General Discussion – Week of 9-29-14 – State Of The Team/Farewell Edition

So this is going to be my last post here. I already said a good bye of sorts a few week ago, so I’ll make this about the team and the GM, and not about me.

As you all likely know, I have been far from an Amaro apologist in the past. The biggest mistake of Amaro’s tenure, and the ultimate downfall of any hope to compete in the 2012-2015 timeframe, has to be the Ryan Howard deal. It was the domino that took down the “whole big thing of dominoes” that was a perennial contender. It seemed at the time like Amaro was hedging against the free agent first base market in the winter of 2011/12, which was set to include Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols. So when Pujols contract runs out in 2035 or whatever, and we compare those players’ hindsightedly questionable deals to Howard’s, Amaro may have gotten off lightly. However, he could have done any number of other things to get the same (read:no) production out of first base, and allowed himself a great deal of flexibility (Cody Overbeck at first and Jayson Werth in right, anyone?). Of course, the what ifs and the maybe woulddas are nice now. Who knows what wild deals Amaro would have turned to try to fill the perceived gap Howard left in the middle of the lineup.

I think Amaro also did some potentially substantial damage to the franchise when he unnecessarily traded for Hunter Pence in 2011, the full extent of which we won’t know for several years. I don’t give him much trouble for the Cliff Lee trades. The Indians are finally getting some value out of Carlos Carrasco after getting little to none out of the other three guys. The guys Amaro got back for Lee when he moved them on Halla-day obviously did not pan out, but it’s not like the two headliners were empty uniforms when he got them. That’s the nature of trading present value for the risk of prospects. Also, I don’t believe for a second that Amaro wanted to move Lee. His hand was forced. And getting Halladay for what he did was a steal. Doc was the man and unless Travis D’Arnaud turns into Johnny Bench over the winter, the prospects we gave up were well worth it.

That was then – Amaro in the winning years…what we have now is, out of necessity, a much different Amaro from that. The slow attempt to build upper level talent began in 2012, with the Victorino and (second) Pence trades. Those deals netted centerpieces Tommy Joseph and Ethan Martin, among others. Those two guys have yet to pan out, and they very well may not, having been through difficult injury situations, both – but they represented pretty good value for the contracts he moved, IMO, and there remains a non-zero chance that Ryan O’Sullivan and Seth Rosin could add value to the big club at some point.

As it stands, we see a handful of interesting young pieces up in the bigs right now, in Franco, Asche, Buchanan, Hollands and Giles, in addition to Diekman and DeFratus and bench guys like Hernandez and Galvis. Add in an average regular catcher we hoped Joseph would be and two mid-back-end starters we hoped Biddle and Martin would be, and this club would be looking up already. (FWIW – Martin always seemed like a bullpen piece to me, though him figuring it all out sticking as a 4/5 starter wouldn’t have surprised me a whole lot).

Only problem with that is that every org can go through their upper minors and talk up the what-ifs and the maybe woulddas and look better than they do now. Have the Phillies seen their fair share of bad luck lately? Sure. Is it worse than other orgs? Hard to say without knowing other orgs as well as I know the Phillies. But even if it is worse, I tend to think that’s cyclical, with the luck coming and going, bolstered mainly by the advantages the people on your scouting, development and training staffs give you over your competition.

Either way, over the last two deadlines, Amaro has been a little cautious for my tastes. He probably could have pushed harder on moving Cliff Lee last year, but he didn’t (and I wasn’t super upset about it until Cliff got hurt this year), and 2013 trades brought in little of note, (sorry, Nefi Ogando fans). And Rube’s free agent deals have included too much baggage to make them as easy to move as you’d hope – the no-trade and options in Marlon Byrd’s deal seem to have played some part in keeping him from being moved. However, too much griping there forgets that the return offered, even with the Phils picking up the tab on his option year, may have been underwhelming, leaving no haul at the July deadline for a second straight year. But on the August market, Amaro managed what looks like a very shrewd deal in getting Jesse Valentin and Victor Arano for Roberto Hernandez, so that’s hard to complain about at all.

The draft strategy this year netted the club too many college guys in the first ten rounds to be considered balanced, but the picks themselves were nothing much to complain about. 2011 thru 2014 could all still turn out to be decent drafts. 2011 seems like a winner, with Asche and Giles already in the bigs and Quinn looking like a AA center fielder next year, plus a couple others. 2012 is a little thin, but I still think Dylan Cozens, Zach Green and/or Andrew Pullin could break out, plus I like Drew Anderson. 2013 has Crawford, Knapp and Sandberg as headliners and a few more guys to like. And I’m into the first five guys from 2014, also. As for international, the amateur market has become really interesting since Carlos Tocci four years ago, (and really was a success the year before that where they found Maikel Franco for a reasonable sum). Deivi Grullon seems like a winner, and I really like how Luis Encarnacion handled himself as the youngest pro in the states this year. Plus this year they got a guy named Arquimedes Gamboa, which totally owns.

So I guess I’ll sum up, (and the congregation says “Finally!”). There’s plenty to not like about the last several years of Phillies baseball. Post-season messes and losing seasons and bad contracts and bad trades and the like. Were it not for a historically lucky stretch of health from his veterans this year, this club could have challenged for the worst team in the game. Imagine how poor the team would have been if Utley, Rollins, Ruiz and Byrd had all missed, say, another three weeks a piece due to injury. Or if even one of them was out for half the year. Not good. But as it went, the rube got lucky. Crooked carnival game operators everywhere are scratching their heads.

So, would I fire the General Manager today if I were the Phillies? Yes. I probably would not have hired him in the first place, and certainly would have canned him after 2012, when it became obvious that his plan to keep the team going forward had failed. I don’t think he’s the worst at what he’s doing right now, and he’s managed to not shoot himself in the foot for a while, (unless Trevor May or Lisalverto Bonilla turn out to be aces), but his stated preferences for traditional stats over the modern methods most winning teams employ is not acceptable in the today’s game. Luckily for Amaro, no one who thinks like that seems to be running the show in Philly right now.

The poor roster that he’s sent out for the last three year now has left the club with a glimmer of hope, though, in high draft picks and big international bonus pools. And with a budget that doesn’t seem likely to contract after adding significant new television money, the next big step forward could be some upside out of Kelly Dugan/Aaron Altherr types, a healthy Jesse Biddle, solid debuts from J.P. Crawford, Aaron Nola and whoever comes along with the 10th pick in 2015, and a couple International Pro Free Agents away. So playoff contention in 2016 if all breaks right, 2017 if it’s slower, the division in 2018 and parades in 2019-2028. Seems about right, no?

Ok, that’s it – one last personal note – thanks again to Gregg for taking me on, and thanks again to all of you for your support of my quirky (read:weird) work over the years. It’s been an honor to pass my knowledge, such as it is, to all of you, and to continue to learn about the minors and development and the draft and everything else from all of you who comment. I hope you all will keep reading my work at Crashburn Alley, and maybe say hello in the comments once in a while so I know you’re still with me. Best of luck to Gregg and Jim and Victor and whoever else contributes in the future.

Discuss.

106 thoughts on “General Discussion – Week of 9-29-14 – State Of The Team/Farewell Edition

  1. Brad,

    As always, thank you. This site has been an amazing stop every morning for many Phillies fans. I’ve enjoyed your dry humor amongst the box score posts, and your insight within the comments. You will be missed and we all hope the best for you as you move on. You have helped keep this site at such a high level of class and knowledge.

