Open Discussion: Week of August 24th

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

  • “How ’bout dem Phils!”  After Sunday’s win they are 21-12 since the All Star break.  Their “Kiddie Korps” Morgan, Eickhoff, Araujo, and Nola have collected their last four wins.
  • The Phillies have seen Colorado drop into the lead for the #1 pick in the draft.  What once was a 2 or 3 team race has become a 7 team race.  And, lets face it, with so many games against the NL East remaining, the Phillies face the weakest strength of schedule of the contenders for the top pick.  It is conceivable that they drop out of the top three.
  • Since being activated by the Nationals on July 29th, Jonathan Papelbon has made 7 appearances games.  He is 3 for 3 in save situations.  In the same span, Ken Giles has 11 appearances and is 10 for 10 in save situations.
  • Aaron Altherr.  Good start after the recall.
  • ICYMI, I saw Jorge Alfaro take some swings against a rehabbing minor league pitcher in a sim inning.  Wow!  Crushed a home run over the left field fence into the handicapped/coaches parking lot at the Complex.  Just missed Roly de Armas’ car.  And he’s big, like Kyle Schwarber big.
  • I heard that the Phillies intend to stretch out Clearwater reliever Alexis Rivero as a starter during Instructs.
  • Carlos Tocci turned 20 Sunday.  I took him out for a beer, and I drank his. jk
  • Jerad Eickhoff.  Great start.  Ditto Aaron Nola.
  • Look at all the guys we’re talking about right now.  And have been talking about for months. Who is responsible for their acquisition?  I know several readers feel that there have been “fire-able” offenses committed.  But the fact of the matter is the firing didn’t take place when the offenses were committed.  And, in a world where “What have you done lately” matters most, can you see that the firing that most wish to see, may not happen?  Hmmm.  (And, technically, I guess it would be a “non-rehiring”.)

154 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of August 24th

  1. Amaro won’t have to be fired. His contract will simply be allowed to run out and he’ll be asked to stay with the organization, but not as the GM

      1. Strange and odd….but if he doesn’t make it….he will be the only Phillie with a career 60WAR or better, that did not get into the HoF. The other four are in.

  2. I think Amaro has earned a 1 or 2 year extension. This Hamels deal is going to be a great deal for Phils. Some of the big contracts seem to have been Montgomery. And the Pence deal …Houston has traded away Cosart…Zeid was nothing…Singleton is struggling to stick and now they traded Santana…so…hmmm?

    1. Sam….I think Ruben wants to move on from the GM duties. May be positioning himself for somewhere ….horizontally dotted line, mind you, on the org chart….between MacPhail and Middleton. Similar to Holmgren and the Flyers.

      1. I dont think he wants to move at all. He is too cocky. He wants to win just to prove everyone he is right. However, I do think he has a management gig with the Phillies if he is not back as GM. But I think he wants to finish what he started before changing titles.

  3. Sweeney wow Home run yesterday 3 walks looks good. Cesar Hernandez his stats since 7/8 / 2015 the day Amaro said that he was the best 2nd baseman on the team . 239/.285/.317/ true you can look it up. The curse of Ultey is working !

    1. However, Hernandez’s BA is .273 in the last month (same as overall avg.). Defensively he’s only made one error at 2B since July 8th.

      1. Hernandez definitely did not look comfortable playing different positions every day. His hitting and fielding suffered and Maccanon noticed and stated he’ll only be playing 2B now. Its very hard to bounce around between positions every day, some guys can’t handle it.

      1. I’m bring out numbers true numbers. Hernandez has to keep his avg up and obp up in order to be successful. He has no power and avg defense , when he was hitting in the month of June some people were anointing him the 2 nd baseman of the future. Which was ok there option national were doing it to. There also so of us that see now that may not be even here next yr. Cesar about to fall in the .260 range and his obp is lowering . The new player Sweeney looks good give him a chance start if Cesar can’t pick up his numbers .

  4. And I’m happy that we got one probable and one possible for him. My own love affair with Chase is over; I wish him good luck and good performances for as many seasons he wants. I’m pleased to have watched his superior play, but wish his injuries had not kept him off the field so much and limited him often when he did play. Who knows how many enhanced stats he could have put up had he remained injury free? But, it’s over.

    As a Phils fan living for 2016 and beyond, I’m pleased that we now have a kind of super sub…Sweeney. A fine pick-up for a guy only 23 (?). Playable at 6-7 positions without stellar defense but adequate to the tasks. The pitcher, a long shot…yet sometimes they can learn….

  5. Adjustments. if prospects cant make adjustments they don’t make it. Prospects are just that propects. Now we will see if this kid can make the adjustments. The kid from san Francisco has been really good rookie. I wonder if he wins rookie of year award?

    1. rocco….like Gallo of the Rangers….he had a high K rate….Pederson’s was over 20…Gallo’s over 30….in the minors, and most instances does not get better in the big show. Though can draw a walk so that’s a plus for them.

      1. I’d vote for Nola or Altherr. Ok… I’m biased. I wish Altherr would get a single. These doubles and HRs are boring… wait… what was I thinking?

  6. Romus duffy has higher war . great average. Bryant strikeouts are nuts. The kid duffy imo has the better year.

    1. But Bryant is the hyped prospect and unless Duffy can hit 10 more HRs tomorrow and drive in 15 runs ….Bryant will be what MLB wants as the ROY.
      Maybe not fair, but that is how it happens

  7. Would also add Pirates Kang to the mix for ROY. I think that Bryant will win it due to the hype he came in with but there are a couple of others who I think are having better overall seasons.

