116 thoughts on “General Discussion–Woelver Takes the Fall

  1. If Ruben thinks this will appease the fan base he is sadly mistaken. Real change means real change, not cosmetic fixes.

  2. I think with Reds win today Phils can will pick no lower than 10 with Astros comp pick mixed in. Just an FYI.
    As for The Woelver move, my guess is it’ll lead to a bigger change. Like a lot of new scouts and things like that.

  3. Wolever richly deserved to be fired. We’ve already had Gillick added as the top man. There will be other management changes as well as player changes. Change is afoot and not a moment too soon. RAJ is now a figurehead.

  4. Wolever’s firing to me is a result of Gillick taking over. He was not one of Gillick’s Seattle cohort – the guys who brought you Aumont, Gillies, and Ramirez. The philosophy of going after toolsy, but novice baseball players was very much a part of Phillies strategy since 2006. Brown was the only one who justified the strategy and now he seems lost. Ruben Amaro, Jr is there almost as long as Wolever. He served under Gillick as well. He may indeed be next, although I don’t think Gillick would go against Montgomery’s will in this case. The whole thing seems cosmetic.

    1. I dont think think is Gillick. Amaro said there would be front office changes before Gillick came back. Also this has to do with the Wetzler situation

        1. I tend to agree. Wolever is just the fall guy for the organization’s failings and so the Phils can show the public that “See, we’re making changes here.”

    2. I have been listing to radio station, and other media outlet, They say the the bad contracts are the result of a very nice man. Montgomery He is the one behind the signings. We had a nice guy before in giles who screwed up and now we have monty. My hope is a clean sweep, bring in a new gm from a winning organization and let him bring in scouts, and personal, give him charge like gillick had, no interference from the owners. but its a dream.

      1. Right, but they netted some good major league talent in return. There’s a bit of a logical inconsistency in attacking both the front office’s drafting/development strategy and the trades that netted Lee, Halladay, Oswalt, Revere and, yes, even Hunter Pence. If the Wolever really was so terrible, and guys like d’Arnaud, Gose and Singleton really are replacement level talents, then Amaro must be a friggin’ dealmaking genius, because he tricked opposing GMs into giving him some pretty good players for them. On the other hand, if Amaro really is hopelessly inept when it comes giving up young talent in trades, we have to credit Wolever at least with finding those talents in the first place.

        1. Both Amaro and Woelver rode the coattails of the fact that those were top prospects of a winning organization. Put that same talent on the market from the current team and see what your return is.

    1. Gose is not an everyday player with a well below average hit tool. d’Arnaud has yet to show an ability to remain healthy and Singleton has yet to show anything at all. Not a very good example…

      1. One thing I might disagree on is Singleton, he had 13 homeruns, over a full season he would put up about 28 which isn’t bad for a young kid. Remember mike Schmidt first year, he put up 18 at a older age. But agree on gose. and d’ Arnaud show some ability but not a great year.

  5. I laugh when I hear RAJ say “we need to get better and we felt a change was needed which is why we let Marti go. RAJ you need to read your quote again and look at the guy who has been in charge. Can you honestly say that you did a good job? can you say that you deserve to still be here? Please don’t sit there and condemn others when you have failed miserably.

    1. Considering it is the second straight year with close to 90 losses and a top 5 payroll combined with a greater than 20% drop in attendance this season has to be considered a failure.

      But hey, maybe Cataldi can toss some softballs as questions Amaro’s way for some laughs.

  6. This may only be the delayed fallout from Wolever’s reporting Ben Holmes (Wetzler) and Jason Monda to the NCAA for violations when they opted to return to college rather than sign. On May 29th, a week before the 2014 First Year Player Draft, when asked if he regretted reporting the two players, Wolever was quoted in a Delaware Online article as saying “The only regret I have is taking players that had no intent of signing,” Wolever said, “That’s the only regret I have.” The continued embarassment to the organization coupled with the fact that he was responsible for recommending the drafting of two unsignable players probably settled the matter back in June.

    1. My understanding is that Monda never intended to sign, but Wetzler did intend to sign and changed his mind some time after the draft. So I’m not really sure we can blame him for the Wetzler pick.

    1. Currently I believe the Phillies sit at 9th, not sure how the Astros’ and the loss first round signing of this year, will figure into it…maybe 10th with that.

    2. Here is what I found:

      The First-Year Player Draft (or “MLB Rule 4 Draft”) is held annually over a three-day period in June.

      There are 40 rounds (there were 50 rounds prior to 2012), and draft order is based upon the inverse order of winning percentages from the previous season. If the winning percentages of two or more clubs are the same, the club with the lowest winning percentage from the previous season picks first. If two or more clubs are still tied, league standings from two years back (or three years back, four years back, etc) are used to break the tie.

      In the event the Cubs, White Sox and Phils were tied. The White Sox would pick ahead of the Cubs and Phils. The Cubs would also be ahead of the Phils. It seems that some teams finish in the bottom of the standings year in and year out. Of course, two big surprises are the Red Sox and the Rangers. The Sox went from losers of 93 games in 2012 and picking in the top 10 to 97 wins and WS champions and then back to 90 plus loses and a top 10 pick again. The Rangers went from 90+ wins for a couple of years in a row to 90+ losses this year.