    Thanks.

    #RE(bradindc)PECT

  2. Go in peace…and get away from this Phillies disaster. Thanks for your insights which have been a source for discussion, for or against. Your successors will have their hands full in the next few years.

  3. Thanks for all the work on this site and your goofy sense of humor! Gluck in your future endeavors. I generally agree with your premise of the Howard contract but I think a greater domino in Amaro’s failure has been his blindness around Dom Brown. Before you dismiss my post, hear me out. I believe including D Brown in the Halladay offer in mid 2009 could have delivered Doc in 2009 when we could have used him in the WS. Win or lose, with Doc already in the fold, Amaro would never have offered that ridiculous 3 year contract to Blanton and in fact may have let Joe walk. No Blanton contract means we could have kept Lee with the idea of extending him before he became a free agent. In light of the contract we ended up signing for Lee, it would have saved us $5M or more a year. Just as important, not having Dom Brown in the system may have pushed Amaro to seriously consider signing Werth to an extension since we would not have had a “heir” apparent waiting in the minors. With Lee and Werth in the fold, no need to trade for little Roy or Pence, saving a ton of prospects for other needs. With all the new contracts, Amara/ownership may have been more patient in giving out the big Howard contract which could have saved all those other dominos from falling…Other than a likely 2009 WS victory, all the moves described may not have helped us win another WS but it would have given us more flexibility in payroll and trades as the core aged and became ineffective.

  4. I’m of the opinion that when it comes to trades involving prospects, they should be evaluated with the information that was available at the time. If a consensus top prospect gets traded but ends up a bust, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a bad idea to trade for him.

    When it comes to Ruben’s trades, I agree with the assessment on the Halladay and Lee (to Philly) trades. Trading Lee to Seattle may not have been Ruben’s idea, so he could get a pass for being under pressure from ownership, but that was not a good return. Not in the moment and not now. Yes, it could have turned out better for the Phils but none of those guys were great prospects when we got them; all three were basically in the C+/B- vicinity.

    Anyway, I think there’s reason to be somewhat hopeful for the next few years. Most of the things they’ve done the last couple years have made sense and they’ve had a run of what seem like successful drafts. I do worry that they’ll get to a point where they’re on the verge of playoff contention and then do something stupid in an effort to get over the hump, like a Pence trade repeat. If it were up to me, I’d get a new GM too.

    Thanks again for your work on the site, Brad, and good luck in the future.

  5. Brad, Thank you again for your great work on this site. I will make sure to follow you at Crashburn Alley. This team should have made the Halladay trade and the Lee trade in 2009, and would have their second WS. You are right about the subsequent Oswalt deal that would have been unnecessary. But, I am conbvinced that the top of the organization, Monty, got scared of being the “Yankees of the NL”. When you realize that Lee only made 9M when we “had” to trade him. you want to scream.

  6. I know your 2016 contention/2017 division timeline was sort of in jest, but inspired by some of the discussion on the previous thread, I decided to take a look at what might be a potentially turnaround time for this franchise. I decided to look at teams that finished in last place during the 2008-2012 time frame, to get a sense of whether it might be reasonable to think it might be possible to rebuild in 3-5 years. Here’s the list, with the years these teams finished last in parentheses

    Baltimore (2008-2011)
    Boston (2012)
    Detroit (2008)
    Kansas City (2009-2010)
    Minnesota (2011-2012)
    Seattle (2008, 2010-2012)
    Oakland (2009)
    Washington (2008-2010)
    Miami (2011-2012)
    Pittsburgh (2008-2010)
    Houston NL (2011-2012)
    San Diego (2008, 2011)
    Arizona (2009-2010)
    Colorado (2012)

    The first thing that jumps out from this list is that all of this year’s playoff teams besides the Cardinals, Dodgers and Angels are on it. Another team (Seattle) narrowly missed the playoffs. Two others (Arizona and Boston) went to the playoffs after finishing last, although you could argue that Boston (like Detroit in 2008) was a one-year blip. The one common thread I see here is that the teams that look strongest now (Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh, KC) had a period of sustained crappiness, several years in which they were picking near the top of the draft. And the bounce-back can come quickly–Washington went worst to first between 2010-2012, Baltimore went from last to the Wild Card in 2011-2012, Seattle went from last in 2012 to contending for the WC this year, Arizona went worst to first 2010-2011, and sank back to worst just as fast again.

    The common thread, so far as I can see one, is that Washington, Baltimore and Seattle were/are all teams with substantial financial resources that allowed them to spend once the prospects drafted during their down period started to come along. That’s the scenario I see with the Phillies–another last-place season next year, exciting improvement in 2016, and then a big push in 2017 once the Howard contract comes off the books.

    1. This is a good and interesting analysis, but these other teams (with financial resources) had more frequent and more significant periods of futility – more picks at the very top of the draft over more years than the Phillies will have had by next year. These other teams also had some deep drafts and some adept player acquisition through alternative means (trades, etc. . . ).

      Washington, for example, had two of the most high profile picks in a generation (Harper and Strasburg) – in back to back years and then also had Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman. They also deep drafts that netted players such as Jordan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond. And they made some good trades (stole Wilson Ramos, landed a young and in-his-prime Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister) and had some good signings (Adam LaRoche, Werth [yes, it now appears to have been a good signing]).

      The Phillies need to do a lot right and have a lot go right for them to be competitive in 2016. I suspect, if we’re lucky, they’ll be milling around .500 that year, but it could be a lot worse if things don’t come together.

      1. Yeah, you’re right, Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh and KC all had extended periods of crappiness. I thought about that too, and also wondered what it means that 4 of the 6 teams that finished last this year (Boston, Philly, Arizona, Texas) were playoffs teams recently. Also teams like Cincinnati and Colorado were really bad. Some of this might just be the usual variation. But I also think we might be seeing a fundamental shift in the competitive dynamics of the game. So much of the last decade’s reforms–the payroll cap, the competitive balance picks, the hard slots/penalties in the draft, the international bonus pool, the TV revenue sharing–has been done with the aim of assuring balance between small and large market teams. Teams like Pittsburgh and Milwaukee and Cincinnati have the money to lock their players into long term deals, so you see fewer and fewer players like Ryan Braun or Joey Votto heading to sign big deals with the Yankees or Red Sox or Phillies. This sucks for the Phillies, because it means there’s no quick fix. But it may mean that the cycle may work in their favor again pretty soon. I realize that’s taking a really long view, but the long view is the only comforting one at the moment.

        1. Like your analysis of the worst to first scenario.
          Hope it rings true for the Phillies.
          Will make Ruben look like a genius.

  7. How to fix the Phillies:

    1) Acquire Kershaw from LA for 3 PTBNL. Ned Colletti can choose from a pool of Harold Martinez, Larry Greene Jr., Aaron Altherr, Shane Watson, and Phillippe Aumont. Throw in some free cheesesteaks and we might be able to spin a deal.

    2) Trade Ryan Howard to Miami for Giancarlo Stanton. Justin Bour mans 1B for Miami… stop acting like you’ve heard of Justin Bour. Easy deal for Loria and Co.

    3) DFA Ruiz, trade for Yadier Molina… again, no brainer on St. Louis’ behalf. Throw in Papelbon? Eh.

    4) Maybe i’m too greedy but dangle prospects like Seth Rosin, and Raywilly Gomez towards Seattle. Jack Z. might be willing to bite on a Felix Hernandez deal. We may need to include money.