  8. If Cameron “The Bull” Rupp keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll be the Phils starting catcher for the next two years and then we’ll see what happens when Alfaro is ready.

    1. Rupp, like Chooch, may be a late bloomer. His defense and arm are top notch.
      His bat and ISO I think can get better….he is 260 lbs and muscle , I would think he can muscle out about 12-15HRs a year catching full-time. And hitting in the 8th hole that is more then expected.
      Alfaro and Knapp, both will challenge him in a few years.

      1. I Was giving up on rupp. But the guy I saw at texas, hit the ball to right and right center, Cameron is doing that now.

      2. It will be very interesting to see if the Phils bring Chooch back next year. They could try to trade him, picking up almost his entire salary, or they could just release him if they decide to go with Rupp and Lino next year. Knapp will be at AAA and Alfaro at AA, with Logan Moore in there somewhere, so there really isn’t a spot for Lino. Chooch looks done to me unfortunately but I would sure try to keep him around as a coach.

        1. Personally I wouldn’t eat 8 million on chooch. I believe he still is valuable helping the pitching staff. and unless lino is ready to call a great game like chooch or hit.

          1. rocco….’valuable helping the pitching staff’…..true, and you are correct not at $8M as a back-up. Rupp is more then capable from what I see as the 2016 starter…..Lino may be able to back-up next year…if not, there are plenty of ‘Will Nieves’ out there cheaper then $8M

            1. But whether you are paying Chooch $8 mil to sit on the bench or eating his contract to trade him you are still paying him $8 mil.

          2. If Chooch is such a valuable asset to the pitching staff at this point, why is Rupp the one who catches Nola, their most valuable pitcher? I don’t necessarily know the answer, but its worth asking, given the ongoing narrative about Chooch’s value behind the plate.

            1. And Chooch is now the back-up thru this season and could also be next season.
              However, to deny that he is not valuable to a staff since he isn’t behind the plate each and every time, may not be justice to what intrinsic value he provides both the pitchers and Rupp in game preparation.
              However, if you believe he is of little value anymore, you are entitle to that opinion.

            2. What about trading Rupp? [Thinking way out of the box here] I’m not sure he’s shown enough but there could be a catcher – needy team willing to sacrifice a prospect for a young, cheap backup catcher with pop, who may be able to develop into a passable starter. Rupp’s value would almost certainly climb with more time in 2016, but perhaps he’s already shown enough to generate interest. This is assuming Chooch is worth nothing (or at least less) in a trade, even with his contract picked up entirely. Could Alfaro learn from Chooch? Could we keep three catchers if Knapp occasionally played LF? Otherwise I’d seriously consider going with Rupp/Lino until Knapp and/or Alfaro supplant them. Best case scenario, Chooch/Rupp start 2016 strong, leading Chooch to soon be traded as an emergency replacement of a vet catcher. Rupp/Lino take over, also building trade value, until another catcher goes down and one is traded to replace them. The remaining catcher is joined by Knapp or Alfaro until suffering a phantom injury that allows both to alternate at catcher. Perhaps Knapp takes flies in LF in preparation for Schwarber like move.

  9. Nola was stellar yesterday (albeit against a weak team). I had mixed feelings on letting him throw 100 pitches being that he’s on an innings count; however, this may be ok if six man rotation is used.

    1. Nola is the quintessential example of how valuable Command is as a tool. Everything he throws is knees and lower. Makes his stuff play up. He is going to have a long and very productive career with that command.

      1. Nola, does not have the high heat like the guy tonight deGrom, or Harvey, Thor, Scherzer, or even a Strasberg (early days) …..but he can be equally as efficient and productive.
        Dare I say…..as Dusty Wathan said in April, could be a Greg Maddux type pitcher.

          1. There is a big difference between elite command of a 92 mph fastball and good command of an 88 mph FB. I have not read reports that leibrandt has elite command. Have you seen those? If so, paste here:

            1. If people have to start substantiating with links everything they say on this site, well, there wouldn’t be a site.

              Second, he’s in A ball. Let’s see if he can develop his very good control into elite control; he’s a not finished product, and this whole site is devoted to projection.

            2. i don’t understand your first point. So you think people should just make any claim they want, not support that claim with any evidence and not get called on it? If that happens then we really don’t have a site because the quality will drop dramatically. The best posts are well reasoned with support for their claims.

            3. That Stat would be applied to “control”. He said, “command”. Control and command are two different things.

            4. Yes quite aware of the difference…splitting the zone vs painting the black for command so we agree to disagree….IMO, they go hand in hand when BB/9 are at the lowest spectrum of the scale. Eventually splitting the zone we get a pitcher tattoed.
              But what is another metric that will give a more detailed description?

            5. He asked for a link that would give an indication that Liebrandt has Plus Command like Nola. He didn’t ask for statistical proof. A link with one quote, from one scout, would have been good.

            6. http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2015?list=phi

              “Leibrandt returned strong and pitched well during his professional debut. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff but knows how to get the most out of his tools. His changeup is his best pitch, and his above-average command allows his whole arsenal to play up. His advanced understanding of his craft could allow him to advance quickly in the Minor Leagues.”

            7. Now maybe you can post a link substantiating your claim that its easy to find a 5th starter, that they are easily replaceable? Because here’s two links that show the opposite of your point:

              1) http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/willije01.shtml

              Yes, that’s J Williams reference page. His WAR this season is -1.

