Open Discussion: Week of March 30th

Here’s an open discussion thread so the minor league posts don’t get cluttered with Phillies’ talk and other topics. 

Spring training is almost over and the Phillies camp is down to 36 players.  As they pare the roster down to 25 players, I wonder where they are going to find starters and innings behind Hamels and Buchanan.  I wonder where they are going to generate runs during innings when Utley doesn’t bat.  I wonder how long a promising bullpen can survive behind a starting staff that doesn’t look like it can throw a lot of innings.  I wonder who we can rely upon to come off the bench and pinch hit.  I wonder about the outfield defense, and the defense as a whole.As they pare down the roster this week, it seems apparent that they will have difficulty scoring runs as well as shutting down the other team’s hitters during the 2015 season.  Not a winning combination for a major league team.

I saw Aaron Harang pitch twice this week, once against minor leaguers and then against the Tigers yesterday.  Against both squads, he was able to get through the line up once with his 89-91 mph fast ball and array of secondary pitches.  But that second time through …  The minor leaguers made a lot of hard contact for singles and runs, the Tigers a lot of extra base hits and runs.

At the Tigers game, I saw Papelbon chatting up the Tigers bullpen coach.  A friend in the Terrace, said that Paps spoke to the coach most of the game.  We joked that maybe he was networking for a possible future opening in Detroit.  A couple of Tigers fans who overheard our conversation were hopeful for such a deal.  They are less than enamored with their recent closer signing.  If only fans could be GMs.


91 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of March 30th

  1. I think the Phils will keep Cesar after all. The Phils really want Franceur to win a job but he just can’t hit. Bogusevic has outplayed him and deserves a job but they don’t need another lefty and Sizemore seems to have a job already. 40 man spots becomes an issue too because when Dom comes back someone will go down. They would hate to lose someone and then have to release somebody anyway a few weeks later.

  2. It seems a shame to me when a player can’t win a job when he outplays his competition. I understand that ST is a small sample. I understand that some roster players come into camp and are “working” on something. But this is a 73-win team, projected to be worse this season. Marginal players shouldn’t be allowed to “work” on something. How many wins can a couple of players hitting under .200 during ST provide? If Bogu and Phelps are outplaying Sizemore and Hernandez, give them the jobs they’ve won. If they don’t clear waivers, what have we lost? A couple of negligible WAR guys? That wouldn’t change the left-handedness of the team, but none of the guys we’re talking about are going to be on the next winning team here, anyway. Reward performance! Shoot, I’ve thought that Blanco was performing better than CH all along, too. Rant over.

    1. No one ever accused the Phillies of being wise. We’re entered a long period of ineptitude with this team. It’s too bad, it didn’t have to be this way.

  3. Jim 73 wins to me would be a great year for this team. I rather have younger players make this team then older guys, I believe it would be a little exciting to see some young kids, I am not looking forward to Howard and his 190 strikeouts, Ben revere with his bad routes to balls, galvis popping up a ton. dom brown with his bad outfield play and lack of hitting, Every pitcher after hamels. long year my friends. except for the bullpen. it will be a long year.

    1. rocco….odds for the Phillies winning the WS—275-1, worse in baseball, worse in their history I believe.
      But the good news….liquor will be sold at the ball park now.
      I am imagine Ryne Sandberg and Larry B. will be sharing a Jack between them on the bench this season.
      Remember Hal McRae had that bottle of vodka in his desk drawer when he managed the Royals?

