General Discussion–Week of October 6th

So, first off I am no Brad.  There is no other Brad.  But if anyone wants to attempt to be Brad, feel free to email me at  My thanks to Brad who provided keen insight and a good deal of laughter for all of us with his laconic quips and remarks daily…

That said, a few news items.  Opening day in the AFL season is Tuesday.  Stay tuned for updates as anything notable occurs. 

Aaron Brown was named the #18 prospect in the New York Penn League.

JP Crawford was named the #2 prospect in the South Atlantic League, although he hadnt played there since June.

Adam Morgan, returning after missing all of 2014 injured, will pitch in the AFL.  It will be interesting to see how he is used and what kind of stuff he will bring to the table in Arizona.


123 thoughts on “General Discussion–Week of October 6th

  1. I thought guys who finished the season on the DL couldn’t participate in the AFL. Is there some sort of exemption that allows Morgan to pitch?

  2. What happened to our super hot Venezuelan pitcher whose name I cannot remember but know that he was assigned to the AFL but not on a roster?

    Was there a Visa problem or did they just have him up for some coaching?

      1. Any words other than the blurb a few days ago?

        Where do you think he starts next season in the farm system? Would he be a candidate for a full season in A ball? What do the scouts and coaches think of him?

        He had a great season and I am wondering where he fits into the organization next year. I don’t expect a stud prospect but it would be nice to get some additional thoughts.

        1. Based on past pitchers with his kind of stuff, I would expect him to pitch in the GCL bullpen. Not be cold and a bit callous, but they have proven they can find pitchers with a lot more upside than Suarez. He is only 19 so maybe he finds it, but the history of the VSL is littered with guys putting up big numbers without stuff

          1. Not sure why all the down arrows. Perhaps a count of the non-reality-based, only want to hear good news community. What Matt says is absolutely true. The best Latin American prospects, like Encarnacion, come straight to the GCL even at tender age. All teams do that, so the level of the DSL and VSL are reduced. The VSL is a significantly weaker league than the DSL. Good VSL numbers at age 18, 19 without reports of great stuff, really mean very little for a pitcher. There are pleasant surprises from time to time, but mainly not. This is the pitching equivalent of the non-athletic Reading 1B who put up good offensive numbers just about every year. Murphy anyone?

  3. BA rates Franco #4 in IL. Crawford also #2 in FSL. That’s it for Phillies — Brown, Crawford, Franco — only 3 guys making top lists. Two of those guys very highly ranked, but that is really severe under-representation for the Phillies.

      1. Yes, I missed Valentin. Still, just 3 of our own drafted/internationally signed farmhands in top 20s. Not good for a team that has had good draft position two years in a row and decent position the year before that, has had all its draft picks, and hasn’t traded farmhands. So, even with Valentin, we’ve got 4 out of 320 guys on the top-20 lists. Count guys listed more than once like Crawford and call it 4 out of 300 guys. Even distribution, that is an ‘average’ farm, would give us 10 guys. Count Nola, on the basis that moving him quickly made him ineligible whereas he would have made a list had he stayed in one league, and you’ve got 5 guys for us, rather than an ‘average team’ count of 10. Just another indication how weak our farm still is. We didn’t have many HS draft picks in GCL, but we did have a lot of our international guys (on a team with large international allocation the past two seasons) and we are shut out.

        1. I think you simplify the lists. Not all leagues are equal. Take for example the South Atlantic League, there is 16 teams in the league, there may be 13-14 Top 100 prospects in that top 20. It isn’t an indictment that fairly deep Blueclaws had no players, vs the MWL, same level, but 14 teams and maybe 5 top 100 prospects, so you get a guy like Valentin on a league top 20 when he may not be top 15 in the system. Also you look past that Crawford is #2 in both leagues and it is coming out in the chats that he is a borderline top 10 prospect in all of baseball. Also by timing league top 20s are stats based because BA has mostly talked to managers and coaches then scouts so far (they have talked to some scouts). The take away from league top 20s right now is that Crawford is an absolute stud.

        2. Just to further illustrate this the full FSL list came out today with Crawford at #2 and no Roman Quinn. It turns out the FSL was stacked this year with the list being Glasnow, Crawford, Daniel Norris, Schwarber, Pompey, Berrios, Steve Matz, Josh Bell, Orlando Arcia, Justin O’Conner, Almora, Dilson Herrera, Jake Thompson, Jorge Polanco, Aaron Judge, Tyrone Taylor, Brandon Nimmo, Billy McKinney, Dwight Smith Jr., and Colin Moran.

          By my count that 16-17 Top 100 prospects (7-8 Top 50 and 4 guys who already made the majors. That is not a knock on Roman Quinn to not make that list. I guarantee that the Cal League and Carolina League don’t run as deep.

          1. What you say about the size and strength of the SAL and FSL are certainly true. Still one guy Crawford, although admittedly a stud who is ranked 2nd in both leagues, really isn’t strong representation for us. Mets have 3 guys and Pirates 2 in FSL, for example. Nats have 3 in the SAL.