      The Phils have an anti-fight song: “From the highs to the lows, to the end of the show for the rest of their lives.”

    3. If two teams finish with identical records, the previous year’s standings of the tied teams is the tiebreaker, with the team having a worse record receiving the higher pick.

      White Sox were the worst of the 3 (63 wins last year), followed by the Cubs (66), and Phillies (73).

      So, if my calculation is right – Phillies loss coupled with White Sox win will net the Phillies the 9th pick (8th worst record, plus Astros carry over). Phillies win and/or White Sox win nets 10th pick.

        1. I guess it is a bit too early in the game, but would you have a top 15/20 list of eligible players for the 2015 Rule 4?

          1. It’s probably a little too early for individual names but from what I understand the strength is supposed to be College Pitchers.That’s from the little that I read up on seemed to indicate at least.

  7. OT, hope that the Phillies get an upgrade for 3b coach. This guy is the worst I’ve seen and that’s a lot of years.

    1. Juan Samuel could go back there….no need to worry about getting run over since Hunter Pence is three thousand miles away.

    1. Yes, back-to-back 73 win seasons as the Phillies continue the desperately futile effort to win another one for the old core, or be respectable, or keep attendance from falling further, or being one of the interesting major league teams in the league. We will see what the strategy is for next year. Another abysmal season for the team that refused to rebuild, or even reload, or even spend all they could spend to replenish the farm, or even to add under-30s from outside the organization. It’s been double-down and then double-down again on old vets. Gillick has to be better than Monty and RAJ.

  8. The utter failure to have ANY starting pitchers close to the bigs is telling. Horrendous draft choices and maybe sub-standard coaching have yielded the present state of the entire organization.

    The only means to lead toward a fix is to, once again, concentrate on choosing pitchers among their first several of their ’15 choices…IMO college pitchers who’s time to thebigs is likely shorter than HS picks.

    Also, don’t the Phils, along with other mediocrities, also get “Competitive Balance” picks at the end of the first round…and maybe after the 2nd round.

    ??? Is that correct????about the CB ?

    1. No, this is how it works;
      The Competitive Balance Lottery, which was agreed upon as a part of the 2012-2016 Basic Agreement between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association, gives Clubs with the lowest revenues and in the smallest markets the opportunity to obtain additional draft picks through a lottery

      1. Correct and I believe the St. Louis Cardinals have a CB pick next year? Smallest markets? Give me a break.

        I think they announced the ten teams with those picks a month ago.

  9. Nola is a justified choice as closest. But that can hardly excuse the lack of any other developing pitcher; he was just chosen THIS season which does not commend their developing choices/development related to ALL other pitchers on the pharm. Nola is a product of college ball…not due to the Phillies development team.

    1. the phillies appear to have done well in 1st round the last two years. Lets atleast give them some credit there.

  10. This is a really difficult time for me personally to be a phillies fan. There was only really one option for fixing this ship post 2011, and that would have been to spend you way out of it with rediculous international free agent contracts. The phillies probably realized this but due t

    1. The international free agent signing, IMO, would have been of the risky caliber of the Cubans….Soler, Cespedes or Puig.
      The 16-year olds from Ven/DR/Mexico would still be below AA level three post 2011.
      The inability and reticent risk free nature of this GM nature is a flaw in his make-up.
      The LAD would be still be a good team with Kershaw and the creww, but when they added Puig he seem to e the spark that put them in another level.
      Same with Cespedes and the A’s, and the Cubs will benefit from Soler.
      Ruben jumps in late with MAG.
      Hoepfully they go all out with Yasmany Tomas and put him straight-on in LF, without any AAA stopover. He will be 24-years old with international experience. Take a chance.
      Fortune sides with those who dare.

      1. The Cubans cost more, but are a lot less risk than draftees in my opinion. But then again, when other teams are getting Soler and Cespedes etc, we get MAG.

        1. The verdict is still out on MAG. I don’t think many really expected him to do THAT much this year, he was a question when signed the other names were to some degree but not to the same extent. Also remember you are talking about a 12m sign while the others you named were much higher.

          1. You hit it right on with MAG. The Phils basically spent $12 mill over 3 years on him. Nowhere near what guys like Puig or the others got. To put it in perspective, MAG made less than R.Hernandez last year. If he develops into a decent 4th or 5th starter the Phils got their money out of him. Now if the Phils gave him the initial offer of 6 years and $50 mill we may think differently. However, that wasn’t the case.

      2. Why would you not want to put Tomas in AAA? Do we think we’re doing him any favors by force feeding him major league pitching right away? My guess is he would start in Clearwater or Reading with the possibility of rapid advancement thereafter.

        1. He has already faced quality pitching over these last 5 years in Cuba and on the international scene. He is not as young as Soler was when he signed.

