Open Discussion: Week of January 12th

The “Team Friendly” No Trade List

Before I turn the weekly discussion over to other topics, permit me to comment on Ryan Howard’s trade list.  Last Monday, Jeff Todd of MLBTR posted a story that contained the details of Ryan Howard’s no trade clause (link below).   Howard’s contract contains a “most favored nation” clause which gives Howard the same no trade rights as the most favorable contract negotiated by the Phillies.  If at any time during Howard’s contract a more favorable no trade clause is negotiated, Howard automatically has the same more favorable no trade clause.

Currently, Cliff Lee’s  no trade terms are the most favorable and allows Howard to block trades to nine clubs.  Of course, this only remains in force until Howard’s 10-5 rights go into effect during the first half of the 2015 season.  The list of teams that the Phillies can trade Howard without consulting him is reported to include the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angeles, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers.

From the Phillies’ point of view, this should be a favorable list.  It contains 9 teams from the American League (and the DH), 4 of the 5 teams that made the 2014 playoffs (Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles, Kansas City), 2 more teams who competed for the wild card into the final weeks of the season (Seattle and New York),  and 8 of the 9 highest AL payrolls.  Low spending Tampa isn’t too much of a surprise when you consider that Tropicana Field is probably 10-15 minutes from Howard’s Gulf Coast home.

In addition to the 15 NL teams, Howard has blocked trades to Toronto, Houston, Oakland, Cleveland, Minnesota, and Chicago are on his no trade list.  Five of these teams were among the 6 lowest opening day payrolls in the American League last season.

While few of the teams on Howard’s trade list may have a need for a left-handed batting 1B/DH right now, 7-8 of these teams are likely to be in the playoff hunt, have a history of making trades to get better for the stretch, and might just need an additional bat.  If Howard shows a pulse at the plate, maybe somebody shows an interest in a June trade. It seems to me that Ryan Howard’s no trade list might be as team friendly as it can be while taking his wishes and professional future into consideration.

Or talk about anything you want.  The link as promised.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/01/details-on-ryan-howards-no-trade-clause.html

167 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of January 12th

  1. At the end of the day, if you’re an American League team willing to use Howard appropriately, he will help you win ball games. You don’t have to give up anything for him, and he will be affordable. I think he gets moved and there really is no rush for teams to jump on him.

  2. I think the Phils are playing this Howard thing right – try to trade him now, if unable, bring him to ST and play him vs RHP (from AA whenever possible) and see if he can put up some numbers to change a teams mind, and if not, release him at the end of ST.

    1. Unless Ruben lies, didn’t he just say they will not release Howard?
      I saw that yesterday. I think CSN has it somewhere on their webpage.

  3. Talking about SS for a moment, who is available via free agency at this point? It doesn’t seem like the Phils should or want to Freddy G 500 ABs this year at SS but I’m not sure what options remain. Thoughts?

  4. The phillies will sign a vet by the end of the month unless they give chase D ‘ Arnaud or someone else a chance. Whoever it is there just keeping it warm for Crawford. I think they rather have Galvis as a Utility player. Galvis bat keeps getting worse not that it Wil matter next yr.

  5. Throw Galvis out there. Sink or swim. It’s not we’re trying to win. I don’t just dump Howard. Play him every 3rd game or so just not against lefties. Just make sure Ruf gets his ABs, preferably in the 400 range at 1st and LF.

    1. If Galvis sinks say he hits 174 ba in the first 2 month’s . We all know Galvis will be a good def replace player late in games and a bench player. Galvis talent level is not of a starter he has a plus glove a good arm his release is vg .But his hit tool is bad with little power and he’s an avg runner. He looked lost last yr at the plate there not much upside he’s 25 at 5″10″ 185. He could make a nice career out being a bench player. Plus he’s not the future ss of the Phillies.

  6. I was randomly curious to see if J-Rol would wear #11 in Dodger blue and looking at their roster it hadn’t been assigned yet. I was surprised to see the lack of numbers assigned in general on their 40-man – 17 in all I think. Compare that to the Phil’s 8, and it might make you wonder who’s rebuilding.

  7. I think you play it the same way the Angels played the Vernon Wells contract and the Cubs played the Soriano contract. Strangely it was the Yankees that wound up giving both of those players a shot at the end.

    I don’t just dump him either. I don’t expect they will get anything for him but I’m sure in their minds even if they can save $10 million that’s a lot of coin.

  8. I’m torn between two scenarios if the Phils agree to a trade, but Howard rejects it:

    a) They bench him and he capitulates; and,
    b) They bench him and he just smirks while collecting millions.

  9. We talk about a Howard trade a lot because he was once an important part of the team. What actually happens to Howard in 2015, though, is only of symbolic importance to the Phillies, not otherwise.

  10. Really the Howard contract not only is a anchor on the teams finance, But its really sad to watch him play. he cant run, clogs up the bases, and his fielding is terrible. Shame cause some day, he will be on the wall of fame.

  11. I think Howard would do well in a DH role. There wouldn’t be pressure for him to worry about fielding or being the “Big Piece”. Being a DH would keep him off his feet in the field and could help keep his legs fresh. I think being another year removed from injury and a change of scenery will make a difference for him.

    Unrelated to Howard’s situation, it would be nice if Scherzer and Shields would sign sometime in the near future. Hamels probably won’t go anywhere until at least one of the sign, so if they could sign a contract that’d be great. Since we are predicted to be the worse team in the league Hamels should really be on his way to a contender. A top 5 pick seems all but guaranteed with the Cubs, Red Sox, and White Sox all improving. This season is going to be tough to watch, but a #1 pick in 2016 would be a nice comp.

