General Discussion – Week of April 15

I hear Cincinnati is nice this time of year. No wait, that statement is never true. Any time of year. TAKE THAT CINCINNATI!

So let’s talk about baseball.

p.s. I have only been to Cincinnati once, and I had no problems with it.

111 thoughts on “General Discussion – Week of April 15

  1. Ben Revere,

    I do not know how you just did that but whatever it was… I thank you.

    Every Phillies fan

    1. For who, the Phillies?

      You can see a catch like that every week of the season on ESPN. If Revere played deeper he would not have needed to leave his feet. His playing shallow doesn’t seem to pay dividends and even looks like a minus as he has missed other catches near the fence that have gone for extra base hits.

      I’m not at all impressed with Revere’s glove. Very average.

      His bat is appalling. A .498 OPS and it’s difficult to see how he gets that over .600. Hitting the ball over the infielders head seems to be a stretch for him.

      1. Haters gonna hate. Revere’s defense is quite good in center. Yes his bat has something to be desired but we all knew this coming in. It doesn’t help that Cholly is batting him at leadoff.

        But Revere’s glove is anything but average.

      2. What kind of guy is Ben Revere? ——‘Ben Revere wore the message “Pray for Boston” on his glove on Monday night. After the pregame stretch, he returned to the clubhouse and put a white piece of tape with the message written in black ink on the glove. “When I went out there, I came back and put it on, just thinking about all those people out there,” Revere said. “All the families. Something tragic like that, anywhere in the world, I’m always praying and thinking about that.”

  2. grrr. did anyone really think horst would get through the ninth without giving up a run? he, durbin and valdes have been terrible; if adams was available, why not bring him to start the ninth instead of making him inherit a mess? great idea to bring up utley to pinch hit, then charlie undercuts everything by bringing in horst in a tie game. geez

    1. I wasn’t happy to see Horst either, but in his defense, the hits he gave up were an infield dribbler and an outfield bloop. Just bad luck, really.

    2. He had some bad luck. The infield dribbler and the ball that Nix probably should’ve caught were the two runs that scored and Adams gave up a little seeing eye base hit.

    3. Why are Horst, Valdes and Durbin here?

      The only reason for the appearance of any of these three losers with Apple softball team stuff is because the game is already lost. Do the Phillies need three guys like that in their pen?

      1. Because Stutes, Diekman and DeFratus didn’t step up in ST. One of those guys steps up and grows a set and we aren’t talking about the three you named above.

      2. Horst had a really good year last season. Valdes is the long man. As for Durbin, well, I wasn’t a fan of the move.

    4. It appears likely, as speculated on WIP, that Manuel and Dubin were not expecting Utley to tie up the game. Caught unawares by the Utley home run, they did not have time to warm up Bastardo or Adams, Revere didn’t help by making out on a 2-0 pitch hastening the end of top of the eighth inning. They should have used Bastardo in the eighth and Adams in the ninth. The game could have been won if it was still tied going into the tenth inning and the Reds had already played the Chapman card.

  3. a guess a bigger question is, what the heck happened to the offense? been virtually invisible since the mets least lee wasn’t tagged for the loss.

    1. Some of it’s good pitching. Nolasco can be good every now and then and Fernandez was absolutely filthy.

      That said, there’s really no excuse to not hitting guys like Kevin Slowey and Bronson Arroyo though.

      1. But Fernandez was attacking the zone with his fastball. The Phillies hitters were able to put the ball in play, they just didn’t square it up. Then the next day the same guys couldn’t square up Slowey’s 89 MPH laser beam straight “heater”.

        Can they even square up batting practice stuff?

  4. Kenny Giles made an appearance at EST today, when I got there there were already 2 men on and then Giles got 2 K’s, one on a curve(slider?) and the other on a FB. The next guy ripped a ball down the 1st base line for a triple that ended his inning due to pitch count. He came out the next inning and got 2 more K’s on FB’s and a GO. Couldn’t see a radar gun but he was really bringing it. On the other field Keivy Rojas made a 1 inning appearance and went K, E6, FO and K throwing 88-92 and looking very good. Offensively Cozens had a nice line drive single after a K, Pullin went K and weak GO, Green 2 FO, Larry Greene also got a ground single up the middle and a FO, Grullon a well hit single, and Pujols a W and a GO. Two guys coming back from injuries, Dugan DH’d and got a W and Villalobos played 2nd and got a single . Just a few comments on the parent club, Chooch has not played down here for at least 5 days, I guess he’s injured, I really don’t know. And as far as Delmon Young, I’ve seen him get at least 20 AB’s and I don’t think hes pulled a ball in any of those ABs. The few hits he’s gotten have all been to the right side, either weak grounders that get through or bloopers. I guess its his ankle, not allowing him to get any power in his swing, but he’s definitely not ready for ML pitching. Again there are videos at :

    1. Very good.

      Larry Greene looks ….stocky.