    2. It’s made the Sixers season pretty exciting! I’ve really enjoyed watching the young players.

      1. rocco…got this email from you know who this afternoon:
        On behalf of the entire Phillies organization, thank you for your support and commitment to the team as a premium seat member. With Opening Day quickly approaching, we look forward to the start of the 2015 season.
        As a premium seat member, you have access to our exclusive Hall of Fame Club at Citizens Bank Park. It is our goal to provide a wide range of quality meal options each time you visit the Hall of Fame Club. In an effort to do so, the Phillies and Aramark would like to inform you of concession changes and additions that will be taking place in the club area for the upcoming season:

        · Chickie’s & Pete’s Crab Fries will be moving to the menus at both Cooperstown and Columbia Park Cafés. (Located behind Sections 218 & 225)

        · There will be a new menu at Recreation Park (located behind Section 218) which will include:

        o Hot dogs and soft pretzels along with other traditional ballpark fare
        o Hand-dipped Philadelphia Water Ice
        o Healthy options such as a garden salad or hummus with pretzel chips
        o A variety of local craft beer

        · The Baker Bowl Bistro (located behind Section 214) and Connie Mack’s Bistro (located behind Section 230) will continue to feature rotating specials for each homestand. Popular specialty sandwiches from last season will return along with brand new creations. To view a complete list of the available food and beverage offerings along with the location of each stand in the Hall of Fame Club for the 2015 season, please click here. Once again, thank you for your support as a premium seat member. We look forward to seeing you at the ballpark this season.

        Derek Schuster
        Director, Sales

    1. Blame Boras. If he did not screw his client at the time of signing causing him to miss the first part of his camp over zero dollars then there would be no problem.

      I want to see him take this to court and get nailed to the wall.

      1. I forgot, isn’t boros the one who got J.D Drew a lot of money. and isn’t he the agent for his brother too? those two were overpaid for years.

        1. Ed Wade and Monty did not want to deal with him in ’97 over JD Drew…..Boras told the Phillies not to draft him if I recall.

    2. I would….for the minimum required for that one-more year controlled status purposes down the road.
      Boras’ initiatives back in the early 90s for getting unproven amateur better contracts then proven players, more or less evolved, thru different stages, into what has occurred thru the years of union and management negotiations.

      1. I get it I just find it gauche. The kid was far and away one of the best players on the field through the demotion. In Theo’s defense he has been consistent with how he handles these types of players going back to his days in Boston. Pedroia, Ellsbury and a handful of others all had the same type of springs and went down for the required periods.

        The spin doctoring that goes on is incredible and Theo is one the most polished spin artists I’ve ever heard. Everyone knows the elephant in the room is that extra year of control.

        One has to wonder if Boras kept his mouth shut would Bryant have gone north to Wrigley for opening day.

        There is no taking this to court that is such foolish sentiment. This was collectively bargained. I mean what exactly would they try to argue.

        Oh well I was just curious like I said. I don’t think there was a wrong answer.

        1. That could have been the case if Boras remained mum, but I really think that after all the collective bargaining agreements , this would still have occurred. Like you said Epstein has done this in the past, along with many other GMs. And Boras wants that early extra year to deal again.
          Phillies have had reluctant interactions in the past with Boras when it comes to the youthful skilled athlete.
          Now the question will arise will the Phillies deal with Boras on Dom Brown’s last year of his contract, which is this season?
          He is arbitrary eligible next year and a FA in 2018.
          Dom needs to have a good season to give Boras ammunition.

        2. Boras and the MLBPA are trying to create a negotiating point on what will otherwise be easy negotiations.

          Where the MLBPA has to watch out is that Bryant is not a member of the MLBPA until he reaches the Cubs. They cannot cover him in the minors.

          Pushing for Bryant takes a job away from a union member so they have to be very careful with their statements.

          The only other major point I can see is pitchers salaries which are escalating and pushing small market teams out just when they are competing on an even keel with their large market brethren.

          1. Odd and strange as it may seem, but when it comes to the pitcher’s salaries escalating , the one factor that could keep it at an even keel is the rash of Tommy John injuries. The shelf life after a surgery is 8 years or somewhere between 400 and 600 innings pitched. I guess the 8 years is elevated due to relievers skewing the number.
            Look at the Nats…..both Strasberg and Zimmerman have undergone TJ and they may let them walk….analytically, based on post- surgery shelf-life that would be the correct avenue to take.