            1. Yes, any way your try to slice it, the Phillies are seriously under-represented on top 20 lists. Yes, the SAL and FSL are big leagues with a lot of top prospects. Now think about that for half a second. Don’t we want more than one of those top prospects to be Phillies farmhands. 39 guys on the top-20 lists for those two leagues and we have one. At Williamsport, we have 1. At GCL, we have none. A lot of posters on this forum keep saying that the strength of our farm is at the lower levels and we just have to be patient and wait for the guys to develop. Well, the average MLB team has more than 1 player making the top 20 in the rookie leagues. There are 6 rookie leagues (short-season leagues) that’s roughly 120 guys making the top 20 lists. We’ve got 1 of those 120. Average is 4 guys. That’s severe under-representation. For a team that has had primo draft position the last two drafts and large international bonus allocations the past 2 seasons, that really is an abysmal performance. I know that a lot of posters like only positive views and rosy glasses, but there are benefits to allowing reality to intrude into your fantasy. Count Nola as a guy who would have made the NYP top 20, had he been placed in Williamsport for the whole season. That still gives us half the number of rookie league top 20s as an average team.

            2. If you view that as satisfactory performance and the sort of success that will allow us to move from the cellar to the top of the NL East anytime soon, then more power to you and may your quarter-full glass always seem over-flowing to you. As a fan, I expect better. I think the Phillies ownership also expects better, or Wolever wouldn’t have been fired and we wouldn’t be replacing our minor league pitching coordinator. Thankfully, even if you don’t see a problem, Gillick clearly sees one.

            3. Allentown, please cool down before you post as your posts to Matt Winkleman(around 11:00 am) were attacking him personally. You may not agree with him but try to stay civil as he has made big contributions to this site.

            4. I certainly never attacked Matt Winkleman personally, although I certainly do disagree with him. I agree that the nesting on this forum makes it seem that I may have been attacking Matt. My response was to Negadelphia whose post I read as snark. I couldn’t reply directly to him, so I put my posts right after his. I guess to avoid confusion I should have specifically addressed Negadelphia in my response. I appreciate Matt’s comments and would never attack him personally.

            5. I guess I really shouldn’t have personally attacked Negadelphia either, but he annoyed me and I did. If the mod wants to delete the post, fine with me.

    1. Giles is what we hoped Aumont would become. Aumont has really good stuff but he’s a basket case on the mound. It’s a classic example of how a prospect can blossom or bust. As you read the article, Giles looks like and average reliever with one plus pitch (fastball) who isn’t performing all that well (albeit small sample size). The AFL was the only place he showed dominating stuff and he imploded in one game to make it look like it wasn’t a good campaign. In 2014, at AA and AAA, he had his problems but suddenly he’s promoted to the ML and he was spectacular. He was what we hoped Aumont would become. So Aumont falls off the cliff and Giles takes an elevator ride to the top. How can Giles get better? Like the article said, he could add a pitch but maybe the two he has is enough.

      A truly great pitcher is one who can do it year in and year out. Giles looks like he can but I don’t want to hear from some people on this site that the Phillies Pharm hasn’t produced anyone in forever. Some heralded and some not so heralded guys have come up and produced. Giles and Buchanan, Pettibone did a nice job. Worley and Cloyd were serviceable. DeFratus & Diekman have been useful at times. Damn, and aren’t these all pitchers? Let’s throw Cosart on that list, Morgan can also be mentioned here. Some guys were busts. Most prospects are busts. Stop crying about what you ain’t got and start looking at what you have.

  4. This just put what Wade did in his drafts into some perspective. During his tenure in Philly you prob can’t find a GM who produced more quality players then he did ; )

    I had to haha.

    1. For those of you who thumbs downed the comment show me someone who produced better players then he did during the same time.

      1. I didn’t thumbs down you but isn’t it widely known that Arbuckle was the guy behind those drafts, he is the one who should get credit for those picks not Wade.

        1. If that’s the case then don’t credit ANY GM for drafts. He was there for Gillicks drafts as well. If you think Wade (or Gillick or any GM for that matter) doesn’t have the final say then you are crazy.

          1. Ed Wade’s strength if any was that he didn’t come from a scouting background so he left that up to Arbuckle and Wolever.

            My guess is those two had more autonomy under Wade than they did Gillick.

          2. Gillick had a very good 2008 draft. I think one thing that happened was that Arby was promoted and left more of the control of drafting to Wolever. I remember reading on year that Gillick asked Arby to become more involved again in deciding exactly whom we should draft. That suggested to me that Gillick was less than sold on Wolever’s draft philosophy and the quality of guys he was picking. Now Gillick is back in charge and Wolever is immediately out the door. Draw your own conclusion, I’ve drawn mine. Wolever was someone’s golden-haired boy and that someone wasn’t Gillick.

      2. I reiterate my earlier counterargument: With a handful of exceptions, Wade’s best-performing picks (Hamels, Utley, Burrell, Myers, Floyd) all came between 1998-2002, when the Phillies were picking in the top half of the draft. Also, it is a little unfair to compare (as you did on the previous thread) the 14 or so major league contributors from Wade’s 8 drafts to Gillick’s 3 drafts and suggest that Wade’s yielded a higher quantity of major league players. If you want to make that comparison it might be more fair to look at Wade’s 8 drafts as compared to the 8 under the Gillick/Amaro regime from 2006-2013. So then the list of draftees picked/signed that have become significant major league contributors (ie starters or high-leverage relievers) includes: Domonic Brown, Travis D’Arnaud, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, Anthony Gose, Vance Worely, Jarred Cosart, Cody Asche and Ken Giles. Those who still project as potential starters or something more include: Jon Singleton, Jesse Biddle, Roman Quinn and JP Crawford.