      Carlos Tocci looks emaciated on top. Lots of room to put on muscle in the weight room. Generates some decent bat speed despite his slight build.

      I like the look of Zach Green at the plate. Looks like he’ll hit with a lot of power.

      Jose Pujols looks very raw physically. Swing is a little weak. I was expecting more but he has a lot of room for physical growth.

      Dylan Cozens looks like a weak swing.

      Aaron Altherr. Speaking of physical growth. This guys upper body looks filled out now.

      1. ‘Carlos Tocci looks emaciated on top’……thats how typical 6’2″ 17-year olds normally look….unless they are on their HS football teams.

        1. I didn’t mean to suggest there was something wrong with him. No one should be thinking he’ll be playing in Philly in two years.

          1. Nobody was. If he manages to stick at Lakewood this season, he can do CLW in 2014, Reading in 2015, Allentown in 2016, and be ready and more muscled for Philly in 2017. If he can’t stick in Lakewood, likely he repeats in 2014 and we are looking at a late 2017 or start of 2018 move up to Philly. That is a reasonable pace and ahead of the one that Greene Jr. is on.

  5. There were some games where they had plenty of chances to score, but just didn’t get the hits at the right times. Those games don’t worry me too much, but the last couple where nobody can get on base are frustrating. Rollins, Brown and somewhat Utley have started to fall back. And we’re not getting anything offensively from the C position.

    I think we have an idea what to expect from Rollins and Utley, provided they’re healthy. Hopefully Brown has a few big games soon, and hopefully Chooch hits the ground running when he gets back.

  6. Yeah, this offense is really sputtering right now – Howard looks lost most AB’s, C position not doing anything, Brown not being as selective, and Revere is not adding much value offensively. They are going to need better middle relief if the offense doesn’t pick up in games like this. Bastardo, Papelbon, and Adams have been very strong but can’t pitch every day. Not sure why Charlie and Dubee didn’t go with Bastardo in the 8th, Adams in the 9th tonight, and save Horst for the Baez innings after he used Bastardo, Adams, and Aumont.

  7. Philadelphia, take control… take control of your team . Firing amaro will be your liberation.

  8. Amaro has no clue how to assemble a team. If reports are true that gillick is advising him, then gillick might be seniel.time to call up de fratus and dfr horst and durbin.

    1. He assembled a team which won 102 games. We now await the verdict on whether he knows how to rebuild a team on the fly or even in a normal rebuild. The Howard contract and the Pence trade were huge errors, but other than that, I think RA has done pretty well.

  9. Art Charles is one to keep an eye on. I watched him destroy the baseball on Sunday with a sweet swing.

    1. Looking at his career numbers he has major contact problems but walks a ton and can hit for power. Any idea of his glove?

  10. Don’t forget about the fact that we’re missing two big bats in our line up. Ruiz is a clear upgrade over Kratz who has gotten exposed offensively after his hot streak last year. I’m not sure if Delmon Young is a true upgrade over Mayberry/Nix but it should make the bench stronger.

    1. Kratz has been a major dissapointment this year and Galvis looked bad on Brandon Phillips game winning hit last night.

  11. I read an article a day on Halladay. After two bad starts, I’m reading articles that everything’s fine. He just needs to get his timing back. He’ll be fine. Then he has a nice outing and suddenly I’m reading how this was an anomaly. Don’t expect this going forward. Halladay’s not back.

    Let the guy be who he is. Will he ever throw a perfect game again? Probably not. Will he gut out an outing every 5th day? Yes he will. He’ll be better on some days than others. Sounds like just about every pitcher who ever played the game. Should the Phils have sent Hamels to the minors or better yet, release him, after his 1st two starts? I shouldn’t have to answer that.

    I am concerned about the inability to score runs. Manual says, we’ll start hitting soon. That’s what I’ve been hearing for several years. The Phils go into a funk and opening the sports page, every day, becomes like an infected hemorhhoid. Pitchers know when the team can’t score runs. They try to get a little finer. Nibble the corners. Don’t throw the 3 run HR ball that eliminates your team from contention. That’s a recipe for disaster.

    1. With the Phillies having trouble scoring runs why would Charlie Manuel sit Utley who has very good career numbers against Arroyo and is one of the few Phillies who can hit breaking balls?