            1. Cueto makes for an interesting test case.

              Their 40 man end of year payroll was $140 million. A $25 million commitment means Cueto would take up one-sixth of their salary budget. That is a huge commitment for a small market club.

              Even a large market club would have to question a salary that large. The Yankees had a 40 man payroll of $225 million. The salary escalation is forcing players back to large market clubs destabilizing the playing field which has become leveled in recent years.

    1. The March 31st MiLB game report gives an idea of who might make up part of the roster. There is still likely to be movement over the next few days.

  4. Any chance we might sign a guy like Paul Maholm to a minor league deal? His spring numbers were pretty good and I think he would be a better option than O’Sullivan going forward. He could eat some innings for the big club at some point this year and could probably draw more trade interest than O’Sullivan.

    Also does anyone know how Pettibone is doing?

    1. Pettibone was scheduled to pitched to live hitters today for the first time.
      So we will know later tonight or tomorrow.

    2. I saw several tweets reporting that the Phillies are NOT interested in any of the pitchers who have been released or who are reported to be released. Truth or smoke screen?

  5. Hmm there there bring back booze and bring in metal detectors . I read an article in the Daily News today Raj said he rather watch the AAA team this yr then the Major league team. I don’t think it really matters who makes the team going out of spring trying there going to be a lot of moves this year.

  6. Two new names out there Wilmer Font the Rangers released him. Dayan Viciedo has been released. Two younger players we could use.

    1. Ruben must have read roccom’s post the other day on MAG and said ‘what the heck, might as well release him’.
      And no one claimed him.

        1. Evidently he feels the same about you….as he must daily peruse thru PhPh to find your recommendations on building this club back into a contender.
          Ironically you posted Aument and MAG together as terrible and both are gone within a day.

    1. Top 100 guy at one time. He’s the guy everyone wanted from the Giants rather than or in addition to Joseph for a certain right fielder we gave them. Brown has never been able to crack the Giants lineup. In the current phillies situation, he might be a guy to consider over all the 4A guys.

      1. Agree there…Brown bats right-handed also. he could be another Brandon Moss in the making. Brown was in the top 50 by all three nationals at one time…BA, BP, MLB He does have great speed and plays a great defense. Maybe a change of scenery.

  7. Well, I have some good inside information to report. My sources tell me that the Phillies have an under the radar prospect that looks like he may be the real deal. The kid – I can’t recall his name – but it had something to do with birds – like Cardinal or Finch – yeah, Finch was the name. Rumor has it he throws upwards of 168 MPH.

    Sounds like the guy is a bit of a character – he only wears one shoe—a heavy hiker’s boot—when pitching. This may be due to a tough upbringing – he grew up in an English orphanage and was adopted by an archaeologist who later died in a plane crash in Nepal.

    My insider say the Phillies gave him a 9 on fastball velocity and 8 for control (who knew – I thought 8 was the highest – I guess when you throw 168, you go to your own level).

    Don’t mess this one up Ruben!

    (hard to believe it has been 30 years since the Sidd Finch article was published).

  8. This might an interesting yr as we see more prospects moving up to the show. It could be a long yr trying to win 50 games .

    1. Top to bottom . from ownership..scouts. gm. players. minor league prospects. just might be the worst team top to bottom, in baseball especially that they have money to spend. not like small market teams. And no one is held accountable. amazing

        1. Not sure how he profiles as a starting pitcher when it looks like he was a spot starter in college (10 SP, 10 RP) and a relief pitcher in the Cape Cod league.

          In those 76 innings in 20 games they break down to 10 starts and 10 relief appearances.

          There is a red flag here with regard to arm strength and I would not select a relief pitcher at 10.

    2. A team has to try really, really hard to avoid winning 50 games. These Phillies most definitely will win 50 games. I think they win at least 65. That would still be quite an awful season. If you like round numbers, perhaps we win 62 and lose 100. Can’t see us worse than that.

