General Discussion – Week of 8-25-14 – Waiver Trade Deadline Edition

August 31 marks the end of the biggest period of waiver trades, as any club looking for help that could be with them through the postseason needs to add that player to their active roster by August 31. There are a couple Phillies who have not cleared waivers, namely Hamels and Byrd, (I think that’s it), but pretty much every other healthy veteran is likely available for the right payoff. I wouldn’t count on much happening, though. Hopefully Bastardo finds a new home, and maybe Burnett, but probably not, IMO. Who else are you thinking might be moved?


135 thoughts on “General Discussion – Week of 8-25-14 – Waiver Trade Deadline Edition

  1. I think there’s an outside chance Paps will be dealt. Soria got hurt and Nathan is still struggling. They are all in this year. Don’t think they want a blown save to be reason why they lose. Then there’s always the contract with Papelbon. With Soria and Nathan locked up next year it would be a lot of coin if they added Papelbon.

    1. It’s not just the contract. His stated desire to close, perceived or real personality issues (which Amaro was trying to play down today in a not to transparent attempt to make him more appealing to potential suitors), declining FB speed, decreased K rate, low BABIP, etc. I really don’t think he’s tradeable until the deadline of his last year (probably 2016)

      1. mds13 so the fact that pap has been lights out since the first blow save means nothing. 31 saves I believe, Maybe his fastball has been down, but he is getting people out or am I looking at a different pitcher? Any team looking for a closer is nuts not to try to see if he is willing to go to there team.

        1. He’s pitched well, but a .230 BABIP and low K rates suggests a bit of luck is involved. If his performance this year was enough, in other team’s eyes, to offset the issues mentioned above, he would be gone

        2. Teams could also be nuts for getting him for another two years after this season, even if we throw in some money. If he was a rental or only had next season on the books he most likely would have been dealt. He has been good this season, but what will his numbers look like next year and the year after? If he did get traded to an AL team I would expect his numbers to get worse. Plus if he gets traded he has to close or he may throw a temper tantrum in the clubhouse. He has said that he wants to be on a winner, yet would not be a set up man. I would think pitching the 8th for a contender would be more fun then closing for a last place team….

      2. I think if you’re a team like Detroit you may look past that. Either way you slice it Papelbon has been very good this year. Much better than Nathan. In terms of the contract, it’s definately an obstacle. However, if you’re the Tigers you’re all in. As a matter of fact with the deals they’ve given Miggy and Verlander there’s a very good chance they’ll be in the same position the Phils are in now in a few years. You just bite the bullet on the contract knowing he helps you this year.



      1. KEN HOWELL
        RANDY O’NEAL
        PAT COMBS
        BOB SEBRA

        *These were all starting pitchers at one point for one team, the 1989 Phillies. There’s a lot more where that came from.

        1. okay been a Phillies fan for long time don’t remember bob sebra, larry mc Williams . I think my mind is going, who is randy o neal?

          1. Late 80’s righthander, cup of coffee. Do not think he was the whole year…..same about time Schimdty announced his retirement.

        2. Ah, that brings back memories, Starvin Marvin Freeman, Pat Combs (I have a bunch of his rookie cards, one autographed), Jason Grimsley doesn’t have a big toe, Cook came over in the Steve Bedrosian deal (with Charlie Hayes, Terry Mulholland) Phil Bradley to Baltimore for workhouse Ken Howell. Youmans (former Expo sucked) McWilliams had a mustache from what I remember. Mike Maddux sucked too. (couldn’t fill Don Carmen or Bruce Ruffin’s shoes) Don’t remember Randy O’Neil.

          1. Looking back now at the Samuel and Bedrosian trades…they were pretty damn good. Closer for a future ace of a staff…world series staff, in Mulholland, Cook turned out to be pretty good and a starting 3rd basemen and middle of the lineup hitter in Hayes. All three had long decent careers. Samuel gets you a good set up man in McDowell and a lead off hitter and runner up MVP in Dykstra.

            Could you get that kind of return for Papplebon? Nope. Who on this years Philly would you compare to Samuel?

            All hail Lee Thomas

            1. Yeah, by WAR it’s pretty great how well those trades turned out, and by # of playoff wins it’s even better. Cook was gone before the great 1993 year, but he gave the Phils 1.7 WAR (BRef), McDowell gave them 1.8, and Hayes 0.8, but damn – Dykstra (22.4) and Mulholland (10.5) as cornerstones of the 1993 run to the Series for Juan Samuel (5 WAR the rest of his career) and Steve Bedrosian (0.7) was an amazing return.

              I’d call it the third best day of trading in Phils history. Schilling gave you 36 WAR to Jason Grimsely’s 5, so that’s pretty great. And of course the day they got Steve Carlton is the champ – Lefty gave them 65 WAR and a World Series win in 1980 to Rick Wise’s ~21 WAR the rest of his days. Maddox netted about 28, Bunning netted about 25 WAR. The Halladay trade is a net of around 18 WAR, but Cliff Lee traded on the same day is about a -5 plus untold hours of us griping about it.

          2. Youmans came up with the Mets and I watched him when he was in Single A and he played for my hometown Columbia Mets of the Sally League. He was later traded to the Expos as part of the package that got the Mets Gary Carter. I seem to recall him being a pretty touted prospect at one point (before he got to the Phillies) If I remember correctly I think Youmans was a friend of Doc Gooden’s–I seem to recall that was a really impressive credential in my elementary school mind.

          3. Bruce Ruffin was the worst! I remember watching him as a kid, and he ALWAYS got torched. Those late 80’s/early 90’s teams were brutal. I tried to hate the Phillies so many times, but just couldn’t do it.

    2. AL….Kyle Kendrick is the worst!
      There were the likes of Joe Cowley, Adam Eaton and few others that seem to come up short.
      He was part of that championship season.

    3. So, not to be overly pedantic about this …

      Using ERA+, going back 54 years:

      If we set a 100 IP minimum, there have been 55 worse pitchers in the past 54 years of Philadelphia Phillies history.