  12. Do not understand why the Phillies do not do a bold move and sign the two Cuban Yoans….Moncada and Lopez.
    Signing Jean Gomez as another filler seems absurd.
    Ruben preaches they have to find talent in the unconventional and alternative ways nowadays.
    Here I thought Cuba and Japan would be their alternative ways, not so much released minor leaguers in their mid-20s and older.

      1. A lot of posters get irritated when the Phillies sign players to Minor League Contracts, but I say sign 10 more, there is nothing but upside in such signings. Besides everyone knows they are not going to add big payroll, unless its a young Cuban, maybe I hope!!!

        1. sdcphl……only get irritated when it is the only way this team decides to find talent vs signing the attractive Cubans or Asians. But the Phillies and Ruben have preached to explore all ways of talent acquisition.
          Signing a Moncada or Lopez would go a long way to helping the cause.

    1. Sorry I hit thumbs down. That’s what I been saying if we trade everybody there no 1 to build the club around. If they trade Hamels who, s your ace you build your pitching staff around . Hopefully he’s already in our sys. We should be at least going after a high-quality international player.

  13. I have no idea where else on the internet to try to discuss this and I’m sure someone else has already come up with this but I was thinking of a stat that includes stolen bases and caught stealing in to OPS. My idea is something like:

    hits + walks + hbp – caught stealing / plate appearances = adjusted on base % (or AOB)

    plus

    singles + [(doubles + stolen bases) x2] + (triples x3) + (home runs x4) / at bats = adjusted slugging % (or AOS)

    Basically it lowers on base % when caught stealing and when a base is stolen, counts a single as a double or an error as a single in slugging %. Forgive me if this has been done but it just occurred to me that it would be a better way to measure offensive production with one number. Thoughts?

    1. You’re very much on the right track with this. The major quibble (there are minor ones as well) is that you’re overvaluing stolen bases. The advancement value of a SB (intended or not, that’s what your second formula captures) is less than a single, and much less than a double.

      That said, versions of this have indeed been done, and (in fact) form the basis of some of the more advance hitting metrics (although there has been a trend in the opposite direction, separating the SB/base running component from the hitting component). Those formulas include much more precise values for the different events, but the single biggest difference between those formulas and OPS (the “classic” version or yours) is that they (correctly) place more weight on the on base component than on the advancement component, rather than weighting them equally.

      1. Why is a the advancement value of a double much greater than a SB? Because the value advancement value of a double is not just the value of advancing the hitter to second base, but advancing OTHER base runners. A SB does not have this effect.

        1. What if there is a man on 1st and 3rd man on first tries to steal 2nd base. The catcher throws the ball over the ss head man on 3rd scores.man on first makes it to 3rd base.both players advanced in that situation. I think of some more how a stolen base plays into being a positive play .

          1. That’s pretty rare though. Catchers usually don’t throw through in that situation if there’s a legitimate threat on third. They can also put a play on to throw to the shortstop to fool the runner on third in to running then the ball is fired right back to the catcher nailing the runner.

    2. I think this gives too much value to SB. I think you also need to deduct CS from SLG, since that also includes singles and a CS is the same as removing one of those. Also, I think a single plus a SB is worth less on the SLG part of the equation, because it doesn’t advance a baserunner as much as a double does.

  14. Another thought from LF – I know there’s been a lot of talk about how exciting the Reading rotation may be this year, and as I’m thinking about where guys will start out, I’m realizing that for the first time in a while there are multiple level/position slots where I think the organization would like to promote guys but can’t because there is another legitimate prospect ahead. What are the rotations likely to look like on the full season squads to start out? Without trying to guess what’s going on with Morgan and Pettibone, I’m thinking:

    LHV: MAG, J. Rodriguez, A. Loewen, and probably two major league ready spot starters like K. Slowey, W. Rodriguez, O’Sullivan, or maybe E. Martin

    REA: Nola, Eflin, Lively, Biddle, and Severino

    CLR: Mecias, Windle, Arano, Imhof, and Leiter

    LKW: D. Anderson, Leibrandt, Whitehead, Pinto, Gueller, C. Oliver

    Obviously there are some wild cards, but I’m interested whether I’m leaving anyone out and in what others are expecting. Do we expect any of those guys I have in AA to start right out with the AAA club?

    1. I’d love to see them challenge some guys like severino, biddle, and nola. What is the logic in giving loewen a AAA rotation spot? Do they really think he’s going to be a major league pitcher?

      1. FB 90-92 by end of the year with a wipeout breaking ball. He was a very pitcher at one point, and I would say in many ways his raw stuff right now and ability to pitch is on par with Severino. Now Severino is nearly ten years younger and bigger part of a potential future. But there is a reason he was signed to a 2 year deal last year.

      1. I predict that Milner will be moved to the pen now that we just picked up 4 starters that are all ahead of him. His body type always projected as a reliever.

    2. Here’s what I have:

      LHV: Loewen, Sev Gonzalez, MAG, Biddle, WayRod?

      REA: Nola, Eflin, Lively, Rodriguez, Windle (Leiter)

      CLR: Nunez, Mecias, Arano, Imhoff, Leibrandt

      LKW: Viza, Pinto, Whitehead, Oliver, Anderson

      I could also see Biddle back in Reading and Nola or one of the veterans taking that spot in LHV’s rotation.

      1. I have the upper two levels as:

        AAA -Loewen, Sev, Joeley, MAG, and Nola, with Morgan staying in Extended to start and coming up when it gets a little warmer. I could see Milner moving to the pen at AAA also.

        AA – Eflin, Lively, Windle, Biddle, Leiter

        1. This potential AA rotation plus JP and Quinn will make Reading quite the destination. I’m really hoping that Joseph is healthy and able to catch and ready to catch this bunch.