  12. On Martin.

    I saw a bunch of his last start on Milb.TV and was extremely impressed. The game was at Syracuse and there was no gun, but Martin showed the ability to dominate a game just with a well-commanded fastball. Again, no gun, but he was really bringing it and balls up in the zone were essentially unhittable (believe me, Syracuse tried but no cigar). If you forced me to guess, I would say the FB was sitting 92-95 and touching 96 or 97. He’s got a ways to go and his trouble commanding all of his pitches, but what I saw in this tape was an elite arm. The type of starting pitching arm strength and movement we really haven’t seen since Padilla and Schilling (sorry to lump them together, but I’m just talking about the arm strength).

  13. I posted this after a box score recap and received no response. I’ve also asked Jim Callis in a chat and received no response. Maybe someone here will be able to help me.

    What is Jonathan Pettibone like when he’s good? I saw his two televised appearances in spring training and he was awful. He had a solid fastball that looked mid-nineties but was quite straight that he delivered with a little bit of arm side run, but it had no downward plane. That was his only effective offering. I could not even tell what his attempts at secondary pitches were supposed to be.

    I’m baffled as to how Pettibone achieved the ground ball rate he had at Reading in 2012. I saw nothing from him that would generate ground balls. Pettibone does not look like a prospect to me.

    Based on what I saw if Pettibone were brought up and his pitches resembled what he had in Florida his outings would look like Halladay against the Braves.

    I’m simply amazed that Pettibone was ranked ahead of Morgan and Martin who I was impressed with in spring training. So I’m baffled by Pettibone in a way that hitters seem not to be.

    1. Pettibone is all about the control/command. He does not have overpowering stuff. When he is on, he is like Happ/Kendrick when they are on. His stuff has a chance to be a little better than Kendrick, but he is the same sort of pitcher, without the great stuff to get he by on a day when he has less than the great control/command. If you go by radar gun or look for the great bendy stuff, then Pettibone is not your guy. That’s why I can’t rank him in the top half of our top 10 prospects.

      1. Kendrick’s change-up is a verifable out pitch, which of Pettibones are of that quality? I think when Kendrick was in the minors and even through his first few years in the majors, he was definately a 5 or even AAAA pitcher, but that “suprise” change-up (I say suprise becuase NO ONE thought he’d develop one that good) has him as a solid 4 to me and maybe a low end 3 during his peak if he further refines a cutter.

        As to control/command… if you took that away from any pitcher they would be fringy… take Cliff Lee and now give him average command, he’s probably a 3, not an ace. A better example is perhaps RH… his issue right now is mostly not a lack of power (though it has dropped some), it’s really about his command…

        1. Actually, the best example is the latter half of Greg Maddox’s career (I KNOW I KNOW, HE’S THE EXCEPTION), if you gave him average command, he doesn’t play in tripple A, let alone the majors.

        2. Pettibone’s changeup is a plus (60) pitch (about where you would say Kendrick’s has become). On a pure stuff basis he compares favorably to Kendrick. They both have a sinking fastball with average velocity, they both have an average slider, and they both have a cutter (though Kendrick’s is better but he can become overly reliant on it). Pettibone actually misses more bats than Kendrick does. I think there is some overrating of Kendrick here, he is a solid #4 at best (Pettibone’s ceiling) and that is much better than he was for a while. The problem with Pettibone right now is that his command which used to be very good has been off since he got to AAA last year. I also suspect he has some sequencing and pitchability issues that are not allowing his changeup to play off the fastball.

          I wouldn’t be too concerned about Pettibone, he was always a back end starter unless he took a mysterious leap forward. A full year in AAA at age 22 would not be a terrible thing for him developmentally (the emergence of Morgan and Kendrick, as well as Lannan’s effectiveness has meant he doesn’t need to be ready right now). Baseball America has always liked him because the changeup give you hope. I think Kendrick is a decent comp for him, but I always thought of him like Joe Blanton without being a gigantic human being.

          1. So what happened to all these pitches you say Pettibone has? I saw none of them. Nothing but a straight – probably 93-94 MPH – fastball. Kendricks stuff isn’t even comparable. Kendrick looks like King Felix if you compare him to Pettibone.

            Adam Morgan and Ethan Martin are far better than Pettibone. Maybe the Phillies could put Pettibone on the mound in Miami if Stanton is missing from their lineup, but against a team like the Reds last night? That would be very ugly, not unlike Pettibones starts this year with the Iron Pigs that form a continuum with his spring training disasters.

            1. Martin has far better stuff than Pettibone, but he often can’t control it at all. Morgan seems to be an all-around better pitcher than Pettibone.

            2. You’re basing some pretty strong feelings about Pettibone on seeing him on TV twice during spring training. The kid has been successful at every level in the minors (including a late season promotion to AAA last season, where he went 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA). Based on the scouting reports, I regardless don’t see him as more as a back of the rotation starter in MLB, but your insinuation that he might as well be throwing batting practice seems a little harsh.

