Open Discussion: Week of August 17th

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

  • The Phillies were swept in a key series by the Milwaukee Brewers.  They have re-taken the lead for the number one pick, for now.
  • Since being activated by the Nationals on July 29th, Jonathan Papelbon has made 5 appearances in 18 games.  Only two were in save situations.  The Nats are 5-13 in those 18 games.
  • Chase Utley has cleared waivers and waits for a deal that suits him before rescinding his 5-10 rights.  (As is his right.)

Finding a suitor for Utley will be difficult.  He wants a guarantee of playing time.  He wants to play next season.  He wants to play for a contender this season.  He wants to play in southern California.  That greatly limits the field of eligible teams.  Even without a guarantee regarding playing time next season, Utley’s contract provides for a $2M buyout on top whatever portion of this season’s $15M remains to be paid.

In 2013, the Phillies flipped John McDonald for Nefi Ogando.  This should establish the floor for any trade, I suppose.  With all the baggage attached to a trade the ceiling might not be for very much higher.  If Utley accepts the fact that he might not get next season guaranteed, kicking in some money (the buyout at the very least) should increase the value of the return.  But not by much if Utley becomes just a rental.

Now, I like Utley as much as the next person.  Unless the next person is one of those fanatic Utley lovers.  I’m a member of a group where the female members all LOVE Utley and can’t bear even talk of his being traded.  I’ve seen some of the bloggers I follow lose their objectivity over the subject of an Utley trade too.

Trading Utley is not some vindictive move by the team.  It’s an effort to get some value back for a guy who shouldn’t return next season.  You sugar coat the trade with the sentiment that he can play for a contender one more time, while avoiding the unpopular decision of not picking up his option next year.

I think a fair return would be a pitcher similar to several we have recently brought into the organization – Eflin, Lively, Pivetta, Eickhoff, Tirado, Windle.  Plus whatever else we could get.  If the roles were reversed, I certainly wouldn’t give up one of our top 8 prospects for a player like him.


103 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of August 17th

  1. The article does make sense. It still depends on who is willing to take a shot in the semi-dark. If Utley had done well this season instead of just during his recent revival, then maybe more would be willing to try to light the skies with a sparkler at risk. OTOH, he does command much respect from those who have followed his career…but is it over?

    IMO, the Phils have been patient with him. He has earned the right to determine his destination FOR THE ’16 season if he wants to play then. He can be a free agent after this season. Should he “impose” his career in /16 by demanding he be signed for then, too?

    No, I think. He has been well paid during his Phils career so IMO they owe him nothing except for his past fine play. But not be held hostage by a guy who SHOULD appreciate what the org has done for him. All through his repeatedly spending several seasons off & on the DL or in rehab and yet they resigned him at a fine upper rate for productive players.

    Loyalty should be a two-way street. Let’s see how he handles this…Classy?

  2. If comes our of the SF or Angels those sys are very poor . The just don’t have the talent that the blue Jays of nats do. You might get another 2nd baseman or teenage arm for the Angels . SF has had there offer on the table for 4 days. It can’t be what Amaro wants cause that’s one of the 2 teams Ultey will go too.both those are up against the luxury tax so money is an issue. I hope it’s the Angels I can see Utley , Trout, Pujols , raking in the playoff . Almost everyone we trade wins the World series Shane, I can’t think of the The player in SF. This hole team is replacement players except Franco, Nola, Herrera , Morgan Giles.

    1. I don’t see relevance in the quality of opposing farm systems when it comes to trading Utley. Every team has one or more 50 grade pitchers, or an outfielder with tools in their low minors. A realistic return could be had from any. It’s the conditions Utley imposes and questions about which Utley (early season or current) a team would be getting that frame the discussion. I’m backing away from seeking a trade of Utley for any return. It was different when Utley looked like he had no future or that his future came with a $15 M price tag in 2016, It would be nice if they could trade Utley for a useful piece but it’s not essential, particularly as Utley gives no sign of actively desiring a trade.

      1. agreed. There isn’t a team in ML who doesn’t have prospect for Utley. Remember it was just few weeks ago we were talking about how Utley should handle his retirement phase. AA pitcher with some upside would be suffice.

  3. I’d like to see us be creative and take a page from the Didgers book. Let’s use some of this financial muscle and assume a poor contract in return for a better prospect(s). For example, and I realize Chicago isn’t a favored destination, let’s take Castro along with a “bluer” chip prospect for Chase and one of our many relief arms.