      If we set a 200 IP minimum, there have been 29 worse pitchers in the past 54 years of Philadelphia Phillies history.

      Even if we set a much higher 500 IP limit, there are 3 worse pitchers in the past 54 years of Philadelphia Phillies history (Randy Lerch, Dallas Green, Jim Kaat. Kaat was a surprise).

      That’s actually a bit worse than I would have thought off the top of my head- he’s certainly one of the worst pitchers with an extended career as a Phillies’ starting pitcher.. But not the “worst.”

      BUT if you want to limit the population to pitchers with at least 500 IP AND go by FIP+ rather than ERA+, then .. yes, he’s the worst Phillies’ pitcher in the past 54 years. So the original comment, while overwrought and certainly literally incorrect (those pitchers with less than 500 IP did in fact pitch for the team), is not as ridiculous as I first assumed.

      But oh, those all caps posts. Shesh.

      1. I appreciate pedantry, actually, and I found that analysis insightful. I’m actually pretty surprised that Kendrick was that bad too.

        1. Was it just me?

          Pedantic – ostentatious in one’s learning.
          overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, especially in teaching.

      2. In fairness to Kendrick, you don’t pitch 500 innings for a major league franchise without being at least a decent pitcher. He is, on a career basis, using ERA-, 12% worse than the average major league pitcher. Really pretty much a classic #5 starter, even a pretty good one. Not necessarily one that you want to pay 7.7 million for, though.

        1. Looks like this will be Kyle Kendrick’s farewell season as a Phillie.
          He, along with Chooch, Hamels, Utley, Rollins and Howard are the remaining ’08 Champs.

    4. Kyle isn’t a hillbilly. He’s from Washington State. He is an above-average 5 starter who has won a fair number of games for the Phillies. He’s had good years. This isn’t one of them. He’s not back next season, but the Phillies have far bigger problems than Kyle Kendrick.

      1. He’s not above average anything. Kyle Kendrick epitomizes what is wrong with this organization. You can’t be serious. You’re joking right? I saw something recently that said he was statistically the worst pitcher in baseball over like the last 30 starts or something. What is exactly was forget. But my God, the guy is terrible

        1. Kyle Kendrick is not great. Kyle Kendrick is not good. Kyle Kendrick is borderline bad. Kyle Kendrick is not even CLOSE to the worst pitcher in baseball over the last 30 years. These comments are absurd.

      2. I’ve heard this on this site many times. The Phillies have far bigger problems than Kyle Kendrick, than Jimmy Rollins, than Ben Revere, than Carlos Ruiz. I think it’s time to look at the collection of players as a whole instead of individually. One player may not be awful but somewhere along the line a collection of average players and no stars make for what the Phillies have become. I believe Kendrick can help a ML team just not the Phillies.

        1. You’re right to a point, but (looking at 2014 only) aren’t going far enough. It’s not so much lack of stars – yeah, they do with some more star power – but a core (again, 2014 only, we’re not talking about the future here) of Hamels/Ruiz/Rollins/Utley/Byrd, the bullpen which has been very good for the bulk of the season, and to a lesser extent guys like Burnett and Revere, absolutely could have contended IF the rest of the team had been average. It wasn’t even close to average. Galvis, Brown, Gwynn, Howard have been awful, Kendrick bad, Asche and some others disappointing. THAT’S the bigger problem with this team. (Again, focusing on this year alone; obviously the bigger issue is that this team never should have been expected to contend and the future looks even dimmer.)

          Now, I’m not mourning the lack of contention. First of all, the above weaknesses were apparent from day one (though some of those guys, the younger ones especially, have under performed expectations, and of course Lee’s injury was not expected). Secondly, a “last gasp” year of contention could have resulted in unwise “win now” moves. But the “core” listed above is really not that bad.

          1. I am not sure where the idea of contending came from.

            Coming into this season we were subtracting Roy and bringing back a 90 loss team.

            We added Byrd and Burnett. Asche is doing well for a rookie, His fielding is fine and his bat is what you expect for someone hitting 7th and 8th all year long. (Did people expect ROY?)

            The problem is one of age. This is a young mans game and the Phillies are trying to win with an old core of Howard/Rollins/Utley/Lee/Chooch/Byrd.

            Brown and Ruf have been the real disappointments but even more disappointing is the inability to move on. We need to let go of the World Series years and start looking to the future.

            Unfortunately, I do not think there is a blueprint for the 2016 or 2017 seasons in place and as a rebuilding club there should be.

            The quicker you focus your efforts on rebuilding and moving forward the quicker success will come.

            1. There’s a couple of different levels here … this year, next year, years in the future. Obviously looking at the medium and the long term, the fact that the core is aging is a huge problem, Just as obviously, that aging core is PART of the reason for the team’s decline over the past 3 years. But a smaller part than people believe, and not the whole of the problem even looking forward.

              The bigger problem – going forward, now and looking back – is the failure to fill holes with young talent. ANY careful examination of the roster will show that this is undeniably true. Some relief arms aside, and a few back of the rotation starters, the organization has developed essentially zero talent. That’s just an astonishingly bad record.

              For all the (exaggerated, not entirely justified) comments from fans about holding onto the core too long, the roster has been turned over almost completely since the WS victory. Only six players remain. One of those guys has declined precipitously (Howard), and one of those guys is also pretty bad this year but wasn’t really part of the core (Kendrick). The other 4 have held up pretty darn well – remarkably well. That’s somewhat masked by the league wide decline in offense, but those 4 guys as a group aren’t that far below their prime performance. Obviously, at least 3 of those four guys aren’t going to be around for the next contending team, but it is frustrating to see you and others incorrectly crapping on two of those 4 guys (Rollins and Ruiz) unfairly for current performance.

              But the big problem – again, looking at the recent past and present – has been the failure to find even adequate replacements for the other 19 guys. The bullpen somewhat excepted, but 4 position players (3B and the entire OF), 3 starting pitchers, and the bench, have collectively been replaced by … roughly replacement level players. THAT’S the elephant in the room (along with the Howard debacle, and injuries to Halladay and Lee).