  11. This is a really difficult time for me personally to be a phillies fan. There was only really one option for fixing this ship post 2011, and that would have been to spend you way out of it with rediculous international free agent contracts.

    The phillies probably realized this but due to the Ryan Howard contract, and a lack of willingness to push the budget above the luxury tax on a perm. basis, they couldn’t win the bidding on these more expensive options. They likely would have still had a losing season or two, but they would have had an opportunity to get out of that either next year or the year after. As it stands, they’re probably not going to contend for the next 3-5 years. The current “plan” is clearly to rebuild the farm, let the expensive contracts fall off the books and hope to make a key F/A acquisition to get into contention.

    That only works if the phillies can somehow nab a future HoF player/ several perennial all stars. All of whom paek at similar times. Let’s be honest, that’s exactly what happened in 2008-2011. Cole Hamels is the only current player on the roster who fits that bill and will continue to be for likely another 3-4 years health aside. Realistically though, he’ll be the 2011 teams version of Roy Halliday if the phillies do manage to hit it big in player selection and development over the next 3-5 years. Good for a year or two and that’s about it.

    As to players in the minors, the only potential perennial all star or potential HoF player in the system is JP, and he’s still a long shot given his inexperience. Aaron Nola is a #3 with an outside shot as a #2, Franco is probably a very good but not great player. And that’s where the list ends.

    I love the phillies like everyone here, but this is going to be just dreadful to watch for years.

    The other problem which several here have noted is philosophically based, not valuing advanced metrics and just being an overall poorly run organization. Even the selection of Samdberg as coach is evidence of that, cronyism, evaluation of players and personnel seems based almost on what’s “popular” or based on what we “owe” people (Howard) for prior performance.”

    For anyone who doubts what I’m saying, here’s a question for you. When was the last time management or ownership made a truly excellent decision? Your answer can be related to any area of management or personnel.

      1. How about Betts, Barnes, and Coyle. I feel like the Red Sox will try to hold onto Owens, or allow us to choose one from owens, betts, and swihart.

        1. Barnes looks like he could be a nice pitcher #3 pitcher and Coyle K’s too much and while a fine prospect, doesn’t strike me as a middle of the order hitter. More like a 6 on a good team. I’d want Betts and one other younger player with the upside of a perennial all star. Which honestly isn’t that horrible for a top 5/10 pitcher in baseball who isn’t too old and is locked up for more then a year.

          1. The centerpiece would be Betts the pitcher would probably be one of their prospects that has a mid-rotation ceiling (Barnes, Ranaudo, Ball) then maybe you ask for a younger prospect with a high ceiling like Javier Guerra. Devers is likely off the table unless you are willing to take okay prospects at the upper levels (Workman, Vasquez, Marrero) in order to grab Devers as a high risk high reward centerpiece to the deal.

      2. If the Phils get offered Betts and Owens they should accept that trade without hesitation and just fill in the other pieces. My understanding is that they’d be willing to move Betts but Owens is unlikely.

          1. Agree, I like to have the trade talk especially when it seems like a real possibility that a deal could occur. You wonder if there is any projection left with Owens FB if he is sitting 89-91 I think it holds him back from being a true number one. I’ve watched Betts a lot and I would love to have him on the Phillies, infectious energy and has great baseball instincts. The power isn’t great but having him in an OF with Tomas and Quinn is something I would be excited about. I get the feeling Christian Vasquez doesn’t excite a lot of people on the board but he would plug right in as Chooch’s successor his defense is already there if he can be average offenisvely he will be a top 10 starter at the position.

  12. It is unfortunate that we could not get a higher pick then 10. We should still be able to get a good prospect at 10 though. Does anyone have good knowledge of the depth of the draft next year? I wonder where the phillies are going to go with their pick. I could see them trying to pick an OF bat in the first round. 1B and SP would be my other two guesses. I hope they are smart enough and just take the best player they can and do not draft out of need. Another SP in the first two rounds may be a good idea. I know we desperately need offense but you can never have too many quality arms. Plus you can always trade pitching prospects for a bat if needed. I’d try to go for a position player in the first round then SP in the second.

    The astros have the 2,5, and 32 pick. Do they get extra money to use for the draft since Aiken did not sign last year?

  13. Someone else linked this David Murphy column, but I’ll do it again, just because I want to discuss it: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20140929_Phils__Lots_of_scapegoats_but_no_plan.html

    I actually think this is pretty wrong. We’ve seen this over the years with the local columnists and most of all the national press. I feel like they are often a beat or two behind what is actually going on. Looking back with the benefit of retrospect, l think 2012 was really the year that the old plan broke: they signed Papelbon to that ridiculous contract and hoped to ride the veteran core to one last World Series, but Howard never really came back, Halladay broke down, Utley’s knees hurt, and so on. They made contradictory moves that suggested they hoped to contend near term (resigning Hamels) while also trading Pence without a logical successor in right. That led to 2013, which was the year when there truly was no plan–it was the year of the two Youngs and the too olds. But even then, Amaro has to be given credit for not signing Bourn or Swisher and giving up a draft pick, and for getting Ben Revere (even Trevor May is now showing signs of making that trade more even). But 2013 was the nadir, it was horrible, no doubt about it.