      2. I hope you weren’t too attached to Wandy, he’s signed with the Pirates instead after failing his Phillies physical.

      3. I think these lists are great (Handzus, Murray), but here’s a fun question. Sure Reading will be a great place to catch a week straight of baseball. But are any of these rotations not interesting? We’ll actually have PROSPECTS at LHV this year! That’s fantastic in and of itself.

    3. I think MAG is almost certain to start the season in Philadelphia, very possibly in the pen instead of the rotation. I don’t see Windle repeating high A, he will be in Reading. Nola starts in AAA. I think Martin is in the pen. It wouldn’t surprise me to see W. Rodriguez start the season in Philly or show up by May. I’ll guess Leibrandt is in the CLW rotation. I think likeliest that both Morgan and Pettibone start on the DL and work their way up from low minors rehab assignments, or possibly just start on the equivalent of rehab assignments. I don’t thing they’re ready for the Phillies — Morgan was certainly a disaster in AFL. I don’t think PHillies will want either of them pitching in the cold during April.

      1. Yea I read that Pettibone back in july. Morgan Who knows I just hope he can reclaim his stuff.there isn’t much room left in the bullpen .

  15. I wish Howard the best it’s time to part ways which I think will happen hopefully soon. Saying that does it make room for Ruf to play 1st , Franco to 3rd and Asche to make move to outfield.we might not have a player next yr that hit 20 Homers last yr in hr friendly park. Revere, sizemore/Brown,Ultey, Francoeur/ Asche ,Ruf, Franco, ss, Ruiz, p . Bench Rapp, Galvis, ??. Heck we need right handed hitters I really can’t find coverage for Franco nobody will have to pitch to him.

  16. I realize this is for the minor leaguers but I’m wondering peoples opinion . . . When Bobby Abreu is eligible for the HOF what % do you think he’ll get (highest he’ll get)? I can see him getting up to 50% voting . . . IMO he’s one of the most underrated players in baseball history . . . He put up some unique numbers . . .

    He’s hit .300 or higher 6x (.285 or higher 11x)
    He’s posted an OBP .400 or higher 8x
    Slugged .500 or higher 5x
    Scored 100 plus runs 8x
    Walked 100 plus 8x
    Stolen 20 plus bags 13x (30 plus 6x)
    Hit 20 plus HR 9x (30 plus 2x)
    Hit 40 plus 2B 7x
    Drove in 100 plus 8x (85 plus 10x)
    OPS’ed over .900 6x (.800 plus 13x)
    WAR over 5 7x (Over 3.5 8x
    Has been an All Star
    Has received a GG
    Won a Silver Slugger

    Career .297/.395/.475/.870 w 400 SB 2470Hits 288 HR 1476 Walks Career WAR of 60

    The last few years has hurt some of his numbers (Slash Line could have easily finished at .305/.405/.495/.900 w/o his age 38 and 40 seasons which consisted of 352 ABs) but Abreu was a unique combo of speed, power, on base skill set with the hit tool . . Had an arm too. I know his D has been questioned before but it was def better then average. He was a 5 tool player who was NEVER connected to steroids. If he played in any other era he’s a HOF and an All Star at least 9x possibly 11x.

    1. I like Abreu a lot, but I think there’s two problems with this. The first is perception – I think he was better than he was perceived to be. The second is that, as good as he was, he falls a bit short of the HOF even if properly appreciated. That’s mainly because he wasn’t a great fielder – not even a good fielder for most of his career. He was a heck of a hitter, but – as a HOF candidate – not good enough to make up for the defensive deficiencies.

      But he was a heck of a player.

      1. And I realize that you agree with my first point, but that will undercut his HOF votes. Some of the younger HOF voters are sophisticated enough to see past that, but the older voters won’t.

    2. One thing to say about Bobby Abreu…..his record walks of 1476 by a Latin born player will never be broken. And it sits in the top ten of all MLB history.

  17. I get what you are saying but because of his skill set I think it would play in any era. It’s not like he was someone who only did one offensive thing well. I think the players who are truly 5 tool players, their skill set would play in any era. Just my opinion.

    Comparing him to some players on this years ballot, he’s actually comparable to Tim Raines . . Raines numbers are pretty much better across the board (4 more seasons then Abreu so his totals are a little higher) however Abreu posted better power numbers, better OBP, SLG. Raines out WAR’ed Abreu 69 to 60 over their careers but CF also played a role in that.

    I just feel he was very underrated.

  18. Problem with Abreu to the hall is at what point was he ever considered one of the top 10 players in the game while he was playing?

    I agree he was underrated for his overall game but his numbers don’t overcome the fact that he was never considered one of the best in the game. He never finished in the top 10 in MVP balloting, was only an all-star twice, never lead the league in any major statistical category, and hit less than 300 hrs.

    Doubt he ever gets more than 5% of the vote

  19. Apparently the D-Backs are falling in love with Cubans…now signing RHP Lopez after Tomas in December.
    Boy, yuo cannot believe how happy I am that Ruben doesn’t waste the Phillies money on unknown talents (tic).
    Phillies are rebuilding the empire, one mud/dung brick at a time t

    1. While it would be nice to see the Phillies land a bigger name internationally, saying they don’t spend money on unknown talents is flat out wrong. They spend in Latin America but on amateur free agents. Those are even bigger unknowns.

      1. The Cubans are amateur free agents also….with recent pedigree in Puig, Abreu et al.
        Do not want to rehash the LA international discussion over the last decade of ‘big’ spending by this team, but other then Chooch, not many success stories. And he was luck based on ticket price.

        1. Are the Cubans amateur free agents? They played professional ball in Cuba. I thought they are in a different class than say kids from Venezuela?