              Trust the scouting reports and the minor league track record. He’ll be OK.

            3. Pettibone is being smashed in triple-A. Apparently you missed that. It’s a continuation from spring training. He has yet to have a good outing anywhere.

    CS: Gillies (1, 2nd base by Hernandez, Ch/Lavarnway).
    PO: Gillies 2 (1st base by Hernandez, Ch, 1st base by Beato).

    Did Gillies really make 3 outs on the bases today? Yikes!

  15. If you get picked off at first but run to second for the tag it’ll show up as a PO and a CS.

  16. Many times I have commented on pettibone, thought he was at best a five on a bad team, he just to me doesnt have the velocity or pitches to be consider a good starter, for this team. never understood the love for this guy, really concerned about asche not hitting, and lack of power from ruf, lakewood team isnt hitting the way I though they could.

  17. David Murphy writes:—–‘ During spring training, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. raved about the weight that Jesse Biddle had dropped. After pitching six strong innings in his third Double A start on Tuesday night, the Phillies’ top prospect shared the details. His first season of professional baseball, Biddle weighed 250 pounds, with 22 percent body fat. Three years later, he says, he is a chiseled 215 pounds with 5 percent body fat. “It’s just been a lot of hard work,” Biddle said. “I changed the diet, first of all. That’s the first thing that my trainer and my parents and my doctor said to me: Change the diet, and everything’s going to happen. It wasn’t my body type, being 250. I think the biggest thing is realizing that this is my life, this is my profession, this is my chance. So every day I wake up and say, ‘This is my one chance and I’m going to take advantage of it.’ ”
    ……… if he can only get Ryan Howard chiseled to about 220lbs!

    1. Don’t encourage him. Add more weight and every gapper he hits will turn into a close play at second.

  18. The phillies offense has been absolutely dreadful to watch lately and hearing wheels say last night “once they get started, and break out of this funk, they’ll be just fine” seems asinine. Runs aren’t occuring either becuase of poor luck or poor talent, not because player A sees player B sucking, so he decides to suck too….

    1. If we took time to analyze every one of Wheels’s ass kissing comments about the organization he works for, we’d need a whole new website. But yes, most of what he says, that included, is asinine.

  19. Could be Ruf and Morgan time. Maybe Ruf can get the lineup jump started. Time to mix things up.

  20. Sure as hell can’t hurt. we need SOMEONE who can PITCH in relief.Tycon and Phillpe are of the same mind.

  21. I know it’s early, but the odds of a mid-summer fire sale are increasing exponentially with each pathetic, sloppy, unopportunistic and lackluster loss. Here’s my most-likely-to-be-dealt-by-the-deadline list, in order from greatest to least:

    Lee (Phils pick up part of salary for better prospects)
    Young, M.

    If they continue playing like this, the rebuilding process will have officially begun.

    1. Can you make some team pickup Howard and move Ruf to 1B? The sad part of your list is that you have the only two Phillies who are hitting at all so far.

      1. Sorry I forgot to add our best pitcher(Lee) so far and Ruiz being traded depends on how Tommy Joseph progresses in AAA.

    2. If the Phillies go into full rebuild mode they are stupid beyond belief. Why would you sacrifice the cash cow that is CBP and this franchise? I expect more trades like the ones we made last year. Guys who are no central to the team’s long term plans being traded to teams in contention. That’s exactly what we should do and what I expect we will do. We don’t need the Phillies to become the 76ers thank you.

      1. This makes sense, although if there’s a haul to be had for Lee and the Phils are playing like this in July, RAJ has to consider it. I guess the question is: which players are in the team’s long-term plans? I refer specifically of Ruiz and Utley. Both players are past their primes and the Phils have younger, cheaper (and arguably less effective) players waiting in the wings for their positions. Do you resign one or both and hope you’re not left with yet another older player who falls off the cliff? Or do you put them on the market and hope to get a few younger prospects while you can?

        I agree that blowing up the team is not the greatest decision, but something’s got to give if they continue playing like they have to start the season.

  22. You guys remember Josh Outman right? Here’s an interesting article on him and his throwing mechanics. Check out the way he used to throw before he was drafted. I don’t remember hearing anything about this when he was with the Phillies. Seems to me, he and whatever organization he’s in don’t have much to lose by letting him go back to his old mechanics.

    1. I do remember a fair amount of discussion on this site about his mechanics. I guess that when he switched to the conventional mechanics and then was traded, the discussion went away. It looks to me as if the unusual delivery that he was taught might make him more effective,especially in relief (anyone remember the herky-jerky motion of Phil Regan?