  4. “Eflin, Lively, Pivetta, Eickhoff, Tirado, Windle”

    Eflin is another class than those listed. I’d be pleasantly surprised–and shocked!–it we landed a prospect like him for Utley.

    Before the season, I would have Lively also listed as a cut above those listed, but his season has been disappointing. I’d have to say, for me, Lively and Imhof have been the most disappointing prospects this season thus far.

    1. I agree Fritz. The max we get for a couple of month rental would be a couple of lottery tickets. Maybe a former high draft pick who has lost favor and a big arm who can’t find the plate. The Phils will have to kick in some money too. I love Utley but no team will give up anything close to a sure thing for an aging, couple of month’s rental. IMO

    2. Disagree on Eflin. I don’t think he is the best prospect of that group. Pivetta has a much higher ceiling since he has a strikeout pitch and throws much harder.

      I can make the case that Tirado has a much higher ceiling than Eflin.

      Unless/until Eflin develops a swing and miss pitch, he is nothing more than a 6th starter IMO. Not saying that he can’t develop one. I think that he will. But Pivetta and Tirado have them now and also throw harder than Eflin.

      a 4.5 k/9 rate is absolutely horrible in any level, let alone the minor leagues.

      1. If age means anything…Eflin, at 21-years old, is a year younger then Pivetta at the same level. He prefers to throw a two-seamer vs a four-seamer, which would tick up his velo.

        1. Age means that Eflin has the time to develop a put away pitch. Doesn’t mean that he will. Just means that he has the time to do it.

      2. Eflin was reportedly throwing 93-95, T97 in his last start using mostly the 4-seam fastball. If true, and if he maintains that, then his velocity is pretty much the same as Pivetta. Eflin doesn’t have a swing and miss pitch but does have a good changeup and has better control. He’s also started throwing a curveball.

        1. My 7 yo started throwing a curve ball. but he isn’t going to strike mlb hitters out with it. Happy to hear about Eflin’s velo spike. and i agree he has great control. But nothing that you said contradict’s my point….which is, unless/until he develops a put away pitch, he is likely to be a very poor MLB pitcher. a 4.5 K/9 rate is horrible. i have agreed that time is on his side, and I do believe that he can develop one. But Pivetta has shown that velocity for a longer time period and also already owns a K pitch. Therefore, IMO he is a better prospect.

          1. Actually of that group listed, I liked Windle as an 8th inning set-up man.

            I know this board hates relief pitchers, and especially those not inclined to close, but I think Windle has the make-up as a solid 8th inning guy.

            And I disagree completely with any argument that values Pivetta over Eflin as a prospect. I’d say there’s easily less than a 50% chance that Pivetta even makes it to the show; there’s nothing about him that screams, “major league regular.”

            And another point of contention I have generally with this board is how they de-value 5th/6th/AAAA pitchers. Why the heck do people on this board constantly fail to recognize the benefits of someone like Kendrick. Dude has a 5 lifetime WAR. And he accomplished that with minimal talent. If Piv even comes close to the career Kendrick has had, the trade would have been a monumental success.

            1. because you can pick up a 5th/6th/AAAA guy any time you want off the FA heap for little money. The way to get real value for a team is to find elite players who perform before they are paid like elite players.

            2. “….find elite players who perform before they are paid like elite players”…..that is the goal of all GMs…and mostly these are the 22 thru 27-year old players.
              Dom Brown should have been, and was once ticketed to be one of those elitist types!

            3. LOL. The one man crusade for college drafted, minor league middle relievers, as top prospects, continues.

          2. I can see the thinking behind preferring Pivetta but I would still lean towards Eflin. Eflin is likely no more than mediocre without an out pitch, but you could say the same for Pivetta and his control/command. Plus, he still needs to develop a solid 3rd pitch.

        2. I was at his last start and according to the stadium gun he topped out at 93, but hit it often enough I would say his range was 89-93.

        1. He didn’t “add a curveball”. He threw a few in a game and got crushed in that game. There is a huge difference between throwing a pitch and throwing it well enough to make people miss.

  5. Angels could go with RHP reliever Trevor Gott and also young but rehabbing LHP Dale Hunter.
    Gott was the pitcher mentioned earlier in a trade when Ben Revere was on the block rumored headed to the Angels in June.

  6. at this point i would think the return very minimal (something like Gott mentioned above), and the odds of an actual situation being to Chase’s liking as has been said, so i really expect no trade, with the outside chance of a trade so minimal it really just accomplishes moving Chase on.

