That’s not great, but in his four years with the Phillies Jayson Werth gave up 0.8 runs, mostly in RF. And we liked him in RF, no?

              I know defensive metrics are sketchy – so let’s use traditional defensive metrics – Bobby Abreu, PHI career errors: 45. PHI career OF Assists: 89. Werth had 14 and 37, respectively in his four years. Again, Werth with a better rate, but not by much. Really, I don’t see the distaste as stemming from much more than perception, and like allentown said, the guy we love for running into a wall was out for about a month because he made one great catch. And we love him for it. But how many balls did he not catch in that month? 100% of them.

              Anyway, I liked Abreu then, and I’m all for the signing now. No downside.

            2. Unfortunateyl, at age 40, he may have lost a step, his arm might be less strong, and no need to worry about injuries with wall collisions, but if you like his sliding abilities, I am sure he has refined them considerably.

    2. I will agree with you. If you wanted Abreu as a bench guy on a team playing for a wildcard spot ok but in reality this team is going to lose 90+ games. His spot is just a spot being taken away from a players development.

      Looking at it from a pure stat point you view you can make the case for it if he played MLB last year which he did not.

      1. There isn’t a player who is having their development curbed by this. Dugan is the closest, but I don’t think anyone is arguing he should be up before September.

        1. Disagree. What purpose does having Abreu on any roster (MLB or AAA) serve when your team is going to lose 90+ games?

          He was out of MLB for a full year. Does anyone think he is worth more than a low A prospect in a mid-season trade if he does magically find his stroke?

          In terms of roster construction what purpose does he actually serve on a 90+ loss team?

          1. The point of signing Abreu, is a small hope you are competitive to start 2014. He is your LH bench bat and he does things that make your team better. When it doesn’t work out he announces his retirement, the Phillies get to have a game to make a big deal out of it, he gets a couple curtain calls (maybe a start in the OF), and ultimately he gets to be celebrated as one of the greatest Phillies of 2000s. There is literally no downside here.

            1. He can sign a one day contract and have a giveaway at the park. You don’t construct a roster like that.

              That may have been true a couple of years ago but let’s be honest, he didn’t play last year for a reason.

              You can sing any LH free agent OF as a bench guy for a million to do that.

              I liked Abreu when he was here but like most of the roster it is time to move on.

            2. ‘There is literally no downside here’….apparently you have not considered the emotional phych of the paying fan.

            3. I have doubts that the general fanbase would celebrate him as such. Even though he clearly is one of the best.

            4. @Romus

              Would you prefer Lyle Overbay or Tony Gwynn Jr.? Those were your other options. There is no internal LH bat to compete for a bench spot. They aren’t going to stick both Cesar and Galvis on the bench to sit there without ABs.

  9. LarryM…loves this guy…..Bobby will take a walk….actually Bobby Abreu is the all-time leader of ‘BB’s by a Latin American player with 1456 in regular season play and 12 more in the post-season. Ranking 22nd all-time in MLB history.

    1. He was great 10 years ago. Now the BBs represent most of his value – but as a bench guy, he’s okay.

  10. Abreu won’t be the downfall of the 2014 season; neither will Gaudin. To paraphrase Shakespeare: -These guys- are “but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.” You could also throw in: “it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

    1. That’s very true. It is the starting rotation and starting eight, who simply are not good enough. However, given the age of the Phillies roster, the guys on the bench and those injury reserves stashed in Allentown will get at abnormally high amount of ABs and IPs.

      1. This signing just blows my mind. From the reports that I have heard, Tanaka is viewed as being a good pitcher. But, form the reports that I have heard, he is not viewed as being a #1. The comps that I heard, in terms of stuff, is more of a Kuroda type pitcher (i.e.a very good pitcher, but not viewed as being #1, let alone one of the highest paid players in the game).

        If you count the $20MM posting, he has the 12th highest contract in history
        The most lucrative contracts in baseball history, by total value:
        1. Alex Rodriguez, $275,000,000 (2008-17)
        2. Alex Rodriguez, $252,000,000 (2001-10)
        3. Albert Pujols, $240,000,000 (2012-21)
        . . . Robinson Cano, $240,000,000 (2014-23)
        5. Joey Votto, $225,000,000 (2014-23)
        6. Clayton Kershaw, $215,000,000 (2014-20)
        7. Prince Fielder, $214,000,000 (2012-20)
        8. Derek Jeter, $189,000,000 (2001-10)
        9. Joe Mauer, $184,000,000 (2011-18)
        10. Mark Teixeira, $180,000,000 (2009-16)
        . . . Justin Verlander, $180,000,000 (2013-19)
        12. Felix Hernandez, $175,000,000 (2013-19)
        13. Buster Posey, $167,000,000 (2013-21)

        1. Keith Law posted an article on Tanaka. In it: “I think he’ll be the Yankees’ best starter in 2014 and one of the top 20-25 starters in the league”. When he says league, not sure if he means the AL or all of baseball (for the money that the Yankees paid, you would assume baseball, but Law said ‘league’). Again – seems like a really good pitcher – but I would need historical proof at the MLB level before considering shelling out that dough.