    5) After all of those trades, turn off MLB 14 The Show. Don’t save, you would hate to lose those deals.

    6) Cry at current state of the Phillies organization.

  8. Thanks Brad for all the things you’ve done for this site.

    AFL starts a week from today (Tuesday). They sent 4 pitchers. Three are guys who could be bullpen pieces (Murray, R. O’Sullivan, Ogando). Another pitcher, Stewart, will get to show if he can pitch at a higher level or not. He also seems to have grown an inch. I think they listed him as 6’6″ but on the AFL roster he’s 6’7″. Maybe he’s grown in more ways than that. Moore will be the 3rd catcher who will probably see very little action but he isn’t the oldest catcher on the roster. The only other position player is Quinn. He’ll get a lot of scrutiny.

    The Phils players play on the Scottsdale Scorpions. Other teams sending prospects to Scottsdale are the Mets, Yankees, Pirates and Giants.

  9. There was a nice article on BA yesterday on Quinn and it mentioned he is a “priority player” for the AFL which means he plays at least 4 times a week. Never heard of that but always fun to learn little tidbits here and there. So sounds like we’ll be able to consistently check out his stats.

    1. That’s probably part of the standard contractual arrangement between the ML team and the AFL team – so your guy who you want to play doesn’t sit in the corner of the dugout all fall. Makes a lot of sense.

  10. How and when do they determine who gets what pick in the draft. There is a three way tie between the Phillies, whitesox, and Cubs.

    Side not how bad does it suck that the in they lost 4 more games they would be picking in the top 5…

        1. No problem. I think the coi flip was not used…..they have a formula going back to last year’s finish I think.

    1. Yeah, the fans want a new player who they have been told is good. The fans always want the new player. Always.

      Just as the fans, as a whole, always want the team to trade prospects for an established star. Every single trade Ruben made to get a star was applauded at the time and every single sportswriter I can recall said the Phillies “had” to do each trade while the window of opportunity was open. These same folks, of course, are the ones now blaming him for making those trades and not having the prospects.

      Anyway . . . the more I think about this situation, the more convinced I become that Dave Montgomery, who I hope gets better soon, really needs to step down and they need someone sophisticated to replace him. I’m glad Pat Gillick is there now as he is way better than Montgomery, but the team needs a next generation thinker. Hopefully, Gillick sees this wave coming and helps choose the replacement. The owners must really be getting angry about what they see happening – hopefully they continue to overhaul the management team in a productive manner.

    2. The scouting reports on Tomas are pretty bleak. Good raw power but below average for hit, speed, arm and defense. He’s no Abreu, Puig, or Solar. I’ll pass on giving the next LGJr $100 million.

      1. I talked about this ad nauseam in a few threads so why not say it again ; )

        I’ve been trying to find a player comp for Y. Tomas and I think I have a pretty good one . . . Mark Trumbo with less in game power (he’s also a little smaller then Trumbo). This is obviously just my opinion which is based on scouting reports, video, his stats and also the stats of Cespedes and Abreu in their same age seasons. If you look Cespedes/Abreu/Tomas numbers you’ll see that Tomas doesn’t come close to them in any stat (HR and Average especially), the number that he exceeds them in is K’s. His K rate is alarming to me considering he’s facing weaker pitching and also isn’t facing pitchers who have the ability to study video like pitchers in the states. All of this does not bode well for Tomas and more importantly it doesn’t bode well for the team who shells out 85-105m for his services. I’ll be the first to eat my words if he proves me wrong and he could always improve . . . but he’s far from a sure thing and more of a risk then Cespedes/Abreu/Puig/Soler.

    1. This was an incredibly good article and highlights the same reasons the team is having problems now.

      The owners are patrician and out of touch. They leave the running of the team to a “trusted” group of management people headed by Dave Montgomery and rarely impose pressure from above. Dave’s day-to-day management group is benign yet often ineffecutal – they are loathe coming down hard on their employees if things don’t go well and are resistant to change of any type. Nobody is held accountable and when they are, it is too little too late. There is too much cronyism – people never leave, change and urgency to change does not take root in large part due to the fact that the owners are independently wealthy and the team always makes money. They simply adjust payroll over time to adjust to the fortunes of the team and the team continues to appreciate notwithstanding any poor performance.

      Yup, for the most part, it still sounds about right, although the team has proven itself to be a bit less penurious than they were perceived to be at the time. They are still out-of-touch, behind the times and enitrely resistant to change.

      Still, I love this ominous line in the story: “Who will be held accountable if this team is a shell of itself by 2012?” Who indeed.

      One other thing I love about the story is how they rip Ed Wade, who was then almost universally viewed as the biggest moron GM in the game, mercilously (and rightfully so) – a reminder to the new and truly bizarre wave of Ed Wade apologists that have arisen on this site. To them I say “are you out of your freaking mind?” Ed Wade was DREADFUL. That he was not as bad as Amaro doesn’t speak highly of Wade, it’s a further damnation of Amaro.

      1. Amazing. You got 3 thumbs down for speaking truth.

        Unfortunately too many fans focus on symptoms and not root cause. I guess because the root cause is too painful and too obvious to acknowledge. Things won’t change until ownership changes. Since that reality is too messy to deal with it can’t be spoken.

        And while most obsess over moves made concerning this MLB contract or that MLB contract, the real problem all along has been that from 1984 until now this ownership / management group never grasped the importance of actually investing much at all in Phuture Phillies.

        When they finally did start spending money, most of it was thrown at overpaying MLB Free Agents or massive contracts to re-sign guys like Howard. The focus was always at the MLB level. Which was always putting the cart before the horse, because the performance of todays MLB team is almost always a byproduct of what happened years earlier on the farm first.

        The only way to have a chance to “buy” yourself out of a bad farm in Free Agency is to spend between $220M and $250M per year like the Yankees or Dodgers have some years. Or somewhere between 20% to 100% over what the rest of the Top 10 spends.

        Until the Phillies get a Front Office that values the acquisition of Phuture Phillies as their #1 priority year in and year out, future results will likely continue to disappoint in my opinion.

        1. Hey, I was not one of the thumbs-down people for Catch’s comment, I think it’s totally fine that he holds that opinion. But as for me: I can’t really find fault with an ownership group that for the past decade has basically given the front office everything it needs in terms of financial resources while leaving the baseball decisions to people like Pat Gillick and (yes) Ruben Amaro. Should Amaro be fired? I think so, and I would happily rent a Zipvan to help him move him things out quickly should that occur. But do I want John Middleton and the rest of the faceless owners to start getting involved in baseball decisions. Absolutely not. To see the consequences of really involved ownership, look no further north than Queens, where Jeff Wilpon is constantly meddling with what seems to be dysfunctional consequences. Or look at what Frank McCourt did to the Dodgers. Even the Steinbrenner kids have a very mixed record.

          My worst nightmare is that there’s some 30-year-old Villanova law school grad named Scooter Betz out there who just inherited his aunt Claire’s share of the team and he’s feeling that what’s needed here is some involved ownership.

          1. If you follow the history of the Phillies, It was a Penn graduate who came to the Phillies in the seventies. That kid told his dad how bad the team was and later won a championship. so maybe a young scooter betz will become the next Rudy Carpenter.

          2. I agree with you to an extent. I don’t want meddling owners either. None of us wants the baseball version of Jerry Jones as the Phillies owner.

            And really, my problem was never with the owners per se. It was always with Giles and Montgomery. The owners only became the issue when they continued to tolerate massive incompetence and nepotism by Giles and Montgomery. How either of those 2 survived in their roles after the 1980’s and 1990’s defies logic.