              Look, it’s not as if the veterans are blocking viable replacements, arguably excepting Howard (though the viability of Ruf is an open question). Nor were any of these guys likely to bring a huge return, unless they had been traded in their prime. That’s why the old, tired “they held onto their core too long” is mostly incorrect (mostly, not entirely, because of Howard and (arguably) Lee).

            2. Larry, I mostly agree with your post but one aspect that we overlook is salary and cost of putting a team on the field.

              When you are in the top 5 payrolls two years running and end up with one of the 10 worst records you are doing something wrong.

              Part of that is holding onto an aging core when those players can be traded for prospects to help replenish a system that, we both agree on, has not produced the proper amount of players to replace the aging veterans.

              My point has always been that having salary flexibility going into a rebuild is important because it gives you the flexibility to make trades and sign low risk free agents.

              The one mistake that you do not want to make over and over again as a GM is to overpay for talent. Unfortunately, the Phillies have done that a lot by either giving a player too much money, too many years, or too many options.

              If I look at the Cardinals, one of the more successful organizations, they make it work with a payroll in the $100-110 million range.

              They were willing to let Pujols walk and look what happened. Everyone thought that they would fall apart but instead they won a division title one year and a wild card spot the other.

              Spending money willy nilly does not guarantee success, spending money wisely does give you a better chance.

              The Phillies are so locked into salaries for next year that in order for them to improve they will have to move someone in the field.

              Maybe you trade a guy and get just an A level prospect in return but what you get is salary flexibility to grab a player who may be not as good but cost you less and frees up money to be spent elsewhere.

              When you are paying the salaries the Phillies are paying you need flexibility to improve. We could go out and spend $12 million on Tomas but the cost is improving the starting roster for next year.

              Too many people think of roster construction as names on a sheet of paper but it is much more than that. You need to think three dimensionally in terms of the cost of that player versus a replacement, your overall salary budget, where the player hits in the lineup, and who is down on the farm.

            3. David,

              We’ve had that particular argument before, I won’t repeat it. Short version: it’s an analytical mistake to combine the good contracts with the bad – especially with a high payroll team like the Phillies. You have no argument, at all, regarding the Rollins, Utley, Hamels, Byrd and Ruiz contracts (though arguably the Byrd contracts, and a marginal one at best regarding the Burnett contract.

              You have a decent point regarding the Howard and Papelbon contracts (respectively terrible and bad from day one) and Lee contract (okay in the abstract, but he’s injured. Those contracts are untradeable, though.


            4. When you look at an overall season and the roster you have to combine the good with the bad. It is not analytical, it is roster construction, which is partially analytical but adds in many other factors which I noted in my previous post.

              Money spent in one area comes at the expense of other areas. I took your 21 men at approximately $150 million for next year and showed that there are very few open roster spots where we can improve the team without moving players.

              You can claim that current contracts are good contracts but that does not explain why a team with a top 5 payroll has a bottom 10 record.

              If we have so many good contracts then why are we so bad?

              Everything needs to be looked at and considered when reviewing the year.

              I can use the Eagles as an example who spend money equally on offense and defense. The decision to release Jackson was partially made due to money when you look at the money spent on the WR position and an offense/defense split.

              Same for the Flyers, they spend more on defense than any other team but the defense is mediocre.

              Going into a rebuild with very little salary flexibility ensures that you make the job more difficult than it needs to be and will take longer than necessary.

            5. We keep having the same argument,and from where I sit you keep saying the same things and ignoring my responses. You probably don’t see it that way. But I don’t see much point in continuing to repeat the same (unanswered) responses.

              But I will respond to your “When you are in the top 5 payrolls two years running and end up with one of the 10 worst records you are doing something wrong” statement. Of course they are doing something wrong! But paying Utley/Byrd/Rollins and Ruiz below market salaries is not part of what they are doing wrong. From a roster management perspective, those four guys are among the SUCCESSES on the team, this year anyway. The problem is almost everyone else:

              (1) Howard’s deal is a disaster. Lee’s deal not so much, but he is injured this year. Papelbon has been almost worth his salary this year, but not last year.

              (2) Successful teams have multiple bargain salary players. Rarely the big money guys, for obvious reasons. The Phillies have .. not none, but not many. A couple of the relievers, and (ironically) four of the old guys.So in the Phillies’ case, that would mean getting good value from the “other 16” players, or some of them at least. And most of the time, that means young, cost controlled players – because the way that the salary structure of the game works, THOSE are the below market salaries. But, as discussed – and I think we agree on this – the Philies have essentially zero good young players on the major league roster (again, a couple of relievers are the only exceptions). THEY ARE IN FACT BY FAR THE WORST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE IN THIS RESPECT.

              (3) The Phillies also suffer in that, for whatever reason (luck, poor talent evaluation, poor development, some combination thereof), they have an unusual number of players with NEGATIVE (below replacement) value.

              Those three factors explain … actually MORE than 100% of the discrepancy between the payroll and performance. More than 100% in that, as stated, the 4 old guys who are good are relative bargains, and Hamels is an ace with a decent market rate contract. If they had a decent amount of quality/cost controlled players to surround those guys with, plus market rate performance from the 63 million dollars spent upon Howard/Lee/Papelbon – they would be a great team.

              Anyway, not to minimize those three problems – not easily fixable to say the least. But you CERTAINLY don’t fix that problem by getting rid of your 5 best players, collectively a relative bargain at 66 million. Again, for a rebuilding team, there may be OTHER reasons to consider trading those guys, but “salary flexibility” CERTAINLY isn’t one of them.

            6. Larry, I have acknowledged your points.

              Now I ask you to go back to your 21 man roster with a payroll of $140some million and fill it out in terms of a 25 man roster. Who plays what positions, who are the backups, your starting pitchers, relief pitchers, and bench players. Then go and fill out a lineup card.

              Instead of looking at the roster as names and numbers on a sheet of paper look at it as a GM would look at it when they construct their team.

              It is easy to say this guy is great, we need that guy, he is a bargain, and call him up.