  9. Christian Vasquez (the young Boston Catcher) is going to have TJ Surgery on his throwing arm and will miss this season. Seriously doubt that Hamels ends up in Boston.

    1. Why do you say that the Sox will not want Hamels now that Vasquez is out for the season?
      They are still not including Swihart nor Betts at any rate, with a healthy Vasquez.

      1. The Red Sox probably won’t compromise with us so that’s one reason. The other reason is that they tend to over value their prospects worth.

        1. You are correct they do seem to over-value their prospects….but many clubs also do that. However, the Sox prospects of late have not done well except for Betts so far.
          Ironically, Vasquez wasn’t considered one of their top tier prospects until late in his minor league career, but he was considered a plus defensive catcher from early on.

          1. I don’t know that they over-value their prospects. It is not just a question of what do we think Hamels is worth. They had opitons. They could have signed Lester and gotten him for just money — no prospects, no draft picks. So… Lester and Hamels are equally good pitchers, how much is it worth in prospects to get Hamels’ more team friendly contract? It’s more than reasonable to decide they’d rather keep Betts and spend the extra $. I think it’s at least barely reasonable that they would decide better to spend the extra $ and keep Swiihart. On the other side of the trade, were the Phillies willing to trade Hamels straight up for Swihart? Almost certainly not, which swings the scales back to Hamels not being that great a deal.

  10. Add top prospect Matuella to the list of players getting TJ surgery. It will be interesting to see where he and Aiken fall this year in what is termed a weak draft.

    1. I don’t see the Phillies spending a high first round draft pick for a pitcher recovering from TJ surgery. It doesn’t fit their risk assessment profile. My guess is that they want someone NOW and don’t want the publicity risk of taking someone who is currently injured – which, given their status as one of the worst teams in baseball with an enormous talent deficiency, is among the stupidest approaches imaginable. There’s an outside chance it could happen if Gillick insists on taking a player (I think the owners view him as something of a “God”) which is possible, but outside of that, it ain’t gonna happen.

      1. If Aiken or Matuella falls to them, I’ll pissed if they pass. Look how the Nationals lucked out with Giolito. Could be the same type of situation, especially considering it’s a weak draft.

  11. But I’m sure happy with some of their recent acquisitions and moves. Odubel Herrera is 3 for 3 today with another home run. As I said a few weeks ago when I was down at ST, when you see him play, he looks in every way like a major leaguer. It appears by any measure to be a superb Rule 5 pick.

    1. And with Oliver they may have struck gold.
      I guess Ruben has to be given credit for the two Rule 5 pluses and the slew of quality minor league pitchers he has acquired over the last 6/9 months.

      1. Yes, if we rake him over the coals for the bad moves, it’s only fair we commend him when he appears to do something right.

        1. Today was OK, but he was having some familiar problems with control and command issues.

          1. That’s unfortunate. Andy Oliver, while he really struggles with command at times, has serious upside. He can flat out dominate. What’s the harm of keeping him an extra month or two and seeing if he can work out the kinks? It’s not like this team is competing for anything.

            1. It will really piss me off if someone like O’Sullivan – who SUCKS – makes the squad over Oliver. This is all about future upside. O’Sullivan has no future upside. He has no present upside. Why is he even still here?

            2. IDK look at Andrew Miller as a comp. He didn’t put it together until his age 27 season. He went from a k/9 under 7 and a whip over 1.80 to a k/9 over 11 and a whip under 1.20 and rode that to a 4/$36 deal and along the way he was flipped for a really nice younger arm Eduardo Rodriguez you should look him up.

              You don’t give up on big armed lefties when your in the state we are right now.

            3. There is also the Rule 5 clause of keeping him on the roster for a full year.

              It is not an easy decision. If I were the Phillies and had a minor leaguer or someone on a two-way contract then I would let Oliver go as well.