      1. Outman cracks me up. He may throw hard because of the mechanics but the way he throws makes the ball incredibly easy for hitters to pick up and hit. It’s like he’s serving a 95 MPH fastball on a silver platter. So, yeah, it may be good for his arm and make him throw harder, but it doesn’t seem to help his pitching very much.

  23. I know, it’s an absurdly SSS and I don’t for a minute put any real weight on it at all, but in what increasingly looks like a wreck of a season, we take what we can get:


    1. Come on, Larry. Give me some props on the Freddy love – this was my call. He”s never going to draw a ton of walks and he has some contact issues, but he’s an otherworldly fielder and has so much pop at this point that it makes up many for his other shortcomings. The dude can flat out play.

  24. There is a real fan, he worries about cash flow. this team as amaro has put it together needs to be, broken up. lee, howard and howard would be near impossible to move, dont resign ruiz, let utley walk, put galvis either at third or second or shortstop,. see what he can do. any trade we make , must try to pick up a right hand bat for outfield,let the kids like defratus , stutes,diekman replace horst, durbin, too let valdes go, try to move paplebon to contender, there are some pieces,wel could move for young prospects, rebuild the team, and stop letting top ten draft choices walk, sign amaro, fire the scout who recommend greene over bradley,

  25. Wanted to get BA’s take on the rotation spot and got this:

    Matt (Madison): If you are the Phillies do you bring up Morgan and put him on the 40 man or do you use one of the 40 man options (Martin, Pettibone, Cloyd)?
    Matthew Eddy: I would turn to RHP Tyler Cloyd to fill in for Lannan for the short term. You know what you’re getting with the veteran, but in the back of my mind I would be hoping that either Ethan Martin or Jonathan Pettibone show enough improvement to seize the spot on a more permanent basis.

    1. Matthew Eddy

      This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.


      There is no other option to think about except Adam Morgan.

      Eddy’s comments about Pettibone in the BA Hot Sheet comments are absurdly ignorant. They read like a press release from a PR firm. He hasn’t even seen Pettibone pitch this year.

      Adam Morgan is ready to hold a spot in the rotation.

      1. That is true that Morgan can hold his own, but he cannot pitch on Monday and cutting a player from the 40 man is not an easy task for this team.

        1. MattWinks…you do know who you are replying to? Look at the font, the indentations, the bold, the spacing and the cycnical posting. Then go back into the archives and see the similarities with who posts like that.

          1. I do, I don’t respond for his benefit, but I do believe is trying to respond with civility, if I just delete everything it gets me nothing but work, here I can help make a point about the minor league system. He isn’t going away no matter what, so I have to keep his civil stuff around and encourage that as opposed to repeated posts of things that don’t have any true bearing on this site.

  26. Moving Ryan Howard. If the Phillies tried, who would be able to afford him, AND who also has a need. Outside the NL, I see the Rangers being the only club. Not sure Berkman and Mitch Moreland are their guys who take them over the hump. Is there any other clubs that fit that I missed?

      1. Anyone who can field, or run or make contact…..and anyone comes les then $25M annum.

        1. In other words, nobody is going to want him at even half his salary. If we have to pick up $15 mill a year of Howard’s salary, that counts against our budget just as if he were still on the team. So… you go with a very cheap guy like Ruf and save $10 mill or you pay a FA $10mill a year and still effectively have a $25mill a year 1B. How good a FA 1B will we get for $10 mill?

  27. Sad part is howard is really not moveable, and that is what frustrates me. And we really have no one to replace him at first, except if we move utley to first and put galvis at second, but that doesnt make us better, the minor league system , really has nothing, you can say, i know nothing,but facts i have stated ,haven’t i been wrong about brown, he isnt anything to get excited about, still can’t hit a fastball, All the people on here who say that cloyd is a prospect are only kidding themselfs, sorry but the ownership,and the front office have failed. this team is terrible, look at st louis,not great averages,but with runners on 378, average clutch hitting. this team ,now as amaro has put together cant hit in the clutch, and there aren’t any real propsects in the top tier of the minors to help us, just fact,laugh and say I know nothing, but prove me wrong,

  28. Excuse me but matt, if you feel that my post are that bad, i will stop posting, I am only stating my opinion,something, I thought this site was to set up for us to do. when.I say blow up this team, with the money being spent and the ownership,unwilling to get into the tax, what other way do you fix the team??

    1. He wasn’t directing his comment to you, but rather an unnamed former poster who still occasionally posts under other handles.

