Open Discussion and upcoming schedule

Hi all. I’ve had little time to devote here recently and something of moderate importance has come up outside of my love of the Phillies, so the posts may be a tad sparse for the next few weeks. My plan is to do a few more AFL updates, with the next one this weekend, and then a few other pieces before the end of the month. I’m planning on starting the Reader Top 30 at the beginning of November or so. We’ll take our time, the posts always spawn good discussion and great point/counter points. If there is anything you’d like to see on the site moving forward, please email me. I can’t promise you I’ll be able to deliver on anything, depending on my availability, but I’ll try. I’m also re-working the SONAR scores, which is taking me some time, but I’ll be rolling out the new, modified version before next season starts. So if you have something you want me to cover, something you think would make the site better, or whatever else, please email, because I don’t have as much time to read through the comments here as I’d like. And thank you again for your continued support.

207 thoughts on “Open Discussion and upcoming schedule

    1. Interesting, but the first slide they referred to Braden Shull as a polished LH college pitcher who has a chance to quickly move through the system but with little upside. After that, I took little stock in what they said

      1. I think the writer was thinking about Austin Wright. He’s a polished lefty. Can’t be absolutely sure though.

    2. Franco at 22 had me laughing, he is a legitimate Top 5 talent in our system and from all indications is at least a Top 150 prospect in baseball.

      Holy Larry Greene, Batman! I like his tools as much as the next guy but he is nowhere close to that high in anyone’s mind. He is probably Top 10 talent but wow. He probably has potential 70-80 grade power but he hasn’t made his professional debut yet.

      1. The Franco comment was even better, as it noted his poor play at High A. Where he has not yet played.

    3. I always develop my top 30 with two things in my mind: potential and proximity. Larry Greene is so far away that he will be much lower in my rankings. I have to have some history to base my decision on. Last year I had Biddle at #12. This site ranked him #8. Biddle even pitched a little last year so I could see the potential but his proximity to the show was so far away… I had to slide him down the list.

      I will also drop guys a little if risk of injury is higher than most.

      1. I’m with you Bellman – Walding, Quinn and L. Greene all have tons of potential and upside, but having not played a professional inning yet, I have them ranked in the mid teens on my list. Tyler Greene, on the other hand, has about 50 professional at bats at this point. Yes, that’s a small number, but he’s started getting his reps, which is huge.

        – Jeff

    4. I’m okay with the first three choices, but not so much with the rest. Plus, I noticed some errors in the article (Schwimer only played at AAA and MLB this year, not three levels) and other inconsistencies. Meh, not every site can be filled with as much awesome as this site.
      – Jeff

    5. And considering he missed his first FIL due to injury. No matter how much you like his power, he is a one-dimensional player, who is going to struggle to achieve satisfactory contact.

    1. Overall Greg Pinto did a fairly decent job on the report…a few errors in technicalities, ie Shull, Schwimer…but in scouting prospect strengths and weaknesses here appeared to be spot on.

        1. Well that’s 106 in the majors versus 99 in AA. As much as I like Galvis as a prospect, a wRC+ of 80 in the majors if he does play regularly in 2012 is probably if anything a high end estimate. The Phillies hitting would suffer significantly if Galvis took over for Rollins.

          1. Agree. Next year Galvis would be closer to Steve Jeltz than Jimmy Rollins. Hopefully he can continue to make progress with the bat, but it will still take another year or two IMO before he is ready for the majors.

          2. But Galvis Replacing Rollins cannot be viewed in isolation.
            The Phil’s will be spending $10million more on some other part of the team than they would if Rollins stayed.

            1. True. But the delta in performance between Rollins and Galvis might be worth it. And the supply of credible replacements is not that plentiful at SS.

              Everything is choice salary-wise. We do need to realize that with a $170 million payroll you do not need to be as efficient per dollar as with a $100 million payroll. While nobody should advocate wasting money, one could also argue that you should pay a premium for a relatively certain level of performance. Contracts like Howard and Ibanez were not great values. But a guy like Howard does deliver a certain level of performance every year, in a different manner but in a similar way that Steve Garvey did years ago for the Dodgers. Garvey was overrated and overpaid much of his career. But he also performed at a reasonable level year in and year out. That certainty is worth something and is why a guy like Rollins should be overpaid a little relative to performance, especially from a team with a $170 million payroll.

  1. It’s difficult to write a list like that. I could give you a top 30 Phillies list that would be 2/3rds as good as Baseball America’s. But if I wrote one about one of the other 29 teams, I would be absolutely lost.

  2. That Bleacher Report thing was riddled with factual errors from beginning to end, not just what has been mentioned on here already. The evaluations- would not be surprised if he read on here or a couple of other sources over a time and presented a synopsis of the ideas of some people who formed assumptions based upon some stats. You could just as easily draw up the names of all non-veteran minor league players in a hat, draw them out in an order and write a justification of it.

    If it is still alright to comment on the article above concerning things to come. On the top 30 list would like to see 5 players voted on at a time, and a weighted scoring system. This was mentioned by others before, it will increase the import of individual votes, eliminate the repetitive nature of voting for players group prejudices place too low, and increase the number of players that can be included in the voting, hopefully to include all non-minor league veteran players without exception.

    1. I’m not able to get to it to post it on here my computer skills are not all that great, but I read an article online from Baseball America, under the Phillies Report Card. Good information on new guys. If anyone else has access try to post it.
      It talks about L.Greene, Walding, Quinn, and other T. Greene and some others

      1. I think that is premium content, and that would be so if you are a paid subscriber to the Baseball America site. Articles are not supposed to be transferred to the general population. Discussion of such articles with a brief synopsis can be legal, and may be done, I say.

    1. The Bleacher Report stuff is consistently crappy. There are a good 30 or 40 regular posters on this site who could provide better general Phillies content than what is found in Bleacher Report and would provide far superior minor league content than you see in Bleacher Report (I am sure they’ll be telling us any day how Austin Hyatt is our number one prospect). It’s pretty much not worth reading and is miles away from the really good Phillies blogs such as “The Good Phight” (that’s what I usually read) or Phillies Nation.

      1. Riddled with factual and other errors. One not mentioned here is saying Franco played in Low A and High A. Should be SS A and Low A. That leads me to suspect he does not know the designations of each league, which posters here know with casual certainty. And that, along with so many other errors, including grammatical and stylistic (the author can’t write a lick) leads me to suspect he could be could be a re-hashing, plagiarizing wannabe. Now all that could be false, but it matters not. If someone don’t give a crap to get their stuff right, they leave themselves open to the most uncharitable conclusions. That’s the social contract you agree to when you make your thoughts public.

      2. I enjoy Bleacher Report for laughs. I’ve seen ones rank Rizzotti as a top 5 prospect, list Cosart 10th Prior to the trade, obviously). Clearly lists can differ, but you’re using some weird criteria to get Rizz top 5.

  3. 2011 Draft Report Card: Philadelphia Phillies

    By John Manuel and Jim Callis
    October 17, 2011

    E-mail Print

    POSITION PLAYERS

    QUICK TAKE
    The Phillies had a typical Phillies draft, taking high-ceiling athletes such as the Greenes (no relation), Quinn and Walding. The early returns on Wright have also been promising.
    Bonus Spending: $4.7 million
    BEST PURE HITTER: SS Mitch Walding (5) has the lefthanded swing, bat speed and approach to make an impact at the plate once he fills out his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame. SS Roman Quinn (2) should be able to beat out plenty of hits with his speed, and he’s trying to tap into it even more by learning to switch-hit. BEST POWER HITTER: Extremely physical at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, OF Larry Greene (1s) had some of the best raw power in the entire draft. 3B Harold Martinez (2) has plus power potential but an inconsistent amateur track record as a hitter. FASTEST RUNNER: Quinn was the fastest player in the draft. He can slap the ball and get to first base in 3.6 seconds from the left side of the plate, and he reminds the Phillies of their 2003 fourth-round pick, Michael Bourn. They’ll try Quinn at shortstop, where he has average hands and a plus arm, with center field as his fallback. BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Though C Logan Moore (9) moved from third base to behind the plate just last spring, he quickly has picked up impressive catch-and-throw skills. Martinez is an athletic defender with a strong arm at third base.

    PITCHERS

    BEST FASTBALL: RHP Kenny Giles (7) is still figuring out his command and secondary pitches, but he can run his fastball to 99 mph and usually deals at 94-96. BEST SECONDARY PITCH: LHP Austin Wright (8) used his nasty curveball to strike out 85 hitters in 68 pro innings. He sets his curve up with a plus fastball that sits in the low 90s.