  7. The data on Chase’s contract is wrong. He is not a rental unless the acquiring club wants it that way. The contract allows for a club option likely to be around $5 mil for next season since Chase didn’t hit the auto trigger. The buyout is $2 million. So for an extra $3 million you can get Chase in 2016. That is very attractive to a contending club IMO.

    I fully expect to return a prospect similar to Pivetta. Maybe even better.

    1. If the Cubs were in play…but doubt it with Chase’s preferences….I would try to get Epstein/Hoyer to budge on Eloy Jiminez, OFer. They have plenty already in the stable and Jiminez is 3/4 years away and right now is around 10/11 ranked in their system.
      But Epstein/Hoyer/Cherington of the Sox are all groomed together as hording their prospects and labeling many as untouchables.

    2. Really doubt Utley’s waives his 10/5 rights without the team either picking up the 2015 option at full price or agreeing not to exercise the team option for the reduced $$$

    1. What has Biddle done to deserve a call up? If he needs to be called up to get hungry for next season, he clearly doesn’t have the drive to be successful. I personally don’t think his work ethic or desire is a problem.

      1. they are going to keep moving Biddle up until something clicks because most think its mental. Its matter of finding comfort zone with him. The reality is that it’s last ditch effort to right the ship.

    2. I have a hunch that most people in this board are going to be pretty disappointed when they finally see Biddle pitch for the Phillies.

      There seems to be some
      Sort of lag effect with the expectations for him. He is not the pitcher that most people thought he was 3-4 years ago.

      My guess is he never sticks in the majors because of command issues. Hell
      Prob bounce up and down for a while, maybe even make the bullpen at some point but his command issues are just too severe at this point in my opinion….unless he improves there. But my guess is he won’t. We shall see though.

          1. That is the weird thing. When Biddle was doing well he was using all 4 pitches but lately when he has been hit around it has been two pitches.

            Matt mentioned this on his Twitter during his last start.

            I am not sure what they are trying to do but it makes looking at his numbers increasingly frustrating.

            1. In those LV starts, I don’t know if I would say he was doing well, I know the LV announcers talked about him having trouble with his curve but he was getting a lot of 3 ball and full counts which was concerning. He also piled up the walks. I really don’t know what to make of him, but I got to think at any level he’s at if he keeping getting a lot of 3 ball and full counts it’s going to cause him trouble.

          2. Biddle was throwing 2 pitches basically in every start this year in Reading also. I remember him being quoted as saying he was pretty much throwing all sinkers and sliders in alot of his games at Reading…The three ball and full counts, as well as the walks were probably the result of the two pitches he’s been using in games.

        1. i hear you. Toronto got Thor and Sanchez 5 picks apart that year 2; but they also had the 11th pick in round 1 and picked a kid who is 26 and never made it to majors and been released multiple times.

  8. Anyone else watch the Perfect Game high school prospect game that was on last night? Jason Groome started and went 1 inning. Big dude. Looked like a larger version of Cole.

    1. If the draft were today I would go with Groome as my #1, but Puk is acceptable if you want someone who will be contributing sooner. Pint and Hansen are also good at June is far away. A lot can happen before then. I just hope they can all stay healthy unlike this years crop.

        1. Not enough of a fastball or physical projection to compete with the other names mentioned at this point.

          1. lol he’s 6’3 211 and still has room to add muscle. His fastball can touch 94-95, and I think he’ll add a tic or two on his fastball as he gets stronger.

            AJ Puk may be bigger, but his control isn’t great, and Shawaryn strikes out plenty despite not throwing 99. Hansen’s strikeout numbers are about the same as Shawaryn, and his control is equally as bad as Puk’s.

            You can have a guy who throws 100, but can’t locate and end up with Jake Diekman. I’ll take a guy who throws low to mid 90s but knows where it’s going.

            1. But….Puk and Groome are LHP….Phillies may be looking for one to complement all their right handed prospects in the rotation.
              Right now their hopefuls are Biddle, Windle, Joely Rod., and Imhof from what I see in the next 2/3 years .
              Scare you any?

            2. Wow that is a lot faster than the reports I saw which are admittedly a touch old. Please link where you got those numbers. I’d love to see an updated scouting report.

  9. I Just cant get over pints slider and fastball. I don’t know who I would take. but it will be hard to pass on groome or puk or pint. you want all three.

    1. i didnt see Pint on saturday but apparently he was having trouble throwing strikes.
      Have Groome on the DVR to watch tonight; saw the interviews before the game where he said he’s proved how good he is, now he can just pitch. seems like a pretty smart move he made- do the season at IMG and now go back home and the senior year of high school.