              2) http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kendrky01.shtml

              This is KK’s reference page. He averaged 1 WAR for five seasons, 2010-14.

              1 WAR is better than -1 WAR by 2 WAR, a noticeable difference. Our fifth starter this year is 2 WAR less than our previous 5th starter; verifying my point that not all 5th starters are created equal.

              In three different posts, you’ve made your claim that 5th starts have little value since they are replaceable and interchangeable. Now I’d like to see your links supporting this claim. I’ve made my point and posted the links.

            8. “Above average command” is not the same as plus command. Nor is it the same as Nola’s command which might be as high as 70. Have you watched Nola pitch? Everything is at the knees or below. It is really amazing to see. Leibrandt has worse command and worse stuff. Not close to Nola. But anyway.

              Your argument about 5th starters being valuable does. Or convince anyone. If I have the time, I will grab data to show you why.

            9. I never wrote Leibrandt had command like Nola. And I apologize if that’s what was implied.

              Nola has the makings of a top-end pitcher. Leibrandt has less than 50% chance of even making to The Show; he probably has less than a 50% chance of making to AAA.

              But I like pitchers who pitch, as opposed to just flame-throwers, and I’m rooting for him.

              On this site, I voted him as my sleeper. If he hadn’t been hurt, it sure seems like he was well on his way this year to prospect status.

              This voted him around our 35th best prospect; and I have higher than that.

              Regarding 5th starters, honest to god, I never thought my role in life (well, at least on this board) would be to defend quality 5th starters! =) I don’t get as jacked-up about 5th starters as some of my posts may appear…

  10. RAJ is the fall guy for Howard’s contract but no chance that is his decision. The only trade I have a problem with is Pence to SF. I have zero issues with any other deal he has made and I love several of the deals he made, including both Revere deals. He played Hamels perfectly. History is going to be very kind to his deals.

    1. I agree Howard’s contract was terrible but not with the perfect 20/20 hindsight. I couldn’t understand giving him that long a contract for that much money when you had at least 1 more year to pull the trigger. But I understand the thinking. Puhols was coming on the market a year later and was going to get bongo bucks. He would set the market for Howard that was a lot higher than what he got. A bird in the hand is worth 10 in the bush. I get it. It didn’t work out. It was a roll of the dice that turned up snake eyes.

      1. A roll of the dice? That’s kind of absurd, since it implies (at least to me) that there is roughly equal chance of a favorable result as a negative result.

        And I get the thinking in extending Howard, but the thinking was flawed. Howard’s production had already started to decline when he was extended. It was naive to think that his production would not continue to decline (and perhaps accelerate) as he aged, yet the Phillies offered Howard top 3 1B money a year before they had to do anything. You can describe extending Howard as a gamble (i.e., rolling the dice), but it was a poor gamble and many of us recognized it at the time.

      2. Yes, there was 1 more year left but the free agency market was going crazy for 1B. So did Amaro want to go into a bidding war for a 1B the following season or give Howard the money, knowing what the Phillies have with him (no baggage).

      3. The other thing to consider with Howard was the Achilles injury. That aged him much more quickly than had he been injury free since he signed the extension.

    2. v1…Paps deal was rushed and about 20% AAV more then needed for closers in 3/4 years ago. Paps actually performed up to his contract, but moving him was more difficult beginning last summer.

      1. I have no problem with Pap’s contract. He was an elite closer for us. And then got us a damn good starting pitcher prospect. Every top player that hits FA is over paid. Every single one. As for rushed, you don’t know the details of the contract negotiations.

        1. Understand….but my point being rished…. a number one round draft was forfeited, if Ruben would only have waited 11 more days. That is important. If Paps went somewhere else….then closers can be had thru FA or trade at a lower cost/..

        2. viagain As a gm he should have known he was overpaying by 4 million. That fact came out he overpaid and lost a draft choice. If he knew what he was doing, he never wouldnt have lost that draft choice. He just misread the market and the situation and that is a killer for a gm. You need to know what others are doing. its part of the job. The agent for pap over played his hand and bluff ruben. plain and simple.

          1. And this wasn’t the only time RAJ misjudged the market and bid against himself. He did the same thing with the Ibanez signing. Furthermore, by replacing Burrell with Ibanez and then Werth with Brown he turned a balanced lineup into a nearly all lefty middle of the order that necessitated the Pence trade.

    3. One more thing on Howard’s contract. When he was signed, the Shift was a gimick that teams were playing with very rarely. It didn’t become a mainstream defensive strategy until several years later. The Shift took 30/40 basis points off of Howard’s BA and likely more off his OB%. If you normalize Howard’s stats to the same shift percentage as when contract was signed, it wouldn’t look that horrible. The Achillies injury was the final nail in his coffin.

      I am NOT defending that horrible contract. I am just saying that changes in the game impacted him and they didn’t have the benefit of hindsight. That being said, no way that was RAJ’s decision.

      1. Howard had been facing a regular shift for years before he signed the contract. The overshift on slow, left-handed power hitters goes back 70 years. We watched Thome face the same shift before Howard was brought up. Here’s an article from 2008 where Howard complains about how the shift hurt him during the 2007 season:

        http://articles.philly.com/2008-03-28/sports/25260516_1_shift-ryan-howard-charlie-manuel

        The Phillies were 100% aware of the shift before they signed him because this type of defensive shift has been used on almost every Howard-type LH slugger since Ted Williams, including Howard himself.