    ODDS AND ENDS

    BEST PRO DEBUT: Wright was the revelation of Philadelphia’s draft, pitching his way to low Class A, where he posted a 2.67 ERA in seven starts. RHP Ryan Duke (25) used a solid fastball/slider combo to post a 0.78 ERA and limit opponents to a .128 average in two stops. BEST ATHLETE: Quinn received all-state basketball recognition as a point guard at Florida’s 2-A level. Walding accounted for 3,041 yards and 26 touchdowns in 13 games as a high school senior quarterback. SS Tyler Greene (11) still has to translate his tools into skills, but he has intriguing all-around ability. MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Unsigned 2B Andrew Amaro (47) is the stepbrother of Phillies GM Ruben Amaro. Unsigned OF Ryan Garvey’s (15) father Steve was a 10-time all-star and the 1974 National League MVP. 1B Mike Marshall’s (30) dad Mike also made an All-Star Game appearance, and Moore’s father Brad got a cup of coffee in Philadelphia. CLOSEST TO

    THE MAJORS: Wright will be on the fast track if he throws enough strikes. Giles could join him if he can refine his slider and command. BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Tyler Greene or RHP Colton Murray (13), who profiles as a possible set-up man with his low-90s fastball and solid slider. THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: Garvey has the chance to have an impact bat, but he turned down third-round money to attend Southern California.

    1. So, Logan Moore, the top defensive guy they drafted. Surprise, I guess. Looks like he’ll be around above the rookie level for next season.

    2. I love this draft – I think it is going to rival 2008 in terms of its overall value. Now, Ruben needs to let the hitters develop and take his damned finger off the trade trigger, at least for some of these guys.

    3. I disagree that it was a typical Phillies draft. A typical Phillies draft would have been lots of athletic outfielders and High School Power arms with some college arms and infielders sprinkled in. This draft didn’t have nearly as many athletic outfielders, more power, but maintained the mix of power arms from High School and college.

      1. Agreed. It wasn’t a typical Phillies draft at all, unless you define a typical Phillies draft as one where the players have a lot of upside potential. There was a much greater emphasis on power and less emphasis on pitching. That having been said, I am completely pumpted about Kenny Giles and Austin Wright – both have enormous potential in my mind. And, in fact, I think the presence of Giles and Larry Greene made the team less concerned about parting with Cosart and Singleton – indeed, I would bet money on it if I could.

    4. Interesting …Garvey turns down 3rd round money….so the Phillies did try with a substantial offer on the table

      1. Yeah, whatever (I did see that). In body type, Biddle has been compared more to Clayton Kershaw – a classic power lefty, which not the way in which Pettitte was perceived. But this won’t be the first or last time I disagree with BR. Their report wasn’t horrible, but it did contain a lot of inaccuracies and some of the rankings were a bit nutty.

        1. yes agree….and their rankings are nutty What keeps perplexes me, is how scouts and bloggers….BleacherReport for one, maintain a high regard for Colvin’s potential. Understand his stuff is well above average….but when and how long is the wait, until he starts to produce with positive results!

          1. I won’t start worrying about that until next year. In the first few years, particularly with pitchers, the upside scouting reports mean a lot. Just take a look a John Smoltz – he stunk for several years in the minors and then took off. Also, look at Aumont. For me, hitters who start slowly are much more suspect – if you can’t hit a breaking ball or a good fastball it’s pretty tough to develop.

          2. Colvin has pitched 2 years. 1 good, 1 mediocre but injury filled (back and groin I believe). If these injuries are not serious (and I am concerned about the back long term), there is little reason to believe he won’t bounce back next year when healthy. Scouts still like his stuff.

  4. What do ‘BRK’ and ‘PFX’ mean when in regards to a pitcher’s pitch on the AFL sites’ ‘live’ netcast?
    And they are measured in inches. Understand ‘SPD’ is speed/velocity…but not sure what the two others are referring to.

    1. From MLB’s “Gameday” Q & A:

      ““Break” is the greatest distance between the trajectory of the pitch at any point between the release point and the front of home plate, and the straight line path from the release point and the front of home plate. “Pitch-f/x” is the distance between the location of the actual pitch thrown over the plate, and the calculated location of a ball thrown by the pitcher in the same way, with no spin. Or, in more common terms, this is the amount of “movement” the pitcher applies to the pitch. A faster, straighter pitch like a fastball will have a higher Pitch-f/x value than a slower, breaking ball like a curveball, which will have a higher Break value.”

  5. Logan Moore did a good job in his first season , signed early and got the work in. Many of those drafted are unknown quality untilthey play.

  6. Ven League Update:
    ‘…..second baseman Cesar Hernandez, has gone 5-for-25 (.200 avg) with no extra base hits through 7 games with Margarita under manager Don Baylor. The 21-year-old was signed in 2006 by the Phillies. Third baseman Carlos Rivero has struggled in the early going, recording just 1 hit in 13 at bats (.077 avg) over his first 4 games. Rivero’s lone hit was a homerun. The 23-year-old had a solid 2011, batting .270 with 16 HR and 71 RBI combined between Reading and Lehigh Valley.’

  7. It was stated that with Howard’s he received a PRP shot. I had no idea what it was. So I researched. Could this be the savior of pitchers arms in the future?

      1. If I read it right at least one philly doctor is combining PRP with stem cells extracted(believe it or not) your own body fat. Fat has founded to be loaded with stem cells which might be why some large people are healthier than they should be and why a guy like Fixx dies at an early age.This thing is interesting as I have one knee just beginning to act up and is crying out for PRP

        1. Yeah, I should clarify. The FDA allows stem cell use for injuries, but they can’t be manipulated. Bone Marrow are the most reliable to replicate. What is allowed in many other countries (and was recently in SI or ESPN, or somewhere), is that they grow the stem cells to partially differentiate them, then inject them into the injury. This significantly increases the likelihood that they will turn into tendon, muscle, cartilage, etc. than simply injecting fat stem cells (many of which will die and be washed out of the system).

  8. While the elbow is still under investigation some shoulder things treated with PRP are Shoulder:
    Rotator Cuff Tendinitis or Tear, Rotator Cuff Impingement Syndrome or Bursitis, Bicipital Tendinitis, labrum tears, arthritis . Interesting . Am I below the curve here?

  9. As expected Doumit is free. He fits so well and a part time job fits him. He has played a little OF and should make a good switch hitting PH. At 30 he is practically a teenager in Philly.
    I quess it is a matter of money.

    1. The Rockies are allowed to reduce his salary by a maximum of 20%, which would take it from 2.287M to 1.83M. If they non-tender him, it means that (1) they don’t think he is worth 1.83M, and/or (2) they don’t think they can trade him to anyone at 1.83M. Even if you think they would lose that arbitration hearing, it is hard to imagine the arbiter granting him a raise in salary after his disastrous year, so on the high end he will be making 2.3M.

      If the Rockies don’t think anyone would be willing to trade for him making somewhere between 1.83M and 2.3M, why would the phillies pay him 4M per year? I’m a Stewart fan and think he would be a great pickup, but only at a cheap price. Something along the lines of sending someone like Rizzotti or Rosenberg if the Rockies offer him arbitration.

          1. Anybody giving 4 million for Stewart, the agent will send a limo for them. I doubt they offer arbitration. I was thinking yesterday the first time I read this, that Stewart had not hit much the last few years , so looked it up. Not as good as I thought even.
            So, for 2011 you got 122 AB’s 0 HR’s .156 BA, .243 OBP, .221 SLG
            Doubt he breaks the bank in Arbitration over that.
            Other than all right HR totals for ’08, 09 , and ’10 Don’t see much there:
            2007 1HR in 43 AB’s
            2008 10 HR’s In 266 AB’s
            2009 25 HR’s in 425 AB’s
            2010 18 HR’s in 386 AB’s
            2011 down to 0 HR’s in 122 AB’s
            BA’s over that time:
            2007- .209
            2008- .259
            2009- .228
            2010- .256
            2011- .156
            OBP’s
            2007- .261
            2008- .349
            2009- .322
            2010- .338
            2011- .243
            SLG’s
            2007- .372
            2008- . 455
            2009- .464
            2010- .443
            2011- .221

            So, as above, I doubt they offer arbitration, considering he makes alot already. So, if traded for to offer arbitration, he gets at least 1.8 million or so, so that may be too much as money is tight, he would not likely contribute more to the winning of actual games rather than keeping Polanco at 3B, and he may continue to go backwards giving a bench player similar to the bad year of Greg Dobbs with about as much utility.

            So, definitely a big gamble, giving up a top prospect would be foolish, and Rockies have lots of players like the lots of players the Phillies have lots of. So no need for suggesting marginal players. They can wait till the Rockies non-tender him, and bid a low cost MLB contract, I say , not to exceed $800,000. Big money, forget it, shipping top prospedts to pay him a chancy $1.8 million forget that also, and also trading any player to pay him $1.8 million that’s also a big risk, and the excess money spent there can damage other areas of a roster in need of re-shuffling.