      2. I guess the bidding got pretty hot and heavy. With a $20M posting fee, there were probably a lot of teams that at least kicked the tires. The Yanks are known to bid against themselves so they probably made an offer that no one, in their right mind, would match.

    1. Yankees have a very shaky infield…no ARod, an aging Jeter, no Cano and a recovering wrist injury from Textiera. Their farm system is mediocre. CC Sabathia is aging. Nova hasn’t given them a full productive year yet. Tanaka will be their man and the team may still fail to make the playoffs.

  11. I never thought he would get 7 years, the rich get richer. the opt out is his decision? I would love it to be club, so they aren’t locked into the whole deal, wish the contracts weren’t guaranteed, for whole time. like to see , like on a 7 year deal first three are guaranteed, after that club option, if you renewed, a percentage increase for player , that would be fair imo. to both. I think that would help some teams, in smaller markets, if they make mistake can get out of it, to help them compete with bigger clubs,

  12. Abreu, Frandsen , Mayberry and Galvis/Cedeno/ Nieves. The bench is a joke. I honestly thought it was going to be Ruf, Hernandez, Galvis , Frandsen and Rupp. What is going on with this franchise? The Dodgers and Yankees are building on their brand, the Phillies seem to be opting for total destruction of the branding done over the last decade.

    1. Honestly not appealing either way, but in the interest of long-term development, I’m with you. I don’t really see a way Galvis isn’t on the bench, and Nieves could be supplanted by Rupp, though I’d call that an extreme longshot. Abreu is the wildcard. If he’s hitting, they may kep him around and play him once a week instead of Byrd, pinch hit with him like every day, and DH him for interleague. At which point, yeah, I think Ruf goes down.

      Another scenario has Cesar or Gillies as the backup CF in AAA, ready to be called up at a moment’s notice, with Byrd or Brown playing “emergency CF”. Then you could keep Ruf and Abreu and jettison Mayberry. If Revere is day to day, you option Ruf for your AAA CF and then swap back when Revere is fully healthy. That’s the way I think I would play it, knowing nothing about how Abreu will hit/run in the spring, of course. I don’t see Cedeno taking time from Hernandez or Galvis.

    2. In what way is having a young bench that doesn’t figure to get a lot of playing time a good idea? Hernandez isn’t going to get any better sitting on the Phils bench, same for Galvis. If you think either of those guys could ever start on the team you should want them down in AAA getting regular at bats. I think Rupp could use the regular time in AAA too. Not like he’s tearing it up down there. He’s got options. Someone gets hurt you can bring him up. If not let him get regular time.

      1. Even Darin Ruf, who’s not likely ever to be a big league regular? That I don’t agree with. Also I think Galvis will get two or three starts per week and take some late inning time at 3B from Cody Asche, and two other pinch hitting trips and he’s at 25 defensive innings and 15 PAs a week. That should be enough to keep him sharp. i think they’ll send him down again mid-year like 2013 if he’ really needs regular time to get the bat right, and I agree with that strategy for him.

        I could see your argument for Rupp and Hernandez, since they have very limited big league and even AAA experience in Rupp’s case, and you’d like them to be honing their offense and defense.

  13. Galvis and Hernandez are both 24 next season. Rollins and Utley will probably sit out 20 to 30 games even if healthy, and Howard has been hurt for 2 seasons and can’t hit lefties. Byrd is also old, Asche will sit against lefties, Brown could be replaced for defensive purposes, if Revere doesn’t get on at .340 or higher, he shouldn’t even play. If Galvis and/or Hernandez don’t get oppurtunities, it will be because they don’t belong in the majors. Clearly, the Phillies bench will get numerous opportunities.