        That’s a pretty comparable list to the one you put together on the previous thread in terms of quantity, even leaving out guys like Jon Pettibone, Trevor May and Darin Ruf who are hanging around at the margins, and longer-shot guys from the last two drafts like Cozens and Sandberg, who could turn into something, who the hell knows. The Gillick/Amaro drafts also did a pretty good job of finding quality outside the first round, most notably getting Cosart (who has already amassed 5 WAR over 2 seasons), D’Arnaud (who started to blossom near the end of this season), Brown (who was an All-Star once and still possesses great potential), and Singleton.

        Now, I do think any of those guys will turn into Utley, a near Hall of Famer, or Hamels, an ace? No. But Cosart could turn into Myers and Singleton could be Burrell. Wade deserves a lot of credit for using those high picks he was given wisely, and also he deserves credit for drafting guys like Howard, Byrd and Bourn outside the first round. But I still think the large advantage you describe is largely attributable to circumstance, specifically, the circumstance of averaging 75 wins a season over the first four years of Wade’s tenure. I know everyone wants to blame the current management for everything, and they have made some horrendous mistakes, but some of this is purely cyclical, it is built into the system.

        1. The success of the earlier drafts wasn’t that they got such a high quantity of major leaguers, it’s the number of stars they produced: Rollins, Howard, Utley, Hamels, Burrell. Burrell came on a primo draft pick, but the other 4 did not. Hamels was the 17th pick in the draft, Utley was the 15th, Rollins was 2nd round, and Howard was 5th round. In the Wade years, the PHillies gave away a lot of 1st and 2nd rounders.

          It’s hard to evaluate Wade compared to his successors, because he had a much, much smaller budget to work with.

          1. Except Wade DID get a high quantity of major leaguers: Howard, Utley, Myers, Burrell, Bourn, Michaels, Punto, Madson, Kendrick, Byrd, Ziegler, Happ, Outman, Geary. Throw in Carrasco and Ruiz as int’l signing and Victorino as a rule 5 pick and that’s 17 guys who were brought into the system during Wade’s time. That’s just outstanding,

          2. Thank you. This was the biggest point I was trying to make. He didn’t have any financial flexibility at all.

            Also he didn’t produce bad teams at all. He had one year w a bad team and that’s it. He improved the organization and set them up for the run they went on after him.

          3. Wade didn’t start giving away the first and second rounders until 2003, after the team moved into the bank and started to contend a little more. Before that he had a consistent string of picks that were the top half of the first round. Here is where they stood in terms of draft position after 2002 (the year they picked Hamels #17):

            2003: No first or second round pick (signed Thome, Bell)
            2004: #21 (Golson)
            2005: No first round pick (can’t remember who they signed? Eaton?)
            2006: #18 (Drabek)
            2007: #19 (Savery)
            2008: #24 (Hewitt)
            2009: No pick (signed Ibanez)
            2010: #27 (Biddle)
            2011: #39 (Greene Jr.)
            2012: #40 (Watson)
            2013: #16 (Crawford)
            2014: #7(Nola)

            So, 10 drafts between 2003-2012 you have: three years with no high picks at all, four years picking at the end of the first round/supplemental round, three years with picks in the 19-21 range. Those three picks could have, and probably should have, yielded something better than Golson, Drabek and Savery, but Golson is on Ed Wade and Drabek was the centerpiece of the Halladay deal so you can’t really say he was a wasted pick for the Phillies. Savery was just a miss, it happens.

            I guess my point, such as it is, is that while Ed Wade definitely did a good job at building the nucleus of the 2008 club through the draft, it’s unfair to judge his successors by the same standards when they had much less to work with. (In part because their own success/free agent signings, but that’s another story.)

            1. Drabek actually was an astute pick. He looked very good at the time we traded him. No fault of Wade or Phillies if he went south after that. I think he had injury issues. In saying we didn’t lose draft picks prior to 2003, you are forgetting the memorable year that we lost both our first and second rounders to sign Jose Mesa and Rheal Cormier, without even waiting to see if they would be offered arb. The 2005 #1 was lost to sign Jon Lieber.

      3. Let me expand on that last point: over the past decade, MLB–a for-profit cartel of 30 billionaire owners–has consciously created a system that is meant to assure that no team (and no fan base) is terrible for very long. Payroll limits, draft pick bonus pools, limits on international spending, the QO system that rewards teams that fail to retain the top free agents with extra draft picks, revenue sharing that has increasingly allowed small-market teams to lock up their young players early–all of this is meant to assure that doormat teams like the Orioles and Royals get a better shot at contention, while those on top–without high draft picks to promote or trade or decent free agents to sign–quickly age out of contention. Here’s the list of teams that went to the postseason in 2010: Philadelphia, Texas, San Francisco, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Atlanta. Only one of those teams made the playoffs this year, even though there are more slots now. Only other team on the list (the Yankees) had a winning record. The average number of wins for teams on the list: roughly 76.

  5. So maybe Wade would be a good Farm Director type, because he was a terrible GM overall. Some good players were drafted under him, no doubt, but do you choose not to remember his record at trades or deadline deal-making? He is one of those guys who can pick up a terrible Franchise’s Farm System, but he cannot be anywhere close to running a contending team.

    1. That is sort of how the Phillies are using him now. Right now him and Charlie are special assignment scouts. Charlie also works with hitters in the organization, Wade likely does a bit more scouting in the pro-ranks as well. Wade was heavily involved in the last two first round picks (Crawford and Nola) and has certainly seen the majority of the prospects the Phillies would demand in a Hamels trade

      1. Hey Matt good to see you haven’t left us totally in your rear view mirror. I do find it hard to believe Wade given his background could show up to a HS show case and see the difference between an Utley and a Bruntlett FWIW.