    4. History will never be kind on the Cliff Lee to Seattle trade in December 2009. The best you could say is that ownership put a gun to Amaro’s head once the Phils acquired Halladay. My response to that is that the Phils should have established the interest in Lee in advance so they could move quickly on the best offer — not just the first offer. Maybe it’s just me but that sounds like GM work.

      If history is kind to Amaro it will only be by the Phils taking a title in the next 3 years with players coming back in the Hamels’ trade figuring prominently. Chance of that — .oooo1%.

      1. The deal for Halladay started as a 3-way with Seattle, but in the end Toronto balked at the Seattle prospects and the Phillies had to scramble to quickly structure two two-way deals, since apparently the owners neither wanted to be over budget even briefly or to have fans get the idea they could have Halladay, Lee, and Hamels. It was a bad owner decision. We were talking about just one season of over budget and by only $9 million. Next season RAJ fit all three into the budget. The three aces for another season would have given a really good shot at another WC. Might have even re-signed Lee for less than it ultimately cost to steal him away from the Yankees. He would have been an extended-term Phillie at that point, rather than being left wondering about being dumped off to Seattle. It’s a wonder he returned and likely he did so, because we over-payed in $ or years or both.

  11. RAJ made some great deals, but the main reason the organization was put into a hole was that they couldn’t draft and develop young players for a VERY long stretch. They missed on many high draft picks year after year. I understand that RAJ may not have been the one drafting or developing the players, but as the GM he is responsible for putting together a competent staff and holding them accountable. I have to do it every day, and if my team fails guess who is held responsible?

    I can’t tell you if it’s the draft scout’s fault or the development team, but he needed to make changes long ago to the process and didn’t. He was also one of the last GMs to employ an advanced stats guru, and put too much stock in old school counting stats.

    He has somewhat redeemed himself, but was far too slow to change after the rest of the league already had. The inability, or lack of desire, to learn and adapt are the real reasons I don’t want him to get another contract.

    1. The Phillies were in win now mode. They traded all their prospects to increase their chances of winning or to prolong the window. That’s why they didn’t have any young players. Similar to what the Blue Jays are doing now.

      As for high draft picks, before Aaron Nola, the last time the Phillies drafted in the top 10 was 2001. So I don’t know what you’re talking about high draft picks. I don’t consider drafting in the mid teens a high pick.

      1. Guru this is where I tell you it was the devil bill Giles who stop them. when they didn’t have high draft choices. They ignored the Latin market for big time signings. and wouldn’t go over slot for kids in draft. I wont blame ruben on that one. I really believe he had Two choice Quit or follow orders He had to. stay within the guideline of the commissioner. mean while Boston and other teams say screw you to the commissioner. and got talent.

        1. Calling Bill Giles ther devil is to kind. His destruction of the organization goes back to the 83 season. The minute he was allowed to start making baseball decisions as opossed to finding circus acts and gimicks to draw crowds, we were in trouble. He’s been riding his father’s coat tails for years. He’s a circus clown.

          1. Bill Giles made famous in ’94 the phrase….’Philadelphia is a small market team’.
            And so he publicly set forth his past, and future philosophy.

      2. Guru by the way good teams find talent drafting lower Duffy for san franciso was 28 round I believe. I know top ten is important but you can build teams like st Louis does and san Francisco while being good and drafting lower.

        1. Those teams are the outliers and let’s face it, we’re not them. We’re lumped in with everybody else. You may be asking why the Phillies are not them, and so would the fans of the other 27 teams. We’re not the Cards or the Giants, deal with it, and root for what we can do.

      3. I’ll by increase chances, but not prolong the window. Trading away your prospects and losing draft picks, while not spending to reinvigorate the farm is a way to shorten the window. Just look when Halladay and Lee crapped out. Oswalt earlier than that.

      4. They actually didn’t trade all their prospects to increase chances of winning. They traded several, but certainly not all. Before this year, who was the last average starter the Phillies drafted and developed? Carlos Ruiz?

        These are the last 1st round picks we’ve made since 2004: Greg Golson, Kyle Drabek Adrian Cardenas, Joe Savery, Travis D’Arnaud, Anthony Hewitt, Zach Collier, Jesse Biddle, Larry Greene, Shane Watson, Mitch Gueller.

        We traded 2 of them away in mega-deals and D’Arnaud is the only one worth anything (and we didn’t develop him!). Look, I know the MLB draft is a crapshoot, but most of these players weren’t just misses, but massive scouting and/or developmental failures.

        1. Pains to see that list of first round disappointments…..and Savery was the only college guy from the bunch…perhaps drafting so low in the 20s and 30s the Phillies should have went with the low ceiling-close proximity college guys vs the high risk/high reward HSers.

        2. This is the type of argumentation that drives me berserk – how convenient that you omit first round picks J.P. Crawford and Aaron Nola.

        3. Some were massive scouting misses. Drabek was good enough to be a major trade piece but was derailed by injury. He was not a scouting miss. Golson, Greene, and Hewitt were clear misses and extremely bad misses at that. Real scouting blunders. Cardenas and Collier had talent, just not quite enough talent. They had decent minor league careers. Same with Biddle. Savery was a lost bet on recovery from shoulder injury. I hate bets on shoulders, but Morgan is back pitching again. Hard to say about Watson and Gueller. Watson never pitched especially well and then had shoulder surgery. Did the injury occur early on or was this a combination of not nearly enough talent coupled with later injury? Sort of the same with Gueller — nor surgery, but never duplicated his H.S. velocity. He’s pitching with a lot more success this year, but is way behind.