            Even when the Phillies finally got money they did not spend it wisely. We’ll see what changes going forward now that Gillick has stepped into his new role.

            1. I posted this before and got ripped for it but the reason they endured is because they tolerated mediocrity in the 80’s and 90’s. They were happy with getting 3 million into the Vet and never bothered to show much interest in the team.

              I remember them talking about not paying attention to pitching because pitchers were too expensive and only went out on the field one out of every five days. That explains some of the horrendous staffs trotted out onto the field.

              Another comment was that people come to see home runs.

              The culture installed was not one of winning; it was one of entertainment first with winning being secondary.

              Even now, the comment about not selling at the deadline because people will not come to picture day is telling as to the culture.

              The organization tried to be the Yankees by spending to the cap and it backfired. They do not understand how to build a winning organization.

              That is why I want them to hire someone from the Cardinals, a solid franchise that does more with less.

              It is not about how much money you spend, it is about how you spend that money.

      2. That article reinforces the idea that the corps issues are the same now that affected the club for two decades. They just have more money to spend due to the TV deals and CBP. The 2007-2011 success can be traced to a once in a life time group of prospects hitting their primes together and a few smart and lucky moves by Gillick and not any change in how the club operated

    2. ‘There are five conspicuous absences, though: Claire Betz, the 87-year-old who took her seat at the ownership table when her husband, head of Betz Laboratories, died; the Buck brothers — Jim, 82, Bill, 78, and Whip, 75 — founders of TDH Capital, the Delaware Valley’s first venture-capital interest; and John Middleton, 53, whose cigar company, John Middleton Inc., sold for $2.9 billion last year. They are the shadowy owners of the Phillies, and for this Phantom Five, the less interaction with the public, the better’

      ……..three of the five have passed….one Buck brother remains and John Middleton.

      1. I see the Ed Wade supporters are out in full force. That people believe he was a good GM is beyond belief. If you want another sustained period of futility, Ed’s your guy.

        1. You know what, it really doesn’t matter. If you like Ed Wade, so be it. I just want the team to get better.

          1. This is to the Ed Wade comments . . . I’m not saying that Ed Wade is a genius or anything close to it but the fact of the matter is that he is the main reason the Phillies won the World Series in 08. Of course it was actually the play on the field that won it but where did those players come from? The vast majority were drafted by Ed Wade. These players were also developed under Ed Wades watch.

            Players Drafted by Ed Wade: Pat Burrell, Jason Michaels, Ryan Madson, Joe Saunders, Nick Punto, Brett Myers, Marlon Byrd, Chase Utley, Gavin Floyd, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Ziegler, JA Happ, Lou Marson, Vance Worley.

            Players Drafted by Gillick: Jason Donald, Dom Brown, Travis D’arnaud, Jake Diekman, Justin De Fratus, Jarred Cosart, Vance Worley, Jon Pettibone, Anthony Gose, Michael Stutes

            If you were to look at EW drafts vs PG drafts it’s pretty easy to see who got the better players. Heck Ed Wade even ended up with some of the better players that Gillick drafted (IN NO WAY AM I SAYING I’D RATHER HAVE ED WADE OVER GILLICK).

            Ed Wade has always been put in a position to fail. What I mean by this is that when he was with the Phillies he had zero financial backing. Money makes a difference in baseball, when you can’t spend it you have to draft talent. The problem with that is it takes time for these drafted players to develop . . .their development was seen shortly after Wade was gone. Even in Houston he was set up to fail, they didn’t give him money to spend and pushed to sell off talent. The drafts that he was in charge of will now/soon bear results.

            If you are honest with yourself then there isn’t one thing above that you could say isn’t true.

            1. Um, well, let’s just start off with the self-evident fact that Ed Wade got good draft picks because the Phillies were picking really high in the draft. Because the Phillies were really bad. In part, because Ed Wade was not a good GM. Also, let’s not forget Arbuckle? Also, let’s not forget they blew one of their #1 draft picks on m$%therf#@$ing JD Drew, and ended up with a much lower compensation pick that turned into the immortal Eric Valent. So, um, once again: I think you may be romanticizing the Ed Wade era a bit.

            2. I’ll preface this by saying I don’t expect a response bc one again i’m going to throw out somethings that there zero way you can dispute them bc they are facts.

              You know that Ed Wade wasn’t the GM when they drafted JD Drew right? Wait, you must not have known that since you threw that in there about Wade. Ed Wades first draft was in 1998 not 1997. JD was Drafted in 1997 by the Phillies. Ed Wade did have the rights to him in 1998 however Drew wanted close to 11m to sign which was an INSANE number at that time (that was Travis Lee’s signing bonus). Wade stayed where MLB wanted him to at a little under 3m (and im sure the Phillies wouldn’t have let him go much higher) but he also threw in a 4 yr major league contract of 3m. THAT would have been a good sign, the 11m he wanted, not so much. Looks like Wade was smart with that, a player HE DIDN’T DRAFT. Yes Eric Valent was the player taken as compensation for the Drew pick but that wasn’t under the 42 pick and was seen as a 1R pick, 2R if a team was lucky (He was seen as a safe pick coming out of UCLA holding their HR record. He also tore up the Minors, a site like this would have loved him).

              A draft is more then just your 1st round pick. There have been many teams who have had high 1st round picks and blow it with a bad decision. There aren’t many “sure thing” players to draft.

              What’s your point about Arbuckle? He was hired by Ed Wade as his head scout. You want to surround yourself by good people which Ed Wade did. FYI He must have been a good hire considering Gillick had him for his drafts as well, it was when RAJ was named the gm that Arbuckle left, so that part of your response doesn’t make sense either bc Arbuckle is a positive to Wade not a negative.

              I was expecting to hear the Rolen trade or the Schilling trade as an argument. There’s not much a GM can do when players want out, they wanted they didn’t feel the owners were committed to winning, not going out and spending money, not something Wade as control of. Even with it being one of the hardest things for a gm to do (trade a player who has made it known he wants out) he still got serviceable players back for both (NOT ON THEIR LEVEL, but they were serviceable). Wade also orchestrated one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history when he traded Kevin Stocker for Bobby Abreu.

              “Because the Phillies were really bad” this is a myth as well (unless we have different definition of “really bad”. Wade inherited a “really bad” team. The 4 years prior to Wade they had win totals of 54, 69, 67, 68 and all last place teams. Wade improved the team (except for 2000) to win totals of 75, 77, 65, 86, 80, 86, 86, 88. If you take out 2000 then he GMed the team to 23 wins above .500 in his tenure. That isn’t anything to write home about but it is far from “really bad”.

              Just throwing this out there . . . Wade improve the Phillies +17 wins in his first 2 seasons with the Phillies over the 2 seasons prior to Wade being the gm. Gillick didn’t improve the Phillies at all win wise in his first 2 years.

              Again in no way am I saying Wade is a better GM then the Gillick. All I am saying is that Wade had A LOT to do with the success of the Phillies during their run, A LOT to do with it.

            3. Well, I guess I would say citing facts does not actually end an argument. I didn’t assert that you were factually incorrect. Although, now that I look at it, neither Worley nor Joe Saunders were drafted by Wade, in fact Saunders wasn’t even in the Phillies org. But I wasn’t even really taking issues with the facts you cited. It’s just that your interpretation of those facts is pretty dubious.