              But sit down and try to construct a roster for next season. Then do it 3 years out because that is what GM’s do. They have a plan. I see no plan for the Phillies and that is where I am coming from.

              Then ask yourself how you make Tomas work in the lineup at $12 million. Ask yourself where Franco plays and bats. How about your starting pitching?

              It is more than just names and numbers on a sheet of paper.

            7. You just don’t get it, so you? I’m not denying that the problem is there, I’M DENYING THAT IT IS FIXABLE. At least in the short term. And your “cure” is worse than the disease (from a roster management perspective, that is,which is the issue at hand – again, there may be OTHER reasons to trade those guys).

            8. Larry, this is where we disagree. It is fixable but the fix is the bitter pill that means trading higher salaried players. People do not want to accept that this can and must happen.

              For the long-term success of the franchise it needs to happen. There is no reason to keep older, high priced players around when you can get a prospect and jump start a rebuilding process.

              Yes it will be painful for a couple of years but every rebuilding is painful initially until you have the new core in place and can add pieces around them.

              The window of opportunity has been closed for three years now and firmly nailed shut. This team needs more than one or two players to contend next year.

              Once you start moving players and freeing up salary you can be more aggressive going after guys.

              Buyout Howard, trade Byrd, and you free up space for Tomas and Franco while giving Brown one last shot at development. Asche gets another year to prove himself at third; giving up on a rookie is not the way to develop a team.

              If Brown falls short trade him and bring up one of the young outfielders if they are ready.

              You could get a few very good prospects from trading Hamels to the Cubs. They have a surplus of hitters and are in the market for an ace.

              In the meantime, you scour the free agent market for guys that have regressed and would be willing to take one year deals. If they work out and are a fit maybe you sign them to an extension for a couple of years.

              The Cubs have been making that happen with their starting rotation. Go after guys that are not as bad as their stats indicate, give them a one year deal to prove themselves, and either trade them or sign them to an extension.

              Suddenly, this team does not look that bad come 2016-17. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    1. We do in fact have a winner – Cowley’s 366 ERA- is indeed the worst (among pitchers with at least 10 IP for the Phillies, since 1960).

      Though there’s lots of guys worse with less than 10 IP. The very worst – albeit not a pitcher by trade – was Casper Wells, 2/3 of an IP and 5 ER, for an ERA- of 1809.

      1. I saw one game that Joe Cowley started for the Phillies. He threw 12 straight balls to open the game and walked the bases loaded. The third batter had his bat on his shoulder for the last three pitches.

        1. Oh my goodness, I remember this game. It was completely removed from my memory banks until you mentioned it. I was watching and remember being simultaneously intrigued by the uniqueness of it and disgusted that he was a starter for my favorite team.

          1. I remember being somewhat excited about the acquisition of Cowley, because he had pitched a no-hitter the year before for Chicago. What I did not realize until just now, when I googled him, is that he is the only major league pitcher who has ever pitched a no hitter and then never won another game.

            1. Speaking of pitchers throwing a no-hitter then kind of vanishing….I recall the Phillies trading for a lefty named Smith from the Cardinals, who pitched a no-hitter for the Cards, then fizzled with the Phillies.

            2. Bud Smith had fizzled well before he was ever traded to the phillies, the phillies just took him as a cheap throw in reclamation project.

    1. 1987 was a horrendous year for Phillies pitching.

      It makes you cringe at what they sent out to the mound.

    2. I remember the late 80’s when ownership refused to pay for pitching. Those were bad years but if you wanted lots of home runs at the ballpark you got them.

      There was one three game series, not sure of the year, where Eric Davis hit two grand slams on his way to setting a new MLB record (at the time) of three grand slams in a month.

      Those were horrendous years in terms of pitching for the Phillies.

    1. Abbott was, of course, traded along with Ruben Amaro, Jr for Von Hayes. He had a really hot wife in those old yearbook family photos though, so he gets a pass.

  3. The bad pitcher game is one of my favorites. How about these starters for the 97 squad:
    Matt Beech
    Tyler Green
    Calvin Maduro
    Bobby Munoz
    Michael Mimbs !!!!!
    Mike Grace,
    Scott Ruffcorn
    Ryan Nye
    Ryan Carp
    Darrin Winston (I have no memory of. Pretty sure he didn’t exist).
    This doesn’t include burned out vets Mark Portugal and Mark Leiter.I’m not sure how that team won 68 games.

    1. Can these current Phillies and their pitching staff win 11 games of the remaining 32 to top that ’97 team!

    2. Did you know that Matt Beech was the pitcher when Jose Offerman lost it and charged the mound with his bat in the independent leagues???

  4. I always liked Ruffin. Good rookie season. For a while he was a reliever, and when they played Atlanta (which was basically the only time I would get to see the Phillies, on TBS) Skip Carey used say things like, “John Russell’s down in the bullpen, getting Ruffin ready.”

    1. Wasn’t Ruffin the pitcher who was traded to Atlanta and ended up back with Phillies a couple years later when Ted Turner tried to have an affair with his wife?

  5. 1996 Rich Hunter. He was like 20 but they had so few options that he started the year in the bigs. Any chance he had of being a decent MLB pitcher was killed by that promotion.

    On a more tragic note, Mike Grace could have been a pretty good pitcher, seemed like he was on the right path but he couldnt stay healthy.

    Tyler Green made an ALL STAR TEAM!!!!….then fell apart in the 2h that season and ended up with an era over 5 haha

    Bobby Munoz was once pitcher of the month in the NL….no really! Guy was an ugly m****erf****er, but if i recall he was tall as hell and also ahd some potential before injuries crushed him.

    Mimbs was found in like indy ball and somehow made the team in 95…that is how bad the organization was then. Got off to a good start actually and people were like who the hell is this guy, then he was like oh wait thats right i suck. i remember in a spring training game he started for the phillies against his twin brother

    Ruffcorn had absolutely nasty stuff, was one of the best pitching prospects in baseball for years before the White Sox gave up on him. Guy could not throw strikes. I remember I went to visit family as a young lad in Baltimore one saturday in 97, and the out of town scoreboard said “update: phillies pitcher scott ruffcorn has no-hitter through 5 innings”…….the phillies were losing 2-0 at that point haha

    I also love reminiscing about the old, awful pitchers.