            1. Except Monfort wants him back with the Rox. More then likely, fearing he goes to greener pastures and becomes a stud player.

  10. In play for sure. Stewart has a lot of good point. A little chancy but for one year and option he is on the list

  11. In other words we all like Stewart .
    Doumit who is pro and who is con??????

  12. As far as the Rollins thing goes, any comparisons between him and Galvis should not be based on Jimmy’s 2011 production. This was his contract year. {Next year I’ll go out on a limb and say he will revert to being a .250 hitter, or less.}
    If you want to compare him to Galvis average out his prior three years. I like Jimmy but Amaro’s way overspent the last few years and I don’t really think we have a choice now but to try and go with Galvis, with Valdez as a backup. Besides if Jimmy walks we get compensation – although the Phils are looking more and more like the Eagles in their drafting.
    I think the overall approach has to change next year. We went from a team that mashed the ball to one that couldn’t scrape any runs at all. I don’t think that change has been digested by management. You bring up some young players and drill them in small ball…and who knows? We might make it back to the series.
    Young players not only bring an elevated energy and enthusiasm to the game, but will take to discipline and coaching more than older higher priced veterans. We have plenty of seasoned vets; we shouldn’t be afraid to bring in some youth and stick with them through some growing pains.

    1. Here! Here! or Hear! Hear!

      Gotta stop believing that father time will pass this team by; time to re-constitute now. If not now, when?

    2. If in fact Galvis is the guy next year….well I can only assume he will be hitting out of the 8 hole with Carlos Ruiz moving up to the 7. Expectations out of the 8 hole are far less then the 1.

    3. If the Phils start casting aside their good players at age 32, they would be making a big mistake. In general, age 35-36 is when you have to worry about your good players’ ages, not age 32. Of course, each player is different, and each must be evaluated based on his health and his performance.

      Rollins has had injury issues the last three years or so, but he seems to have bounced back to the point where he still can be very effective for 140 games per season. If the parties can reach agreement, the Phils should keep Rollins around for a few more seasons.

      Utley is the same age as Rollins, but his health issues appear more serious than Rollins’. If his legs are sound enough for him to play effectively for at least 130 games per season, the Phils also should keep Utley around for a few more years. A healthy Utley is better than a healthy Rollins, but a broken-down Utley may be a guy the Phils shouldn’t depend on after 2013.

      1. “In general, age 35-36 is when you have to worry about your good players’ ages, not age 32.”

        I know that’s how the media thinks about this issue but, unfortunately, it just isn’t true. There are many players that tail off at around age 35-37, but there are a whole bunch who begin to fail at around age 32 or 33. This is a particularly big problem with position players. With pitchers, you can generally see if a player is losing velocity or command. This is why we really don’t spend much time worrying about Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay, nor should we. You can’t find two better “middle aged” pitchers who project to be good for at least 3 or 4 more years. But with position players, so much of it is reaction time and the ability to drive a baseball. Those abilities can disappear within a year or two, often for no apparent reason at all. Just ask Garrett Atkins, a player who was washed up at around age 30.

        1. Catch 22 – What I have seen in the media is quite different. Most seem to think that position players decline begins at age 30. Their sources for that belief are aging studies done on all position ballplayers who have ever played the game, the large majority of which have had just cups of coffee or otherwise brief careers.

          I used the term “good players” in referring to aging, and I was referring only to position players. Good players age differently than the universe of all position players, particularly if you look at the aging of good players since 1980. Good players since 1980 tend to peak at age 30, maintain their peak through age 33, begin to decline by 2-3 runs per year (.2-.3 WAR) through age 38, and by 5 runs per year after that.

          The study to which I refer was done a couple of years ago and considered all position players since 1950 with at least 10 years of service and 5,000 PAs and divided players into two groups, those who played before 1980 and those that played since. When I talk about “good players,” I mean ballplayers since 1980 with at least 10 years of service and 5,000 PAs.

          I think some of the reasons for the change in aging patterns in recent times are better technology, better medical treatment, and increased salaries that have given players the incentive to take better care of themselves. I would like to see an updated aging study done that defines “good players” differently, perhaps in terms of WAR or wOBA, and that considers only the last 15-20 years, when salaries really have escalated.

          Obviously, aging studies provide the profile of typical ballplayers who meet the criteria used in the studies, and there will be a large number of players who age differently from the typical ballplayer.

          1. The 10 years of service criteria might skew your study to more than good players. That gives you good players with at least 10 years of longevity I think most players’ peak is still in the age 27-29 range, though good players extend their peak or slow their decline. I think Rollins will age relatively well because of his athleticism (which is more a concern with a big guy like Howard.

            I think there is some truth to a longer peak these days mainly from better medical treatment. I agree there is probably a better way to do an aging stuff. To define good players you probably need to use a peak value definition rather than a career length definition.

            1. Players who play for 10 years or get 5000 PAs, are normally ‘good’ players…..journeymen do not reach or achieve those lengths.

            2. I’m not sure why aging is more of a concern for Howard than for Rollins. Yes, Rollins is more athletic, but his game is built upon that athleticism. His range already has taken a hit. Howard’s game is not in any way built upon athleticism. It is pretty much pure power. A lot of the bigger power hitters have held up quite well as they’ve aged. Some were athletic, some weren’t. As for playing 1B, Howard was better this year than he was when his hitting was at its peak. As he recovers from his Achilles surgery, his hitting likely takes a notch up.

            3. Allentown, I’ve read before that athletic players age better. I think I’ve seen empiracal evidence that it is true. Take for instance Matt LeCroy. The slowest runner of our generation. Fine hitter. But in two years he went from MLB capable DH to unable to hit the International League. What happens is that as a player slows in speed, the defense is able to play deeper and still throw him out. His batting average drops. The player can still hit the ball far, but no hitter can survive playing home run derby.

          2. You are looking at data that someone took from the age of PEDs. Yeah, players aged differently prior to drug testing.

            1. Heavier players like Howard tend to have more problems aging with their knees and mobility than an athletic player like Pujols at that same position. A player like Rollins will still retain above average speed into his mid 30s. This can help him adapt his game. It is the same for a pitcher that throws in the mid 90s. When they are older they may only throw 88-90, but that is better than 84-86. It gives them more of a chance to adapt.

              I admit I don’t have data on athletic players aging better, but it has been talked about a lot among the sabermetric community. Guys like Keith Law would agree as well. In general a broader set of skills allows one to adapt. Rollins has probably lost some range. But he is the type of SS who could be decent defensively without plus range because he has great hands (few errors), a strong arm, and good defensive instincts.

              I do stand by that 10-year definition as a bad test for creating a screen of good players. Career length is just not a good variable to prove aging (even if it is a byproduct of that). We need a more independent variable such as career peak value of maybe an average age 27-29 value.

          3. There’s one study that reached that conclusion, and a lot of studies that reached different conclusions suggesting a far steeper aging curve. Even the study you reference, as I recall, suggested a signficantly steeper curve than you relate. Aging studies are hard to design for a number of inherent methodological reasons. (There IMO are some additional specific methodological flaws in the study in question. And looming over it is, of course, the PEDs issue.)

            But set that aside – and even set aside the fact that Howard type players don’t tend to age well – as everyone agrees players vary tremendously in terms of aging profiles. But in the Phillies’ case, at least in terms of their 2 biggest stars, not in a good way. Howard has already suffered a significant and precipitous decline. It seems silly to argue, “no, no, good players don’t decline until their late 30s, Howard will be back to his old level as soon as he recovers from his injury” in the face of very specific evidence that Howard has declined precipitously. Utley, of course, has a chronic physical condition which has led to a premature decline; reports on that are not optimistic.

            But we were talking about Rollins. Even setting aside some evidence of decline on his part and concerns about chronic leg injuries, and given some evidence that the average “good” player doesn’t decline much before his mid to late 30s, given all the other evidence & uncertainty about aging patterns out there – giving a 5 year contract to just about any 33 year player seems – too risky.

      2. Nobody wants to discard Rollins at age 32. What some of us would like is to avoid a long contract that pays him big bucks when he’s 35/36/37. If he insists on 5 years, then he hasn’t been discarded, he’s merely unreasonabled himself out of town.

        1. Rollins has said he wants five year, maybe four with an option. His option.

          By making this statement, Rollins has done two things:
          1. he has established a ceiling on his demands; and
          2. he has inferred that he will settle for four years.

          Rollins does not sound unreasonable to me at all. He sounds ripe for a four-year deal or a three-year deal with an option.