    Then, this was the first year of the rebuild. The Phillies front office would never say that publicly, but that’s what Rollins called it, correctly, last week. They focused on signing short-term deals with second-tier free agents that wouldn’t cost them anything besides money, but they stayed under the salary cap. They resisted making any veteran offseason additions to the bullpen, choosing to let the young guys go out there and fail in the early part of the season, and were rewarded by seeing them blossom into one of the most formidable bullpens in the majors by the end of the year. In Giles, they found their future closer. Down on the farm, they brought along Franco and Crawford, the two cornerstones of the next good Phillies team. Franco struggled at the plate, but seems to have made huge strides defensively, which was thought to be a weak spot going into this year. They went heavy with college players in the draft, looking for polished products that could potentially be ready by 2016. They saw some glimmers of hope in some of the high-ceiling prospects at the lower levels, like Cozens and Quinn. When I look at this organization on the whole, I see a changing of the guard beginning next year, with the debuts of Franco and Nola, and who knows, maybe we even get lucky with someone like Altherr, Dugan or Biddle. Then 2016 is Crawford, and maybe Quinn and a couple of the college guys from this year’s draft.

    The 2016 Phillies are going to be a fun team to watch, and who knows, they may not have to rely solely on in-house talent. They’ll have some money coming off the books (Most likely Lee and Papelbon, if they miss their option triggers) they’ll most likely have a protected pick, so maybe they’ll go out and get someone like Justin Upton or Jordan Zimmerman. Who knows? The point is, I think it’s fairly obvious there is a plan. It may not be a brilliant plan, or a satisfying plan in the short term, but you can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel much better going into this offseason that I did last year, when there was really nothing–NOTHING–that went right on any level within the organization, other than Franco’s emergence and the Crawford pick.

    1. Oh, and let’s not forget, Amaro has lusted after Giancarlo Stanton (free agent in 2017) for years.

      1. Every GM has lusted over Stanton haha. If the marlins don’t resign him he is going to have a lot of teams throwing money his way. I would imagine that if the marlins can’t resign him that he gets traded to a team that can. I don’t see him becoming a free agent.

        Justin Upton, Heyward, and Cespedes will all be free agents after next season. Cespedes is interesting to me because I don’t think he will cost a draft pick for any team that signs him. Upton will be 28 when he is a free agent, Heyward 26, and Cespedes 30. I’d love to see Heyward come to Philly and haunt the Braves during his prime years. He plays great defense and could hit in front of or behind Franco.
        There is plenty of starting pitching on the market in 2016. Buchholz, Fister, Latos, Mike Leake, Bud Norris, Porcello, Price, Samardzija, and Zimmerman. Some of these pitchers may get locked up before free agency, but I would assume many make it to free agency. I think trading Hamels may be a good idea for the FO. They could bring in a very good pitching prospect and probably another good prospect with maybe a third lower level prospect. It would also free up some money to bring in new players.

      2. RAJ won’t be here in 2017, so it doesn’t matter how much he lusts after Stanton. The Phillies also lusted after Juan Pierre for many years, going back to when he played for Florida.

    2. I don’t belive they haven’t signed free agents like Bourne and Swisher because it was part of a plan, I beleive they just did not have the financial resources to sign those guys. The bad contracts they signed out the team against their self imposed cap, if they had the flexibility over the past 2 off-seasons I full belive they would have signed some of the big ticket free agents that would have cost them draft picks. Maybe I am too cynical but I find it hard to believe that the team has adjusted their mindset without any restructuring of the front office that had made the prior poor decisions. What was their excuse for not signing any of the top Cuban free agents, those guys were young and wouldnt’ have cost a pick..

      1. Cubans: Cespedes is a free swinging power hitter who somehow managed to OPS in the .750 range despite hitting 20-something home runs each of the past few seasons. In other words, so far he has been the 2014 Marlon Byrd. A perfectly good acquisition at $9 million a season, but not someone who would have moved the needle for the Phillies. Puig was a coup for the Dodgers, I think everyone thought that was a major risk when they signed him for that amount and it paid off. Abreu plays 1B, which, for better or worse, is a position that was occupied for the Phillies. They went in hard for Castillo, but got outbid by the Red Sox, no shame in that. All indications are that they are going to go hard after this power hitting outfielder this offseason. And they signed MAG, who–though a bust so far–is in fact Cuban. So the team has been hardly inactive in the Cuban market. You can’t fault them for not signing Puig when 28 other teams made the same mistake.

        1. The Phillies should never be compared to 28 other teams. They should be compared and evaluated relative to their peers. Big market teams with newer stadiums and the ability to have a Top 6 or 7 payroll. So the Phillies should be judged compared to 6 or 7 other teams in MLB.

          Even worse, the Phillies ownership has been in place for 30+ years, with many key figures in the Front Office being there most of that time, or at least the last 20 years or so.