    2. Maybe it has to do with the fact that we finally have good Latin American connections with Sal A. and the new Scouting Director? There are heavy penalties to pay in Latin America if you spend tons of money on one player. So you must ask if the signing is worth the two years of losing potentially multiple players.

      1. Just read on twitter that the Dbacks have the biggest international bonus pool for 15/16. With this signing, they just handcuffed themselves.

        It’s a risk/reward strategy. Dbacks believed that using the money now was better than using it later. Also would rather use it on one player than use it on a few.

        1. Handcuffed themselves….to the extent of $300K per signing in the two year signing period.
          You can still get LA FAs with $300K.

          1. Not top tier talent though. I do agree with you that it would be nice to see the Phillies jump in on one of these Cuban free agents.

      2. The Yankees, Sox, Cubs, rangers ,LADs and now D-Backs seem to know what they want to do…..and also incur the two-year penalty
        Quite frankly….I like their plan, since the prospects will take 3/4 years before development and the pipeline of ‘quality’ talent will continue for them.
        Cubs did it two years ago to start.

  20. Romus I like to ask you, do you think this fo will change? in there pursuit of latin players and Cubans prospects, as long as Montgomery and Giles are there? I truly believe it wont unless Middleton gets control. I feel bad for the season ticket holders, who are stuck, they don’t want to give up there tickets, but its a lot of money to spend, for a bad team. with no direction.

    1. I don’t know how anyone can say with a straight face that the Phils FO doesn’t have a direction. Maybe you don’t agree with the direction, but there is definitely a plan they are following.

      1. Never said they didn’t have a plan, just their plan is not the same as the aforementioned Yankees. Sox, LAD, Rangers, Cubies et al.
        Will see who’s plays out to fruition in the next few years.

    2. anon…will it change? Most likely not to the extent we all wish it would.
      Phillies want to win, but certain teams, and we all know who they are, need to win. And that drives their actions. Epstein and Hoyer are bringing that attitude to the Cubs.

  21. Does anyone else find it weird that Chooch’s name was never mentioned in any trade rumors this offseason? Wouldn’t you think he would be a good fit for a team ready to win? Or is he just not good anymore and prone to injury? Odd to me….

    1. He could be a nice piece at the deadline if he has another solid half-season. I’m sure there a plenty of teams who would love to have him behind the dish for a playoff run.

  22. I don’t know if anybody mentioned this yet, but the Iron Pigs added some seats to the OF and moved the LF porch in 13 feet with a new 6 foot high wall. That’s now 323 ft down the line.

    1. Was just going to ask what happened with Wandy? Then MLBtraderumors are reporting he failed his physical with the Phils and has signed with the Braves

        1. This is the same Braves team that have had three good pitchers have at least two TJ surgeries(Medlien, Beechy and Ventners) that we are talking about?

          1. Braves did have a run of TJs lately.
            When Leo Mazzone wa their pitching coach/guru in the 90s they had a pretty good track record of health. One thing he did, he said, that he made them throw all winter/off-season.

    1. I don’t want to put words in his mouth.. but didn’t larry say the numbers he posted in minors. come out to a 237 hitter?? or was that someone else/

      1. I think that was a site that he referenced that projects major league results for prospects. I don’t really know how it works, but I am from the old school that says the best predictor of future accomplishment, is past success. So, if he hit at AA and in Venzeuela, I am at least hopeful that he hits in the Majors. And, since he is the only batting leader in the organization, it doesn’t hurt to be positive.

        1. What I would like to know. How accurate is the graph? How can it project a 320 hitter in minors to a 237 hitter in majors. I am really interested in how well this graph does.

          1. Because batting average by itself diesnt tell us anything.

            That .320 average is more that 25 points higher than his career average and is attributable to a .390 BABIP which is also much higher than his career average.

            Based on his minor league numbers he’s Ceasar Hernandez part II. Now if the power from the fall/winter is for real then it’s a different story

          2. It isn’t projecting what he might ultimately do in the majors at whatever his career peak could be. It’s projecting what he might do in the majors in 2015. One way of looking at this is that he’s a guy who, absent being picked in the Rule 5, had zilch chance to make the majors in 2015. He’s just not ready. Few hitter pop from AA directly to the major leagues. A bit farther down the food chain, but Astudillo hit .333 at Lakewood last year, what would he hit in Philly in 2015? To take a more advanced player, in 2010 Domonic Brown hit .318 in Reading and .346 in Allentown. Small sample size in Philly that year, he hit .210. In .370 Phillies AB over the next two years, Brown batted .240 for the Phillies. He finally hit .278 for the Phillies in 2013, only to fall back to .235 last year. It’s a lot easier to hit in AA than in the majors.

        2. Steamer bases its projections on past performance.

          A .237 BA in his rookie year doesnt seem absurd to me. The are using a .285 BABIP number which may sound harsh for a reported line drive hitter but the gap from AA and Venezuela to MLB is massive (both pitching wise and defensively). But to be fair to him Steamer is probably assuming he will hit against LHs this year which he probably won’t’ so that will help his average. Steamer also (understandably) assumes the same lack of power he has demonstrated throughout his career. If his recent power is for real and not merely a reflection of competition or a SSS anomaly that would help as well.

          1. Question.
            Is there a date that Steamer made this projection?
            I can only assume it was after the 2014 season and prior to Winter ball.
            And would they even take under consideration winter league metrics for players?

            1. Not sure about the dates. Steamer’s rational is proprietary I believe so not sure what they consider in their projections but I would imagine they would put very little if any stock in winter league performances. Projection systems tend to look at multi year trends.

  23. I know he is a rule V guy, but he can really hit. I am looking forward to seeing him play. He won the Texas league Batting title, he is hitting well in the Winter League, and I choose to be hopeful that the Phils got lucky. We do not have many prospects who can hit and that remains the hardest thing to do.