    1. Have we heard whether or not the Phillies were allowed the 4th option year for Hernandez? If not, he has to make the 25-man roster or be lost. He is too good to be lost, although if he’s got the option, it would not be the worst thing for him to learn CF D and taking more walks at Allentown, in prep for being on the big Phillies in 2015. Rupp needs to catch at least 2/3 of games. He can’t do that in Philly. With Joseph and Valle, I’m not even sure he can do that in Allentown. I guess one of the 3 catchers likely starts in Reading. Still, that leaves one who must be traded/lost or spend most of his time other than behind the plate. They all need to improve their catching skills, so while they can get their offensive development playing 1B or DHing, that really isn’t satisfactory to progress their development. If it’s a case of lost from the system or backing up in Philly, I vote for backing up in Philly.

    2. Not sure why some of you guys are hoping that Hernandez gets a chance in center field. As far as I am concerned, if that happens it will just confirm that the Phillies aren’t even going to try to field a competitive team at some point in the future. The BEST argument you can make for Hernandez is that his second base defense will be above average (I’m still not convinced) and he maxes out his development as a hitter. That would make him a decent regular at second base, or maybe a little bit more than that. But that isn’t happening in 2014; to increase the chances of it happening later, he should play every day at second base in AAA.

      But there is no scenario where he is ever even a decent center field regular. None. If everything breaks right for him, he would be below average, slightly above replacement, as a center fielder.

      1. The sample size on him in CF is too small to make that assessment with any accuracy. He started last year at 2B, got called up, injured, played less than 25 games in CF in AAA, and then played CF for the Phillies in September.

        Not exactly the model development for a player switching positions.

        1. Look, the sample size on ME playing center field is zero; I still wouldn’t argue that I should be given a shot at the major league level. On a slightly less absurd level, using that logic why don’t we just convert him to pitcher?

          Here’s the thing – you’re switching him to a position that, with his offensive skill set, he would need to field at a gold glove level, or close to it, to, in order to be even a decent regular. Why would you think he could do that? Why would the team want to move him from second base, a position where his fielding is at least decent, maybe better depending upon who you listen to, and where his offensive skill set would play better. Playing a new position, the hope is that, eventually, he might be adequate as a fielder. That won’t cut it.

          I find it particularly odd the juxtaposition between people’s opinions about Revere and Hernandez. Revere is anywhere from Hernandez’ equal (plate discipline) to a little better (speed) to a LOT better (contact ability). Defensively, despite people’s dissatisfaction with Revere, Revere has an advantage now, maybe a substantial advantage if last season’s problems were an aberration. Hernandez has more power, but not much of that.

        2. IF he hadn’t gotten the extra option year, one could make the case that he would be better off playing out of position (center field), even though the team has another, better, relatively young player at the position in Revere, rather than having him mostly sit on the major league bench. But, given that he does have another option year, OF COURSE you play him full time at his real position (second base) in AAA.

          1. The problem comes from resigning Utley. You could give him a shot at winning the second base job next season playing against a veteran on a one year deal.

            But, you just signed Utley to a deal and have to either hope he returns to All-Star form (not good on a bad team long term) or gets injured.

            Neither option is that palatable to think about.

  14. Why do we have Mayberry again? It’s like that in-law you don’t want to admit to being related to or be around, but they still just keep showing up.

    1. Can you imagine what it is like to be blocked by John Mayberry? Probably a good indication that it’s time to start thinking of a new profession.

  15. The Abreu signing obviously boots Ruff off the team if Abreu makes the team but I don’t think its a done deal. The signing definitely means that Cesar will be starting at LHV, hopefully at 2B.

    1. Does it? I would Ruf is a virtual lock to make the team – if Abreu makes the team also, either Mayberry or Frandsen could be traded. Probably not Frandsen because of positional flexibility, but Mayberry could be traded. Byrd is your back up center fielder as well as starting right fielder.

  16. “I just don’t understand exactly what they’re doing, “ said one AL exec. “If you’re seriously trying to win, you don’t do it this way. And if you’re trying to get younger, you don’t do it this way. At some point, they’ve got to pick a direction and go with it.” – Quote on Amaro from a Jayson Stark article in December.

    It is mid to late January now and honestly the Phillies are still without a direction.

    Maybe Amaro believes he can win with a rotation of Lee/Hamels/Kendrick/Pettibone/????

    For us to get 82 wins we need everything to break right on the field and in the rotation and I do not see that happening.