              On Drew: Wade was the assistant to Lee Thomas during the draft and as GM handled the negotiations, which by all accounts were horribly bungled. The Phillies took a take-it-or-leave-it approach, offering disbelieving that Drew would have the stones to sit out a year, and they were wrong. The

              About the trades: did I bring that up? I thought we were talking about their drafts?

              On Arbuckle: he was director of scouting dating back to 1992, so not Wade’s hire. http://articles.philly.com/1992-10-27/sports/25998761_1_three-scouts-mike-arbuckle-jay-hankins

              But anyway, you didn’t address my main point, which is that Wade was picking much higher. Let’s look at your comparative lists. I’ll grant you that Wade’s drafts produced more major league players than Gillick’s. Maybe that’s because Wade was GM for 8 years, and Gillick was GM for 3. And no one would dispute that Wade got some great players in the draft. Pat Burrell, #1 overall pick. Brett Myers, #12 overall pick. Chase Utley, #15 overall. Gavin Floyd, #4 overall. Cole Hamels, #17 overall. Because, as you rightly point out, the team was getting better toward the end of Wade’s tenure, the Phillies never picked as high as #17 again until last year, when (what a surprise!) they picked a pretty good player.

              Finding Madson, Byrd and Howard in the later rounds was obviously a huge coup for the Wade front office, let’s give credit where it’s due. (Though I do think some of that credit also goes to Arbuckle). But arguing that Wade’s contributions have been unappreciated is a little off base. Everyone knows he put together the core of the team. But he was also helped by the circumstances.

          2. I knew I should have changed the Arbuckle comment to “leaving him in charge” when Wade took over. Either way Wade had the decision to stick with him or make a change. Wade nor Gillick thought it was smart to change their head scout.

            Both Saunders and Worley were drafted by Wade. Joe Saunders drafted in the 5th round of the 1999 draft and Worley in the 20th round of the 2005 draft. They were obviously not signed. I still add those guys in because they were still scouted and thought to be solid picks and that’s as high school pitchers. They were both drafted years later as higher picks which shows the foresight by Wades crew. Not signing them could have been seen as a failure however I go back to the fact that Wade was giving little financial backing.

            The fact that Wade had high picks wasn’t his fault, although you stated it was his fault bc they were “really bad” under Wade which is also incorrect as I stated above. Really bad teams don’t have 80 plus win seasons. The high picks were due to the teams before he took over. And like I said you can have high picks and do nothing with them due to the fact that there aren’t many LOCKS in the MLB Draft. I don’t care where you pick you still have to produce players. Look at the Cardnals, they don’t get high picks but they produce players and there are a number of other teams who routinely have high picks yet don’t produce winning teams.

            Back to the JD Drew draft, again Wade wasn’t in charge when he drafted him and citing Wade as being involved is like citing Gillick as being involved in RAJs 2009-2011 drafts, they were both involved but the final say comes down to the GM. Ok but still you cite Drew, do you think it would have been good to sign him for the 11m he wanted? Drew produced 1 elite season which would have been AFTER he was a FA . . that isn’t exactly a good career for someone who was picked where he was and wanted 11m to sign. I’d actually say that it wasn’t a bad thing that Wade didn’t sign him the year after he was drafted by another GM.

            What exactly is your complaint about Wade? Came in and improved the Phillies, came after with draft selections which produced the core of the Phillies who were so successful during their WS win and NL East Championship runs, the beloved Shane Victorino was selected the the rule 5 draft under Wade, dipped into the international market a bit by signing Carlos Ruiz, Bastardo, and theres a 3rd but can’t think of who it was, he brought the team over the 85 win threshold, did all this with little to no financial backing, he also brought on the future WS championship manager Charlie Manuel. What exactly did he do to hurt the Phillies?

  11. Was looking through the free agent list and did come across one interesting name that might be worth taking a flyer on: Colby Rasmus. He has plus power, hits right handed pitching, is playable in CF and probably would be a good RF.

    Rasmus strikes out way too much, but in the years where he’s been able to control his K rate he was a borderline star. Even last year where he struck out 33% of the time (!), he was still a slightly above average hitter because of his power. He’s also relatively young (just turned 28) and has a pedigree (twice a BA top 10 overall prospect).

  12. Just to add another miss on the Phillies part . . The name isn’t going to jump out to anyone but Ender Inciarte had a nice little year. He isn’t a big bat obviously but he would be a nice 4th outfielder maybe starter. In just under 420 ABs this year he turned in a .278/.318/.359 slash line with 4HR 19SB (only caught 3x) and doesn’t K much. For the WAR guys on here, Inciarte played to a WAR of 3.7 which by FanGraphs makes him a “Good player” and Fringe All Star (going by FanGraphs listing of what each WAR number equals:
    0-1 Scrub
    1-2 Role Player
    2-3 Solid Player
    3-4 All Star
    5-6 Superstar
    6+ MVP

    To give another idea of his season, only ONE Phillies position player put up a higher WAR.

    So there’s another player RAJ let get away. He made the Phillies 25 man roster but had to be returned to Arizona when the DFA when the Phillies claimed Ezequiel Carrera. Nice.

    1. There is very little chance that the Phillies are able to keep him on the roster all year last given their injuries and turnover, and even almost zero chance he develops into the player he is right now if he spends all of 2013 in the major leagues not getting at bats.

      I also am not entirely convinced that he is the defender the numbers say he is. By the defensive metrics he put up the 3rd most cumulative defensive value in center field in just 118 games.

      1. Seriously we are citing Ender Inciarte as the one that got away? He doesn’t make that roster if the Dbacks never trade Upton and Eaton.

        You want to talk about destroying a franchise…

        1. Hey you guys on here who value WAR should value Ender Inciarte, no? And why couldn’t they keep him on the roster all year? Because of guys like Laynce Nix, Roger Bernadina, Michael Martinez, Casper Wells and Ezequiel Carrera. Inciarte was DFA (offered back to D’Backs) because they claimed Carrera . . .BECAUSE THEY CLAIMED EZEQUIEL FREAKIN’ CARRERA . . which meant that they thought more of Carrera then Inciarte. I’ve seen several D’Back games (MLB Extra Innings) he’s a plus defensive CF with a ton of range bc of his speed (hard to tell if he gets good reads obviously), he’s also a plus runner. And while he’s not a HR threat he still can drive the ball a bit (Over a full season he would have projected to hit 7-8 HR) Is Inciarte a HUGE loss? No, but he is someone that the Phillies had, then offered back to Arizona and then has a year with a WAR better then every Phillies position player except for 1.

          1. I saw Inciarte play in Spring Training that year. Let’s just say he didn’t look like the second coming of George Bell. Or even Shane Victorino. The Phillies took a look at him, judged that he was not ready to take up one of a handful of bench spots, which seems like it was probably true given the fact he spent the entire 2013 season at AA. The Carerra thing is kind of a diversion–he was only on the team for a couple of weeks, holding down a roster position until the real right fielder got healthy. That right fielder, of course, being Delmon Young.

            Ok, maybe I just changed my mind about Inciarte, he definitely would have been better than Delmon Young!

          2. Here’s a Rule 5 that does hurt a little bit, though: Kevin Munson. From MLB Trade Rumors:

            Kevin Munson, RHP (taken fourth overall by the Phillies from the Diamondbacks): Returned to Arizona. Munson never made it onto the active roster, and was sent back in mid-March. Though he never saw MLB action this year, he did post a rather dominant campaign at Triple-A: 2.60 ERA, 11.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9.