          1. More then likely, he seems adamant on 4-year with a 5th year option. Cannot see him taking less….unless the money is too hard to refuse for three years, say, $15/16M per annum

          2. 4 years is to much. 3 years and an option, if he controls the option or if there is an easily met automatic trigger, is too much.

            Look, I like Rollins as much as the next guy and more than most. Not having him next year will cost them wins (one or two, roughly). But let someone else give him a 4 or 5 year contract.

            And it’s not about him being “unreasonable.” He has every right to maximize his income – this is certainly his last big contract. That would be true even if he hadn’t been significantly underpaid during his current contract (which he was, by a lot). But that doesn’t mean that the Phillies need to be the team unwise enough to give it to him. The press conference where he announced his desire for a 5 year contract was a good bye conference. People need to accept that.

      3. The other point to put this in perspective: the Phillies’ offense has gone from at or near the best in the NL to middle of the pack in the past few years, as has their defense. (They have remained contenders because of improved pitching.) Given the relative lineup stability during that period, shouldn’t we perhaps be a little concerned that we are seeing some real age related decline, and expect more of same? Now, I’ll grant you that that is not necessarily predictive of Rollin’s future specifically, but it does seem to suggest that doubling down on the current crew might not be the best strategy.

        I mean, the five players who have been regulars for 4 or more years are all between 30 and 32. Keeping them together for another 4 years before we “start worrying about their ages” seems .. short-sighted, to say the least.

    4. If you judge Rollins with an average of his last 3 years, you ned to do the same with Galvis. You can’t simply tilt the argument in your favor to reach the conclusion you prefer. Even a diminished Rollins will be better the next 2-3 years than Galvis is likely to be.

      1. The Phillies have too many needs to resign Jimmy Rollins and stay competitive. Add to the fact that I despise Jroll’s and Victorino’s attitudes and their egos.

        1. The second part is strange and entirely unrelated to baseball.

          The first part is: What other needs? Top rotation is the NL probably. Set at all 3 OF positions for, at least, 2 years. Set at First for 5 years. Set at Second for 2 years (minimum). Set at Catcher for 2 years. Set at third for next season, with no way to improve it except through trade (even that is very unlikely). Set in the bullpen. We need bench players. What bench player is going to cost $15 Million per year?

    1. How many other Phillies players had their own press conferences? The answer is zero and I think the Phillies FO is tired of both of them.

      1. That’s completely moronic.
        The FO is tired of them both?? And what do you base this assumption/ conclusion on exactly?

  13. You beat me to it markymark….Shane Patrick Victorino is low on the list of problems for our Fightins’. A few more walks and a little higher OBP would be nice…but he plays GREAT defense, takes pitchers out of their comfort zones when he’s on the basepaths, and genuinely enjoys being out on the field.

    btw….has there ever been a discussion on setting up a forum on this site??

  14. Nowheels Please…..got one for you to chew on….Hamels and Dom Brown to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp and ss Dee Gordon.

    1. Well, it would be nice, certainly … heck, what team WOULDN’T like to make a lopsided trade. But as good as Hamels is, there’s no way the Dodgers would even consider Kemp even up for him. And, as much as I am a Brown defender, if you factor in 2011 (not even so much for Brown in a negative way, but more for Gordon in a positive way), with the fact that quality SS prospects are inherently more valuable than quality corner OF prospects … there’s just no way. Not even close to a balanced trade.

      (Not that Gordon has me 100% convinced that he is going to be a star – lots of warning signs there – BB%, defense – but the question is trade value, and I think right now Gordon has much more than Brown.)

    2. I love it but I don’t have a …… Dom Brown + for Dee Gordon is fine with me but Kemp is just coming into best best power years . I don’t think they will trade him.
      Besides Hamels is a lot tougher than people give him credit for. He stays! Madsen stays!
      the rest is up in the air.

    1. Obvious but correct moves.

      This is going to be a tough off season – 2 key FAs, 2 high salary arb cases, needs apart from the possibly departing FAs, the Howard injury, salary likely more constrained than it has been in years, thin (hopefully temporarily) minor league system.

      This is really quite a test for Amaro. It’s going to be tough to negotiate those problems without ending up with a measurably inferior teams next year (albeit still a contender because of the big 3). I’m sure he has a plan. I hope that it is a good one.

      1. Why would salary be constrained? Lidge, Oswalt and Ibanez were roughly $30,000,000 in salary last year. Even with Howard’s ridiculous contract starting, there should be plenty of money to spend.

        1. This has been gone over many times on this site – essentially scheduled salary increases, plus arb increases for Hamel;s and Pence (and remember, we didn’t have to pay for a full season of Pence this year), eat up almost every penny of that. Don’t have time to lay out the numbers, but we do not have plenty of money to spend.

    2. I was wondering if anyone would mention that. So, considering that Lidge raked in around 12 1/2 million minus the 1 1/2 million buyout for a minus of 11 million and Oswalt cost Philly 5 million (not to mention the 11 million paid by Houston (Cot’s top of Philly page) minus 2 million buyout I figure they got a spare 14 million to think about putting to other needs now.
      The pre-arranged rejection of the offer of arbitration to Lidge and Ibanez is looking better and better now, as a little more investigating shows a player who reneges on an agreement on arbitration could be instantly released with only 30 days termination pay (Cot’s). Only that to damage the player and agent’s reputation, and that’s not to say an overt iron-clad agreement couldn’t be reached beforehand, don’t know that it couldn’t. They can also offer arbitration to Oswalt, Madson, and Rollins to ensure some fallback draft choice compensation.

      1. Marfis, why do you insist on the ass backwards way of looking at the salary situation (which, aside from being unnecessarily complicated, ignores built in salary increases in current contracts)? You need to look at current obligations, plus estimates for arbitrations & filling out the 25 man roster, then look at the SS closer situations. There is not a penny of spare money from declining those options, all eaten up in other players scheduled increases. Those of us who have done the math have universally come to the reluctant conclusion that, even being optimistic about the arbs, we are looking at around 20 million of so to either sign Rollins/Madson or replacements. If they can replace them for less, then yes there might be some extra money to play with. Otherwise no. Unless the payroll increase significantly (Amaro said it won’t, and there is the luxury tax looming, though I think there is a chance that they might go over budget for the right player).

        And why you persist in this “pre-arranged arbitration decline” fantasy is beyond me. Pretty sure it is against the rules, and in any event there’s no incentive for the player to agree absent a concrete benefit in return, which is definitely against the rules. Dumbest thing you ave written here, and that is saying a lot.

        1. Right now, the Phillies would be ~$120,000,000 for next season. This past year was ~$165,000,000. That leaves somewhere in the neighborhood of $45,000,000 for Pence, Hamels, Rollins, Madson and bench players. $20,000,000 covers Rollins and Madson (maybe slightly more), I’ll say $7,500,000 for Pence, $13,000,000 for Hamels. That leaves ~$5,000,000 for Backup Catcher, 5th Outfielder (though they could go Bowker or Moss, I suppose), and a backup infielder or two.

          Seems manageable to me. Plus, I imagine the budget can go up a few Million next year. It may be a little tight, but I don’t see the doomsday some people seem to.

          1. I’d quibble with some of that (Pence will certainly get more, for example), but you’re not far wrong. The reason I consider that cash constrained is that I see unmet needs in that scenario. Especially since I think that Rollins is gone, and the SS options other than him are unappealing. 5 million, say, to sign an inferior stop gap at SS (no, I don’t think the job should or will go to Galvis yet) leaves 5 million to upgrade elsewhere, which won’t buy you much. (Micheal Cuddyer would be a great addition, a perfect fit for this team, but won’t be had for 5 million.) And that leaves out a potential need for a 5th starter (I am not convinced of Blanton’s health; the ostensibly “good news” recently I read differently than some. It sure sounds like he needs surgery.)

            The budget could, and might, go up, but Amaro’s statements (granted, not always the best guide) and the looming luxury cap suggest maybe not this time.

            So I guess where I differ with you is that I’m not comfortable with present team, minus Rollins, plus a lesser SS. Though we would still be contenders because of the big 3.

            At the risk of getting a reputation for having a weird Cuddyer obsession, absent a truly surprising (in a good way) trade, a Cuddyer signing might go further than anything to restore some of my faith in Amaro.

          2. The Phils have more available to spend than you show.

            The Phils have commitments to 9 players next year at about $110-112 million.

            The Phils’ 2011 payroll was more like $175 million.

            There’s also the possibility of building some deferred compensation into the new contracts that easily could be, in effect, another $5-10 million bump in spending.

            If the team is so inclined, they can bring Rollins, Madson and even Oswalt back, give new contracts to Hamels and Pence and upgrade the bench.