    1. My view exactly. And, if you’re trying to rebuild, you spend your full international bonus allocation. Unfortunately, I think the Phillies approach is clear. They’re cutting spending to maintain their budgeted profitability, while hoping that the nostalgia express will sell tickets. This takes a smoke and mirrors charade to convince at least many season ticket buyers that the team has a chance in 2014. It is not so much rebuilding in disguise as not rebuilding and also not trying seriously to win. It is a non-plan for many years of mediocrity. When the Howard contract is finally off the books, many more fans will have deserted CBP.

      1. The Phillies believe that they can rebuild without being truly awful at the major league level. It’s definitely possible but it will take good scouting and good developing. Since 08 or so, they have been able to produce some pretty good prospects, though a lot of them were sacrificed in trades, so it will also take not trading away so many of our top guys. And finally, if they really want to do it right, it will take spending as much as possible on the draft and international pools. That last part is the one I worry the most about.

        1. The team could have less then 80 wins in 2014 and out of the playoffs, and then Ruben , as the GM gets booted. However as Sr VP he remains in the organization, and gets to have input on the selection process for his replacement…and everybody is happy, including Monty.

      2. allentown, you know I am far from an Amaro apologist, but, aside from spending the international allocation, what could they have done differently THIS off season? I’m pretty sure you don’t buy any of the following:

        (1) They should have spent big on the FA market to try to win now;
        (2) They should have traded all their veterans for top prospects; or
        (3) Play the kids!

        Each of these scenarios has serious flaws which I & others have pointed out & which I am sure that you mostly agree with. What’s left, also something I can’t believe you are on board with, is the petulant “tear it down just because” “strategy,” which in any event is sure to accelerate your fear of an empty ballpark

        Basically they ARE rebuilding. One can question whether they are doing so efficiently, but, except for small market teams, bringing in or retaining unexciting veterans to hold down the fort until real prospects are available is PART of rebuilding. Some people seem to think that running AAA players out there is how team’s rebuild. It’s not.

        The real question for me is what happens at the trade deadline, and even then I am certain that Amaro will be pilloried wither way – either he’ll turn down mediocre offers or take the mediocre offers; either way fans less intelligent than you are will criticize him for not turning (say) Jimmie Rollins into two top prospects.

        1. I agree with you. This offseason has been much better than last and is consistent with rebuilding in that they haven’t committed too much future money. But, failing to spend all of the international money is baffling and pretty much inexcusable. When you suck like the phillies, you can’t leave anything on the table like that. You have to seize every possible advantage when you’re trying to claw your way back out of mediocrity. It’s not like the phillies don’t spend money, so I can’t really fathom any reason for failing to spending the full allotment.

          1. They can’t commit much in terms of long-term money because they did it during the season with Utley and Ruiz.

            According to Cot’s we have $153.79 million committed to 15 guys on next year’s roster.

            That will put the Phillies in the top 5 in terms of money spent for a 90 loss roster. Not a good return on money spent.

            1. Do not confuse the long-term contract monies towards their ‘cap’ budget with the monies in the amatuer free-agent allocation bonus monies. Two different pots.

            2. No. Utley was during the season. Ruiz was this year’s big off-season FA signing (well, actually re-signing).

            3. If everyone is healthy this is not a 90 Loss team not with the Marlins and Mets in the division. Not with the Braves likely to lose some wins with the loss of McCann and Hudson. Not with Lee and Hamels fronting your rotation.

              Second 3 year deals are not long term money and are easy to trade out of. Howard is finally at a point where he could be a trade-able asset if he is having a decent season. Sure you will send some money going the other way but you could get a decent prospect for any of the veterans that might be having a good season to a team that is all in.

              The team is well positioned for either scenario at the deadline IMO.

        2. I am so confused, what could they have done. Amaro took a 102 win team and now its a sub 500 club, to tell the people we spent our money and this is our team. no matter what, so we screw up, and overpaid for pap, and now are stuck, so we gave a bad contract to howard, so we committed too much to adams, that’s you the fans problem, we don’t correct our mistakes and committed more money to win. what you have now is what you getting, live with it, if this team would have signed a Garza and choo, wouldn’t they be a contender with three top starters, and a obp machine in choo. yes there would be a tax, but they can afford it, you cant stay middle of the road, like they are now. I feel they are saying to us, we made mistakes and you have to live with it until our mistakes in players contracts run out, just my opinion

          1. Seriously, I am not at all sure that Garza and Choo would make them a contender. I think they should sign Garza, because they will need pitching going forward. I would not give up the draft pick to sign Choo.

          2. Amaro didn’t make a 102-win team a sub .500 club. Age and injury did that. I don’t see how adding Garza and Choo would’ve made a huge difference. I just don’t see it. Garza has always been overrated, and Choo is a nice complementary piece who is not worth the money he got.