          You would think these guys would have enough experience with losing over that time period to know what strategies to avoid and what strategies work in building a consistent MLB winner. That doesn’t mean they have to win every year, but this team has crashed and burned to the ground…just like they let teams in the 1980’s and 1990’s do.

          In other words, they have learned nothing. In most careers if you make the same mistakes over and over again after 30 years that you made in the first 5 years, that would make you virtually un-hirable.

          1. Your history of the Phillies is written as if the decade between 2001 and 2011 never happened! I’m not saying thing aren’t bad, but to malign the ownership group for not competing like a big market team kind of misses the point. You mean they’re not competing like the Yankees? The same Yankees that have an enormous payroll and are counting on Alex Rodriguez to provide some offense next season? A big market team like the Mets, who have been mired in misery for the last five years? A big market team like the Cubs, who have a great farm system, but have endured season after season of misery while the Phillies were winning divisions? Or the White Sox? Or a big market team like Houston (the fourth-largest city in America)?

            Maybe the problem isn’t the Phillies’ ownership, which has been spending lavishly on the team since the opening of Citizen Bank Park. Maybe the problem is, simply put, that the team got old. Some of this is cyclical.

            1. How did the great run happen? What was the foundation of the great run? The team finally got good after 20 years of floundering mainly because they finally found great players in the Draft or in LA.

              So what did ownership do when those great players came up from the farm and they got all their new money from CBP attendance? Of course…they went right back to their MO from the 1980’s and 1990’s and once again stopped investing very much in the Draft and in LA.

              The real reason the Phillies have squandered so many seasons over the last 30 years, and the reason they squandered the golden position they were in around 2007 or 2008…is because investing in amateur talent has never been a priority for the Phillies. They never learned this lesson after 30 years. Even when they got money they never saw value in investing it in the Draft or Latin America or Cuba or Japan.

              Sure, they spent a lot of money, but on veterans and free agents and massive deals to guys like Howard and Papelbon. This was what Giles always wanted to do in the 1980’s and 1990’s but he just lacked the money to do it back then. So he could only sign a Lance Parrish every once in awhile.

              The sad reality for us is that the Phillies organization has never had much interest in investing very much at all in actual Phuture Phillies. That is the root cause for the failures they have experienced. In the pre-2003 past and over the last 3 seasons.

              The last 6 years might actually be worse than the 1980’s and 1990’s, because one would think they would have learned the value of seriously investing in amateur talent after the run from 2003 to 2011. At least in the 1980’s and 1990’s they could cry poor and had never had any experience with what was required to build a competitive team.

    3. We have a bottom third minor league system. We have a management team that still brings an analytical knife to an analytical gun fight. And we only have 1 veteran asset (Hamels) that could bring a meaningful prospect return.

      2016 is probably going to be the bottom of the trough. They might be a fun team to watch, but more in the sense that the 2014 76ers are going to be fun in certain ways. They will no doubt have a lot of young guys on the field, but so did Houston this year. It’s not as if Lakewood or Clearwater was brimming with a notable starting 8, so who those young guys are remains to be seen.

      1. I think you’re wrong. This is not a bottom-third minor league system. They have 3 Top 100 prospects in Crawford, Franco and Nola. Quinn is knocking on the door of that list too. They have a lot of depth, and–in contrast to years past–not all of the talent is at the lower levels of the system. Last year, the prospect ranking for the system went 1-3 Franco, Biddle, Crawford in some order and then a giant chasm where basically 4-15 could have been put in almost any order. This year, there’s going to be a similar gap after Crawford, Nola and Franco, but the quality of the prospects coming in behind them is so much better. I don’t closely follow other systems, and I think there’s some folly to trying to do direct comparisons, but this looks like a system that’s a lot closer to the top third than the bottom third to me.

        1. It’s probably the back end of the middle third, that said the problem isn’t that there aren’t interesting prospects, it’s that there’s only really 1 player in the minors right now you could make a case for being a true blue chip prospect. (Perennial All-Star)

          1. That sounds right. I think we’re 17th or 18th best — a little bit worse than average. Problem is, that isn’t good enough that you can just sit back and become a contender as your minor leaguers mature. That potentially moves you up to barely average, which doesn’t get you to the playoffs.

          2. Our friend Keith Law had the Phillies farm system ranked 14th at the beginning of the year. This would place us right in the middle not the bottom third.

        2. Certainly there is no hard and fast rule, but aggregating the opinions of national writers probably give a decent idea about where a system stands. So far we have John Sickels already calling it a bottom third system. We’ll see about some of the others, but I certainly didn’t read much during the season that was terrifically complimentary of the system.

          Generally speaking, I think the depth of the system took a step back this year. None of the toolsy wildcards broke out in a meaningful way and our draft this year is likely to result in a couple big leaguers but lacks much depth or upside outside of the top couple of picks.

          I am curious how Maikel Franco’s year is going to be perceived by the Baseball America’s of the world, but I am expecting many people will classify this season as a disappointment. He may still be top 100, but towards the bottom end if he is. And Roman Quinn is not knocking on the door of anyone’s top 100. He just isn’t.