            My starting point in making roster and payroll decisions for next year would be that the Phils were the NL’s best in 2011 and that major change is not necessary. Furthermore, the team’s plan to build a dominant rotation has proven to be successful and should continue undiluted. Finally, regardless of what Amaro has said publicly, I would turn the LF job over to Brown in 2012 to see what he can do.

            1. Okay, let’s go through this yet again:

              (a) 9 players under contract: 112.9 million
              (b) Mayberry, Worley: 1 million, maybe a tad more
              (c) Pence/Hamels: I’ve seen estimates as high as 30 million. If they go to arb, I’d say we are looking at least 25 million. Backloaded contracts could happen, but aren’t guaranteed, and would still IMO result in about 20 million for the 2 of them
              (d) Madson/Rollins or replacements – people have been throwing around 20 million here also. If they are re-signed, 20 million is low. Replacements could be a little less if they economize at SS (or even lowerif they don’t get an established closer, but that seems unlikely).
              (e) 10 other players on the rooster – people seem to have this idea that the Phillies are going to go with 10 minimum salary players from the organization. Won’t happen. More realistic: 10 million for 10 players.

              Now, there are a lot of assumptions and uncertainties embedded in the above. And sure a serious of unrealistically optimistic assumptions could get you to significant salary space. But the way I see it, 113+1+20+20+10=164, almost this year’s salary on the dot with nothing left over. Maybe, as I said, 5 million left over if a cheap stop gap SS is signed.

              The “175” figure is wrong, but does raise an interesting point. It was 166 after subtracting the Oswalt payment from the Astros. But for luxury tax purposes, the relevant figure was the payroll before subtracting the Oswalt payment. So I THINK they could raise the payroll by close to 10 million without running afoul of the luxury tax. I hope they do.

              I certainly agree with you about Brown, but don’t think he will get a shot. More on the rest later.

            2. LarryM – You make several valid points, but our calculations are somewhat different.

              When adding up the 2012 commitments to 9 players plus the Lidge and Oswalt buy-outs, my total is $110.4 million, not $112.9 million.

              The $166 million you refer to was based on the Phils’ opening day payroll and does not include additions made during the season like the Pence salary (I think the Astros sent $1 million in the trade.).

              I agree that the combined salaries of Pence, Hamels, Madson and Rollins should be much higher than $40 million and that it would take $10 million or so in deferred comp to get the 2012 combined salaries down to $40 million.

              Montgomery has expressed a willingness to flirt with the salary cap number. So, there is a question of whether the Phils are planning a payroll in the high $160s or the high $170s.

            3. Well derek, see below for actual agreement that they COULD end up increasing the payroll a little if they wanted to. Hopefully they will. You’re right about the 166, except that their share of 1/3 of the year for Pence didn’t amount to much, and was the only signficant salary addition for the year. So they were still out of pocket less than 170 million (they had to have been, else with the exra 8 million from the Oswalt contract included they WOULD have been over the cap).

            4. Cot’s agrees with Larry’s total. To that I added $8,000,000 for all of the non-arb guys making ~minimum. While I agree with Larry that Cuddyer would be nice, I doubt he’d do it. This year he can see he’d be at First until Howard comes back, then he’d probably split time between 3rd and Left. But where does he play in 2013? Third? He hasn’t played there in years, and his TZ and UZR indicate he was not very good at it. And for everyone’s (not necessarily here) being down on Brown, his Rookie season #s are better than Mike Schmidt’s. Not saying he’ll be Schmidt, just that it may be a little early to think of him as the second coming of Midre Cummings.

            5. I was going to go Wes Chamberlain, but Midre a pretty fun name you don’t get to use very often. Besides Lastings Milledge sounds more like an English Barrister than a failed baseball prospect.

      2. One way or another, they are going to offer arbitration to Madson and Rollins as they would be fine with either outcome (one year contract or first round draft pick). They will not offer arbitration to Oswalt because they don’t want to pay him top dollar for a year.

        Lidge and Ibanez are afterthoughts at this juncture. Ibanez is or should be done and Lidge will only be around if he takes a really low dollar one year contract – and that might actually happen but if it doesn’t, it’s no big deal.

        I agree with LarryM that this is Amaro’s biggest test. I hope our friend Ruben takes a page from the the Flyers player acquisition handbook. Keep essential and talented younger players (Giroux and Van Riemsdyk) and keep and acquire valuable veterans (Pronger, Hartnell, Jagr, etc. . . ) and trade two good, but not great, mid-career players (Carter and Richards) for tons of young guys with big upsides, and use savings on the mid-career guys to sign a player you really need (goalie). Paul Holmgren is a freaking genius.

        1. Remember that Pat Gillick is still around to help and advise Ruben so I am confident that we will see some interesting moves we do not expect.

          1. Yeah, that would be awesome. Remember, he was the guy who got us Freddy Garcia and Adam Eaton . . . ooops . . . wrong moves.

            Seriously, Gillick is not a mastermind when it comes to trades alone, but he is helpful. His best moves are the subtle ones . . . Werth, J.C. Ramirez, etc. . . .

            1. Don’t forget he put the full court press on for Al Soriano as well and only missed out on him b/c the Cubbies forked over one of the worst contracts in MLB history.

        2. catch….good analysis of the situation….Lidge is open to coming back at a lower price it appears …..and as for trade chips…..IMO only Dom Brown, Cole Hamels, Worley and Shane Vic have value to bring back impact quality in return.

          1. I’d love to trade Victorino in the right deal. He’s proven he’s incapable of being the leadoff hitter without Jimmy Rollins. He has no value as a middle of the order hitter and I prefer Utley in the two spot.

            1. B/c Vic can’t hit 1st or 5th we should deal him? He’s one of the few hitters we have at a reasonable salary, I don’t think trading him b/c he has value is the answer.

        3. Now if we could just get Joe Banner to teach him how to manage a salary cap, the Flyers would be in pole position….

      3. marfis…..from MLBTR…’Garcia, the Yankees’ lone ranked free agent, could obtain an offer of arbitration if the Yankees are prepared to offer him a roster spot in 2012. Even if the Yankees aren’t interested in bringing Garcia back, they could set up a handshake agreement and obtain the extra pick’…………I guess pre-arranged deals do occur.

  15. funny people mention Gillick. The day after the phillies lost I saw him on the phone walking down broad street towards the stadium. I thought to myself he is at work already,he loves to walk from his hotel in town to the park.

  16. I mentioned this already, but it’s important enough that it deserves it’s own comment, and I wanted to go into more detail.

    Aside from unlikey cheap internal options at closer and SS, the only way that the Phillies can afford a signfiacnt FA acquisition (aside from replacements for Rollins or Madson) or even a trade acquisition that amounts to a signfiicant net payroll increase, is by increasing the payroll. Payroll in this case being defined as the owners out of pocket salary expenses. Some people have said – myself frankly included – have said that this is unlikely because the owners don’t want to go over the salary cap, and there were close to it in 2011. But there is a catch here, and one that helps the Phillies. The cap number for the Phillies was higher than the out of pocket number, primarily because of the Oswalt payment from the Astros. (The numbers still don’t quite add up, that doesn’t fully explain the gap between the “real” payroll and the cap payroll; I’m not sure why). Basically, by year end the Phillies’s cap number was close to the number derek gave, 175. I said it was wrong because I don’t think that’s the relevant number, since that Phillies were not out of pocket that amount. The 166 numbers given by COTs is the generally accepted number. Except that it is relevant for the limited purpose of the cap, which was 178 million.

    Assuming that the cap goes up a little (it’s been rising only gradually in recent years), IF the team wants to add payroll, it probably can add somewhere between 8-12 million without going over the luxury tax. Maybe a little more, but keep in mind that they’ll want to preserve some in season flexibility.

    1. The luxury tax threshold has increased by at least $7 million every season since 2004. If that pattern holds, the threshold for 2012 should be at least $185 million.

      If the Phils are willing to spend that much, they could bring back Madson, Rollins and Oswalt (a move I’d favor if he’s healthy enough) and strengthen the bench significantly. They may need somebody to fill in at 1B for a good part of the season. They need to add a versatile IF with a bat who can fill in frequently when Rollins, Utley and Polanco don’t play.

      If a reasonably healthy Oswalt returns next year, the Phils should easily return to the playoffs and they would have enough cushion to play Brown every day, let him experience growing pains and put up with his defensive lapses.

      If the Phils had a Starlin Castro waiting in the wings, I’d let Rollins go. Instead, the Phils have a not-ready-for-prime-time Freddy Galvis. I’d not be interested in Reyes because he has missed 191 games over the last three seasons and cannot be relied upon to remain healthy for a full season. Bringing Rollins back on a three-year deal, possibly with a team and/or a vesting option for year four, is not an ideal move for the Phillies, but right now and for the next couple of seasons, there are no better alternatives.