        I grant that over the years and simply through osmosis he has learned quite a bit about what to look for but I doubt he has the nuances of scouting down to a level where you would be comfortable trusting his opinion over more seasoned player evaluators.

      2. I was going to make the comment that he had input on the past few drafts but figured it was a mote point.

        Terrible gm overall? Explain. What do you expect to get for 2 players who made it known that they wanted out? You don’t get a lot in return when your hand is forced. Look back at trade history with those kinda circumstances. Also I don’t know that anyone expected Schilling going on 34 to pitch at the level he did for as long as he did post trade. Phillies did get an all star (all star appearance), an above Avg pitcher (looking at ERA plus), a 1B who was recently a top prospect in all of baseball (change of scenery) and Polanco like it or not was a good player in his first stint with the Phillies (he wasn’t a power guy or stud but was very solid). Wade also pulled off the most lopsided trade in phillies history Abreu for Stocker. Again I don’t think Ed Wade is the best GM ever but he was A LOT better then what people perceive. I’d give him a B.

        1. Wait for schilling we got nothing, A 19 game 38 yr old pitcher, a bust 1b who was past prospect status, a drunk and a relief pitcher who stunk. what are you talking about. we didn’t get Polanco in schilling trade or am I nut>

          1. Polanco was in the Rolen trade. I was grouping the Rolen/Schilling trades together bc both wanted out of Philly.

            Schilling to D’Backs for:

            Omar Daal: believe it or not Daal was pretty much league average in Philly. ERA+ of 100 and 95. Going 15-16 w an ERA of 4.52. He pitched to a 2.88 (1998) and 3.65 (1999) in the 2 years prior to the trade.

            Nelson Figueroa: in his one season in Philly he pitched to an ERA+ 108 w an ERA of 3.94.

            Travis Lee: He was 25 when he came over and produced slightly under average numbers .258/.343/.402.

            Vicente Padilla: Was slight better then league average in his 6 years 741 innings giving up less hits then innings pitched. ERA+ of 89, 101, 118, 110, 99, 94 with an All Star appearance. And the low ERA+ were in low inning seasons.

            Scott Rolen to Cards for:

            Placido Polanco: had solid seasons with WARs of 2.2, 4.6, 1.7 in his first stint with Philly.

            Bud Smith: he didn’t pan out at all but he was a 22 year old who was 39th ranked prospects in baseball a year prior to coming to Philly.

            Mike Timlin: spent 1 average year in Philly.

            Both trades didn’t yield anything great but several serviceable players (Lee, Padilla, Polanco). Again it’s hard to get anything huge when the players have made it known that they want out.

            1. Smith was injured in the year BEFORE he came to Philly. He was no longer the 39th ranked prospect in baseball, he was close to worthless. This was hardly a secret at the time of the trade. This was a trade which was seriously blown by Wade, who was too much of a boy scout to string two teams along on a deal, backed out of the deal he finally made and had to crawl back and accept less when his second deal fell through, because he wasn’t dealing with a boy scout.

            2. The Rolen trade was a good deal if we had held on to Timlin and Polanco. Timlin wanted no parts of being here though, and that Polanco for Urbina trade is quietly worse than the Abreu or Cliff Lee-to-Seattle deals. Having Polanco playing a gold glove 3B and hitting .315 from 2005-2009 would’ve made that lineup even more frightening.

            3. Pat, I agree it would have been nice to have Placido Polanco’s bat and glove at 3B from 2005-2009, but it was very important not to upset David Bell.

            4. The Schilling trade was largely a disaster. That was the team’s opportunity to trade their biggest star (a pitcher who would go on to dominate in the MLB for the next 4 years) to replenish the talent base. They really ened up with nobody to speak of – the only player who was really talented in that deal that the Phillies got was Padilla and he just didn’t pan out (not entirely their fault). This trade reminds me so much of the famous Tom Seaver 5-1 trade from the Mets – that was similarly disastrous.

              The Rolen trade was okay viewed in isolation given that they waited so long to make the trade when there was little time left before Rolen became a free agent. Polanco was solid consideration, but they should have received a younger prospect with some upside and they didn’t (Ed Wade, like Ruben Amaro later on, was fixated on always obtaining older relievers – Timlin was one of many that didn’t pan out at all – and when he was with the Astros he blew a bunch of money on Brandon Lyon – not smart). But then, as noted above, Ed turned around and parlayed Polanco into Urbina, which would have been a bad trade even if Urbina had not been a bad clubhouse presence and, as it turns out, a dangerous felon, but with the way things played out, the value that Rolen represented soon turned into nothing while Rolen continued to be a marquee player.

            5. Agree completely, Catch, with Schilling being a disaster. But you’re being a little unfair with the Rolen trade. Acquiring a young position player like Polanco, who already had a 4.5 WAR season under his belt, was a smart way to go. None of BA’s 2002 top four prospects for the Cardinals amounted to anything. Their #5 prospect that year was Yadier Molina and Daren Haren was #7. Those are the only major leaguers in their top 15. So if you get a package of three prospects from them, you’ve got about a 25% chance of getting anything in return. And let’s say you get lucky, here’s the comparison from the trade on:

              Polanco: 35 WAR
              Haren: 31 WAR
              Molina: 29.5 WAR

              Polanco was still the better player. Again, it makes it that much worse that Wade traded him for Urbina, but the Rolen deal was fine.