          Whatever the case, we have been reading story after story about how bad our drafts were from 2008-2012. 2013, outside of Crawford, has no breakout prospects. General consensus here and elsewhere is that those stories are accurate. So the question is, how can we have a good system if we have been having so many terrible drafts?

          1. Despite being injured early in the season, Quinn stole 32 bases and by most accounts looked really good in CF. He has elite speed. He was already ranked as Baseball America’s #100 prospect in 2012:

            http://www.baseballamerica.com/statistics/players/cards/92469

            So it’s not so absurd to think that, with a good performance in the AFL that shows he’s physically fit, he might be on the fringes of next year’s Top 100 list.

            Like I said, I think these system rankings are sort of stupid–it’s the whole upside vs. proximity thing, writ large–but just to make a counterargument to your consensus argument, Keith Law ranked the system 14th in baseball before this season. I don’t see any reason to think that it’s fallen off after drafting Nola, Imhof, Brown, Oliver, etc.

            1. John Sickels said it got worse. http://www.minorleagueball.com/2014/9/23/6345809/philadelphia-phillies-top-20-2014-pre-season-prospects-in-review. He ranked it 19th last year.

              We’ll see what others think. I would just say most everyone else had 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks too. Just referencing that we drafted people is not terribly helpful. Hopefully we drafted well, but beyond having the #7 overall pick, it’s hard to argue that that our picks materially alter how we perceive the strength of our system. And adding a good pitcher in Nola is almost entirely negated by Biddle falling off the face of the earth.

              And since that ranking, Quinn has sandwiched about ~700 ABs with ~.700 OPS around a broken wrist and blown Achilles, while moving positions down the defensive spectrum. I like the guy, he’s got more upside than most other players in our system, but he’s not a top 100 guy right now, or even very close.

            2. Will, sure, everyone had draft picks, but we were picking before most teams! Look, my point is not to question whether we’ve “dropped a few notches” as Sickels says rather casually or whether we’re #20 or #14 or #10. These rankings are almost entirely meaningless, as I think you concede. My point is that, Biddle aside, things got a lot better on the whole with the system over the course of the year. Go back and look at the 2012 or 2013 preseason Top 30s, if you dare. That is a barren system, as I think we all recognized at the time. What I’m suggesting is that we’ve gotten to be a little better than mediocre over the course of the year. I realize you disagree. But can you look at those 2012 and 2013 lists and tell me that you don’t think there’s been substantial progress?

            3. Yes, I agree we’re getting lost in the weeds on the ranking issue. The point I was trying to make is that, for those of us who recognize the core of the current team is a lost cause (you, me, and most every other discerning fan), unfortunately just looking forward to 2016 is no panacea, because whomever you ask, we don’t have an elite farm system. Whether it’s average, mediocre or just plain poor depends on who you ask, but no one thinks it’s good. Not only that, as the value of team control years has increased over the past decade, it has gotten exponentially more difficult to flip expensive veterans for quality young talent, so thinking we’ll be able to account for this by moving veteran assets is unlikely.

              So, while this may seem dire, I am basically just saying that it’s not gonna be fun in 2016. With GOOD management, it might be fun by 2018 or 2019. With Amaro in charge, well, who knows. That’s where we’re at.

            4. Quinn is absolutely a fringe top 100 guy . . Nothing has changed but his position and one could argue that moving to CF actually raises his prospect status bc he plays a good CF, he didn’t play that good of a SS.

              There’s no way Franco drops out of the top 100, just not possible. He prob won’t drop lower then around 75 either. Following next year the Phillies may have 4-5 guys (outside shot of 6) in the top 100.

            5. Eric D. Just mark that post. I guarantee Quinn is on NOT A SINGLE top 100 list this year. none. So I guess that raises the question as to what you mean by “fringe”. Do you mean potential? Is that when somebody says “In the discussion”? If so, fine. Not for any serious prospect writer. But ok. Still, that is a different question, and really isn’t terribly meaningful. And what do you mean by “nothing has changed”? I noted exactly what has changed. 2 years older. 2 years of so-so stats, 2 major injuries. You think that isn’t meaningful?

              I don’t doubt that Franco will be on some, if not most, top 100s. He just won’t be high. If he averages around 75 (optimistically) that is a substantial drop from last year. He’ll be off a few. That is not a good year.

              Rose colored glasses people. Every team in the league has guys that, if they cut down on the strikeouts, walked more, showed more power, didn’t get hurt, and lived up to their potential, would be ALL STARS. The Phillies have fewer than most, fwiw.

              But keep debating whether Jesmuel Valentin or Andrew Pullin should get the reps at 2b in Clearwater (cast my vote for Valentin), if that keeps your mind off how bad the MLB will be for awhile.

            6. Who are these 4-6 top 100 guys?

              The only one who is close is Crawford and maybe Franco because he will be up next season.

              Nola is a 3 with the possibility of being a 2, not an ace.

              Quinn has a lot of question marks.

              Outside of that the farm is pretty devoid of star power.