            He might have been a nice bullpen piece for the Phillies to have going forward, certainly couldn’t have been worse than Jeff Manship.

  13. “Also, I don’t believe for a second that Amaro wanted to move Lee” = Then you’re a fool sucking the Amaro juice.

  14. i don’t want to convey the impression that these are truly bad owners, they just have some notable weaknesses that are being exposed right now.

    But they have their plusses to be sure.

    They don’t try to be armchair GMs – they generally let the baseball people do the baseball work.

    They seem to be nice and are very Philadelphia based – they care about the fans of this region and the care about the history and future of the team. Although I think they miscalculate what the fans want (we want a team that wins dammit), they try hard to retain players they believe are valued by the fans.

    They are not cheap and they are very fan friendly – when I deal with the ticket office or anyone there it’s like calling a member of the family and asking for a favor – they are solicitious and genuinely cheerful and helpful.

    And they don’t gouge the fans when they are succesful – I never feel ripped off when I’m buying tickets or something at the ball park. Sure, there’s some premium we all pay, but I never feel I’m being dealt with unfairly or take advantage of.

    Their kindness and good natured attitude permeates through the organization – any players or personnel who have been with the team tend to value how much the team cares about them as people and remain loyal to them.

    They are not abrupt in their judgments or publicly rude to anyone – they try to give the people who work for them the resources and opportunity to succeed or work through failure. The flip side of this, of course, is that they are generally too patient in terms of running a business and making changes.

    On top of this, the fan base is there (but not blindly loyal like, say, the Cubs fan base), the park is superb, and the television contract is excellent, at least for the foreseeable future. These are things that help build and sustain great teams.

    But they are hands off, too patient and deferential to the their baseball people (within some limits of course), I think much more than Amaro, they trust the running of the baseball operations to David Montgomery and have for over 20 years. Like them, Monty is a good man by all accounts and he does care and try to do the right thing, but I think, as a baseball person (not as a business person – he seems solid in that regard), he’s a little overmatched, definitely out-of-date, and far too slow to change when it appears obvious to almost everyone that change is necessary. Furthermore, it’s not clear that, when he does make changes, he exercises good judgment in doing so. The team’s general managers over the last 25 or so years have been Lee Thomas, Ed Wade, Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro. Gillick is the only one I think you can call a very good GM for the Phillies, but the others ranged from average at best to just bad. These men were picked and hired mostly by Monty, although others certainly had input in those choices.

    Ultimately, it seems to me that Montgomery sets the whole direction of the baseball franchise and makes the final decisions that determine the fate of the baseball team.

    The owners are a trusting, solid, predictable and decent group of folks, but, for the most part, they are the invisible hand. They need the right person as President charting the path of the organization – if they do that, I think things are more likely to fall into place over a longer period of time and we can have less of a bust-boom cycle with this team (or, worse yet, a sustained bust cycle as we had from the mid-80s to the early 2000s, the 1993 miracle team aside).

    1. This is a great post.

      Being run by good hearted locals is a great thing. They are tremendous in the community, fan friendly, and charitable. In most cases, the loyalty to their employees is admirable and to their credit. I don’t want it any other way and I don’t really want new owners- especially the type we are likely to get.

      But we and they CAN have it both ways. Modernization and outside thinking in baseball operations can compliment what they currently doing well.

      1. I am so lost by your post. they are great in community, well that is great, but most team owners are. the eagles starter the mc Donald’s house, under Leonard tose. Ed snider does a ton of good for community, I am sorry but I want a owner who gets a good gm who puts in a good front office, with good scouts. I want a winning team, not just for a year or two every twenty years, I Would like a team that stay consistent in evaluation of talent and spends wisely, and knows how to keep a team good year after year. I don’t think people realize how hard it is to win with Montgomery calling the shots, making us get locked into bad contracts, and a ownership who so far, hasn’t said it will go over the cap if necessary to fix the problem. I believe they can pay the tax. The owners and Montgomery cause this problem with the bad contracts, and its there responsible as owners to do whatever it takes to fix the problem. And how do you know what kind of owner you would get, cant figure that one out. I just don’t see Montgomery changing and amaro is a moron who keeps his job, if ownership refuses to change. we are locked into a long time of being bad, but we will give to charities. So I guess by your thinking that’s fine.

        1. Most people seemed to follow what I was saying – sorry you got lost.

          I’m trying to give a full picture of what is going on here. Boiled down to its essence, I don’t think the owners are bad people or cheap – I think they have been hands off and have given the ship over to Montgomery. Montgomery has not done a very good job and is now even more out of date and overmatched than he was when the other people running baseball teams were less sophisticated 9about baseball things). He needs to be replaced (and the guy is old and is struggling through health problems – I doubt he’s going to stay around in that role for much longer) but if they get the right person to replace him I think ownership would give that person the proper support and opportunity to succeed.

          Whether they will pick the right person to replace him or not is the big question – I’m hopeful that, with Gillick’s input which I expect will be solicited and strongly considered (and they view him as something of a Svengali because of what he did with the 2008 team, which is pretty good news for the rest of us since he knows about 100 more about building baseball teams than Dave Montgomery) they have a good chance of getting someone decent in there.

          I’m not sure my overall view is that different from yours but you can be the judge of that.

        2. The problem with going over the cap is that if you have spent money poorly to this point spending more money is not going to fix it.

          You have to get the bad contracts off the books and start over.

        3. “we are locked into a long time of being bad, but we will give to charities.”

          In the grand scheme of things, that is far better than the inverse. And the fear is that you get an owner like Jerry Jones who is far too involved for the organization’s good or one like Jeffrey Loria who is just a scum bag. And neither of those approaches have led to success for their franchises.

          1. Anonymous. there is always the fear of a bad owner, But right now if these owners refuse to replace Montgomery or amaro. I will take the chance with a change in ownership. I know it wont happen but as I have stated before I can dream. Could you imagine if we could switch with st Louis take there scouts and gm, and give there gm. the power and the money we can spend. wow/

    2. Yeah, I think this basically sums up the case for better ownership well, even if I tend to think the devil we know is better than the probably alternatives were they to sell.

  15. There has been a lot of discussion on whether we should sign Tomas. I originally felt that we should be fairly aggressive in signing him. Now I am starting to think we should hold off and let him sign else where unless the price is quite reasonable. J. Upton and Heyward can both become free agents after next season unless the braves resign them. They may be able to resign one, but I highly doubt they can afford to sign both. With that said signing one of those players may be a better alternative to Tomas. There will be less risk involved because these guys are established players. They are a bit older but will still be fairly young. Heyward will be a 26 year old free agent and Upton 28. Waiting until next season would give us more time to develop Franco and Nola and assess where the team stands. If we sign one of the players not only do we improve, but the braves lose a quality OF, which is great because I am from jersey and moved to Georgia and hate the braves. My friends who are braves fans would not be pleased if either of those two guys signed with Philly. If we sign Tomas he most likely will spend time in the minors and may not play in the big leagues until 2016 anyway. If we spend all that money on Tomas and he is a bust then we are even further away from post season contention.

    1. I said it the other day if we go after tomas, we better be right, or we are in trouble for a longer period.

  16. Brad, in case I didn’t say it before – thanks for the posts and hard work. Best of luck to you.

  17. The Cubs say they are ready to compete in 2015, after they acquire some pitching. The Pitchers went down in smoke without a true #1 starter. Could the Phillies somehow throw Hamels into the mix and get a bidding war? I’m not sure if the Pirates are ready to pay the price a guy like Hamels costs but they just went down quickly two years in a row and have to be thinking that their time is now if they can improve. Both the Cubs and Pirates have lots of minor league talent that could make a deal work. Would the Pirates trade us Polanco for Hamels? Would that be enough? Marte? Soler from the Cubs? Hot stove……..