  12. I think I am one of the few on this board that stood fast by RAJ. I don’t want to absolve him of any bad moves or off the handle media quotes. I don’t even say he is the best GM in the league or the best man for the GM role going forward but the wrath of BS and ignorant “moron” labels that were bestowed upon him were seemingly unfair.

    I’m not even going to say that all of these moves were his and his alone. I think he is in a much better place with those above and below him. I think the FO is much more linear now that it was when Montgomery was involved and it’s that in and of itself that accounts for the improvement in the clubs vision for the future.

    So thanks Jimmy I feel some what vindicated this morning that you might agree.

    1. I agree, I’m not saying that he deserves an extension. He’s been the GM long enough and it’s likely time for a change. But I think he’s caught way too much heat during his tenure.

    2. Dmar. you cant defend him. How can you defend someone who didn’t know the market on paps. Then he loses a draft choice by not waiting. Look they overpaid pap by 4 million dollars a year. that’s a lot. plus the lost of a draft choice. sorry that plus the Howard. Utley ruiz deals. sealed his fate imo.

  13. Yep, now seven teams within 3.5 games of the worst record in MLB.

    As of right now, the Phils, Marlins, and Rockies are essentially tied for worst record, with the Rockies leading by percentage points. However, the Phils and Marlins have the most losses (74, one more than the Rockies).

    The Reds, thanks to a fine 9-game losing streak, are now only 2 games behind. The pesky Milwaukee Brewers are 2.5 out.

    Our friends the Altanta Brave are falling fast and have joined the fray, thanks largely to a nice 7-game losing streak. The Braves now trail in the race for worst by only 3 games.

    The final contender is the only team from the American League, the lovable Oakland A’s, who are 3.5 games out.

    Look for the Phils to get back to their losing ways as they open a 4 game series against the Mets, who actually have something to play for.

    It should be an exciting finish.

    1. the Reds would be front runners for #1 if they had dealt Bruce and Chapman but throwing out rookies for every start the last month and probably for the rest of the season( though the Phils are getting closer to that too) should keep them well in the hunt.

  14. I don’t understand letting RAJ off the hook. I have been putting a lot of the blame on Giles and Monty, because Roccom is correct. They ignored the LA market and refused to go over slot when there was no slot, just a Bud Selig “guideline.” Certainly the Red Sox and Yankees and Tigers failed to follow it, but the Phils did. They could have added talent without having a top pick in the draft and still been in “go for it” mode. They had the financial wherewithal to do a number of things and failed to do so. Those mistakes are on ownership. But, the horrible Lee trade, the Pence trade, the failure to add talent in later rounds in the draft, all of that is on the GM. And, regardless of the job Papelbon did, he was overpaid and cost a draft pick for no reason.

      1. Jim, John Henry the owner of the Red Sox and the Boston Herald made sure that this information was made public to make his organization look like they know what they are doing. I do not count the 2013 WS Title as planned but more like the 1993 Phillies where everyone had career years in a lightning in a bottle year.

  15. Romus I wonder how all the good prospects are boston farmhands. yet they keep looking for players. interesting. Romus by the way I am starting to worry. Some people on here are starting to agree with me on things. That is scaring me.

    1. rocco…I know, that is scary notion when people begin saying your correct. I had to be careful with my lunch when I saw that post from matt13.
      Sox top three are all LA bought…Moncada, Devers and Margot for plenty of $$$$, but Guerra, another top ten, was only a $250K signee.
      But Dombrowski is now running the show….and he deals prospects just as fast, or faster then Ruben. IMO, If he was in place in July, Hamels may have been in Boston and not Texas. Certainly a bidding war would have entailed. Nevertheless Ruben did well with the Ranger return on Hamels, so far.
      How good are the Sox prospects?
      Seems all the scouts and pundits rate them near the top, at least the top three in their system.

  16. Wow I hate when I read that Howards contract was a mistake…Him and Pujols were the two premiere power hitters for about 3-4 stretch. They signed him early and he got hurt. What if he didnt get hurt and continued his run. What if they wouldnt have signed him. Everyone would ve killed RAJ and the Phils for being cheap. Sometimes you can make the right decision that doesnt work. Thats what happened.

    1. I disagree. Howard had already clearly peaked out and was on the decline when we signed him. If you extend a guy that early, you have to get a bit of a discount and we didn’t. If you are going to extend at full market price, then you might as well wait. If he doesn’t want to stay with the team at market price, then he isn’t the guy you want to build around. You mention Pujols. Faced with the same choice we faced the Cards waited and just moved on. It seems that was the right decision. Howard’s injury caused him to fall farther and faster than he would have otherwise, but the Howard we have today likely is very close to the Howard we would have had without the Achilles. Certainly 2012 and 2013 would have been better, but for a guy without speed in his game, he should be fully recovered by now. We are seeing a combination of natural post-PED age-related decline coupled with inability or unwillingness to adjust to the shift and how he is now being pitched. The bat is slower and that isn’t caused by the ankle.

      1. Decline ? Oh he didnt have an MVP season? Stop he was a premiere power hitter and he got paid like one. Cards let Pujols go later in career. Cards also have a better minor league system to replace players. Cards dont have payroll Phils do either.