  24. I may have missed something in the interim, but, in the fall, a Phillies’ spokesman said that a decision about Montgomery’s fate would not be made until January.

    Well, it’s January; so, any day now.

    1. I think what Howard Eskin said a few months ago will come about.

      And how about that Maikel Franco…raking in the winter league playoffs……total of 50 reg/play-off games has 9 HRs.

  25. Romus One of the reason I would love to see Howard go is to see guys like Franco, asche, nola play. rather watch young guys, then washed up vets. If this is a rebuild then lets rebuild. who cares if they win 76 or 66 . they will still be bad. But if some of the kids show promise, that would not to me be a wasted season.

    1. Well it will come down to that in two years, maybe second-half of 2016, anyway…some of either Howard, Chase and Chooch will be traded, retired or gone by then. Looks like 2015 will be a celling-dwelling experience but with a hopeful and fruitful future.
      FanGaphs projects Phillies at 69 wins and one Vegas book ‘s over/under is 74.5.
      Not sure how I would go with that…maybe leaning under based on FanGraphs.

    2. I agree. I’d like to see Ruf get a shot to play 1B everyday. We are already predicted to be the worst team in the league so why not give him a shot? Worse case scenario he doesn’t hit like we hope and helps us land the top pick in the draft. Best case scenario he has a really good first half and can be traded at the deadline.

      Right handed power bats are usually hot commodities at the deadline. A guy who can play 1B, some LF if need be, or DH can certainly help an AL during a post season run. If he is hitting he can easily be used like Pat Burrell was. Start him in LF and take him out in the 7th inning or so with a defensive replacement. If he has a good first half he may be able to net us another mid-back end rotation starter, position player, or possibly both depending on his numbers since his salary is so low. Either way if we can get a young prospect or two with some upside for a guy who doesn’t really have a future on our club then do it.

      Moving Howard would at least give us another new face in the lineup every day. I like Howard, but could do without watching him chase breaking balls or get tied up by high fastballs.

      1. One thing Howard did say after the season, that the shift employed against him took away 20plus hits (singles I guess) from him. That gets him over BA of .250 and raises his OBP, does nothing much for his ISO which was close to the bottom of the league for first basemen.

        1. Good point Romus. I hate seeing him hit a sharp ground ball or line drive up the middle or through the hole between 2B and 1B and its right at someone.

          On the other hand though, Howard likes to drive the ball the other way so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try to hit that way more often. This theory is obviously easier said than done. He needs to wait back on the off speed stuff and drive it to left. He rolls over on the ball and hits soft grounders to the right side far too often.

          1. The greater # of shifts being employed hurt more than a few players last season and I don’t see it getting any better for them if they aren’t able to adjust.

        1. I have, but I think if Ruf played every day he could hit 20+ home runs with a decent .250ish average. He has never had a set role for the Phillies since arriving in the bigs.

          If he is having a decent spring I would tell him he’s going to be the everyday 1B and let’s see what he’s got. Sure he might just turn out to be a bench/platoon bat, but maybe taking pressure off of him to produce to get playing time or stay in the majors would help him. It can’t hurt to try.

          Ruf’s WAR the past 3 years is .3, while Howard is -1.5. Ruf may not be the answer long term at 1B, but at least he’s trending in the right direction.

          1. I totally agree that it can’t hurt to try but recognize that Franco looks like he’ll have a job by June, sooner if he continues hitting in spring training like he’s done the last two weeks. Until the Phils figure out what to do with Asche, Franco might stay at 1B, assuming Asche hits like I think he’s capable of in year 2. I could see Herrara win the CF job and move Revere to LF which would be interesting. That would set up an Asche vs Ruf competition for playing time once Franco comes up because we know he’ll play every day.

        2. Thought they said last year he was going to stand closer to the plate to reach the outside pitches. Maybe that experiment failed.

    3. I don’t think we see Franco until June. He needs 2 more months at Lehigh Valley so his major League clock does not start. Whether or not we like that idea, I do not see anyway he comes up sooner. And, I think we all would like to see Howard go, the problem is the only remaining taker for him, barring injury, seems to be Tampa. I do not think there is any way RAJ releases him. But, come June, I think you will see Franco and Nola on the major League team.

  26. JimPeyton….anyway of adding ‘ Phillies Minor Thoughts’ link sandwiched between Phillies Nation and Phoul Ballz, in the menu on the right under 3. Phillies Blogs.
    Thanks.

    1. Matt Winkelman’s write-ups on the top 50 (yes, all top 50) prospects for the Phillies is the best and most comprehensive prospect review since James did them back in the old days. While I don’t always agree on his rankings (although they are generally right on point), the depth of analysis and investigative work that went into the report are staggering. If you follow Phillies’ prospects these are must read reviews. Great job, Matt!!!

      1. Great read. And I’m only at #7. Obviously some scouting context in there (although watching the videos make me sad to no longer be living in Tampa). Matt’s delivery has improved over the year’s as well

  27. Dodgers are in on the latest Cuban. How do we get the Phillies to be in on this kid, if he’s as good as some say?

    1. Handing Ruben a birth certificate that says he’s 35 or older should do the trick.

      Poor RAJ jokes aside, he is being compared to Puig and Soler so he could be quite the ball player. A switch hitter with speed, plus arm, good bat speed/hit tool, and plus power is exactly what we need in the minors.

      Here is a video that shows him play a little bit and discusses him as a prospect.

          1. Phillies have $123.2 million committed to 10 players for 2015
            Remove Hamels and Howard from that and the number plummets.

    1. I only see gattis when the Phillies play the braves. He really can hit. I Wonder if its his defense that got him traded. I don’t know how good the package for him was either.