    2. Signability may be a huge issue with the top pick especially when the top picks have been signing for big discounts to the top slot value.

      Would you consider a college arm over a high school arm if they agreed to sign under slot?

      1. That would be big if that were to occur.
        I would seriously do it.
        The second round pick, assuming top 35, could also be a biggie.

      2. those slot values really drop with those first few picks- from 8.6 to 7.4 to 6.2 to 5.0 to 4.1 for the 5th pick- so even if there isnt a clear 1, that difference in slot value the closer you are to #1 is huge; do you think a high school kid would turn down 5 million and go to college?
        but the phils would need to come up with a sound strategy going in to use the dollars and picks as creatively nail the draft next year.

    3. I think jhg know this kid , he keeps bring up his name. He isn’t right now in the league of puk, Hansen, pint. groome.

      1. I’m Jewish, and I’ve never been to Carneys Point, NJ. Try again. Like I said, Puk and Hansen have poor control. Shawaryn was a 2nd team AA and Puk and Hansen weren’t even 3rd team AA so I’m not sure how you could say he’s not in their league. In fact, Puk wasn’t even 2nd team all SEC, and Hansen wasn’t even 2nd team all Big 12 despite the fact that they included 12 total pitchers. There’s a lot of hype around Puk and Hansen, but they’re not exactly completely dominating.

  10. if you had to guess what the SP will look like at each level next season from Phillies to Lakewood.

    Phillies- Nola, Morgan, Eickhoff, xxx, xxx

    LV- Jake Thompson, Eflin, Lively, Asher, Severino Gonzalez, Biddle, Buchanan, MAG

    Reading- Pinto, Pivetta, Joely Rodriguez, Leibrandt, Leiter, Kleven

    Clearwater- Elniery Garcia, David Whitehead, Ranfi Casimiro, Victor Arano, Matt Imhof, Will Morris

    Lakewood- Kilome, Tyler Gilbert, Mitch Gueller, Alejandro Arteaga, Shane Watson, Luke Leftwich

    1. Not sure if Lively and Eflin will start at LHV. I can see them being promo during the season. Could be a logjam of sorts though at Reading.

      1. makes sense, wasn’t really putting them in order per say, just trying to stick some names at each level and see what people think what each level will be since we seem to have a lot of arms now.

        Lively I could certainly see in Reading as in the starts I’ve seen he wasn’t overly impressive. Elflin has been tougher to get a read on, he’s had some good starts and some not so good. With Elflin’s age, I don’t have any problem with him repeating AA and seeing how it goes.

      2. Romus, Zack Eflin should be promoted up to AAA as he has been very good for the most part in Reading. Agree with Ben Lively starting back in Reading.

        1. Yes I would think he could be promoted but sometimes the Phillies like to repeat guys to start and then give them the mid-season promo.
          He still will be age appropriate even if he repeats to start there at Reading in 2016.
          He will have pitched about 380/390IP thru his career by end of this year, so I guess it could go either way.
          Use to be HSer would get a minimum of 500 IP in the minrs before they were deemed ready to step up to the majors.
          Thompson on the other hand , IMO, does start at LHV.

      1. Not that I would mind but I would be surprised if he skipped AAA entirely. I know he’s got over 150 innings at AA but that’s been with 3 different teams in 2 years so unless he has a great Spring, I would think he ends up in LV first but I guess we’ll see what happens.

      1. No Buchanan for me as he is human batting practice and would prefer someone new with more speed on their pitches.

        1. agreed, don’t want to see Buchanan in philly as they should be able to roll out some better pitchers I hope.

          1. Buchanan was the best Phillies pitcher in spring training….how did the wheels fall off so fast….what happened!

  11. I think the Phillies want Chase to have some reasonable flexibility in a trade location

    “Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin admitted that it’s difficult to find playing time for trade candidate Chase Utley, as Andrew Gruman of writes. “I mean, yeah, we like ‘Ut’. It is an issue for me, because I have to try to play everybody, and the guys that deserve to play, like [Cesar] Hernandez and so forth, I want them to play. But I want Utley to play, too. It is not an easy task for me, but we’ll do what we can,” Mackanin said”.

    1. Yea it’s been so hard to find room for your hottest hitter on your team. Here’s a person that said he said he was looking to chase coming back. Interim coach that’s now losing he good guy but com’ on what are you going do come sept 1. Franco out with an injury which makes it easier. What’s weird is 90 % of the coaching staff and players won’t be here I a yr . Macphail begins to in his own coaching staff.