      2. I don’t think the 76ers are a good comp at all. This team will not have a single rookie/young player profiles as a top 25 player in the league during their prime. The sixers meanwhile have Noel and Embiid (admitably probably won’t play this year) who both could be top 25, and MCW which is probably closer to top 50.

        That said, I know that wasn’t your point, I’m just irritated by the phillies system! So apologies in advance!

        1. Just to point out the obvious: it’s a lot easier to be a Top 25 player in basketball, since there are a lot fewer NBA players! There are 30 NBA teams, each with 5 starters, so a total of 150 starters in the NBA. There are 30 MLB franchises, each with eight position player starters and a five-man starting rotation, so a total of 390 players. So the proportional equivalent of a Top 25 player in the NBA would be a player in the top 17 percent of all 390 starters in MLB, which works out to the Top 66. According to this WAR leaderboard, the 66th ranked MLB player by WAR this season was Juan Uribe, with 4.01 WAR

          http://espn.go.com/mlb/war/leaders/_/year/2014/type/seasonal/alltime/false/count/51

          I certainly think it’s possible that Maikel Franco could be a 4 WAR player in his prime, maybe much more if his defensive flashes this season turn into consistent performance. And there are other guys coming along, like Crawford, who could be even better. If this were basketball, Crawford would just be finishing his freshman season at Kentucky, and everyone would be drooling over the chance to pick him in the lottery. But we own him already! How great is that?

          1. Sorry, shouldn’t have said Franco could be “much more” than a 4 WAR player, I got a little carried away in the writing there.

        2. I meant in 2016, they may be a good comp to this coming year’s Sixers. By then, maybe you have JP Crawford, a ready-for-the-big-leagues Maikel Franco, a blossoming Aaron Nola, and hopefully a blue-chipper or two from a future Hamel’s trade. The rest of the team (apart from the blue pen) is unknown, and likely to be pretty bad, but at least we’ll have something to look forward to.

          The only reason we can’t be looking forward come 2016 is if the management in place refuses to adopt a more forward looking vision.

    4. Omg I hope your kidding. Fun team in 2016?? Now I know why teams can be bad and don’t care, fans will go and they will make money.

      1. I mean fun in the way that the 2003 Phillies were fun. The young guys will be starting to come along, they’ll finish third but they’ll surprise some people.

        1. They will finish third in 2016?
          That could be a long-shot since:
          The Nats will only be two yeasr older with L. Giolito comimg up
          The Mets will have Harvey, Wheeler,Noah Syn plus the rest of that staff going full-bore, and then there may be Conforto and Dom Smith.
          The Braves will remain stable and have Peraza, Bethancourt, Sims and Davidson knocking on the door..
          And the Marlins…the question mark team every season.

          1. Oh gosh, I was just comparing them to the 2003 Phillies that finished a surprising third, I have no idea what I am going to make for dinner tomorrow, let alone what is actually going to happen in 2016. But that said … those Nationals do look strong, but they’re going to have some tough choices ahead: whether to extend Zimmerman or Strasburg, for instance (who is a FA after 2016). The Mets’ future rotation looks great on paper, but where are the runs going to come from–probably not from David Wright, who looks like toast. Etc.

            1. Wait one minute ACA……you do not know what you are going to make for dinner tomorrow….but how can that be?
              You work at a salad bar!

            2. Well, I know it’s going to be salad, that’s for sure, but the question is: arugula or romaine? Or should I go pasta salad–and does that even count as salad if so? You see, these are the kind of things I can’t even begin to predict.

    5. What the Phillies have done thus far simply is not the start of a rebuild. YOu might convincingly argue that they’ve gone from totally-sell-out-for-now every year to playing it straight — not losing their draft picks, not selling off their best minor league talent, but that doesn’t constitute rebuilding. That’s treading in place. You could plausibly argue that they’ve switched to wasting money at a slower pace, but really the Burnett contract, while not Howard awful, is more than Papelbon awful. A rebuilding team would have played Ruf and Franco and Asche every game in September.

      1. I would make the argument that with a payroll that increased by 20+ million, attendance down by more than 20%, the addition of more bad contracts over 1 year (Byrd and Burnett), and a stagnant record the team is wasting money at a faster clip.

  14. The most important initial move this offseason has to be move on from Howard in some way. Either trade (eating as much $$ as it takes) or release him. It frees up a lot of flexibility in the lineup and field. Can start next year with and infield of Ruf, Utley, Rollins, Asche. Then if Franco performs well at AAA, he gets called up to play 3rd, Asche moves to 2nd or LF or bench. Utley could also be played part time, maybe between 1st and 2nd, or just platoon with Ruf at 1st. Ruf could also a little LF. Partly depends who is performing and whether they sign Tomas. But just need to move on from Howard to start moving forward.

    1. I honestly don’t think moving Chase to 1B really adds any value and his defensive performance at 2nd means he really should stay there. Utley has a long history with flaming out towards the end of the year, this is nothing new except that it’s becoming more pronounced as he ages. Sandberg is managing him very poorly. He should really only be playing at all in 4 out of 5 games in a given year. And I mean not playing at all, not showing up to the game, let him legitimately rest.