            1. Actually, he and the owners did create the sub-.500 team, by acting as though the 2008 stars could play for ever and neglecting the farm throughout the good years. If they were planning on sticking with the core this long, they really needed to either 1) resign the younger members of the core, as in Werth or 2) spend a heck of a lot more internationally when they were free to do so. In either case, increased draft spending was needed. His last 3 winters have really been awful, as he has, one can’t call it re-loaded with ancients, thinking this could some how permit the core to eke out another season. If you are going to go the old-established star route, that costs a tad more than management has been willing to spend. Teams don’t have to age out and decline as fast as this Phillies team has done. Management action or inaction causes it to happen. It is not a matter of ‘what could they have done differently this winter’, it is a matter of what should they have done differently over the past six years or so.

        3. If they are trying to rebuild, then they should not have left a third or more of their international money unspent and should have used their second Rule 5 pick. Like not signing two of their top 10 picks, these are the little advantages that you can’t let slip if you are trying to catch up to other teams. You really do need to claw for every possible advantage and the Phillies simply don’t. They won 73 games, with an average or worse farm backing up the big club, and yet they and many fans seem to adopt the ‘good enough is good enough’ attitude and conclude ‘no biggie’ if a million dollars of money that could be spent on amateur talent is left on the table.

          I also disagree that the Ruiz $ in 2016 are going to be trivial.

          I agree that now is not the time to move Lee and Utley and Paps, although I think they should at the trade deadline. I agree that you certainly don’t trade Hamels and Brown in a ‘blow the whole thing up’ scenario.

          I don’t think the Youngs, Durbin, Lannan, Adams helped either our win total or our attendance last season. I think they were just wasted $. I think Ruiz and Byrd can help marginally this year, but will be a drag and waste of $ beyond this year.

          1. You do realize that they have until July 1st to use up the remainder of their international pool and have in the past signed players later in the calendar year?

            1. But they have signed guys for $100,000 + this late, also they have way less than 900,000 available. They started at 2,289,000. They signed Encarnacion for $1M, Martelo was $250,000, I heard of at least one other signing around $100,000 and I would suspect there are 1-2 more. Then factor in a bunch of $50,000 signings we are unlikely to hear about. I would be very surprised if they have more than $400,000 left to spend.

  17. atown1….Ruben just said MAG has all the ability to be a 1-2 or 3. They have watched him throw bullpens and he has the tools. What they are not sure about is the time off and how he reacts to MLB pressures.

    1. in general order of what I will be interested in seeing this spring training (not that spring training is always a true indicator of what you have)

      1) what do we have in MAG
      2) How does Howard look?
      3) Franco – how close is he?
      4) Biddle – assuming his foot / whooping cough is a thing of the past, does his control return?
      5) Ethan Martin / Giles – can they reign in their control / command

      Again, I realize spring training will not answer many of these questions, but this is what I will be interested in monitoring.

    2. They were unsure enough about the condition of his arm that he did nothing but throw long toss during FIL. As of a month or so ago, he had yet to throw a pitch from the mound since the Phillies signed him to a drastically smaller contract post-physical.

  18. MattWinks…you tweeted in two weeks the BP and BA handbooks will be in….will you be able to dedicate a thread to summarize what and how they critique Phillies’ prospects?

  19. Now that Tanaka has chosen, I hope Amaro has already made calls to Texas, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Arizona offering Lee as a “consolation” prize and gets us some high-end prospects. 2018 WS Champs!!!

  20. Garza reportedly gets 4 years, 52 mil. From my readings it appears the Phils were never seriously into either Garza or Tanaka. The question then becomes “did the Phillies shy away because they have a serious rebuilding plan or did they shy away because they are going to take their big tv contract and run?” I am really curious to see which direction the team goes with payroll and amateur bonuses.

    1. They shied away from Garza because he is overrated with an injury history and they didn’t want to tie their money up in him.

      Garza by fWAR the past 4 seasons: 1.6, 4.9, 1.1, 2.2
      by bWAR 1.7, 2.8, 1.2, 1.4

    2. This club did not spend over the luxury tax level when they were a 90+ win team so don’t expect it when they are a 90+ loss team.

      We are too top heavy with bad contracts that it handicaps anything the front office wants to accomplish.

      The bad decisions of the past are coming back to haunt the Phillies.