              And just about every GM overpays at some point for older relievers. Gillick overpaid for Lidge, the Tigers overpaid for Nathan and traded for Soria, the Angels and Dodgers went out and made moves for relievers. Heck, the two most sabermetric savvy teams – A’s and Rays – spent a higher % of their payroll this year on old closers than we did on Papelbon. Teams that are thin on relief pitching and are boderline playoff contenders are always vulnerable to making stupid moves to acquire relievers. I don’t think that’s unique to Wade or Amaro.

  6. A few comments about the big club and the offseason:
    1. Masked in the awful season was the fact that a number of pitchers, both starters and relievers, either pitched above expectations or finally met expectations. Roberto H, Buchanan, Jerome Williams, Defratus, Diekman, Giles. Could be random, but I wonder if there was some positive influence from Bob McClure. It will interesting to see if that holds true next year. Maybe focus on buy low candidates in the offseason.

    2. To that end, the Phils might want to bring back an underperforming young pitcher in a change of scenery trade for Dom Brown. Randall Delgado is one who comes to mind.

    3. Do you think with their continued bullpen issues, the Tigers would swap Joe Nathan for Papelbon? Remaining guaranteed $$ are similar $13 vs $11 million. Tigers benefit b/c they get an consistently effective closer and Phils get out of Pap’s vesting option.

    1. Why on earth would we want Nathan? Firstly, we don’t want help for 2015 or necessarily 2016, we want future help. We aren’t contending next season, no matter what we do. Secondly, if I had to choose Papelbon or Nathan, I’d keep Papelbon. As others have said, the Phillies have a lot of revenue and don’t need to do a salary dump. If we move guys, it is to add young talent or free up a spot for a youngster, like Giles. Getting Nathan accomplished nothing and gives us a downgrade at closer. I don’t know what to think about Buchanan. I’ve followed the Phillies for decades and during that time, I’ve seen a lot of half-year wonder starting pitchers. Williams has had a really bad career. Perhaps he turned things around in the low-pressure environment of stuck-in-the-cellar Phillies rotation, but I’m not viewing his 2015 production with a great deal of confidence. I think we do have something to build upon in Giles and our other rookie/near-rookie relievers.

      1. Nathan may not be THE problem but he certainly is a problem. His walk rate, his WHIP and his ERA all suck. He has 4 losses and his HR rate is up over last season’s. He’s also older than Papelbon. Why on earth would we want the guy in his age 40 season? Really, he looks injured or toasted. He totally fell off the cliff between 2013 and 2014. Really, what is there to like about vintage 2014 Nathan? He has had quite a poor season.

  7. I think pap and Bastardo go to Tigers and Phils eat $13M. The cost of the option, split over 2 years makes the Tigers exposure 6.5M per year. That is liveable, I think. What they give up is a mystery. Howard goes, but Phils have to eat $50M. Also, a negligible return but a fresh start. That is a $63M $ dump, a real big number to swallow. for any team, but I think they are willing to spend it. How they get talent in here is a lot tougher.

    1. I agree the Phillies will potentially eat lots of money but ONLY in the case where they’re getting back prospects. The Phils don’t need to dump payroll so they’ll only do it to bring in legit major league prospects. Only the As trade of Russell included a top notch prospect at the deadline this year. Will other teams trade more during the winter? Unfortunately, I wouldn’t bet on it. Although I agree that the Tigers went down hard because of their weak bullpen and I enjoyed it because Pap could have been a difference maker for them.
      Everyone wants to give Bastardo away but I don’t. I’ll trade him but I want something for him. I feel the same way about Byrd. We don’t exactly have anyone in the system ready to play RF and teams didn’t offer much for him at the deadline.

  8. I kept saying if you want to win you have to overpaid in a pennant drive, the tigers refused and it cost them. Look pap might be a jerk, overpaid, but he was on a roll and perfect for tigers, who spend money. I could care less if a player is a jerk or not, I meet a lot of players, in my life, working in restaurants, and a lot are jerks, Most want people to buy them drinks, not all but a lot of the ones I have seen.

    1. I don’t particularly like Amaro, but this column seems to be prefaced on the idea that he is an idiot who would trade his ace left handed pitcher for a package of second tier prospects. And there’s no way that would happen TWICE is there?

    2. I don’t think Phils trade Hamels unless they get a teams #1 prospect, plus 2 other high quality prospects. If a team doesn’t want to give up their #1 prospect, that is fine. Just not getting Hamles IMO.

    3. I just love these writers, if THEY want Hamels,, there are no untouchables, sorry Boston. Hamels is a proven winner, coming off a great era year, he got no support, I want Boston’s best two prospects and one lesser to get him, any trade we must get a pitcher who is at worst a 2 prospect and a starting outfielder with power, a catcher or second basemen. After watching how tigers bullpen killed them, I refuse to give away a top player, I consider pap and hamels coming off good years guys who should bring up something good back if not. we keep them, I rather lose then make those dumb lee, rolen, and schilling trades, And before I hear they forced trade, no way sit them but rather they walk then get the slop like aumont, travis lee, that we took. Draw a line in the sand, which I give Amaro credit for at this last trade deadline, he refuse to take less for his players,

      1. Betts, Vasquez, and Owens would be a fair deal I believe. Those three would immediately slot into the top 5 of our system with Betts and Crawford being a formidable 1 and 2.