    1. They are in town, along with ,Sev Gonzo, Lively, Ogando and Windle. All went to the Sixers/Hawks game last night at WFC.

  28. One of the problems I have with defensive WAR measurement is the positional adjustment.

    Just one comparison. Over his entire career, the defensive WAR of a poor SS like Jeter is just -2.9, while the defensive WAR of a very good 1B like Pujols is -7.5.

    I would re-do the defensive WAR measurement by eliminating positional adjustments and re-calibrating plays to give Jeter a big negative and Pujols a small positive. I would also want great SS’s like Ozzie and Belanger to have huge positives and bad first basemen like Howard to have small negatives.

    In qualitative terms, I am saying that a great SS affects team defense a lot in a positive way and that a bad SS affects team defense a lot in a negative way. First basemen, OTOH, do not have a big impact on team defense either way.

    1. I think WAR tries to normalize over all positions, in the sense that a below average SS is worth more defensively than the best 1B fielder. Maybe you’re looking more for a position-independent type of WAR stat.

    2. What you’re missing is that the positional adjustment isn’t just about the effect on team defense. In fact, it’s not really about the effect on defense at all. It’s about building a winning team.

      The fact is that Jeter’s poor defense is fully reflected in his WAR. But having even an adequate defensive SS – and he was that – with his offensive contribution is ENORMOUSLY valuable, and the positional adjustment accurately reflects that.

      I think that the real problem here (if there is one) is combining the defensive value and the positional adjustment in one number. It does, I think, give a somewhat distorted picture, and is, in a sense, combining apples and oranges. But if we’re talking about WAR, it doesn’t matter – it all can (and should) be included. IMO the old method is clearer – i.e., separating the defensive adjustment and the positional adjustment – but it doesn’t change the math.

      Bottom line, assuming equal hitting and base running (which of course wasn’t true in this comp, and isn’t going to be true in most 1B/SS comps), a defensive wiz at first base is less valuable than a poor defensive shortstop.

      1. I think what you say is mostly right, and my beef is mostly about presentation.

        One minor disagreement. I think there are a half dozen seasons in Jeter’s career when his defense was so bad that, if we could find an otherwise comparable first baseman who was great defensively, that first baseman in those half dozen years would have been more valuable than Jeter.

      1. He does raise questions on the uncertainty of ranked prospects and their numerous failings. And cites examples.
        As the one poster ‘s’ says…..the percent of 3WAR and above players .based on round drafted is very low after the first round, and even in the first round outside the top picks is also very low.

        1. Anyone who follows prospects at least a little knows that the prospect flameout rate is very high. I think him having an article liek that says more about his followship that they need to be reminded of that.

      2. Agreed, that was bad. Just to arbitrarily make the comparison to the 2012 Cubs like that make no sense.

      3. It’s of a piece with his prior article saying it would be great if the Phillies kept Howard. Some ‘analysts’ are just more comfortable with the old dinosaurs. The Phillies trained them up and tamed them to support that approach.

          1. Yes I do. He may criticize, but his philosophy is well within Phillies orthodoxy, apart from approach to draft/international spending.

  29. Below AA you are throwing the ball.

    Once you reach AA you begin to learn about managing games, counts, how to adapt to guys the second time around, setting guys up for an out pitch.

    For me, I try not to get too excited over guys below AA because while they may look good in A ball the game and talent level is much different at AA.

  30. Interesting study on the “risk” factor for Hamels:

    http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/story/cole-hamels-phillies-trade-market-timing-011615

    As the article points out, this is necessarily non-specific to Hamels’ specific health issues (or lack thereof) – but still IMO very much supportive of my argument. I do tend to think that Hamels’ risk factor is lower – but even if it’s much better than the study suggests (almost 50% risk of injury or decline for 2015 ALONE), it’s still significant.

    At the end of the day, I’m not sure what implication that has for the Phillies’ strategy. If teams are making low-ball offers now, waiting probably is the right strategy even given the risk. But it does shed some light on one of the reasons why the market for him isn’t better than it is. Teams are aware of the risk and factor it into their offers. A lot of the comments or articles which argue for a very high trade value for Hamels seem to assume that there is no (or almost no) risk of injury or decline over the course of his contract.

    1. I think team are weighing Hamels vis-a-vis Shields and Scherzer and the MLB is in one big staredown over all three guys.

      Are Shields and Scherzer worth the money they want versus giving up prospects for a better pitcher in Hamels?

      If Scherzer signs for $110 million yes if he takes a lesser amount then no.

      1. Well yes, that’s part of it. I still am skeptical that anyone is meeting the reported Phillies price in the off season, even if they miss out on (or are priced out of) Shields and Scherzer.

        At the deadline, IF Hamels is healthy and productive, he might get the Phillies price – if we believe they “only” want 2 top prospects. IMO they are not getting three even in a best case scenario.

    2. To summarize why Hamels doesn’t have as much trade value as people around here think he should:

      Main two factors:

      (1) Risk factor to Hamels;
      (2) While the contract is good compared to free agent pictures, it isn’t good compared to prospects with years of low cost team control

      Third factor – less important only because I think most people avoid this error – some people over-estimate the risk factor of prospects coming back. This is probably more common for certain specific prospects – e.g., Betts, whose FLOOR is probably 10 WAR over his cost controlled years.

      What’s an interesting question is this: can you negate #2 by paying a big chunk of his salary? The short answer (1) not entirely even at best, and (2) (speculative) – there is an asymmetry here – i.e., the same teams that take the contract into consideration in a negative way won’t necessarily have those concerns alleviated by money coming the other way. Why? This seems irrational. Answer (again, speculating) – optics. Teams don’t want to be perceived “selling” prospects.