      1. This comment from Cole in December sums up the offseason.

        “You have to know when to start over,” Hamels told Richard Rys of Philadelphia Magazine. “Will our fans be happy with that? Probably not.”

        1. I think the big questions like ‘is it time to start over?’, ‘will we drop the smoke and mirrors and do a true rebuild year?’, ‘How much money can be spent on amateur talent?’ are all answered by the owners, not the GM. The owners fear the R word leads to a big revenue loss. The owners are slavish supporters of the commish, which is really why Giles got to put this ownership group together in the first place. The owners know how much draw from the profits they need to take each year — this likely is determined by how much $ Bill Giles needs — MOnty has a big salary and the other owners aren’t hurting for spending $.

          1. Allentown,

            Where we differ is that from where I sit they HAVE decided to essentially start over. Some people around here seem to think that :”starting over” means trading veterans for nothing and playing AAA guys. That’s true only for small market teams. Some other people seem to think it means overpaying for someone else’s veterans and discarding your own. That’s not “starting over.” And IMO not very sensible,.

            Now, setting aside minor decisions that won’t significantly impact the team 2 or 3 years from now (e.g., the Byrd signing), and the international allocation, the only decision which IMO can arguably be criticized on rebuilding grounds is the decision to re-sign Utley, because he’s the only veteran arguably blocking a real prospect. Where you fall on that is going to depend upon just how good a prospect you think Hernandez is. I’m a bit of a skeptic on Hernandez, so I was fine with the resigning.

            The other old guys are mostly untradeable, and the ones that are trradeable (or who were signed this off season) aren’t blocking real prospects.

            There’s Garza, of course … but even if one puts aside the health risks (and the size of his contract makes it crystal clear that there were HUGE red flags in his medical records) … you of all people, with your realistic assessment of the state of the organization, must know that signing a veteran starting pitcher is not going to help with the rebuilding process.

            I am still curious to hear what, specifically, you think they should have done differently THIS year, aside from spending the full international bonus (and, while I agree with you there, in the greater scheme of things it doesn’t amount to that much). There are PLENTY of past decisions you can criticize, whether you blame the owners or the management, but no easy fixes for any of it.

            1. I would have resigned Utley if I were GM. I do think they get hurt on Ruiz, although he’ll help this year. My answer on this season depends on how they use their players. If they platoon Ruf/Howard at 1B, then I have little problem with the Byrd signing. If not, I’d rather play Ruf in the OF for about half the AB and use a cheaper 5th OF to pair with him. I agree that we shouldn’t trade Lee until the deadline. Ditto Utley and Paps. A lot of the contingent signings are fine as AAA filler. I have a problem if they kick Galvis to AAA. I have no problem with Hernandez in AAA for most of the season. I think if the goal for this season is to remain ‘respectable’ that they are short a starting pitcher.

            2. I would never have signed Utley or Ruiz and tried to move the other high priced contracts in the offseason. Maybe you get a little less but this is a 60-75 win team.

              A year of Galvis and Hernandez either playing every day in AAA or on the bench at CBP tells me where I need to go in 2015.

              Having flexibility to spend is important as well. This club has over $153 million committed next year leaving very little flexibility to make moves.

              Maybe Galvis does not work out but at least I can go out and make a move via the trade market or in free agency next offseason.

              Same goes for catcher and whoever you sign in the offseason.

              An important point to remember entering a rebuild is you want to have maximum flexibility not be constrained by lots of bad contracts.

              The difference in wins between the Phillies spending $150 million and $110 million is not great enough that the $40 million will make a difference. Better to shrink a bit and be flexible than constrained.

            3. David,

              I’m neglecting work as it is, so briefly only on a few of areas of disagreement:

              (1) I think you’re living in the past somewhat about the FA market. The kind of flexibility you want isn’t going to do the team much good in the immediate future, and will do less good than it would have in the more distant future. IMO the FA market is now about filling holes with decent veterans. The few stars available now are (with a few exceptions) not worth overpaying for. Ironically, contracts like Utley’s and Ruiz’ (not Byrd) are the “value” contracts of the curent FA market..

              (2) Some of the money comes off the books soon regardless of what you do;

              (3) Byrd/Utley/Ruiz together are 26 million, not 40. That’s a significant difference.

              (4) The truly bad contracts are immovable and IMO poor reasons to oppose this off season’s modest deals.

              (5) Galvis is a SS. The issue there is Rollins, who is doubly untradeable at this point. As for Hernandez, you said it yourself – play him full time at AAA. If he really makes a leap forward, then Utley is a trade candidate. Of course my lack of enthusiasm for either player also colors my thinking.