      As to Howard, I can’t watch him anymore, he’s negitive value to the team. So moving on from him would be fantastic, but I doubt it happens.

    2. I was thinking of the Howard move. if they release him and sign Tomas. That would be around 140 million dollar move, Howards 60 and Tomas at 80 or more. I think that is a big risk, and don’t know if they would do that. If Tomas isn’t a star or at least a really good player. we are in deep trouble. Rather invest in draft and Latin market. I really hope they get together and let a new gm rebuild this team, I just want them to do it the right way, homegrown talent with some free agent to fill in holes,

  15. I count 13 guys on the current major league roster who might not be around in April. While its impossible that all will be gone, many certainly could and will. Any of Brown, Revere, Byrd, Howard, Sizemore, Gwynn, Cesar Hernandez, Nieves, Hamels, KK, Burnett, Pap, and Bastardo could be elsewhere next season. This could be a very entertaining off season. Let’s hope the right moves get made and not just moves to make moves (like releasing Howard or Papelbon which would be stupid). I’m hoping we add a few guys that become top 10 minor leaguers for us.

    1. That’s an interesting group there. Howard and Paps prob. be salary dumps.Sizemore,Gwynn,Nieves,KK are FA’s.If Burnett decides to not retire he’ll have a base of over $12 mill for a pitcher coming off an 18 loss season. Again, if he’s traded it’ll prob. be more a salry dump. The 3 interesting guys would be Brown Revere and Byrd.
      Brown- Even though he’s coming off a really down year I think he could still have a little value.After all he was a top prospect just 3 or 4 years ago. I could see another team trading a former top prospect who’s been a diisapointment like Brown for him.
      Revere- If there was ever a time to trade him it’s now. He’s coming off a year where he hit over.300 and stole close to 50 bags.We all know his shortcomings but I can’t imagine him doing much better than those numbers.Plus, being Arb eligible he’ll prob. get a decent raise based off of that. I really hope the Phils sell high here.
      Byrd- If the Phils feel next year is a rebuilding year, like most of us do, there’s no reason for Byrd to be around. I just hope Amaro lowers his expectations on Byrd’s trade value. There not gonna get a team’s top hitting prospect for him.

      1. I like to see nieves come back if he isn’t expensive. not a bad backup. no on Gwynn, kk and Burnett. brown has to come back he has no value how much he plays is on him. pap unless you give him away will be back. had a really good year. Sizemore wont be back he isn’t the answer in center or left, what do you do with revere. He is near 300 hitter with no power and doesn’t walk. I Wonder if you could get anything for him, that to me is tough decision, We have no one imo ready to replace him from minors, I really think the Phillies will tweak this next season, keep Howard, add a outfielder and starter that are cheap and get one year closer to letting Howard and pap go and trade lee is he comes back and pitches well. Then in 2016 start a rebuild with new gm , I know I am nuts but I can dream .

  16. Wolever deserved to go. He wasn’t the sole problem. As soon as the Phillies started winning in the mid-2000’s, this Front Office went right back to the same penny wise, and pound foolish amateur talent approach they used in the 1980’s and 1990’s. But Wolever willingly went along with a seriously flawed strategy and defended it every year.

    Once the Phillies stopped picking high in the Draft…and being forced to pay the signing bonus that went along with picking high…they stopped spending money on amateur talent. Between that and sacrificing premium draft picks for JAG free agents, and trading away assets on the farm while not doing much of anything to re-stock the farm aggressively…and this day was obviously coming from as early as the 2009 draft.

    Over the last decade the Phillies have drastically underspent in the MLB Draft, and in Latin America, and they were intentional bystanders in Cuba and Japan. For some reason, probably related to their belief about the idea of the best way to sell tickets, they obsessed over veteran Free Agents and have always been willing to dramatically overpay veterans near past their prime, but they could never stand the idea of paying top dollar for amateur talent.

    Most certainly the 2009 draft was the first sign that things were about to go bad. The 2010 draft was just confirmation it was over and the end of the good times were near. In recent years Wolever and his crew have continued to mismanage the draft and waste picks on guys that they couldn’t sign and continued to underspend relative to their peers (bigger market teams).

    If the next guy that replaces Wolever is stuck implementing the same strategy, he will also meet with limited success.

    1. Of course the ranking took a hit, no Morgan or Watson or pettibone and questions with Biddle. Those are 4 major league pitchers of varying rotation spots 3-5. Anyone see a correlation between mike arbuckle leaving and jim fregosi jr. leaving, both to Kansas City and their upward ascension ?

  17. Listening to wip, John Middleton is suppose to be more active with phils. Then they mention a tweet from his son, who is a Hollywood producer, who says something like. Proud to be from Philly true fans stay loyal to team, in the picture he is wearing a dodgers hat. lmao.

    1. Hoping John Middleton steps in on the negotiations with Tomas and the Japanese pitcher, like he did 10 years ago with Thome.
      He could front some of the fiscal matters.

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