      1. I don’t think that the Red Sox are a match on Hamels. Assuming all that you say, I still am left with the position of keeping him. For example, Ranaudo, Cecchini, JB., Jr. for argument’s sake, is not worth anything to me. They can be cost controlled for 20 years and still not good enough to move a Hamels. I am not a 3 top guys or nothing guy, but if I don’t get Swihart, forget Betts, I can’t see a viable trade with Boston. I have to get a future All Star and a rotation SP. Why do it otherwise? You’ve agreed with me before that moving his salary is not worth anything, so if you don’t get a cornerstone of a new Phils contender, why trade him. I know what you think is unrealistic, I am interested in what you would take for Hamels as a help to the Phils and a realistic demand. Pick any team you think is a realistic match.

        1. Oy. You’re putting me on the spot. Fortunately I am at work and can plead that I’m too busy. 🙂

          I’m not THAT far from where you are. I guess I don’t see why we would need “a future All Star AND a rotation SP,” that seems steep. But then again, given risk factors, maybe it is reasonable to ask for prospects whose reasonable upsides are that (and who aren’t high risk “lottery tickets).” And maybe, just maybe, we could get that in a deadline deal.

          Really a lot of my posting on this topic has been about (a) the market, as opposed to what we “should” ask for, and (b) arguing against the necessity of getting some of the really out there packages, i.e., even more than you are asking for.

          (Note also, obviously a SP which comes to us along with a future AS position player isn’t going to be a 1/2 – that’s too much. Query how important getting another 3/4 type is right now given recent acquisitions. OTOH, with SP flame out rates, you can never have too many.)

    3. The market for Hamels will reveal itself after Scherzer and Shields sign. Scherzer more so since it eliminates a team in need for a front-line starter. For Shields, I’m more interested in the contract he signs. I suspect once Shields has signed the Hamels contract will look even more attractive. This doesn’t mean a deal will be struck before OD, and I wouldn’t constitute it as a FO failure if Hamels is on the mound opening day either.

      Right now I still think San Diego is an excellent candidate. Any two of their top 3 should look good in our system. Although many favor Hedges, I’d actually prefer Wisler and Renfroe. Regardless, San Diego a good potential trade partner IMO

      1. ‘The market for Hamels will reveal itself after Scherzer and Shields sign’….realizing that PSI could get a deal done for Shields readily sooner then Scott Boras will get a deal done for Scherzer.
        Boras could have his client go thru May before he gets deal done.
        Boras typically is the last to cut deals.

  31. You are right. I think what we have gotten in recent trades is more of the 4/5 variety, maybe Eflin can be a 3? And, if the 2d piece is an everyday Major league player, not an All-Star, but maybe a positive WAR player instead of the SP, but who can contribute every day that might work. But, I think the main point is a guy that you can project to be a top player on a contending team. I think that we are close there. I appreciate that you are at work, so whenever you have the time. I was really curious who amongst the rumors held interest for you. One of the Cards OFs? Hedges/Renfroe from the Pads? Just for argument’s sake. Thanks

  32. Is that Hedges from the Pads? The kid from Texas? Or do you need Swihart? has to be a pretty definite high caliber C, and I don’t know that Hedges is that good..

    1. You may get one more added impact prospect with thecatcher, if the Phillies package a Grullon or Knapp (sorry sam soap) with Hamels in a trade.

  33. Phillies claim Jordan Danks 28 yr. old outfielder LH from White Sox, that’s a headscratcher? the one thing in the world they don’t need is a LH reserve outfielder

  34. If the Red Sox don’t want to give up Betts or Owens that’s fine. I think their best pitcher right now is Brian Johnson. He is probably ready today and only 24. You add 1 of Checchini and Margot and make that deal if you’re both clubs.

    None are probably all stars but you wouldn’t rule it out. I can’t see any of them not being solid big league regulars.

    Margot is on a path to be ready in 2 years 3 at the most. Margot is the real deal and what all the Tocci guys dream Tocci will be. Margot is the counter to those that try to say wait til he gains strength. Margot is 5′ 11″ 170 soaking wet and still hit 20 doubles and 10 HR’s in the Sally at 19.

    His hands are lightning quick. You can’t teach it you can’t coach it but when you’re gifted with it then your ability to hit is so much easier.

    Checchini probably by mid season. Checchini is an OBP machine probably not going to hit 20 HRs but he definitely drives the ball into the gaps. Again IMO what we wish Asche would be Garin is and he has no question the flexibility to play LF or 1B if you want Franco to be your everyday 3B at some point.

    I’m not as big on Swihart. I’ve never been a believer in relying on offensive production from the C position. They get banged up too much back there. Maybe you push for a 4th guy like a Ramos.

    Do you like that Deal Larry for both clubs?

  35. If it was the AL I could accept a catcher with a low offensive production but with the pitcher in that role you need some hitting or else 2 out of the 9 guys in your lineup will be offensively challenged.

  36. Together Brown and Revere are extended for $6.6M. Not to bad a price.
    However, if they can get, together, their OBP well north of .660 ilo of .610 that would be great.

  37. I wonder if the Phillies can find another ace hamels. and only have to give up lower prospects. cause he might get hurt. and his contract. I have never seen so much bull. The way people on here talk we should do another schilling trade. sorry for once I hope ruben the moron doesn’t buckle and give cole away for a catcher who cant hit and a David Buchanan type pitcher and a Dugan type outfield prospect.

  38. The Rangers continue to pursue the possibility of adding left-hander Cole Hamels from Philadelphia. The Rangers have remained in contact with Philadelphia about Hamels, a person familiar with the process said on Thursday. The stumbling block appears to be money. Hamels is guaranteed $96 million over the remainder of his contract, which ends with a club option for 2019 at $20 million. The Rangers would need Philadelphia to absorb some of that salary. How much the Phillies would be willing to eat would hinge on which prospects the Rangers would be willing to include in a deal.