    1. I don’t want the club to trade Hamels, but I’m at the point where I’d be a little surprised if he wasn’t the Cubs or Red Sox starter on opening day

    2. Cubs would certainly compete if they sign Lester or Scherzer and trade for Hamels. If Hamels is traded though I see him going to a team that misses out on those two guys. A team like Boston could be a fit and we have been scouting their farm system like crazy. I think if Lee is healthy Ruben seriously considers moving Hamels. IF Lee is healthy the rotation can start with Lee and possibly a guy like McCarthy. Buchanan should be the number 5. I’d resign Williams as the #4 which just leaves us to find a #3. There are a good number of second tier starters that could fill that spot. Nola could be an option later in the year. We could also add a starter from trading Hamels. If our one two is Lee and McCarthy there is still the slim chance they are semi-competitive next year if we score somewhat consistently. If Lee goes down and we trade Hamels the team will be in rough shape. That would probably help us get a top 5 pick. Trading Hamels may be the best move for this team. They may not get an enormous return but I think they could get some nice players in return.

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Phillies and Red Sox have already discussed the outlines of a Hamels trade. That would explain all the scouting, which seemed to be more than the usual “just checking up on the competition” stuff. Presumably the issue is the potential asking price. I would guess the price starts with Mookie Betts and includes a number of other pieces. We’d be talking a 4 for 1 type deal, I reckon, and who knows maybe the Phillies would take the opportunity to try to get them to take Papelbon back.

      2. I think whoever loses out on Lester will come knocking and the Cubs will knock loud.

        I don’t expect anything from Lee next year due to age.

        We are in a rough spot next year and for the long-term they should trade Hamels. They will get back a very good package and the team will be on a better path rebuilding wise.

        I would ask for a very good outfield prospect, and solid 2B and C prospects. Those are the major holes in the Phillies system.

        1. The Phillies could use almost everything except for relief pitchers and a young third basemen (you could also say shortstop but you can never have enough great middle infielders). I’d go for the best players, period.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. I missed that the first time. Wolever has said some nasty and snarky things about other prospects that didn’t sign in the past, so no surprises he was the one that reported Wetzler and Monda.

    1. Normally I’d be skeptical but he makes so awfully big claims there. As much of a clown as he can be I don’t see him reporting that without a very good source or sources

      1. agreed. Eskin is terrible but if he’s wrong on this it makes him look so bad. There has to be some truth to it. Though whoever told him that they are looking to trade Howard and Hamels should be punched. Play those cards close to the vest. It’s not a shocker, but still

        1. Hamels made some cryptic comments in an interview less than a week ago.

          ”I understand the situation,” Hamels said. ”All good things come to an end. I understand the organization and what they have to do. I know they have to make some changes. I can’t say or tell them what to do, I’m just one piece.”

          1. I think Hamels knows the chances of winning another world series in Philly are very slim. He’s the best trade piece they have and Ruben is desperate for young talent. I hope for Hamel’s sake that he is traded to a contending team. He has been great his entire career in Philly. He helped bring us a world championship and almost made history in the process. (Had Madson not blown the lead in game 6 he would have won 5 games in the playoffs and I believe he would’ve been the only player to do so). Hamels competes every fifth day and gets no run support. He deserves better than that. I know wins are not a good stat to analyze a pitcher with but I think pitchers like getting the W. Hamels should get 15+ wins every year. He has only won over 15 games once. The past two seasons he is 17-23. I doubt many other aces have that bad of a record over the past two years. As a phillies fan I love watching Hamels battle each night hes on the mound, but can’t stand watching him give up 2 runs and losing. As a baseball fan I want to see him pitch in October. I think for him and the organization the best move is to trade him.

  18. I am really excited with Montgomery out. as reported by Howard eskin, and Middleton looking to buy majority interests, I think this is the move people though would happen with Comcast taking some action in wanting a better product for there investment. I wonder if Middleton keeps amaro? he has no loyalty to him like Montgomery and Giles had, wow this is great to start the offseason with. I now have a big question, will the new 48 percentage owner John Middleton, have to abide by the owners vote by majority on all moves.

    1. Middleton becoming the majority owner would appear to be one of the best, perhaps the best, thing that could happen to this organization right now. He’s loaded with cash, a complete Philadelphian, understands how a baseball team is run and managed from years of experience as a minority owner, and this guy really wants to win and will take the steps he believes are necessary to get there. It will almost certainly not be business at usual in the Phillies front office if Middleton obtains control. If true, this is a HUGE and positive development.

      1. Quotes from Eskin:

        “He will spend whatever it takes,” Eskin said of Middleton. That will be a necessary attitude in moving a contract like Howard’s.

        “I was told by another source that Ryan Howard will not be back. They will trade him and pay as much as they have to pay to move him.”

        Who knows how reliable he is, but if true this is the sort of change in direction a lot of us are looking for.

  19. Well Howard Eskin blew it again, Phillies deny the story, Montgomery will be back after his health gets better. to run the club again. I really don’t think I will live another 20 years to see this team get good again.

    1. I wouldn’t bet on anything yet. The story Eskin delivered had details that sounded like it came from somebody in Middletown’s camp. The “denial” today seems to suggest that a real power struggle may have begun. We’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.

    2. Yeah, the fact that Howard Eskin had a detail in there about Middleton–48 percent ownership–that was confirmed by the beat reporters today suggests to me that at the very least he was getting information from a source on the inside. Now what that source’s agenda was in leaking it, and leaking it to Eskin of all people, is anyone’s guess….

      My two cents, here’s what I think is going on: Middleton probably acquired shares from the estates of one of the two owners who recently died (Claire Betz and Sally Buck). He wants the other shares, and probably has a willing seller, but he needs approval from all the other partners, as Eskin reported. Some of those partners are holding out, because they don’t want to give Middleton control of the team and lose influence over the team and set off a shakeup. Montgomery himself is a part owner, so voting to give Middleton control would effectively mean he is stepping aside, and he may not want to do that. The emanations from the front office that Monty intends to return after his cancer treatment would suggest as much.

      So, a strategic leak would make sense for Middleton, to try to bring some fan pressure on Monty and the rest of the owners.

      There’s also another scenario, which is that some of the owners don’t want Middleton to take control because they want to sell the team on the open market. Not all of them are as rich as Middleton is personally. An outright sale (perhaps to Comcast or Brian Roberts personally) would probably fetch in excess of $1 billion, maybe as much as $2 billion if you look at the inflation in the value of sports franchises lately. That’s a lot of dough, especially since some of these owners are inheritors who may not actually have a ton of interest in owning a baseball team, or at any rate being a very limited partner to John Middleton.

      What I think is going to happen this winter, therefore, is that the team will be sold outright, either to Middleton or (more likely) in an open bidding process. Keep in mind that other MLB owners would love for the Phillies to come on the market, because every time a team changes hands for over $1 billion it increases the implied value of all the other franchises.

      So, that’s my reading of the tea leaves here.