  12. Crick used to be high on the Giants list of prospect, BUT has fallen far because he cannot find home plate with his pitches. Worth less than none. But it would do the Giants a favor to get rid of him since he’s fallen so far. NYET!!

  13. Franco going on the DL. Altherr likely to get called up. Losing Franco’s bat pretty much means that the offense is going to stink, which means more losses.

    1. They held off the Franco DL stint until they could sell more tix for the Jays series with fans thinking he could be back.

      1. how many extra ticket sales did that lead to, 25? 50?
        had a thought of going to just to see the Jays, and of course Ben Revere’s emotional return to Philly, but too much work to do.

    2. I hope that Franco recovers from the wrist injury quickly but it does create a spot for Cesar and Utley for now.

  14. With Franco down it will come down to the Phillies and the Rockies for the worst record. The Brewers and Marlins have been playing better of late.

    1. huge series vs Marlins coming up, but the A’s have lost 7 in a row and have 2 games in hand on the Phillies.

  15. In a very lightly reported news item, Ben Cherington has refused to continue as GM of the Red Sox and Dave Dombrowski has been appointed the President of that team.

    Cherington has been maligned, but that front office has always had too many cooks preparing the stew and there’s a reason that Theo left, even though he’s from that area and cast a long shadow there.

    A number of things Cherington did may have fallen through, but the overall design was sound and he understands and applies SABR concepts and knows the importance of building and maintaining a good farm system. I think it might be marvelous to combine Cherington’s “new world” perspective with the “old world” maturity of a guy like Andy McPhail. You add to that a very good farm system, a tremendous baseball park and revenue stream and the stability of the Phillies (you can rag on the Phillies for a lot of things, but essentially everyone who has ever worked or played for the team raves about how decent and stable they are – this is a dream situation for a young GM).

    Keep your eyes on this development – Cherington could be just what the doctor ordered and he’s just sitting out there, looking for his next job. I literally cannot imagine a better situation for the Phillies or Cherington to have him join the club.

    1. By the way, I could care less if Ruben gets “kicked upstairs” – if they want to keep him on the payroll, it makes little difference to me. I just don’t want him making personnel and financial decisions. This type of move worked fine with the Flyers when Holgren was promoted and Hextall came on as GM.

      1. Cherington did authorize Sandoval’s signing , Hanley’s return to [play LF and the signing of Rusney Castillo for $72M, then there was Porcello’s signing……some similarities to Ruben’s adventures a few years ago that seem to come up short.
        He also was given the money to sign Devers, Moncada and three in their farm system.
        One difference between him and Ruben…..he did thin the herd …or the farm system in trades for veteran stars like Roy H, Roy O, or Cliff Lee.

    2. Catch couple of question cause I really don’t know Cheington. Was he responsible for signing porcello to that ridiculous contract? Would you consider him a yes man.? I really would like to raid the giants or cardinals for our next gm. But wouldn’t limit myself to justt hose two if someone else pops out there I like.

  16. Ben Cherrington would NOT be an upgrade over RAJ in my opinion.

    What he did this off season is a complete disaster. If he was our GM, we would be frying him right now. Yes, Boston has a great farm, but they also spent huge sums internationally, which he wouldn’t be able to do here.

    1. Cherington, Theo E., and Ned Hoyer were the three analytical guys in the Sox resurges a decade ago.

      1. There is a big difference between being on the team and being the Leader who makes the right decisions. I see no evidence that Cherington is a great Leader.

        His contracts for Hanley and Panda are just as bad as the Howard deal. His approach to the rotation was horrific.

        1. Did not say he was the catalyst in their resurgence……he was there and has the same managerial and tendencies to operating a ball club like Epstein/Hoyer.
          I agree with you….I do not think he would be the right guy for Philadelphia.
          It will probably be young and SABR literate person like Matt Klentak anyway.

        2. I have to agree with v1. This offseason was an unmitigated and entirely foreseeable disaster for the Redsox.

  17. Where is Buster Olney now? Applauding those great Red Sox decisions and ridiculing the Phils for being unwilling to trade Hamels for the Sox garbage offer. Wasn’t such a great off season for the Red Sox, was it Buster?

      1. Jim Salisbury ‏@JSalisburyCSN 2m2 minutes ago
        Multiple sources confirm Dodgers as focal team in Utley talks. Deal being worked on. Not final.

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