  6. My favorite Phillies bad pitcher is Omar Daal who we acquired as part of the Schilling trade and in 1.5 years with the phillies made 44 starts and gave up 35 home runs. his HR/9 was solidly north of 1. and that’s what i remember about him, he gave up a lot of home runs

    1. But didn’t he start the season after the trade by going like 10-0 or something ridiculous, completely on luck?

    2. Schilling trade omal daal a 19 game loser, a bust first round pick lee, a drunk Padilla and a relief pitcher whos name I forgot, How in god name can anyone have okay that trade. With schilling they won the world series so imo our worst trade ever, even worst then he five for one with Cleveland.

  7. I feel like these are legitimate arguments that Ruben has with other front office members when it comes to defending players like Howard, Kendrick, Mayberry, etc.

  8. Discussing bad pitchers on the Phillies reminds me of a funny line from the Big Bang Theory where someone asked Howard Wallowitz if he had a family history of heart disease and his response was that his family WAS the history of heart disease.

    In the same way it seems that the answer to the question of whether the Phillies have a history of bad pitchers is that the Phillies are the history of bad pitchers. You want an inventory of bad pitching, come on by and we’ll give you lots of options.

  9. I have been a Phillie phan since 1964, an avid one, and can recall almost every pitcher who threw for the team. That said, this is a great discussion but to suggest that pitchers like Ruffin, Carmen or Mimbs were the worst ever is simply to recall a particularly bad game or season and just throw the name out there. In fact, all three had decent seasons at some points in their careers, and I would gladly take a Ruffin or Carmen on this years staff, they would immediately become the 3rd best starting pitcher in the rotation.

    There is little doubt in my mind that Joe Cowley was the worst starting pitcher that I can recall since I saw Jim Bunning defeat the Giants at Candlestick Park on Independence Day 1964.

    If you were a phan in 1987 you remember it well. The team had finished strong in 1986 and had what they thought was a great nucleus, led by Mike Schmidt, Von Hayes, Juan Samuel, Glen Wilson and the recently signed free agent, Lance Parrish. They also had hit machine, Mike Easler, Milt Thompson, Darren Daulton and John Russell, along with speed merchant, Jeff Stone.

    They acquired Cowley from the White Sox and thought he would be a great 5th starter along with Shane Rawley, Kevin Gross and the aforementioned Ruffin and Carmen. They also had Steve Bedrosian, Kent Tekulve and Tom Hume in the bullpen. On paper, this looked like a formidable team and some thought they might even be a WS contender. I know I did.

    In my mind, Cowley was so historically bad, that it literally killed their season. They had high hopes and Cowley basically helped to sink the club in April. He made 5 appearances, 4 starts…losing all 4 of them badly. He only lasted 12 innings [think about that, 4 starts, 1 relief appearance, 12 innings], gave up 21 hits, walked 17 guys, hit 5 [thats 43 base runners in 12 innings, struck out only 5 and had an ERA of 15.43.

    He suffered from Steve Blass Disease, he literally suddenly forgot how to throw a strike. It was so sad to see. And he was not hurt, he was just terrible. He was sent down, never came up again, and was out of baseball soon thereafter.

    Now, I can recall some historically bad Phillie pitchers…they had a guy named Ken Reynolds who went 2-15 in 1972 and of course Kyle Abbott went 1-14 in 1992. But Cowley was grotesquely bad, in a very sad way. He had been a very effective pitcher till he literally forgot how to throw a strike, and never pitched another major league game in his career.

    1. 1986 was the season that made me a Phils fan – I was just the right age. Even now reading your post filled me with hope for the 1987 season. Sigh.

    2. Did Joe Cowley become a baseball commentator later? I thought I heard him on the WGN White Sox coverage.

    1. I mean, that wasn’t a great pitching team by any means but Lieber, Myers, Wolf, etc are not anywhere close to being in the Hall of Infamy. The 2005 team’s ERA was 4.21 and the MLB average was 4.28, so slightly above average. It was the height of the steroid era, everyone was getting shelled. And Billy Wagner was lights out that year. But yeah, Ugeth Urbina for Placido Polanco, that was what you call not good.

      1. Speaking of Urbina, has anyone noticed that he (Urbina) looks disturbingly like MAG

        And on the subjects of Doppelgangers, the Phillies traded Rubbertoe Hernandez, scored some nice prospects, and resplaced him with a guy (Jerome Williams), who looks almost exactly like him, throws just like him and, without missing a beat, has performed just like him. It’s been eerie.

        1. Can someone explain Williams to me? He’s been a pig for years and suddenly he’s throwing the ball well? Does Chooch make that much of a difference? Hard to believe it…

    2. I dunno. Sure outside of Wagner and Fultz no one sticks out as having a particularly good year, but no one was either around long enough or bad enough to do any real damage. The ‘pen was pretty good (Cormier being the only one to be bad for an extended period of time). And the rotation was mostly around average.

      In fact, going by ERA-, more than half of the team was better than average, and only 5 did worse than 110 (the formerly mentioned Cormier at 136, Worrell at 171, Gavin Floyd at 232, Pedro Liriano at 244, and Terry Adams at 296). And those 5 only combined for 111.1 innings, 47.1 of those by Cormier.

      So if you set the inning limit at 50 IP, the only below average pitchers in 2005 were Padilla (109 ERA-), Lidle (105), and Wolf (101). Meanwhile Wagner was downright dominant, Fultz wasn’t far behind, and Meyers would have been a good 3 or solid 2 on most clubs.

  10. I Personally hate Kendrick’s, that being said, he is 70-66 lifetime and has a era of 4.56. more hits then innings pitched. This year he has 10 of 26 quality starts. I Personally don’t know if that’s okay for a fifth starter. but for me I have had enough of him. and his bad first innings, How after working with Burnett his next start he was hitting 94 and since hasn’t seen it again..