    2. Like being a doctor, the first rule of being a GM is “do no harm.”

      I have some ideas as to what I would do with the team (maybe more on that in a minute), but the basc problem with the “tear it down” approach is that there is no upside – we don’t have much in the way of tradeable assets (at least that would bring us a decent return), and we don’t have a bunch of prospects blocked in the upper minors.

      1. Ruben has achieved a milestone even I never thought he could achieve. He has made me look back wistfully to the days of Ed Wade. Wade was incompetent and insanely overmatched but, when things did not go his way (which was basically every year), he largely froze, doing essentially nothing. Doing “nothing” meant not trading guys that even he sensed were going to be very good, including and especially, Utley and Rollins.

        Ruben, to me, has committed one of the cardinal sins of all sports management, and that is carving up the future of the team to capitalize on a championship run. The great GMs pick and choose their spots and are able to enhance the current team without harming the future of the organization. It’s a delicate and difficult balance, but Ruben was flat out reckless. Not necessarily as to any particular deal (I’m not going to trash the guy for getting Halladay or Lee – those were good trades), but in doing this year in and year out. Trading every prospect in sight and sometimes getting fleeced (obviously, the Pence deal was a fleecing – Larry told us so and it turns out he was very much correct).

        By acting in this fashion and buying into the hated concept of a “limited window of opportunity” embraced by the fatalistic Philadelphia sports fans (trust me folks, people in New York, Boston and Los Angeles don’t think this way – every year should be a window of opportunity with very, very limited and short down cycles – this is a loser’s mentality- STOP IT!) he has created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

        Amaro needs to go as does Charlie. Charlie will get fired but I’m afraid were in for at least another few years of the Amaro administration.

        By the way if you sense my anger, it did not help that I was at last night’s debacle. That may have been the worst Phillies game I’ve ever attended because the team I saw last night was not even competitive. It was a joke.

      2. I think it is a severe fallacy that we don’t have tradable assets. We have guys whose contracts run out after this season, who could potentially be difference makers for a contending team. We got some useful minor leaguers (Joseph, Martin, Rosin, Simon) with much less to trade last season. With decent play I would expect a great demand for Halladay, Ruiz, and Utley. Would the Phillies be willing to pay Ruiz $13+ million for the 2014 season? Will they give him $27 mill for three years. If not, he won’t be offered arb and there will be no comp pick and he won’t be in Philly in 2014, so you have to trade him. I think there will be great demand for Ruiz. Utley is a likelier possibility to stay in Philly, but given his past knee problems, that likely would be a serious mistake, unless he is a lot cheaper/shorter to resign than I expect. If he is reasonably healthy and playing reasonably well, there should be extreme demand for Utley from contenders. If Halladay looks like he’s pitching as a decent #3 or even as a good #4, there will be good demand. For all three guys, the two year cost is not back breaking, the Phillies can well afford to send some $, and the guys will be viewed as winners who can help a team in more ways than one. There really is little comparison between Thome/Blanton/Victorino/Pence and Halladay/Utley/Ruiz. This year’s trio is exactly the sort of guy a contender will be seeking in a deadline deal. I’d keep Lee. We won’t be able to replace him and we can afford him. On Papelbon, it depends what you can get for him at the deadline. He is owed enough $ that he may not be all that desirable and the Phillies may have difficulty replacing him. Again, they can afford him.

        1. Well as I said, I’d definitely shop those guys, and, if you’re right and I’m wrong, then sure, trade some of them.

          But where we may differ, aside from the trade value of these guys, is what kind of return would make the trades worthwhile. For some of these guys, a “useful” player might be enough. For others, I’d want a potential star – THAT’S what the team short on (they actually have a good number of “useful” prospects, it’s the top prospects that are lacking). For Lee, who you would keep, I’d need a top 50 prospect in return. For Utley … that’s a tough one. Given his seeming health (yeah, I know there is a risk going forward), and rebound season so far, and the lack of second base options internally and on the market … I am strongly leaning towards hoping they re-sign him. I’d say at this point that I wouldn’t even consider dealing him for anything less than a package built around a top 100 prospect, and no, I don’t think they would get that. Papelbon, and Rollins who you didn’t mention, I’d want more than just a “serviceable” player in return and I don’t think that would be forthcoming. That leaves Ruiz and Halladay, both of whom I’d consider trading for less, but let’s face it, neither is likely to get us a top prospect. And with Halladay, you would need to get more value than the comp pick.

    3. So my ideas … first, some background assumptions that would guide me:

      (1) The team isn’t going to compete in 2013 or 2014, and isn’t likely to compete in 2015. We’re building for 2015-2016 and thereafter.
      (2) That said, there are reasons to avoid the fate of the Marlins in the interim. Both in terms of wanting to follow a watchable Phillies team, AND in terms of helping to build for 2015-2016. The latter for (1) fostering good habits/ a winning attitude for young players added in the next few years, and (2) keeping attendance up so that the team has money to spend.
      (3) Some people might see goals 1 and 2 conflicting, but mostly they aren’t.