        1. Sam….remember when it comes to production…RBIs specifically in this case…a guy like Howard needed a guy like Utley and his OBP of .close to .400 during those days to be on the bases.

        2. Some were massive scouting misses. Drabek was good enough to be a major trade piece but was derailed by injury. He was not a scouting miss. Golson, Greene, and Hewitt were clear misses and extremely bad misses at that. Real scouting blunders. Cardenas and Collier had talent, just not quite enough talent. They had decent minor league careers. Same with Biddle. Savery was a lost bet on recovery from shoulder injury. I hate bets on shoulders, but Morgan is back pitching again. Hard to say about Watson and Gueller. Watson never pitched especially well and then had shoulder surgery. Did the injury occur early on or was this a combination of not nearly enough talent coupled with later injury? Sort of the same with Gueller — nor surgery, but never duplicated his H.S. velocity. He’s pitching with a lot more success this year, but is way behind.

          1. Golson made it to the majors. I wouldn’t call that a MASSIVE miss. He was one or two breaks away from being good.

        3. Please! The decline was obvious. And he had signed a three-year deal just the prior season. Howard signed his current deal at the start of the 2010 season. Prior to that he had shown a fairly steady decline from his peak, which happened in his very first full MLB season.

          2006: 58 HR, 1.084 OPS
          2007: 47 HR, 0.976 OPS
          2008: 48 HR, 0.882 OPS
          2009: 45 HR, 0.931 OPS

          Not saying he wasn’t still good, but the decline seems real. Since he was under contract for two more seasons, there was no reason to rush a deal. Had they waited to deal when the contract expired, they would have seen, in addition to the blown Achilles:

          2010: 31 HR, 0.858 OPS
          2011: 33 HR, 0.834 OPS

          In 2012, the first season of his new contract, Howard was 32. Even without the Achilles, in the post-PEDs era we had bet on the mid-30s decline years of a guy with a body widely predicted not to age well. We had, by signing Howard early and to zilch discount, taken the full injury risk on a very big contract. We lost that bet in a big, big way.

      2. But can’t you say (shouldn’t you say) they did get Howard at a discount based on the Fielder and the Pujols contract? Even the Cards offer that Pujols turned down was over $200mil….

        And in the end I’ve said for years hear it wasn’t a deal Amaro wanted to make it was a deal ownership wanted to make not much different than Fielder wasn’t a deal Dombrowski wanted to make and the deals of Angels/Pujols and Angels/Hamilton that DiPoto didn’t want to make.

    2. But you have to wonder ..why the Cardinals, let the greatest hitter of his time, and a future HoF player walk…in effect offering what they deemed was market value.
      Howard, was not on the same level as Pujols between ’07 and ’11. Pujols had over a 40WAR during that time and Howard was under 14WAR.
      Howard’s AAV of $25M IMO, was about $3/4M more then he should have been offered. That surplus money could have been used over the years in FA signings.

      1. Romus it gets forgotten that Mozeliak had slightly over $200Mil on the table that Arte Moreno saved his rear end on!

        1. Yes it was in Dec ’11, and about $220M but over 10 years was offered by the Cardinals ….still a lower AAV then Howard’s at $25M annum.
          IMO, Ruben could have still got Howard for $21/22M AAV, and people would have been less to criticize the deal.

          1. Do you mean he could have gotten $21-$22M AAV if he waited to sign the extension? I would imagine that if that number was acceptable to Howard’s people at the time, that’s the number the Phils would have negotiated down to. It’s not as if RAJ just took out a checkbook and said, “Hey, whaddya think about making $25 mil a year?”

            Howard was 30 years old when he signed the extension, which was already a bad sign, although in the post-steroid era, many front offices were still slow to recognize what the new “over-the-hill” was at that point. He averaged 4.1 fWAR in his first four full seasons prior to signing the deal, and if he’d continued on such a trajectory, it might have been a bargain, considering the subsequent Fielder and Pujols deals. Personally, I didn’t hate it at the time (I’m sure I commented as such on this very site). But injury + inability to adjust at the plate is a bad combination, making the deal look very bad in hindsight.

            Since signing the deal, Howard has been worth 1.7 fWAR over nearly six seasons. Since the deal went into effect in 2012, he’s been worth -0.8. (Darin Ruf, incidentally, has 0.8 fWAR over the same span).

            To put it another way: Pat Burrell, who retired in 2011, has more fWAR since 2010 (3.0) than Howard (1.7).

            1. Frankly unless you were in the room during negotiation, how do assume what you propose as truth.
              So what you are saying Ruben offered , say $20M AAV and Howard’s team refused.
              How do know that anything lower then the $25M was ever offered?
              .

            2. None of us were in the room, obviously, so it is just as presumptuous for you to say you think he could have been had for less. Personally, I believe that executives running a $1.25 billion franchise are in the habit of negotiating extensively with agents prior to offering eight-figure contracts. If there was $20 million savings to be had (particularly given the fact he wasn’t scheduled to hit the market for almost two seasons), they would have saved it.