    1. I don’t think Kendrick is the worst pitcher in Phillies history, but he is perhaps the most annoying. Just his first inning failures alone are enough to drive a fan crazy! If he can pitch well in other innings, why not in the first?

  11. The scary part is that if they trade Hamels, the Staff will resemble some of those horrible Rotations of the past. We may only be seeing the tip of this iceberg as the team gets even worse.

    1. If they trade Hamels they will could very likely get a pitcher back who is quite good (like a Top 20 prospect) and ready to slip into the rotation sometime in 2015. Not saying it won’t be ugly for a while, but if you want to get really optimistic your could look into a crystal ball and see a July 2015 rotation of Lee, Nola, [Hamels trade centerpiece], MAG, Buchanan, with Biddle possibly waiting in the wings for a callup after Lee is dealt for more prospects at the deadline.

    2. They can cobble together a decent rotation but you will have to accept some growing pains with guys like Pettibone and others.

      You can look for guys that had bad headline numbers but decent advanced stats like the Cubs are doing and cobble together a staff that may not be sexy but effective.

  12. Aside from his contract and personality, I’m getting the impression that people around the league think Papelbon’s success is being done through smoke and mirrors, many believe he’s shot. I tend to think(hope) he’s learning to pitch rather than rely on his stuff which is in decline. Any thoughts on this and if he’s still around next season do the Phillies begin to phase Giles in and him out of the closer role.

    1. Yeah I like the scout remark on mlb trade rumors, his arm doesn’t have much life, this was a quote by a scout. What is he doing paying guys to strike out? the guy is pitching great, hitting 92 most nights with great location and good breaking ball. I just don’t get the constant talk of pap being done.

  13. Ruben this morning on Maikel Franco and the call-ups for Sept.:
    “We know what we want to do,” Amaro said of Franco. “The fact of the matter is, we’re not going to make our decision until we let our player know, and then the world will know. And that goes for all of the players that would be involved in the possible call-ups. We have a plan, we will execute the plan, and when it’s executed then people will know.”

    ……..almost a bit smug

    1. That means Franco is not coming up because they are letting Asche play 3RD and refuse to do anything but send Howard out there every day. Rube said he has no interest in bringing up Franco to sit, he needs ABs.

    2. Romus, sounds like a matter of factly response to me not smug. Maybe all the players to be called up have not been notified yet and the paperwork sent to MLB.

      1. You have to hear it on audio to determine how he came across.
        He seemed annoyed to the point of unnerved with the question by the radio guy.

        1. Romus, the Philadelphia media/press can be difficult to deal with and are quite abrasive/obnoxious at times. Maybe Sports Radio personalities need to look in the mirror once in awhile to gauge their behavior. As you can guess I usually do not listen to sports radio or read certain writers as I believe I can think for myself. Just give the facts and no opinions please.

          1. Fact. you don’t listen to radio, the guy who was interviewing amaro was al morganti. Who knows nothing about baseball and is a very easy interviewer. I also heard the radio that day. And as usual amaro was his smug self. trying to defend his bad team. and his bad team decision. The guy is imo and will give my opinon a moron

            1. Face it, you don’t like Ruben and that is fine but don’t create mountains out of molehills for your own arguments. His job is not to please the fans even though some Philadelphia fans (like yourself) think so but building a winning team. That is a decision for the owners who he just made billions for not you. I have better things to do than listen to than sports radio – you should too.

  14. I love mlb trade rumors. latest braves want to move Upton and his 47 million and 205 average to cubs for Edwin Jackson. Do the braves think Chicago gm is nuts. and one I like and Ruben should have done is thinking of moving Gattis because of body type and defense.

  15. Here’s an exercise for you. The top 5 Phillies’ players this season per fWAR are old guys Hamels/Utley/Rollins/Byrd and Ruiz, worth a collective 14.7 fWAR so far.

    Okaland, one of the best teams in baseball this year despite their recent slump, is getting only 15.7 fWAR from their top 5 players – barely better than the Phillies. Yes, a somewhat unfair comparison, as the A’s are an unusually balanced/deep team with unusually few stars for a contender. But again, the problem with the Phillies’ roster – looking just at this year, the future is a different matter – is the rest of the team, which is collectively pretty ugly (a few bright spots such as Giles excepted).

    1. adding to the concern of this team over the coming years – as you have pointed out in the past – the above players are not exactly young. Hamels is still in his prime, but the others you have listed obviously are on their last legs.

      Early in the year, the bullpen was terrible. Without looking at all the stats, I would venture to say that they are now one of the better bullpens – with a speedbump or 2 mixed in there over the past few months. So, that aspect of the team looks strong. However, not too much to get excited about as it pertains to younger every day players who are currently at the major league level.

  16. Ghost of Ron Jones [who I liked very much and thought was one of the best pure hitters the Phillies ever had before he got hurt]…while your list of starting pitchers from the 1997 club does look scary, it simply is incorrect. One of the biggest fallacies of that year was that the 1997 team was one of the worst Phillie teams of all-time.

    Simply not true. Because the 1997 team was actually two different teams, the one that went 30-72 and was 1962 NY Mets bad, and the team that suddenly played like the best team in baseball during the final 60 games [38-22 record, a .633 pace.]

    The reason? It was the starting pitching staff, one of the most effective 5 man groups I can recall going back to 1964 [Best ever was the 1993 five some of course.] Curt Schilling was brilliant, Mike Grace came back from injury to pitch like he did when he was 5-0 as a rookie, Tyler Green pitched like a #1 draft pick, Garrett Stephenson was tremendous, and rookie lefty Matt Beech pitched well, even though he rarely won.

    That final two months, the Phillies were the best team in the NL, and the highlight was a 3 game sweep of the World Champion Yankees at Veterans Stadium, highlighted by a 15 KO win by Schilling on Labor Day.