      1. Oswalt apparently wants to move on from Philly according to Salisbury, so he is gone…….can you get Jimmy for three years…yes…pony up big time..at least $15/16M annually——3yrs/$48M.

        1. If Oswalt is set on moving on you would be foolish not to offer Arbitration and gain the 1st & compensatory picks it would leave us with. He will be a much cheaper option then CC, CJ, & the rest of the pitchers hitting the open market, he will most likely be looking for a 3-4 year deal, and will get offers from texas, st louis, chicago cubs, washington, etc…I doubt highly he accepts
          I would offer Madson arbitration and wait to match a contract offer
          I would offer Rollins arbitration and wait to match as well
          I would let lidge walk away
          I would buy Ibanez a plane ticket
          I would offer Hamels a 6 year, $120 million contract today and hope he takes it before CC signs with one of the LA franchises

          1. i would take Galvis at $400,000 and 3 1st round picks and 3 sandwich compensation picks if oswalt, madson, and rollins leave rather then be stuck with $40 million a year for long term deals between the three.

            1. They would either not sign the guys they pick or draft easy sign low dollar guys. The Phillies are not going to have a twelve million dollar draft. Will not happen.

            2. Conservatively, that would be 9 wins we’d lose (not counting missing Howard for however long he’s out). I assume Worley would get one of those wins back, maybe 2. Galvis would likely be a 0-.5 WAR player and a FA Closer would likely be ~1.5-2.0 WAR. Conservatively we’d be losing 5 wins (on the high side, I’d assume 4.0 WAR for Rollins 4.0 WAR for Oswlat and 2.0 WAR for Madson, leaving the Phillies out ~6 wins).

              I would be much happier to keep Rollins and Madson, while letting Oswalt walk (I’m quite certain I read somewhere that Oswalt can’t be offered Arb., so no compensation picks)

    2. See, I just disagree they need any significant FA acquisitions. I’d like to see them stick to somewhere between 160-170, leaving about 10MM for in-season trades (If Howard misses significant time or another injury hits and necessitates a trade).

  17. The pre-arranged rejection of arbitration by free agents- usually type B free agents, was talked about in articles on MLBTR as happening numerous times in the last offseason, and it is common knowledge that it happened. Such an arrangement does not violate any law that I know of, as it does not influence the rate of compensation for any player who has not agreed to participate in the process and if the player and his agent agree it does not abrogate their rights as they agreed to it, and it does not affect the Union or Collective Bargaining rights as it does not penalize a team for signing a player , as a team is not deprived of a draft choice, but instead an entirely new draft choice is created. And the Union has agreed to the draft process in Collective Bargaining. The teams may be collectively penalized in a negligible manner, as to the moving back of every draft choice past that point, But all teams have previously agreed through Collective Bargaining to the draft and free agent compensation process.

    And also, as above, in the unlikely event a player and agent would damage their name and reputation and damage the players future prospects to play for at least one team, If a player reneges on accepting arbitration, (and an iron-clad agreement beforehand is not possible and don’t know that it is) the player could be quickly released and due only 30 days termination pay.

  18. As to the increases to next season’s payroll: all that’s built in: Lee up by 10.5, Victorino up by 2 , Polanco up by 1, and Ruiz up by .95. That’s around 14.5 million. That would be covered by what comes off for Lidge and Oswalt.. So that’s overdone.

    Then you have arbitration. You non-tender Valdez, because I say you could bring him back at the minimum and save some. You non-tender Benny Francisco and that would save about a million.
    Kendrick- I think they can trade him and still have 5 starters and can have a better bullpen guy in his stead. ( I also say they can trade Blanton- maybe have to have some pay adjustments thrown in, and Polanco)
    Then you have Arbitration awards for Hamels and Pence which will be mitigated by what the made on the current payroll which will hold down the absolute increase.

    Million dollars for Mayberry and Worley ? They are not eligible for arbitration, re-new them for the minimum. That saves about a million. That’s the way the system works.

    So, the massive built in increase in payroll. Don’t see it. It will not cancel out the massive amounts coming off . There should be some room for moves. Though one should always keep in mind the previous season’s payroll, in calculating the next season’s payroll. I will figure it in the more commonly used way. If correctly done they should come out with the same outlook.

    1. If you trade Blanton, Kendrick and Polanco, who’s your 5th starter and who’s playing Third? Also, no need to trade Kendrick, just non-tender him and let him walk (I have no idea who would even trade for a 6th starter).

      You also forgot Howard’s salary increase. Just go to Cot’s and save yourself all this adding and subtracting.

      1. As to the 5th starter, if they could remove the salaries of Blanton and Kendrick they could have numerous 5th starters. It would be Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Worley, and whoever, and would not damage the team’s prospects too much at all. From the current roster it could be Mathieson, or J. C. Ramirez or numerous other minimum salary options.

        1. Kendrick could be a 5th starter in places and that would be for maybe a bench player who makes slightly less or slightly more, to get some of the salary off of the pitcher position.

          If they could move the 6.25 million of Polanco plus the pitching salaries they could make numerous moves. Some would call for Aramis Ramirez, I would trade for an OF or 2 and try Mayberry at 3B to work in there with some defensive alternatives to him as fall backs. I believe Mayberry has played 3rd as far back as College.

          I believe most people would not be upset if they could move the salaries of Polanco, Blanton, and Kendrick.

          1. Marfis, as long as we are playing what if, I have one for you. Let’s pretend that everyone of the best free agents available have a secret desire to play in Philadelphia so overwhelming great that they all agree to play for the Phillies for the minimum!!!

            Kendrick aside (whose low salary could be shed easily by non tendering him, but so what), the other two guys are basically non-tradeable. And in the unlikely chance that they could be traded, the Phillies would probably have to pay most or all of their salaries. Which would be beneficial in the very limited sense of allowing the management to spend more without paying the luxury tax, but that’s far from the only barrier to an increased payroll.

            Blanton I suspect from reports couldn’t even pass a physical. (Reading between the lines, he needs surgery but doesn’t want it.) If he could pass the physical, I imagine some team maybe taking a chance on him if the Phillies paid his full salary and took a grade C prospect in return, but I don’t see that benefiting the Phillies much. Polanco maybe has a LITTLE more value, given the thin ranks of major league third basemen, but that’s a reason to hold onto him as well. You like the prospect of M. Martinez at third next year? Me neither.

            1. Oh, Mayberry at third. Right. This is an idea that seems to be in the air. I suspect – feel free to correct me if I’m wrong – that if Mayberry transitioned from OF to 3B as a 28 year old major leaguer, after not playing an inning at third (or any IF position other than 1B) as a professional, it would be a first in major league history. Possible, I guess, barely, but not necessarily something I’d want to count on if I were contending for a major league title.

              I mean Marfis, why not dream large? How about Mayberry filling in for Rollins at short, and Pence at third? Then you just need to find a couple of corner outfielders, much easier than finding a SS and 3B.

        2. Blanton should be fine as a Fifth starter, if he’s healthy. If he isn’t, you can’t trade him anyway. Why would you want Outfielders, you already have 3 under team control for multiple seasons?

          JC Ramirez had a 4.5 FIP in AA, why in the world would you make him an MLB starter? Mathieson’s FIP was also 4.5 in AAA. He might fare better than JC, but at least with Blanton you know you’re likely getting ~4.1 FIP and usually 150-200 IP.

    2. Marfis, this isn’t rocket science. Everyone – everyone – who has looked at this systematically has come to the same conclusion (though the spin is often different). Scroll up and see. Yes, likely increases from arbitration (Pence, Hamels alone), salary increases (you’re right about Howard, but Lee gets a huge raise, along with several smaller raises), reasonable estimates for filling in empty bench/bullpen slots, presumed increases to Madson/Rollins or their replacements, and paying Pence for a full year, do cancel out what’s coming off the payroll (and keep in mind there that the Astros paid for almost half of Oswalt’s salary), almost exactly. Since Rollins and Madson are most likely gone, there will be at most 20 million “available” (less if Pence and Hamels go to arb instead of agreeing to back-loaded long term contracts), but likely most of that will go to signing their replacements.

      As explained above, there IS a possibility of some real flexibility, IF the Phillies decide to increase to payroll to near the luxury tax threshold.

      1. I also want to kind of unpack “presumed increases to Madson/Rollins or their replacements.” The two between them this season were massively underpaid, 13.3 million for the 2 of them. And of course that 13.3 “comes off the books.” There was a lot of semi wishful thinking that the 2 of them could be signed for about 10 million per year each, 20 million total. That seems unlikely now, it would be more. Even replacements would probably be more (or would represent inferior players – it’s very hard to find bargains like that on the FA market). So sure, there’s some “flexibility” in the sense that they have a little money to play around with, but they have needs to fill at closer and SS.