          2. Of course you can also make an argument that Lee, the one veteran with real trade value (aside from Hamels, who is young enough that you probably want to keep), should be traded. Expectations of what he would get the team are exaggerated, but a prospect in the 25 to 50 range is possible. But the consensus seems to be that his trade value will be greater at the deadline than it is now,.

          3. I see now your answer to me up-thread, but it’s kind of a non-answer. You rightly criticize some of last year’s moves, but all you say about this year’s moves, aside from the international allocation, is that you think the contracts handed out will be a significant constraint down the road. Given the team’s payroll trajectory I don’t really see it that way. Ruiz, Utley and Byrd together are getting 26 million in 2015. That’s chump change for a team with the Phillies’ payroll. I could have done without the Byrd signing, but Ruiz and Utlley were, given the inflated FA market, value signings. Put it this way – I am certainly far from convinced that having another 18 million (those two guys) to spend in next year’s FA market would net us good value.

            1. If he can be had for a deal resembling Garza’s (4/$52 mil), I would still be in favor of signing Jimenez. He’s the same age as Kendrick, seems to have learned how to actually pitch last year (had great numbers after April despite diminished velocity), and would slot in nicely behind Hamels and Lee as a #3. I don’t think we’re too differentiated in our assessments of the team’s likelihood of success, but the East looks really, really weak, and there is something to be said of striving for mediocrity. (It’s a lot more pleasurable to watch an 81-win team than a 71-win or 61-win team.) The $13 million AAV wouldn’t put the Phillies over the luxury cap and the four years wouldn’t appear to create an impediment for any prospects, considering we’re halfway through our list and so far we’ve only ranked four: Biddle, MAG, Martin and Severino Gonzalez, all of whom profile as back-of-the-rotation guys right now. I’d actually be pleasantly surprised if either of the Gonzalezes ever made a significant contribution, actually.

              So, I get what you’re saying, but I do think that there’s a middle ground between action and inaction

          4. And I ALSO see that you agree with most of my specifics. So it seems to me more about general criticisms of the organizations (many of which I agree with, though as usual placing more blame than you do on management) than specific disagreement with this off season’s moves.

  21. Im sorry you subtract Fausto Carmona’s contract and Kendricks ridiculous agreement… you can have Garza at roughly 10 mill over the next 4 years????? Christ. This front office makes no sense. If the Santana and Jimenez contracts are similar, I literally do not understand any logic from the FO concerning this rotation.

    1. Do you want to be locked into an injury prone Garza for 4 years or do you want to have Kendrick and Carmona off the books after the year?

  22. 2004 Phils, Thome Polanco Rollins Bell Abreu Byrd Burrell, Lieby at C. Terrible Pitching, but is that a better starting 8 than the 2014 team? Only one with less than double digit HRs was Byrd

  23. Ryan Howard – $25 million
    Chase Utley – $15 million
    Jimmy Rollins – $11 million
    Ben Revere – $1.95 million
    Marlon Byrd – $8 million
    Carlos Ruiz – $8.5 million
    Wil Nieves – $1.12 million
    Cole Hamels – $22.5 million
    Cliff Lee – $25 million
    Kyle Kendrick – $7.67 million
    Roberto Hernandez – $4.5 million
    Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez – $4 million

    Jonathan Papelbon – $13 million
    Mike Adams – $7 million
    Antonio Bastardo – $2 million
    15 Players—-$150M plus…and this is a 3rd or 4th place NL East div team.

    1. But one that has made a lot of roster and contract mistakes. It will cost less than this to get first and second place in the division.

      1. So true which has been my point.

        You look at the contracts for Utley, Rollins, Ruiz, and Byrd and see nostalgia. Howard, Adams, and Papelbon were just mistakes.

        That is a lot of money we are spending for a third or fourth place nostalgic finish.

        All of that money limits us when it comes to trades. You want flexibility when entering a rebuild and we have very little.

        1. Which is why, despite the size of t he Howard contract, the out-year $millions to Ruiz and Byrd still matter.

  24. Easy to comment. They needed an everyday corner outfielder. They went into a season in which they could have won big, with inexperienced corner outfielders and it cost them. Why not learn from your mistakes? They could have signed Byrd with less money, but the Phillies seem to prefer paying over to ensure a signing. This is not a good reputation to have because it limits your bargaining ability. Right now, it is what it is.