    So, while its true that some of those names you mentioned from the ’97 team were indeed poor starters [yes, there was a Darren Winston and he actually won one of the games during the 60 game stretch] it is incorrect to say that it was a lousy staff and you can’t figure out how they won 68 games. By the end of the season, it was a surprise when they lost a game.

    1. I’ll agree with one thing you said, Ron Jones looked like he was going to be a ballplayer. Dude, the fallacy is mentioning Tyler Green, who was -.7 WAR(you must have been thinking about 1995), and Matt Beach, who also “pitched pretty well”, with a -.7 WAR. Schilling was obviously phenomenal ,and Stepehenson was really good that year, but this is just a weird fight to pick.
      One of the most effective 5 man groups? C’mon, Grace, who I really liked, made 6 starts. So, one of the most effective groups consisted of two good pitchers, a guy who made 6 starts, and two below average starters. I was in college back then, and even I didn’t smoke nearly enough grass to see it like that.

  17. David Urban- why do you keep saying they don’t have payroll flexibility? They have over 40m to spend if they’d like . . That’s PLENTY of money and the following year they have close to 100m to spend. I’m lost with that statement you keep coming up with.

    1. They will return almost all of the starters next year. Byrd/Howard/Rollins/Utley/Ruiz are under contract. Brown and Revere have arbitration. Asche is under team control.

      Where do you place someone in the field? The only open spots are bench spots.

      What happens if Franco wins a spot in Spring Training and the Phillies sign Tomas?

      For pitchers they have a couple of starting spots open but going after a big time free agent means giving up a draft pick which would be valuable. We need to continue replenishing the farm system.

      1. David,

        You have been talking about roster construction and salary flexibility. In order for this team to achieve it’s goal of returning to a WS contender anytime in the near future is almost impossible.

        If we go through the roster it is full of over 30 players with some bad contracts and some with decent contracts. If they go through a total overhaul who would replace said players.

        Let’s say the Phillies were able to trade Howard, Pap (or just release either way they gotta go), Rollins, Byrd and Burnett (or he just retires)

        Replacing Howard and Pap are easy. Giles is the closer, Ruf at first. I would prefer Franco to play third once he comes up. But who replaces Rollins and Byrd both of which are still productive. Would you be OK with Galvis at SS until Crawford is ready? Sign the Cuban kid to play RF or move Brown back to right and use Mayberry/Asche once Franco is called up.

        Or would you like to see them go the the greatest extreme. Move Utely to first, play Hernandez at 2nd, Galvis at SS to give them a full season of AB’s to see if they can be productive bench players. Asche/Franco at 3b. Revere in CF, Dom or Thomas in RF. Asche/Ruf in LF. This option would give the GM lots of financial flexibility and would give roster flexibility because that would be 105-110 loss team. But they would finally knock the Astros out of their run of dominance on winning the first pick of the draft.

        1. I agree of course.

          I’d add this: Dave keeps shifting from one argument to another. He starts by talking about payroll flexibility. But he doesn’t really even make an argument in support of his position; it’s pretty much just hand waving. The actual argument that he makes is that the veterans are blocking younger options. And on this point he does have something of point, but:

          For Papelbon and Howard, no one really disagrees. The problem is that both are probably untradeable.

          For the rest of the vets, as you point out there aren’t serious internal options being blocked. Now, Dave’s response to that, if I understand it, is that we should look outside the organization for replacements for Utley, Rollins, Byrd and Ruiz. But he never really explains where we’re going to get (young) replacements. Free agency is out for obvious reasons. Dave seems to be relying on the trade market, but young controlled talent costs a fortune in prospects. So that doesn’t seem like much of an option either.

          But even if you assume some young talent is going to somehow fall out of the sky, it doesn’t mean that we have to trade those guys NOW. If somehow we could (say) pick up a good young catcher at a bargain price, would the presence of Ruiz on the roster preclude such a move? Of course not.

          Now, as I said, there ARE arguments in favor of trading some of these guys. Chiefly the returns, which would not need to be overwhelming to be worth doing You’re not getting top prospects, except for Hamels, but getting a couple of lottery tickets is doable, and well worth doing in some cases.

          And Allentowm made the best argument in support of the “blocking young guys” claim. His point is that, without the veterans, the team could take a chance on a younger guy who was more or less freely available – i.e. hope to find the next Werth/Victorino, That;s actually an okay argument. The problems: poor talent judgment in the organization makes those kinds of pick ups unlikely, and it’s harder to find those kinds of diamonds in the rough at SS/2B/C than at other positions.

          1. I think they should keep Chooch until the end of his contract, even if they are able to get a young catcher from some where. My reason for this the fact that Chooch doesn’t cost a lot of money or years. A young catcher could use a veteran mentor to teach him how to call a game, handle the pitchers etc. There was a reason the Nationals kept Pudge Rodriguez around once they made Ramos the full time catcher.

            1. Chooch has outplayed the value of his contract every year virtually his entire career and this year is no exception. Despite being injured for a month, he’s going to have like a 3 WAR season – value equivalent of about $15-18 million. He’s getting paid about $8.5 million. He’s still a bargain and always seems to hit well in the clutch and manages pitchers about as well as anybody. At the end of his career we’ll look up and he’ll have produced 25-30 WAR – that’s astounding for a lightly regarded prospect who didn’t become a regular at a notoriously taxing position until age 28. He’s a true outlier.

  18. Speaking of bad pitchers, how bad has that Ken Giles kid been? I mean his velocity it just awful and it would be nice to see a strikeout once in a while.

    Darin Ruf with 2 hits including a home run last night. I was very pleased with this as I wrote about getting him Howard’s ABs earlier in this general discussion and have stated several times how I feel about his lack of playing time. Get this guy 500+ ABs next year and think we will be pleased with the numbers he puts up.

    Let’s back to Giles for anyone who may not have caught on to my sarcasm. This kid is an absolute monster. He has been nothing but dominant since getting called up. I love his intensity on the mound, especially with him pitching on a last place team. Hopefully in a few years we will be able to get back to the playoffs and watch Giles close some games. The atmosphere at the bank during the playoffs with him on the mound would be crazy.