    1. This is an interesting story to follow. I know they don’t want to include money with Hamels, but if it means getting back players to reshape the future you have to send cash over.

      Teams seem very reluctant to give up elite prospects for Hamels and it is hard to blame them. However, you can’t acquire an ace for nothing. If throwing in some money nets the return you want and aren’t getting from other teams then send a bag of cash over with Cole.

      The only way I don’t send cash with Hamels is if another team is offering a good package with no cash involved. Unfortunately, I am not so sure that is the case.

      Alfaro is one of the guys I’d be going after if Texas wants to acquire Hamels with cash. He is ranked behind Hedges and Swihart, but has plus power and a plus arm. He is ranked as a 55 defender and I could see him improve that tool as he is a converted infielder. He could easily develop into an all-star catcher.

      After Alfaro the Rangers have some nice outfield prospects in Williams, Mazara, DeShields, and Brinson all in their top 10. Martin in CF, Choo in a corner spot, and Rua spending time in a corner spot could be their starting OF this season. DeShields has to stay in the majors (Rule V) and could see time in the OF or 2B. I think we could get one of Williams or Mazara as the second player in a trade. This would still leave the Rangers with 3 quality OF prospects.

      The Rangers also have some nice SP in their farm. Jackson, Gonzalez, and Thompson all rank in their top 10. Out of these 3 I like Gonzalez the most. He profiles as a #2. I also like Thompson who has a plus fastball and curve along with average control and an average change up.

      A rotation with Darvish, Hamels, and Holland would be pretty dang good. Since the Rangers have come up just shy in recent years of a WS ring and have already invested heavily in their team (extending Andrus, acquiring Fielder & Choo, choosing to keep Beltre rather than trade him etc.) I think they would give up some prospects for Hamels. They want to win and have enough prospect depth to get a deal done.

      Without knowing what kind of dialogue Ruben has had with other teams, if the Rangers offer Alfaro, one of (Williams, Gonzalez, Mazara, Thompson), Demeritte or Kela, and a lesser prospect for Hamels and 20-30 mil I’d do it. We could get 2 top 100 guys depending on who the second player is along with another good prospect or two.

      As Larry discussed earlier, Hamels health is a risk at this point. He had a bit of arm trouble prior to spring training and isn’t getting any younger. If we can get some quality prospects for him and also create some cap room its a win-win. Obviously the money isn’t a huge deal for a larger market team, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

  39. I’d like Hamels to end up in LA, St. Louis, or Pittsburgh. All three have pitchers’ parks, and all three are serious contenders. Pitching for any of these teams would be good for Hamels career, which interests me more than what the Phils get back in trade.

    Of the three, Pittsburgh looks like the best trading partner, and it surprises me that we don’t hear rumors about the Pirates. They have a number of high-end prospects, and Hamels could make the Bucs favorites in the NL Central. As I’ve said before, the Phils should demand three top prospects among this group: Glasnow, Bell, Meadows. Hanson and McGuire.

    I don’t really see the Cards as a good fit, but I suppose something could be cobbled together. Maybe something like Kolten Wong, Piscotty, and Reyes would work.

    The Dodgers are even less a fit. They have three excellent prospects and not much else. The Phils should demand two of the three, but I would pass on this trade if I were the Dodgers. The Phils should not be interested in the likes of a Zach Lee, who is so yesterday’s news.

    There are other teams with good, young talent, but less attractive for one or more reasons.

    The Cubs have the prospects, but they are probably two years away from contending; they need to figure out what they really have once their prospects are exposed to major-league pitching; and they can add front-line pitching through free agency this year and next w/o giving up prospects.

    The Red Sox have top talent, but seem unwilling to give up any for a top talent like Hamels. So, no deal.

    The Padres are an interesting case. Hamels should do well pitching in Petco, but the Padres are weak defensively and not a serious contender. The Phils should demand the Padres’ top three prospects, the best of whom may become the top defensive catcher in the majors for a decade, bat .220 and hit 15 homers. Good, but not exciting.

    The Rangers are also a possibility, and they have young talent. The Phils should demand one of Profar and Odor, the catcher Alfaro, and maybe something else. I think the Rangers balk at giving up either Profar or Odor. So, IMO, no deal. I’m not crazy about Joey Gallo. I’d also prefer that Hamels remain in the NL.

  40. Because of the higher risk that pitching prospects will break down before reaching the majors, I would prefer that the Phils get only position players in a Hamels’ trade.

    The poster child for my concern is the Dodgers’ Urias. He may be a pitching prodigy, the next Pedro, blah blah blah. He’s also very young, physically slight, and with few professional innings under his belt. Just one more reason the Phils and Dodgers are not a good match.

    1. I also believe the Rangers said they will not part with Nomar Mazara in any deal with Hamels.
      Like I said before, if yuo want a teams best catching prospect, who may be a year away or ready now, then along with cash with Hamels add value like a prospect or two from the lower levels, ie Grullon or Cozens, and teams may be more receptive.

    2. Especially true since we’ve added several mid-to-back of rotation starters in recent trades and the 2014 draft. We don’t have an ace to replace Hamels, but I think he will come from the FA market in 2017 or 2018. Our greatest needs today are a catcher and a corner OF. Always good to add another pitcher as the extra guy in the deal, but I agree it is safer and better to focus on position players. That points me to Texas or Boston. They also each have a catcher I want.

      1. Apparently Alfaro is more attainable then Swihart at this point prior to spring training.
        Come July, however, the tables could turn and the Sox may be willing to deal.

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