    4. Then they don’t make the deal. Betts is not happening, not in a million years. Betts goes for Stanton – maybe.

      It’s possible we could get one of the other top tier guy, and that (along with a couple of the other good prospects) would be worth doing.

      1. Swihart, Barnes, Devers and Coyle. That would be a strong package, Devers is the lottery ticket in that bunch.

  9. I keep pointing out the Cardinals as the model for the future. They just beat a team with twice their payroll. In terms of player development and roster construction theirs is the model to follow.

    1. I agree. But there isn’t just ONE model that works. The Cardinals, the Giants, and the A’s – to name just three of the best organizations in baseball right now – have three very different models. But what they have in common is good talent evaluation and development. (Though if I had to pick one of the three, I agree it would be the Cardinals model.)

      IMO the key to success is simple to say but not simple to do – good talent evaluation and development. The GM needs to be able to identify and hire the right people to perform those functions.

      1. Exactly! The Phillies are not succeeding in the majors or on the farm, despite having way more $ to spend than these other teams have. The difference seems to be organizational philosophy, management talent, and owners who allow those solid managers to run the full baseball operation as they feel necessary to build a sustained winner. Given our relatively good draft position and international budget the past two drafts, it’s kind of stunning that we have exactly 1 guy on any of BA’s short-season Top 20 lists and only one guy (albeit a guy I think is a future star) in the Class A leagues. For an organization whose strength is supposedly at the lower levels, this is best described as pathetic. It is now wonder Wolever is gone, and not a moment too soon. Also a new minor league pitching coordinator is not surprise, considering the small number of solid pitching prospects and the large number of damaged arms. More change is needed, but it is a great thing that Gillick/Middleton/whomever finally recognize that the Phillies have a serious problem with their philosophy and development/scouting personnel. The Mickey Mouse approach to the two college kids whom Wolever apparently felt stiffed him is a blessing in disguise, as that particular embarrassment seems to have done what poor performance couldn’t do and moved Wolever out the door.

        1. Allentown,

          I’m in broad agreement with you, but as usual I think you paint too bleak a picture. Not that I am optimistic about the current state of the organization, just less pessimistic (though we also agree that there are positive signs of change, Wolver, etc.).

          The drafting really has gotten better, and was never quite as bad as some people believe. My tentative belief is that development is a bigger problem, and I’m not sure that has improved. But it’s really hard for an outsider to evaluate the development process.

          Also problematic – and IMO the biggest problem with Amaro specifically – is major league talent evaluation. That (and not the strategic direction of the organization) is IMO Amaro’s biggest deficiency.

          1. I would add that the goal should be excellence, not mere mediocrity. If you squint you can argue that the current crew is mediocre (as opposed to bad), but that’s not good enough. Ultimately that is IMO where Matt goes wrong – he makes a good cases that some of the criticism is overblown and that the organization is moving in the right direction, but IMO it’s not enough.

    2. I am too always pointing out cardinals just a great run organization, The giants know talent too. I wish we could get the guy from new jersey who works for giants, forgot his name, he is suppose to be really good, The giants really know pitching, imo,

    1. Amaro subconsciously likes him due to their similar names; two syllable first names, very similar last names with every letter of Amaro’s last name excluding o contained in Almarez.

      Amaro & Almarez

      1. The Braves have signed some good Latin American players without breaking the bank such as Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran(the Braves ace) and other pitchers and players. Combine Almarez and Sal A(forgot his last name) in Latin America and the Phillies should do well there and keep turning out out talent so we can avoid this overreliance on core/star players. I don’t know whose hire this was but it was a great start to turning around our talent evaluation team.

    2. I really don’t know anything about this guy and his ability not only to judge talent but to run a whole scouting department. That said, I am a huge fan of the Braves’ scouting and development capabilities – they are among the best in the business and if this guy is one of their top evaluators of talent, that’s good news. So my initial reaction is generally positive.

  10. I Believe this is first good step. I hope they continue to realize the way they have been doing business in draft and international market, just didn’t work.

  11. The biggest plotline of the off-season is how the power struggle within the ownership group shakes out. From all appearances Middleton is poised to gain control and I believe he will make the neccessary changes to bring the team back to prminence. One more year with Amaro is dissapointing and I think if Middleton had control now he would be gone. Middleton had pushed for Dave Dombrowski before so the next GM will likely be an experienced baseball man, I would prefer the more new school analytical guys but if they get someone out of the Duquette, Dombrowski, Sabean mold I wouln’t be dissapointed. The thought of having a majority owner who wants to make changes to the organizational approach has me optimistic for the first time in a while.

    1. Lately Dombrowski has made some real head scratching moves: trading Doug Fister away, trading away their CF and signing Cabrera and Verlander to ridiculous contracts. The Tigers are ready to start regressing soon with a thin farm system.

      1. I wasn’t advocating for Dombrowski, although i would prefer him to Amaro. I would look at Siraz Rehman Cubs asst. gm or Mike Hazen Red Sox VP/asst. GM.

      2. It’s amazing how many good front offices still fall into the trap with signing/extending first basemen well into their 30s. The Tigers did it with Cabrera and Fielder, the Angels with Pujols. Even though the Cardinals didn’t sign Pujols, they still offered him 9/$200mil. The old GM of the Cardinals who built their mid-2000s teams gave Votto a crazy deal with the Reds.The Rangers traded for Fielder. The Yankees still have 2 years and $45mil left on Teixeira’s deal. It’s nuts.