    1. Would be a ideal scenario for Ruben to move Paps someway, and possibly have Giles inherit the closer position next season.

      1. Agreed and while MAG pitching in the rotation would be nice and would fill a huge void, I think having a back end of the bullpen of MAG, Diekman, with Giles closing would be really good.

      1. While it is easy to be frustrated that Pap is on the roster, there are some benefits. If Giles was closing games right now it would only add value for him come arbitration so from a financial aspect having Pap close isn’t the worst thing in the world. The only way Pap being off the roster benefits us financially is if he is traded and we save some money on his deal. Romus is spot on IMO, we should let Pap finish out the season as the closer and hopefully move him in the off season. Giles can be the closer next season. No reason to be frustrated with Pap as of now, the guy has pitched well this year. If we can’t move him or his numbers diminish then it will be time to be frustrated.

        1. Also, don’t forget his helpfulness with the young bullpen staff. Pap has been good to have on the team this year.

  19. Some thoughts on Ruf:

    (1) I’ve been an advocate of AT LEAST platooning him at first base, and his performance of late, combined with Howard’s performance of late, just makes the case for that stronger.

    (2) OTOH, the notion that the possibility of trading Howard declines if he sits in September is far from irrational, even if the specific “100 RBI” argument is silly. But sitting against lefties shouldn’t really hurt. Hence a platoon should happen.

    (3) For next year, does anyone really want to see Howard still here? Certainly not I. The logical replacement is Ruf, not Franco. Franco is a third baseman.

    (4) While I’d give him Ruf shot next year, and he would almost certainly be an upgrade over Howard and maybe a big one, there is some reason to be a little skeptical about his ability to maintain his current offensive production. Note that he does have a huge platoon split this year, AND he’s batted a lot more against lefties. Even if you assume that his career splits are a more accurate representation of his ability, full time play would mean many more plate appearances with the platoon disadvantage, and hence lower overall numbers.

    (5) While I am still a skeptic about his ability to play the OF, honestly compels me to admit that his (SSS) metrics in LF this season are actually quite good.

    1. I know that he won the Gold Glove equivalent twice while at Creighton. Is there any reason to believe he would not be a good defensive 1B? Isn’t Howard worth something to an AL team if he only cost $6M a year? I have to believe that Ruf hits more than 19 HRs and bats higher than .222 and plays well defensively.

      1. Not impressed by the GG, but yes he can be a decent to good defensive first baseman, certainly better than Howard.

        And yes he’ll be a better hitter than the current version of Howard. How much better is the question. Maybe a LOT better. I just think that some people are a getting a bit carried away about his hitting, though. He won’t have a .370 plus OBP, for example.

    1. I’ve been a Brown supporter for a long time and have preached patience. But having watched him for a few years now, he has to have some of the worst baseball instincts and fundamentals I’ve ever seen. And, worse yet, he doesn’t seem to get better. He does all the little things wrong and the cumulative effect of that combined with his not doing the big things well either is devastating. I’m no longer seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for Brown. Perhaps he can glimpse into his soul this off season and work to rededicate himself at becoming a better all around baseball player because right now, he kind of sucks across the spectrum.

  20. In what world is it that Franco doesn’t get a call up this september? He’s got a 159 wRC+ and a SLG over .600 since July 1.

    His last 10 days…wRC+ of 282 and a SLG over .900

    I get that he’s not walking but when reviewing his BB stats based on the eyeball test, it seems as his bat’s gotten hot, he’s stopped taking a walk. Believing (and ironically correctly based on the results) he’s better off swinging. It does certainly seem that he’s mastered AAA pitching right now even if I wish he’d walk a tad more.

    I can see the case for not bringing him up full time next year until he qualifies for “super” status to try and mitigate costs in the long run on a team that certainly isn’t winning next year either, but this september, seems like a no-brainer to me.

    1. Not sure if this was directed at me, but I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be called up. But he can get some games in at third base along with Asche.

      The only issue with bringing him up is the need for a 40 man roster spot, but they should be able to find one.

      However, I disagree with your point about the BB, for reasons I don’t have time to get into. Still, it’s not a reason not to call him up for September.

      1. Larry, I’m pretty sure we’ve hashed this out before, but to refresh, don’t misunderstand. I value a walk far more then the phillies organization. Having his walk rate below 5% is a huge red flag for Franco’s ability to hit for a respectible level of contact and potentially negitively impacts the results due to his raw natural power and high bat speed. While I am fully willing to accept that he’ll never have an 8-10% BB rate. I believe with coaching and maturity he can maintain a 5.5-7% career rate.

        1. I remain very upbeat about Franco, and I think that he can still develop some patience at the plate and have an, at least, okay BB rate. I just don’t see him sitting up here in September and not playing. Not that I agree with what the Phils do, but looking at reality, Howard is not going to sit, and Asche will continue to play 3B

  21. Matt Gelb stats on Ryan Howard:
    “Howard, before this weekend’s games, batted with 402 men on base, tying Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria for most in the majors. But Howard drove in those runners at a 15.4 percent rate, which ranked 57th among 159 batters with at least 400 plate appearances.
    More alarming is Howard’s inability to knock home runners from third base. He has batted with a league-high 82 runners on third; 28 of them scored. That 34.1 percent conversion rate ranked 111th out of 159 batters.
    A player who bats cleanup as frequently as Howard is bound to accumulate RBIs. Howard is on pace for 608 plate appearances from the No. 4 spot. There were 316 batters from 1914 to 2013 with at least 600 plate appearances in one season as a cleanup hitter, and 273 of them (86.4 percent) collected 90 or more RBIs.
    Just two of those 316 players had a lower OPS as a cleanup hitter than Howard’s current .696 “.

  22. Who was it that was blasting Rollins a week or two ago?

    Pre All Star: .718 OPS
    Post All Star: .723 OPS

    So yeah you can hate Rollins all you want (why I don’t know) but the man is one of the best players on the team and a top 5 SS in the league even at his advanced age and is the greatest SS in Phillies history.

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