      It’s impossible – and silly – to take from that a very specific blueprint for accomplishing those goals. That will depend upon many facts as yet unknown. That said, some tentative specifics:

      (1) Avoid a complete fire sale for the reasons set forth in my prior post.

      (2) The next draft – “best available,” with some bias toward a HS position player.

      (3) Approaching and at the trade deadline, at least talk to other teams about Utley, Halladay, Rollins, Lee and Ruiz. I wouldn’t trade any of them unless you can get a potential difference maker – and I don’t think you would, except maybe for Lee. Obviously, if you are sure you’re not going to sign Ruiz, Ultey, and/or Halladay (but see below), and if you’re offered more than the value of the comp pick (or anything at all if you don’t think these players should get qualifying offers), trade them.

      (3) Post season:
      (a) Utley/Ruiz/Halladay – really depends upon too many factors to list (how they do this year, their contract demands, etc.). I’d consider re-signing any of them for the right contract; there are no obvious replacements in the short term (Morgan can replace Kendrick, who is also a FA).
      (b) Free agents – it’s a lousy class. I’d look at a cheap starting pitcher (if they lose more than one of Kendrick, Lee and Halladay) and a cheap corner outfielder. I still think they may have missed the boat this past year on higher priced free agents, but the dynamics are different now so I’d probably avoid them this year.
      (c) Trades – see #2 above, I would avoid trading prospects for veterans for obvious reasons. No, they won’t be in the running for Stanton.

      (4) 2014 – Starters are Hamels/Lee/Lannan/Morgan/(Kendrick or Halladay or FA). That assumes of course Lee doesn’t get traded. Relievers are all people currently in the organization, specifics dependent somewhat upon performance this season. Position players are simply going to depend too much on factors discussed above. Asche probably slides in at 3B. Utley/Rollins at 2B/SS unless one of them is traded. If so, Galvis steps in. Cesar Hernandez is a long shot possibility for 2B; I still am not entirely sold. I don’t even want to think about the outfield. Revere/Brown/Mayberry I guess.

      (5) Howard. Sigh. If he regains even his 2011 form, try to trade him, or reluctantly keep him as your first baseman if you can’t. If he doesn’t regain even his 2011 form, release him. Yes, I know it won’t happen. As for a replacement, Singleton!!! Oh, right. Ruf may be a short term answer. Otherwise, a FA.

      (6) Long run: (a) Position players: Note that ANY plan that relies upon only players currently in the organization is going to look weak. Joseph is hopefully your catcher. See above for first base. Second base heck if I know at this point. Maybe Pullin eventually. Galvis your shortstop, possibly Quinn by 2016. Franco the long term answer at third, with Asche traded, hopefully for some decent value. Outfield is a mess – maybe Brown, but even I am losing patience. Revere should turn it around; no internal options until Quinn (if he doesn’t make it at short) or Tocci, who is a LONG way away. Other corner, I got nothing. I think/hope that players not currently in the organization end up filling at least SOME of these holes, because the only guy above who looks like a possible star is Franco. Either future draft picks or FA signings – down the road they are going to HAVE to go for one or two star level free agents, despite the declining quality of the market and the spiraling salaries.

      (b) Starting pitchers: Hamels/Morgan/Biddle/?/?. Here we do have some possible guys in the organization for those last 2 spots.

      (c) Relievers – no way to even begin to predict at this point.

      1. Kendrick is not a FA, he is arb eligible for the 4th time (he was Super 2 and they gave him a contract to cover his 2nd and 3rd arb years). Not a huge point but something to keep in mind

      2. Of the 3 coming free agents, you could argue that Halladay is the most expendable with Morgan waiting in the wings. Though I think it’s possible that Halladay, once he makes necessary adjustments (and he is the kind of player who does so) could easily rebound to (say) a 120 ERA+pitcher for 3 to 4 years. It’s possible that the Phillies might even be in a bit of a “buy low” position with him. OTOH, with such a lousy FA class and plenty of teams with needs and money to spend, he could end up getting a decent contract despite his troubles.

        Obviously all this depends also on the rest of the seasons. If he makes the needed adjustments THIS season, the team won’t be in a “buy low” situation.