              They could always be testing the Pirates to see how bad they want him back. If they don’t take him the Phillies could get him without the return clause.

              In either event, the Phillies know what they have in Oliver. I doubt anything changed from their old scouting reports.

          1. It looks like someone had their cheerios pee’d in this AM when me Romus, Catch and Murray get a thumbs down for innocuous comments lol amusing!

            1. Yup, “Anonymous” is up to his old tricks again. FYI – I just gave you the thumbs down as a laugher – I couldn’t help myself.

            2. I think rocco leads our league in thumbs down clicks. Not for nothing I don’t thumbs down any post. If its ridiculous I just move on or If I legitimately disagree I man up and say so under my name.

            3. Do we really need thumbs up/down? I think I can turn it off. Would it be missed? And I think I can block anonymous comments. What do you think?

  12. why not Adam Morgan? Not ready yet? Isn’t he a better option than sean o’sullivan.

    1. Morgan is still building up stamina and recovering from serious shoulder surgery. He appears to be doing fine and it looks as if the surgery was a success, but he needs to build arm strength gradually and establish himself at AAA before he is promoted to the majors, but he could definitely get the call sometime this year. In fact, he could be the first of the young starters to be promoted. You have to give the Phillies some credit, last year at this time, the high level minor league starters consisted of Biddle and that was about it – and then he was gone. Now, in less than a year, they’ve complete restocked through the draft, trades and players coming off the DL – this part of their rebuilding plan has gone as well as anyone could have expected. There aren’t a lot of grade A pitching prospects (probably just Nola – he’s about an A- or B+), but there are several B level prospects and some who are rated lower but have even higher upside (Biddle for example is probably a B- or C+ prospect but could end up being the best major leaguer in the group if he reaches his ceiling).

      Now, as for the hitters . . . well, they’ve got some work left to do.

      1. I seriously laughed out loud when I read the words “restocked” and “quite well”

        1. Okay, that’s fine, you’re entitled to your opinion, but explain to me, under the circumstances, how, aside from trading Hamels (which they need to do), they could have done better with the resources they had. I can’t see it.

          1. I’m not saying these guys are all going to be superstars – they are all unproven and many do not have a super high ceiling. My point was that the restocking of the starting pitching over the last year went as well as anyone could have expected – I think that’s the case.

            1. Let’s break it down for him

              Roberto Hernandez=Victor Arano 20 y/o live FB almost 9 k/9 decent whip 1.278

              Marlon Byrd=Ben Lively 23 y/o 10.6 k/9 whip 1.068 $4 million plus the vesting option $8 million=$12 Million saved.

              Rollins=Eflin 20 y/o has some work to do but still; Windle same deal has to develop another pitch. $11 Million saved.

              And do we really need to talk about Nola. So yeah whatever these guys become it is still fair to call it a re-stock of the arms in the system.

            2. BTW …on Arano…..Larry Anderson saw him this spring and he said he was as impressed with Arano as with anyone he had seen….and later realized he was only 20-years old.

  13. My guess is they go with Jiminez for the last bullpen spot and start the year with only 4 starters. They’ll call up someone on the 40 man in two weeks to start twice prior to Billingsley taking over that spot. What are the odds on Harang or Williams staying in the rotation all season? Who gets the bench spots? Its been quite a fight between 4A guys plus Cesar and Ruf. Its not like its going to make a difference….. I’m more interested in the minor league team placements and who gets cut down there.

  14. On another note I saw Drabek hooked up with the White Sox. I saw him pitch an inning last night against the D-Backs and my he looked a shell of what he once was.

  15. Damn, the Cardinals, the best organization, just picked up Gary Brown. I’m at a loss as to why he wouldn’t have been better than Franceur or Danks for our team. It would have been a good Gillick move…. oh well….

    1. I wonder if they will do something with Peter Bourjos…since Gary Brown and Bourjos are about the equal skills in the outfield. But then again, Brown could be sent down to Memphis.

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