  12. I never knew cardinals offered him 9 years. They usually don’t do those kind of deals. I would have guessed maybe a 6 year deal at the most. that suprises me

    1. It was a unique situation with the best player on the team since Bob Gibson or Stan Musial – he’s a legend in St. Louis so they felt that had to give him a contract offer commensurate with his status. I am sure that they are thrilled he didn’t accept.

  13. How about just attempting to hire ANYONE from the Cardinals organization, to fill ANY role inside ours?

  14. I will not pretend to know anything about the new Minor League guy, but I do know that there needs to be an overhaul and the teaching part of the system. There is no reason a guy as highly touted as Dom Brown could not be taught how to track a fly ball as he progressed through the system. base running, bunting, Defense, all fundamental tools have been lacking.

  15. Jed Lowrie is a free agentn who really intrigues me. He will command decent money but could be really valuable on a team that could use a rotational guy at both middle infield spots, he could play a mark Derosa role and really help keep Utley and Rollins fresher throughout the season. Not many of the other free agens intrigue me altohugh looking at starters they could potentially flip at the deadline Peavy, Wandy Rodriguez, and Ryan Vogelsong all have some appeal.

    1. with those pitchers, their deadline value will hinge on whether Amaro decides to throw them the infamous option years and no trade clauses. Both of which are likely.

  16. McCarthy and Liriano top my list. Does anybody know about the Japanese P and the Cuban player other than Tomas that Rube allegedly interested in?

  17. So, if I am hearing reports correctly, AJ Burnett may now come back for 2015.
    Oh boy.
    Not sure if that helps or hinders the rotation

    1. Couldwork out okay, we can probably all agree that the hernia likely affected his performance some, if he comes back healthy this year and pitches well he could be a decent treade chip. Worst case scenario he’s not good again but I don’t think that’s a huge deal on a bad team, he can eat some innings.

      1. If he does come back for the remaining year of his contract, hopefully the hernia situation is corrected and he at least gives the team a .500 performance at the minimum.

        1. Not to be overly critical, but what sort of criterion is this for success? W-L record for a starting pitcher on a bad team just isn’t a valid measure of a pitcher’s performance. It’s a weak measure on even a good team. How about ERA, FIP, ERA+? I guess Hamels is a pretty mediocre pitcher, since his record was just 9 – 9. Jerome Williams was 4-2 for us in 9 starts, our only SP with a winning record. I guess he’s our new ace. I’m not arguing that Burnett had at all a good season, he didn’t. His performance was pretty dismal, but not merely because he had a poor W-L record.

          1. I didn’t want to go into all the metrics for that determination….but trying to get something of some value for his return.
            And you have to assume he will be a 3rd or 4th in the rotation to start next season.

      2. Agree that if Burnett can recapture his 2013 form he certainly will be worth his salary.

        1. If I had to choose between Burnett and Kendrick, who I think gets 11Mill next year, I take Burnett. Not saying a lot though

    2. If you think that salary flexibility in 2015 specifically is a concern, then one could legitimately question whether the Phillies benefit from the player option being exercised.

      But I don’t think that salary flexibility in 2015 matters, so I won’t join that debate. If salary flexibility for 2015 isn’t important, of course having Burnett back is good for the Phillies. Even assuming that Hamels is back and Lee is healthy, there are holes in the rotation. Internal options are limited. External options fall into two categories:

      (a) less talented pitchers, and
      (b) better or equivalent pitchers that will cost multiple years and/or a higher AAV salary.

      Add the possibility of a middling prospect on a deadline deal and it is a no-brainer – of course the team benefits from his return.

  18. I think if he comes back and pitches up to his previous years, we can have a good trade chips at trade dead line next year. I believe its worth the risk.

    1. And what type of player would we expect to receive from a team trading for Burnett, knowing that it is a 100% rental and that he is going to retire?

      1. Good players can be had for rentals. A lot of teams prefer a rental, rather than having big contractual obligations in future years. They are paying for immediate help. Future years are really only a benefit if they are a salary bargain. RAJ is in the minority in wanting a guy like Pence who was locked up for future years — then RAJ almost immediately decided Pence wasn’t worth what he was being paid and dumped him. Hernandez was a rental and really not all that good a starting pitcher, yet we got what I think was a good return for him.

      2. Well if the team thinks he is a piece to winning at least a young good prospect, think Detroit would have don’t things different, to help there bad bullpen?? I think some of the teams went the cheap route overvaluing prospects and it bite them in the ???? Do you think los angels would have had a better chance with hamels instead of Kershaw on three days rest??

        1. I think if Papelbon would have been a two month rental, that Detroit would have happily given us a prospect for him Same with Burnett or Byrd going somewhere. We know for a fact that Byrd to Seattle was hung up by potentially having to pay Byrd in 2016. When you’re acquiring playoff help in the form of elderly players, it’s enough of a gamble how much help they will be for the rest of the current season and playoffs. Who want’s to gamble whether Byrd’s 2015/16 is worth $16 mill, or if Burnett is worth almost $13 mill in 2015, or if two more seasons of a Paps who is still effective but with a rather dramatic drop in velocity is worth $22 mill for two more seasons. This sort of future commitment really isn’t attractive to most teams. Yes, it fits RAJ’s obsession for future cost certainty, but the price for that is massive performance uncertainty. There was a reason our vets weren’t tradeable at the deadline. Put yourself in the other team’s shoes and these guys really aren’t all that attractive.