  29. OKay larry, but knowing that and the cap number. do we go further in debt with a contract to utley and chooch.? I figure utley will be at least 3 years 18 per, and chooch 3 at say 7 a year, I really dont know what they can do with howard deal killing them, if he doesnt produce, If we move lee is morgan the answer??, I really don’t trust amaro to rebuild this team,

    1. Roccom,

      First of all, if you look at current salary obligations, and factor in the lack of decent FA options in 2014, yes they can afford those players even at those prices, though I think the team could end up with slightly more team favorable deals. The problem with Lee is that, if you trade him and don’t resign Kendrick, you have THREE spots to fill and Morgan can fill only one of them. I’d still probably trade Lee for a top 50 prospect, but I don’t think that’s realistic.

      Ironically at this point, going forward, the problem with Howard is more that the team is likely to stick with him even if he doesn’t produce, because of the contract. The contract itself probably constrained them somewhat in the past, but going forward they are already significantly under the luxury tax threshold, and other contracts will be coming off the books.

      I certainly agree with you about Amaro, but it’s not an argument for gutting the team (though I guess if they DID lose 100 games, he would be more likely to be firsed).

  30. On a happier note. Mayberry. I don’t want to jinx him like I apparently jinxed Galvis, but wow he’s off to a great start. The interesting thing is that he has done this almost exclusively against right handed pitchers, For some reason, the Phillies in general, and for some odd reason their right fielders espeically, have faced primarily right handed pitchers so far this season. (On a team basis, 83% of PA are against RH pitchers; for Phillies right fielders, oddly 91% of PA are against RH pitchers. Could this be a data error? I’m using Fangraphs. The league rate is 71%,)

    I know, SSS, I don’t expect this to continue, but if Mayberry can (1) continue hitting left handed hitters at his career pace, and (b) develop even a normal platoon split, he is all of the sudden a long term answer for one of the corner outfield spots.

    Hope springs eternal.

    1. All the more reason not to rush Delmon Young back. Although now I fear that they’ll bench Brown to play Delmon.

    2. One indication that this MIGHT not be a complete fluke – he has reduced his O-swing%, and swing % is one of the stats that achieves statistical significance fairly quickly (though no, he does not yet have enough nearly PA to give that much weight). Looking at his career as a whole, there IS a long term trend in terms of improved plate discipline. His BB% is way up this year, probably partly as a consequence. His K rate is actually a little worse than his career rate, but IMO that’s a result of facing so many RH pitchers. He’s hitting a TON of line drives; that’s going to normalize somewhat, but it’s still something you like to see.

      I know, I’m engaging in the kind of SSS nonsense that I decry in others, but I want to find SOME good news for the team. Hopefully I haven’t wrecked his season like I apparently wrecked Galivis’. (Kidding. I hope.)

      1. What’s funny is that the announcers have talked about Mayberry being more aggressive this year, though his swing % is below his career rate. He’s just swinging at better pitches so far.

        1. Yeah, he’s actually swinging at MORE pitches in the zone, fewer out of the zone. His overall swing% hasn’t changed much. Which, if you think about it, is pretty remarkable. I’ve always thought that the ability for a hitter to recognize whether or not a pitch was in the zone was fairly immutable. But maybe not in this case. Or just SSS. Though again, the fact that most of his PA have been against right handers just makes his performance all the more impressive.

    3. Larry – I believe that 91% makes sense. If you think about it, most games late, the group of revere, Rollins, Utley, Howard face a lefty, and then Young, brown, Mayberry, Kratz face more righties.

  31. Okay say we resign halladay, utley, ruiz, we still arent a good team, so I dont understand the logic,rather see morgan, stutes, de fratus, up and lets see if they can help, next year, asche at third, ruf in left, galvis at second, i want to see what we need, to get back, to a contender, with signing three aging players, it just makes us the same 500 or less team. If the reason you are resigning the players is to keep attendance, then i am totally against that logic, fans have to realize that the team needs to get younger,and better, this team continues on this path this season, only hamels is untouchable to me at trade deadline, wonder how many teams are spending 18 million on a closer and setup man,

  32. Morgan will get his chance, over Lannan or Kendrick if Halladay is resigned and Lee isn’t traded. Stutes and DeFratus are relievers, and irrelevant to re-signing the veterans. Same with Asche at third (also Ruf in left, though I don’t agree with you there, and in any event he likely would displace another young player, Brown, who is younger, or Mayberry, who isn’t much older). You didn’t mention Joseph, If he’s ready, then sure, let Ruiz go. I’m not sure he will be.

    Which leave Utley and Galvis. Galvis, if he is anything long term, is a short stop. I don’t see the point of making the team 3 to 4 games worse (and right now, that’s the difference between Utley and Galvis at second base) just to avoid Galvis being a part time player in 2014.

    As for what the fans “have” to realize, they won’t.

    The problem with your approach is that it needlessly makes the team worse in the short run, without benefiting the team (and possibly hurting it) in the long run.

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