        1. Honestly, I’d rather they overpay for Rollins (by a little), then get study with Furcal, Punto or Scutaro for the next 3 years.

          1. But what’s a little? From the press conference, the message I get is “I want to test the FA market to maximize my contract.” To sign a player like that during the (brief) period of team exclusivity, generally you’re going to need an overwhelming offer. Overpay by a LOT.

            Of course it’s still possible that he’ll sign with the Phillies after the exclusivity period ends. Maybe no one gives him close to what he wants, he comes back to the Phillies and agrees to a more reasonable contract. But can the Phillies wait around for that to maybe happen?

            I just think Rollins is gone. Don’t like it, but there it is.

            1. I could live with 3 years @ $40M with a club option for a fourth year @ $9-10M. If there were better options at Short, I’d let him walk, but sans anything more than borderline competent to use in his place, I’d work my ass off to keep him. I’m less concerned with Madson. I’d like to keep him, but it wouldn’t be that big a loss.

            2. I just don’t think that that would get it done. I would love to be wrong on this, I really like Rollins (and, while this is NOT reason enough for a 4 or 5 year contract, I think his aging curve is probably going to be reasonably gentle).

            3. Here’s kind of an interesting little factoid on Rollins. After his MVP season, there was a feeling that he could repeat that a couple of times he all of the sudden would be looking like a good HOF candidate. Didn’t happen, of course, and he is looking like the kind of player who falls just short.

              But kind of a subsidiary question at the time was whether he had a shot at 3000 hits. And even though his yearly hit totals have declined (mainly because of missing an average of 32 games per year) since then, he still has, per Bill James’ calculator, an 11% chance of topping 3000 hits.

            4. JRoll may ride on Jose Reyes’ coat-tails in the FA process…..Reyes will command the first and the best offer and Rollins follows in line.

    3. marfis…..Concerning salary increases….Matt Swartz predicts :’….. Hunter Pence getting a $4.2MM raise with 22 HR and 97 RBI, in part due to his excellent 658 PA. Getting onto the field matters to panels, both because you can accumulate bigger counting stat totals and because playing time is just important….’

  19. If you really went to Cot’s you would know Howard doesn’t get a salary increase. He will make 20 million next season, same as he made this season, and he will make 20 million in 2013 also.

    1. Yeah, I realized that. You just seemed to be going through a lot of mathematical gymnastics that could have been easier done by saying Cot’s says the current commitments are $120MM, end of discussion.

  20. Should the Phillies get in the Yu Darvish bidding? Or is it a Yankees slam-dunk signing since they have the money.

    1. I don’t think the Yankees are on the inside track, but it’s probably a very poor use of the Phillies’ resources to sign a high money pitcher.

  21. Yu Darvish will cost 75-100 Million and how is the 100 Million for Dice-K working out for the Red Sox?

    The Phillies Priority is Hamels, and maybe Oswalt if he will sign a 2 year deal and 8-10 Million.

    1. well SA……..the Sox won a World Series in 2007 with him in the rotation….how that work out for them?

            1. I believe it was a $51 Million posting fee, then a 6 year $50 Million contract. He sucked mostly outside of 2007, so most of his WAR is there. He wasn’t even a significant contributor to the World Series (not in the way an every day player would be), so $100,000,000 and you lucked into a World Series title around the same time. Yippee.

            2. I guess that reasoning can also be applied to Brad Lidge…a 4yr, $40M+ expenditure with a collective 4yr WAR 1.5. As with Dice K…just not worth it….oh but his 2008 WAR 2.8 and a WS win, oops.

            3. No, I don’t think that Lidge’s contract was a good deal overall but I would say that Lidge’s 2008 season was much more of a factor in the team’s WS win that year than was Dice-K’s impact on the 2007 season. I would also not there is a bit of difference between $40M and $100M !!!!

  22. What is the fastest a newly drafted player has moved to the Big League Team? Any position
    Just wondering because we have quite a few new guys that are really good.

    1. Phillies or overall? Mike Leake never threw a single Minor League pitch. There have also been a few potiion players over the years who completely skipped the minors or only spent a few months there.

      Suffice it to say, none of the new draftees are likely to join that list.

    2. Pete Incaviglia was drafted #8 in 1985 and started immediately in the majors in 1986 without playing in the minors and there have been a few others.

      1. The guy we should of drafted in ’97 Troy Glaus played his first pro ball in the carribean and his minor league career was only about 400 ABs. He could of moved to first or move whatshiscrankyself from third to first . Maybe he wouldn’t of been so cranky.
        I will never understand why people down Scott for telling the truth about the situation with Wade running the Phils

  23. The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that signing Jose Reyes is probably the best move the team can make.

    To be sure, there are risks with Reyes. He sometimes gets hurt and has occasional off years. He would no longer be playing for a contract. I am not sure what kind of influence he is in the clubhouse. These are real issues and potentially could create real problems. But . . . .

    It is not at all difficult to project Reyes as a 4-6 WAR per year player over the next 4-5 years. Over this time, I would guess that he projects to be, on average, 2-3 WAR per year better than Jimmy Rollins, who is on the downside of his career, projects to be. That’s a $10-15 million per year incremental value over Rolins, which is huge. Huge. But he is probably not going to cost $10-15 million a year more than Rollins. Rather, Rollins will probably command between $10-13 million a year. Reyes will probably be paid something like $16-19 million a year. Reyes is likely worth this premium based on his projected performance, particularly at the back end of the contract – when Rollins will be running on fumes or retired, Reyes should still be playing fairly well.

    Also, by signing Reyes, the team is immediately infused with top-level, fairly young, talent at a positively critical position. All of a suddent, with the addition of Pence, the maturation of Mayberry, and the promotion of Brown, this team doesn’t seem as old. Rather, it would have a nice blend of younger talent, mid-career talent, and slightly older talent, but not one player who is really old.

    In addition, Reyes gives you flexibility. He used to play second base. If Utley continues to decline, Reyes can move to second and Galvis or another player can play shortstop. That flexibility could end up being very attractive to the team.

    And acquiring Reyes really won’t cost you the kind of talent that Amaro and Gillick regularly surrendered to obtain players. Over time, I have concluded that, if you are going to be paying top dollar for a player, in most cases, you probably end up doing better if you just sign the player to a FA contract, rather than trading a ton of talent to another team AND paying the player a lot of money. And, if you sign Reyes, while the Phils will lose a first round pick, they will offer Rollins arbitration anyway, he’ll leave, and they’ll get another pick in return. Also, if they offer arbitration to Madson and he leaves, they’ll have a top second pick. There will be virtually no impact to the farm system as a result of signing Reyes.

    1. I’m inclined to agree with you. It is a bit of a high risk/high reward strategy, though, and it wouldn’t leave them much room to address other needs. And would require them to bump the payroll a bit. And it might even require them to first get some cost certainty regarding Hamels and Pence, to avoid a possible “oops, we just went over the luxury tax” moment. So a tall order. But yes.

    2. Signing Reyes roadblocks the sky-rocketing fast rising Tyler Greene from reaching the summit.

      1. God bless Tyler Greene. You must be a friend or family member, so keep him healthy and let him know that if he keeps it up, there will be a place for him on the big team or with another major league team. Still, you need to be realistic. In the best case scenario, it’s probably a 3 year minor league apprenticeship and, more likely, a 4 year experience. But, don’t worry, if he’s so good that he’s in the majors after 2 years, believe me, there will be room for him somewhere. The Phillies are not in the business of turning their backs on talent.

    3. Wow, couldn’t dislike that idea any more. You mention that Reyes salary will probably “only” be $6m more per season but fail to mention that they contract will also probably be 2-3 years longer.

      Start with the fact that as speed player, Reyes has missed time each of the last 3 seasons with leg injuries (played in a total of 36 games in 09, 133 in 10, and 126 in 11) and he turns 29 in 2012. It’s highly unlikely that his hamstrings get better as he moves into his 30’s.

      So in year 3-5 of the contract, the Phillies will be paying a 32-34 year-old shortstop with cronically bad legs $19m per season? Aren’t people complaining about Rollins declining production as a 32-33 year old SS?

      1. The point about the injuries are well-taken, that’s one of the risks.

        On the contract, would Reyes be overpaid at age 33 and 34? Yeah, probably. But he’d probably also be underpaid over the life of the contract. Furthermore, don’t you want a long-term contract to be ending when a player is 33 or 34, rather than discussing an extension when a player is 33 like you would for Rollins?