              But I suppose we’ll never know …

            3. I think RAJ fixates on one player and pays what it takes, which makes him pretty much a pushover for agents. Did he need to promise Delmon Young the RF job? Did Delmon have better options? Was Papelbon going to be offered more than what RAJ rushed to pay, forfeiting his #1 draft pick in the process. It was a record contract for a closer and Paps wasn’t the top closer in the game. Byrd has said he was so surprised and happy with RAJ’s offer, he didn’t even ask his agent to check with other teams. Did it really take the partial no-trade clause and option to get him signed to that money? I’m guessing the answer is no. Like Hicks and the original $250 million deal to A-Rod, the Phillies owners were luxuriating in the new-found CBP money. They and RAJ seemed to enjoy showing what big spenders they could be. RAJ frequently gloated, as he did after snatching Lee from the Yankees. It very much seemed to have turned into ‘we’re the big spenders now and when we go after someone, we get them’. Up until the wheels came off, the Phillies fancied themselves to be the Yankees South. Of course, unlike the Yankees or Dodgers, they would never break a Selig spending limit guideline — so never really Yankees South, but the strut was there.

    3. Sam Who was the better player?? Good organization know when to let go. Even if Howard doesn’t get hurt you cant say he would have been worth that contract.

  17. Peavy sure did have a lot of swing and miss in his young days. But then again Nola has the better command and control and better BB/9. Peavy was up around mid-90s and Nola gets close just a few ticks less.

  18. I wonder – I am far from certain of this, but would be really curious to see some answers – if the divide on the Howard contract comes down to whether you place any independent value on RBIs, how much weight you give to OBP and BBs (though Howard’s BB totals were okay back in the day), whether you place a lot of weight on positional adjustments, and how you view aging curves. Those are perceived as SABR versus traditional issues – sometimes unfairly so IMO.

    If one thinks RBIs are valuable in and of themselves, doesn’t think that getting on base is a #4 hitter’s “job,” doesn’t think that you need to make significant positional adjustments and you believe in a generally gradual aging curve… then, if you squint a bit and consider only information available at the time, Howard’s contract is almost defensible. If you have the opposite beliefs, it’s just entirely indefensible.

    At the end of the day, that’s why I am not an Amaro fan despite the fact that he has some virtues and some of the criticism is unfair. Not so much the contract itself – though I think it’s pretty laughable that people are willing to assume, without evidence, that Amaro had nothing to do with that decision – but because Amaro seems to evaluate position players that way – playing positive weight on RBIs, insufficient weight on OBP & BBs, not fully cognizant of aging curves and positional adjustments. That is,his talent judgment of positional players is quite poor.

    That said, I have no confidence that the current ownership group will hire someone substantially better.

    1. What’s laughable is the assertion that any GM in any sport can just dole out a $125 million contract on his own. Those are organizational decisions made far above the GM’s pay grade. Certainly not of a first year GM.

      But alas that assertion comes from Larry. So makes sense.

    2. The ownership group is an interesting question. I assume everyone is glad “small market” Giles is out and Middleton appears different than “keep the band together” Montgomery, but Middleton’s inclinations are still largely unknown. Based on JRoll’s comments some are hoping he will write a blank check. While Montgomery wasn’t afraid to spend on the big league roster, he went cheap when it came to the draft and the international market. Some people thought that the Phillies were going to bust through their July 2nd allotment and that didn’t happen. If they weren’t going to go after Alvarez and several other top names I don’t think that was a bad thing. It comes down to we still don’t have enough information to know what to make of the current ownership group.

  19. De groom is a big Velo guy the Phillies creamed him last night . He didn’t have his control so maybe that was it.

  20. I love the mets pitching staff. I love how the nationals have signed guys and extended the contracts so this year. They can sign a price, Upton. whoever they want. they have a ton of money to spend. They have done a great job. while still having good young talent. Meanwhile we are at that stage where signing any fa who aren’t young imo would be a waste.

    1. Then why are the Nationals not in first place? The Nationals have their share of bad contracts and aging players who are hurt and underperforming. I am not sure of their payroll flexibility also as they will have to pay Bryce Harper top dollar soon.

      1. Nats are definately not in a good place, they are about to become the 2013/2014 Phillies.

        They still own werth $42M, Ryan Zimmerman $62m, Jordon Zimmerman, Span, and Desmond will be a FA in 2016, Storen, Strausburg in 2017. they have Espinosa, Rendon, Ramos all in their arbitration years about to get much richer. Add in all of the deferred money they gave to Scherzer and Soriano that will be kicking in over the next few years and their payroll is ready to explode.

        And that doesn’t even include Harper who after next years $5m contract will be looking to set records for Arbritration money.

        1. I Might be mistaken but scherzer doesn’t get over 16 million a year. the way they structure the contract. 50 million was a bonus. Look at next years contracts for them. they are in great shape. They don’t have to deal with span they have his replacement. They have some good prospect coming up ..

          1. rocco…you may be correct on Scherzer’s long deferred contract….but his case is soley unique. They may have some major issues going forward….but in Giolito, Tuner, Ross, Cole and Maxwell there already, they have some big time prospects ready to emerge.
            But this season and their future projection, is some cause for concern, and therein lies the reason Rizzo may be moved up or out.

            1. Romus, the Nationals prospects are just like the Phillies prospects who are not proven and their success will vary. There are no sure things with prospects.

            2. Yes that’s correct, dang, you are starting to sound like roccom now!
              ….but, anyway, the closer they are to the majors …AA and above, the easier it is to project their outcome. The ones I mentioned above should all be major leaguers within 2 years, the degree of success will probably vary. Then there is the maturation process once they get to the majors.