          1. However, if RAJ paid $13M, then Detroit had Pap for 2 years at the 13M or 6.5 a year, which is very reasonable. They could have used Bastardo as well, and that is the Tigers fault. They got knocked out again, that is on them. The Byrd deal could have been worked around if not for the stupid 4 team no-trade kicker. No one offered him a 3rd yr option. For what reason was the no-trade added? Seattle would have made the deal if not for having to guarantee 2016

          2. A team like Detroit imo was stupid, if they pick up bastardo and pap. win the world series and the years on paps contract mean nothing.

          3. Unless you pay their contracts. The money is already committed, why not ‘buy’ prospects? Its a sound strategy, one which could come into play this winter. Bastardo and Byrd could easily be moved, and I put a Paps deal at no lower than 50/50 at the same time most would put it no higher than 10/90. We need to lessen the risk for other teams by moving $$$ in any deal even if it means paying 90% or more of the player’s salary. Papelbon is very movable. Anything the other teams to agree, even if only 10%, is 10% more you have in your pocket than before you made the deal, plus a prospect, if even middling so, for good measure.

            1. Steve my point is paps dollars are gained by a world series appearance. The extra revenue for each extra game is a lot of money more than the 26 million owed pap. Just in tv revenue plus gate and concession, its a lot of money

            2. Players certainly could be moved on this basis. It’s equally clear to me that Phillies management wasn’t willing to pay that kind of money to have their players play for other teams. With GIllick, perhaps some of these guys will be moved with a lot of $ going with them. I don’t agree with your 10% of salary and a middling prospect. That’s not a good deal for the Phillies, for any of these guys not named Howard. I could see Howard being moved. If that happened, I think it would totally quench the Phillies thirst to pay big $ to unload players. For those who claim that the Phillies did offer to send $ with the players at the trade deadline, the key question is how much did they offer to send. The hang-up in Seattle was Byrd’s option for 2016. If the Phillies were willing to buy out that option, which certainly would have cost at least a bit less than $8 mill, because Byrd can’t be sure it will kick in, then they had a deal and they got a prospect. Clearly, they weren’t willing to part with the ~$8 million — RAJ and Monty thought if they were paying $8 mill, they wanted Byrd’s services in 2016. Not that there is any assurance that Byrd will be any good at all in 2016.

        2. LAD could have used a bastardo vs the Cardinals, especially when Kershaw ran out of gas.
          But Colletti decided he was comfortable with what he back in July.

  19. I think this Winter will show a change in the amount they are willing to eat. I think Pap and Byrd and Bastardo get moved, and it will, in essence, be paying for prospects. I agree with the poster above. Not sure about Howard, as I think that will require 50 of the 60M to move him, and you still get nothing, prospect wise, in return. Cruz goes back to O’s, I think, and after Melky Cabrera, Byrd looks like a reasonable deal, so is movable

    1. Add in Hamels who can be had without moving money and who would absolutely yield quality prospects, and the Phils could be in position to bring some young talent into the organization. Money is coming off the books over the next few years and now is the time to establish a new core of youthful players. When the time comes, probably not until after the 2016 season, open the checkbook.

      1. Would add that I absolutely love Mookie Betts. The three teams who have the prospects to orchestrate a trade for Hamels are also three teams who can very well be expected to be interested. The Cubs, Dodgers and Red Sox have more than enough interesting prospects to make a Hamels deal well worth it (earlier in the season I was against moving Hamels but I now believe it’s the best move for the team to make.

        1. If Hamels is moved to the Cubs, I can see Hoyer/Theo Epstein perhaps putting together a package of OF Jorge Soler, and RHPs CJ Edwards and Pierce Johnson
          Not sure Bosox will let Mookie Betts go in any deal.

          1. romus we don’t have to move hamels. if Betts is best prospect then he comes or no deal. I just don get why people want to settle for less. hamel is a top left hand pitcher, world series mvp. I just don’t get it. How many top left handers come on market with a good contract.

            1. Rocco…agree to a point. but Hamels will be 31-years old next season…and when the Phillies really begin to compete for a division title he will probably be 2/3 years older then 31. Chances are he will be on the downward trend of his career.
              Why not get his max value now?
              Branch Rickey said it best….trade a player a year early then a year late.

      2. If the Phils add money to the deal, add the Pirates as a desirable destination for Hamels since the Bucs have a number of excellent prospects.

        If the Phils are to get a max return for Hamels, they should send money to the other team. Hamels for four years at the equivalent of $15 million per, for example, would have other teams tripping over one another to offer the best package.

        From the Phils’ standpoint, which is the priority – climbing back to relevance as soon as possible or saving a few bucks in the short term?

        1. Yes adding money to a Hamels deal would entice more of the small market teams into the mix and make the bidding more attractive..

  20. I agree but I have to get 2 Premium Prospects and a 3rd piece. If that is too much, then I keep him. The $ is immaterial. Wait until we see the #s that Lester and Scherzer get, and we will not have to pay a dime to move Hamels. But Cubs, Dodgers, BoSox have to pay a high price in talent.

    1. I’d love to see KC re-up Shields. Would be one less big name pitcher on the market. I expect the Yanks to be in on Scherzer, Lester and the like. All of a sudden Hamels and his $98 million look very cheap

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