      1. I meant the previous year. I figured that last year they needed to sign two good corner outfielders and a good third baseman, which they did not do. So last year I had no hope. But the year before…hope was there; then Doc came apart and Utley and Howard showed up late. Sorry I was unclear on the year.

  25. I’m looking for things to be excited about. In watching the Howard interview from CWater, it’s obvious that he’s much slimmer and swinging very well. It appears he’s trying to use the whole field (commented on by Scott Palmer) which is something I thought was going to happen so I’m very encouraged about Howard. Then watching Byrd’s interview makes me feel like he can help this team. Lots of Phils will be in CWater this coming week, weeks early, and many are already there. If, and it’s a huge IF, this team can get off to a good start and develop a little mojo, maybe they can surprise some people. Things I look forward to: Howard being healthy and hitting smarter and driving in runs, getting a full season from Revere (the May to July version), JRoll playing motivated (with some help from Bowa), Dom taking another step forward offensively and defensively and improving more (he’s not a finished product), Asche becoming a 300 hitter with Utley like focus, Chase still being the man, maybe MAG will surprise and be very good, watching the young bullpen arms develop into legit beasts and to see Cole and Cliff both start the year throwing the ball well. There are lots of things to be excited about even if reality says that not all of this will happen…

    1. Murray…you are very enthusiastic and optimistic. Mayybe that will come true. I am hoping Ryne Sandberg does put some of the older guys…which there are a lot…on a regular rotation of days off and days on.
      Players like Ruf, Galvis, Frandsen and maybe even Hernandez have played enough in the past now, that they should get more playing time while the older vets rest.

  26. The Phillies might not have needed to sign Hernandez. but Pettibone understands why the team had to do it. “They kind of had to do that to cover themselves, back themselves up,” he said. “I missed the final two months of the season. I didn’t give them any lock going into the offseason.” Pettibone spent much of the offseason in Clearwater strengthening his shoulder. In fact, he was a frequent workout partner of MAG. “I feel good now,” Pettibone said. “Going into a season, it’s the best I’ve felt in a while. I’m ready to go.” The strengthening program should help Pettibone. He averaged less than six innings in his 18 big-league starts last season.

  27. I know we have some guys who live in Clearwater area, have you seen anyone working out yet. who is there early?,I think even the network has seen this team go down, only one appearance on national TV, right now. but even though I think they are a 500 or less team. remember the 69 Mets. that to me was a miracle, that they won that year, I just hope as a fan that the management doesn’t let Ruben do the trade deadline moves, hope by mid season they have a proven winning gm. in place,

    1. I was in Clearwater this weekend for an unrelated visit but did go to the complex (fields look absolutely beautiful). The only players I saw were fantasy campers (it sure does look like fun, however).

    1. He’s not painting a rosy picture but his article is actually supportive of what the Phillies have done this offseason and what some of us believe to be the plan.

    2. A great line: “Of course, snark is a driving force behind any web-based written endeavor, so it’s not surprising that we reserve heaps of it for seemingly baffling moves.” Almost as good as ” it is FanGraphs’ official position that the Howard contract is doggy poop.”

      I’m not sure he’s all that supportive of the Phillies off-season. He agrees that a middle road may be a sensible way to limit erosion of the fan base, but he doesn’t seem to think management actually has much of a plan and questions whether present management is capable of executing either a gradual rebuild or a slash-and-burn rebuild.

      I think what can be said is that the author agrees with most of us that slash and burn is not the route the Phillies should take. This means it was wise to keep Lee, Hamels, and Utley going into the current season.

      I didn’t get the impression that he was all that thrilled with the Byrd and Ruiz deals.

  28. To may mind they should keep Abreu in a sealed both on Broad street and only bring him into the dugout when he is needed. Why they want to bring back a player with his attitude is beyond me.

  29. Phillies Sabrmetric Dept. News:
    Ruben Amaro confirmed that the Phillies have hired Scott Freedman full time to work in the baseball operations department. Freedman was brought into the organization 2 months ago, from the commissioner’s office, on a consultant basis to help the team incorporate analytics into its operations. The Phillies have often been criticized for being slow to catch the advanced-metrics train, made popular in “Moneyball.”
    “We are trying to develop that area, and I think he’s a good starting point for us,” Amaro said. “He’s already had some impact. He’s met with [assistant GM for amateur scouting] Marti Wolever, obviously, he’s met with our office and discussed some things, how to attack the analytic side of things and where we want to go with it. I’m looking forward to having him on board and working with our guys.”
    ..onward and upward with our Phightins.

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