          2. In D.C. fans are just as happy there are no tall buildings to jump off. The team has grossly under-performed and the salary structure is not encouraging. They are resigned to losing Denard Span and Jordan Zimmermann. There is a debate about whether they should make a qualifying offer for one year to Ian Desmond. They are worried about Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth — their performance, their injury history and their contracts. roccom, you are flat out wrong on the Scherzer contract (see Cots) or your assessment that they are in great shape. They have an elderly owner with a win-now mentality but a system that has better talent coming than what they can put on the field currently. With this in mind, and despite the fact that Werth is on the hook for more than $21 M aav for 2 more years, there is a school of thought that they should sign an outfielder in free agency and make Werth a 4th outfielder. Right now the only thing keeping Rizzo’s feet out of the fire is that fan attention is turning to football.

            1. Well, if early indications mean anything, a healthy RGIII may make their attention revert back to baseball in a few weeks.

          3. You’re correct that Scherzer’s annual salary is $15m per year. Only problem for the Nats is that they will be paying him $15m per season for 7 years after he’s gone. That’s the deferred part of his contract.

        1. Phillies have around $63m guaranteed on the books for 2016, including the $12.5 million for Lee’s buyout. Nationals have just under $83M.

          Biggest difference for the National however is that many of their core players are arbitration eligible in 2016, including Espinosa, Rendon, Ramos, Strausburg, and Storen. Those guys are easily another $25 million in payroll based on their 2015 salaries which puts the Nats around $105m before they start shopping.

          Only arbitation cases for the Phillies are Galvis, Brown, and Ruf. None of those guys are breaking the bank..

          Biggest difference however is that the Phillies payroll obligations after 2016 are alomst nothing while the Nationals will have major issues with Strausburg becoming a FA, Harper well into arbitration, and those 2016 arbitration players all being 1 season from free agency. They are going to have to either spend alot of money to keep their core together or drastically restructure their roster.

          The one advantage they have over the Phillies is that they have higher end talent in their system right now, although that pipeline seems to be drying up as their best prospects graduate to the majors.

  21. Adam Morgan with a clunker last night after being given seven runs and took a step backwards. Hopefully, he will learn from this and pitch better the rest of the year.

  22. I saw a lot of this kid. I thought before his injury he would really be a nice starter. I believe right now he just hasn’t gotten his stuff back. I don’t know if he ever will. Next year will tell the story if he can be effective in this league.

  23. Should the Phillies chase a certain St Louis RF in free agency? He’s not that old and on the verge of a 20/20 season with a gold glove.

    1. He’s probably the one FA I would advocate the Phillies going after, mainly because he’s still very young and should be in his prime when the team is ready to compete.

      He’s not a power hitter but is a very good OB player and a very good defensive player in a position of need for the team.

    2. I don’t think the question is so much “Should they go after him” but “How much should they be willing to offer” He could be getting a contract in the 10 year/ $250M range.

      1. I wouldn’t pay him more than 16 a year for 5 years. I rather at this time wait on Williams then over paid for him.

      2. Outside of Trout, there isn’t a player in MLB, I’d give a 10 year contract. Heyward would be a great get for the Phillies, but the team isn’t ready for a big free-agent outlay. They have to see if Franco, Nola, Thompson, Williams, Crawford and one of those CF’s are for real, first.

  24. I Wouldn’t give any player ten years. I would love to see a system where if you want to go over 5 years , the 6 thru ten are club options. if you pick up the option the players get a percentage increase, So if you are paying him 10 million a year in year 6 he would say get 10 plus a 5 percent increase to 10,5 something like that. gives the player a reason to play well and team a option to get out from deal. no more guaranteed 10 year deals. they hurt if you screw up.

    1. rocco…I think changing contract structures have to be voted on in the next CBA, and the MLBPA would look at something like that very closely.
      BTW……where has your BFF David Urban been lately?

  25. just trying to add to amaro debate, not take a side…but aside from his many player dealings and contracts, i think some of the most important moves he made came in the front office area. replacing chuck lamar and marti wolever with joe jordan and almaraz definitely seem to have improved our prospects for the future.

    i am not as well versed as others on here in the drafting/development of players, and how minor league instruction is handled. i’ve only starting paying attention to the minor leagues at all once i discovered this site about 5 years ago. but it seems to me that in the past couple years, we have more prospects showing year to year improvement and less prospects regressing year to year. is that joe jordan’s doing? is he improving the development and coaching? or is it just happenstance and luck? i don’t know. and i could be wrong in my observation in the first place, don’t really have numbers to back it up, maybe our prospects are succeeding and failing level by level at exactly the same rate as before.

    then look at the past few drafts and international signing periods, and what almaraz has done in his short time here, and i feel like we’re injecting more players into the system with a chance of actually hitting their ceiling than in the past.

    now, i guess the question with jordan and almaraz is the same as some of the personnel decisions. was this amaro recognizing a shortcoming in the organization and moving to correct it, or was he guided by upper management? does he deserve credit for fixing these areas or did he have a hand in letting these areas go to crap for too long?

  26. Another big problem that the ownership group laid on Amaro was the need to take back $, in the Doc trade and both the Pence and Oswalt deals. This certainly was not necessary, and who knows which players could have been kept if that $ was not required. Could D’Arnaud, Gose, Santana, still be here? Who else could have been gotten for that package which would have won another WS or two? This was a team with complete sell outs every game, a ton of money andfailing to take full advantage of their position. We have talked about the slotting policy to appease Selig, and the failures in the International market, but the having to take back $ issue costs the farm some terrific talent.

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