      1. You have high hopes for the team and I love it. It’s a long shot, but I hope to god you are right.

        1. Actually, I don’t know that a sale would necessarily be a good thing! The Phillies haven’t lacked for financial resources. And until recently they were respected for being well-run (going to the playoffs four straight years will do that). So who knows. If Comcast buys them, would that be a good thing? The record of major corporations owning baseball teams is quite mixed (Tribune Co with the Cubs, News Corp with the Dodgers, Time Warner with the Braves, very uneven results there). So I don’t know if I am being optimistic so much as realistic about how deals like this work. Once a property is “in play” anything can happen.

  20. Eric d you said in the schilling trade we got serviceable players. I Could buy your argument until you made that statement. A 38 yr old 19 game loser, a drunk, a first round flop and a relief pitcher, for at the time a top 5 pitcher, a ace, a difference maker for a pennant which he proved, they didn’t have to move him for that slop, no matter what he said. I would have rather lost him then okay that trade, IMO one of the worst trades they ever made, worst then giving up Sandberg, and as bad as trading Fergie Jenkins.

    1. The Shilling trade was a disaster, so was trading Scott Rolen and so was trading Cliff lee. That is what causes much anxiety over the thought of trading Hamels. Not often do these stars for a bunch of prospects turn out well, no matter how highly regarded the prospects are. Which is why I need Owens and Betts, plus another prospect to even think of moving Hamels.

      1. Those were all very different situations than Hamels. In all of those cases, the Phils’ hand was forced by the player outright stating he didn’t want to play here (Schilling and Rolen) or the quite obvious edict from ownership to dump salary (Lee)

        A better example would be Abreu but I think everyone knew he was just a shell of a player by then and was dogged by the “no-hustle” label.

        Hamels just had the best year of his career and there is little pressure on the team to trade him now or ever. His contract should actually be a plus as a trade asset since it’s lower than market value. Scherzer and company will get megapaid this offseason. He should return 3 or 4 of a team’s top 10 prospects and 3 of them should be in BA top 100 or he shouldn’t be traded. Prospects for veterans do work out sometimes btw, see Adam Jones for Bedard

        1. Disfriggin don’t you get it, do you think there aren’t a lot of players who would like to be someplace else. You don’t give a top ace a top 3 pitcher, to a pennant contenting team for slop, just cause he says he want to leave, That was such slop that any gm who would make that deal, should never ever get a job again, I just don’t understand how anyone can say he forced our hand, He had two years left on deal, rather he walk then take that slop. do you realize we got a 38 year old 19 game loser where were we going with him? A flop first round pick in lee. a drunk in padilla and a bad relief pitcher, would you trade Hamels now for Burnett, brown, kenricks and Aumont?? same type of deal. would you??

  21. The partnership agreement from 1981 was designed so that no Family or entity has Majority control. They are not changing it. Middelton may express himself more than previous partners, but any of them could always do that, just chose not to. This does not change the fact that Howard will probably be moved, with the Phils eating as much as they have to. And, probably does not change the way they do business. The rumored successor is a guy named Buck, ironically not a part of the Buck family that is a partner. He is another nice guy, well-educated, finance guy, a new generation of Dave Montgomery. One can only hope that one of these guys learned some analytics in school.

  22. I’m not going to guess what’s going on in the front office for the Phils but I will hope. I hope that Eskin is right. I hope that Andrew Cleveland Alexander is right. I so desperately want the Phils to be run like the Sixers or even the Eagles rather than the Flyers. I want a measured, analytical approach with 1, 3, 5, and 10 year plans put in to practice. In my profession, this performance would not at all be acceptable and action plans would have already been put in place. The Phils seems to be taking a flailing stab at winning.

    1. Finally someone realize how bad a owner ed snider really has been. He spends, but picks the wrong people to run his team. terrible

        1. David not a big flyers fan but you telling me snider didn’t bring in the homgren and hextall?? I didn’t know that.

  23. Anyone else find it humorous that two of our former RF’s are now manning the heart of the lineup of two playoff teams? Especially given the spectacular production of our outfield this year, right?

    The Werth 7/120 may have looked outrageous at the time, but it was less guaranteed money than the Howard contract, and let’s just say Jayson has aged a little better than Ryan has. In addition, Pence has rebounded from that disappointing 2012 and has accumulated 11+WAR over the past two seasons. Given how much we sacrificed to get Hunter (Singleton and Cosart were by the top prospects in the system at the time, not including Brown who was with the major league team, as well as Domingo Santana who had one of the highest ceilings in the system), it is appalling to think that Amaro panicked from a small 2012 sample into trading him for garbage at the deadline.

    I’m beginning to feel the reason Ruben didn’t pull the trigger on any trades at the deadline is that it would backfire. Go back to 2012 and he trades Victorino & Pence the same day, the next two World Series they are manning the outfield for the victors. It used to be players came to Philadelphia to get a chance for a ring, not get traded from Philadelphia to get a chance for a ring.Amaro was a ballsy guy when the Phillies were an NL powerhouse (trading for Halladay & getting rid of Cliff the same day, trading for Oswalt, signing Cliff as the mystery team, and clearing the farm for Hunter Pence in 2011), but his ballsiness backfired at the 2012 deadline and he’s been shy at the deadline ever since. For a guy who was praised for having balls, it seems as if he’s gotten neutered the past couple seasons.

    Imagine an outfield of Pence/Revere/Werth with Brown as a fourth OF/injury relief; that outfield would’ve made the Phillies contenders for the wildcard & the second best team in the NL East this year. Or even imagine an outfield of Brown/Victorino/ and one of Pence/Werth or Brown/Werth/Pence; all of these outfields easily out-produce the Phillies OF of the past two-and-a-half seasons.

    Getting rid of Werth & Pence seriously backfired. Not to mention the amount of players who have resurrected their careers away from Philadelphia, during our downward spiral I might add, is atrociously ridiculous. Players like Jason Grilli and Brandon Moss come to mind.

    Sure we can all blame this on bad luck, but the Phillies franchise had this demise coming once Amaro signed Howard to that 5/125 deal 2 years earlier than he needed to, out of stupidity and blind infatuation with RBI’s; everyone at the time knew it but pushed it aside because of the success of the Phillies at that moment. It is absolutely sickening that no one has held him accountable for transforming our favorite franchise from NL powerhouse into a mediocre aging last-place team. It is absolutely sickening that Ruben Amaro is still employed.

    side note: I really hope Baltimore wins it all this year. It would mark 3 consecutive seasons of former-Phillie OF’s getting a ring, shouts out Delmon Young.

    1. The Werth deal is still a pretty bad contract when you consider the poor production/injuries in the first couple years, and the fact that he is still owed $60+ million (it was backloaded) for 3 seasons in his late 30s. He had a nice season this year but his OPS dropped 80 points, and he’s getting to the age where his accumulating injuries are likely to start catching up to him.

      Don’t get me wrong, I totally would prefer to have Jayson Werth over Howard, everyone would, and I think the last few years would have played out a lot differently had he been around. But it’s not like that Washington deal is a good contract. If we had signed Werth to it, and he had spent the first two years sucking/injured, the fans would have been baying for his blood.

  24. The 7 yr/$126 M is not what it would have taken to sign Werth. He fired his agent and got Boras when the Phils would go no more than 3/36. 5/75 would have gotten it done, during the season, before he ever hit free agency. It was another miscalculation on Ruben’s part. He should have never been allowed to hit Free Agency. Between that and the Lee debacle, the team made 2 franchise altering mistakes. And, they ended up wasting more $, and wasting multiple prospects, trying to fix those screw-ups. They cost themselves at least 1 more WS win as well.

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