        Sorry, your points are legitimate, but you haven’t swayed me. The flexibility issue on his playing second or short is enormous. If one of the young hot shots develops, you can flip Reyes to another position. Furthermore, if he can still play, but is just not good enough, it would be easy to engineer a trade where you eat some salary and get rid of the contract. Nope, this is the best move.

        1. Not sure how you determine that he would be underpaid for most of the contract or easily project him to be a 4-6 war player moving forward since he’s only been close to that range once in the last 3 years. Amazingly enough, that was his contract season in 2011.

          Also not sure how easy it would be to dump his contract if his play is suddenly not good enough without paying a huge chunk of his remaining contract along with the contract of his replacement…

          But I really don’t expect to sway you, just to explain why its not the best move…

  24. FROM Rumors:
    “Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe wonders if the Red Sox would offer some combination of Kevin Youkilis, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson and Jed Lowrie in a trade for starting pitching.”
    YOUKILLIS WOW

  25. Below is my idea of a strong 25-man roster for 2012 that will fit within the Phils’ budget (possibly with deferred comp), not exceed the 2012 salary cap threshold, make the team a little younger, keep the team strong when Polanco, Rollins or Utley can’t play, and lead to another NL East title. Gone are Ibanez, Lidge, and Kendrick
    1B – Giambi (Howard out for most of the season)
    2B – Utley
    SS – Rollins (3-year deal with a team or vesting option for year 4, possibly with some deferred comp)
    3B – Polanco
    RF – Pence (signed to a multiple-year extension starting at $10 million in 2012)
    CF – Victorino
    LF – Brown
    SP – Halladay
    SP – Lee
    SP – Hamels (signed to a four-year extension starting at $15 million in 2012, possibly with some deferred comp)
    SP – Oswalt (signed to a two- or three-year deal with a $10 million base and bonuses based on innings pitched, with some of deferred compensation)
    SP – Blanton
    CL – Madson (signed to a three-year deal paying $10 million in 2012)
    BP – Contreras or another veteran reliever if Contreras is on the DL for an extended period
    BP – Bastardo
    BP – De Fratus
    BP – Worley (long relief and No. 6 starter)
    BP – two of Schwimer, Stutes and Herndon, one of whom to be replaced by Aumont when he’s ready
    Bench – Callaspo, 3B, 2B, SS (via trade with LAA; gets at least 450 PAs; becomes starting 3B in 2013; becomes FA after 2013)
    Bench – Mayberry, OF, 1B
    Bench – Andruw Jones, OF
    Bench – Valdez, SS
    Bench – back-up C

  26. It has been said on here that next year’s budget (for the 9 under contract) is 120 million. I don’t have that.. I have it as 110 million and that includes the buy-outs of Oswalt and Lidge.
    Player- salary- sub-total
    Halladay- 20 m. ____
    Lee _____21.5 41.5
    Howard__20___61.5
    Utley____15___76.5
    Blanton__8.5___85
    Victorino_9.5___94.5
    Polanco__6.25_100.75
    Ruiz_____3.7__104.45
    Contreras_2.5__106.95
    Oswalt (b.o.2.0__108.95
    Lidge (b.o. 1.5__110.45

    So that’s 9 guys and the 2 buy-outs, Don’t see the 120 million thing.

    Then you got arbitration:
    So, in this , if you keep Kendrick, 3 million, Then you trade him, if you think he might pull more than that you non-tender. He should make no more than that, and should be easily tradeable because of the shortage of pitching baseball wide, He is acclimated to MLB work and a team who takes him on , can easily win as many of his starts as it loses, and that should count more than the parsing of some strikeout per walk or strikeout per inning pitch thing.

    Hamels as an arbitration award ,( or the first year of long term deal) I always had at 15 million. The guy, Swartz , on MLBTR, estimates 14 million, so I might even be a little high.

    Pence, because he starts at a lower salary than Hamels, and is only in 2nd year of arbitration rather than last for Hamels, should pull less than that. I say 12 million.

    So, the arbitration class worth keeping should pull 30 million. Add to the previous 110 million. That comes in at 140 million, so far.

    The bullpen mass will all pull the minimum. Stutes , Bastardo, and among (DeFratus, Aumont, Savery,Herndon, Schwimer. will all pull the minimum. That would be 7.. So, you account for a closer, and maybe a long reliever or 2 above minimum.
    I say 6 minimum salaries for bullpen. Or 3 million.
    That takes it to 143 million so far. (PLUS CLOSER< PERHAPS MORE)

    Then you account for starters.. Add Mayberry's minimum salary here , plus already computed Victorino, Pence, Howard (DL to begin) Utley, Polanco, Ruiz, and a SS. If Howard is injured at beginning , maybe a LF (some will say Brown at the minimum salary. ( NOTE: YOUNG PLAYERS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR ARBITRATION CAN SIMPLY BE RENEWED AT THE MINIMUM).
    For now I leave LF blank,
    That takes it to 143.5 (PLUS SS< MAYBE LF)

    Bench I say 5 minimum salaries: Example: Kratz, Bowker, Martinez, an IF/OF type, and LHH all OF positions /1B type. Last 2 can be filled with Rule 5 or minor league veteran types. You can also substitute other minimum salary types for the first 3. Those who don't go with this, list what was provide by above minimum salary types on last season's Philly squad that couldn't have been provided by minimum salary guys.

    That takes it to 146 million. So , if you go to the around 176 million payroll that finished as scheduled pay at the end of the season. Or, if you like you can go to the 166 million figure some erroneously figure on. So that leaves 20 to 30 million for a starting SS, a CLOSER, and/or maybe a LF/OF/1B., and maybe a middle reliever or 2, Hope not Lidge.

    I see Rollins pulling 5 years and Philly unwilling to go that route, as are some on here. None of the free agent types other than Jose Reyes will pull that high of a salary, so that leaves more for Closer and/or LF.. I guess they might trade a Domonic Brown based package for Carlos Quentin plus to play LF, and he should pull around 8 million. The stopgap SS might pull 6 million. That will leave 6 to 16 million for closer and/or middle relievers.

    See, nothing to worry about. That also begs for the salary relieving moves I listed before, and I might go into that at some future time.

    1. Marfis you crack me up. Not that you’re far wrong here (I’d quibble with details but there is no point); in fact you manage to reproduce pretty closely the same analysis myself and others have presented and come to the same conclusion: the Phillies probably will have enough to sign a closer and a shortstop, and maybe a little more if they raise the out of pocket payroll, but not much else (remember that they need to have at least a few million available for mid season emergencies). Certainly not enough for an impact signing or trade acquisition. Whether that counts as “plenty of money to spend” or “contrained” is, I guess, a matter of definition, but at the end of the day I’ll stick with “constrained.”

    2. marfis….I am exacerbated….please wait before you go into anymore ‘salary relief strategies’…wait approx 7/8 weeks…Ruben makes most his off-seasons moves Nov thru mid-Dec…..let things play out…then do your discertation.

  27. 05/08/11 Philadelphia Phillies placed C Carlos Ruiz on the 15-Day disabled list retroactive to April 28, 2011. Lower back inflammation
    Chooch went into a slump starting around April 17 and stunk the place out until about May 23.
    My question for “those in the know” is was there any connection this injury and horrible playoff slump. He has been so steady since correcting his swing that a injury may have ensued

    1. Those “in the know” are in Allentown and have been Missing in Action lately, along with their pipeline to the (m)asses .

    2. I think Ryan Doumit of the Pirates would be a good fit with the Phillies as a backup catcher, 1B and RF as the Pirates declined his option.

  28. I don’t know about everyone else, but I have never had more difficulty getting over a team being knocked out of the playoffs than I have experienced this year with the Phillies. I am barely beginning to recover. This was the year that all of the “stars” were aligned for them to win and they didn’t. Damned Cardinals!!!!

    Ruben has a tall task awaiting him this offseason. Hopefully, he can give us new reasons to hope.

  29. You guys talk to much big club on here. Its revolting.

    Anyway, I’m starting to think that we should extend an offer of arbitration to Oswalt. He’s going to get a multi year offer somewhere. Why not offer? Even in the unliklihood he accepts

  30. You really make it appear so easy along with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something which I think I would by no means understand. It seems too complicated and very wide for me. I’m having a look forward for your subsequent post, I will try to get the cling of it!

  31. Ruben has added another piece to the bench. The Phils signed Lance Nix to a 2 yr deal. The Phils bench/depth will be much improved. You now have Thome, Wiggington, and Nix coming off the bench. That goes along with Schneider and Valdez. So does the Rollins deal get done next? Does Ruben have any big trades up his sleeve? It definately now looks like Dom Brown will be in AAA in 2012.

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