Open Discussion: Week of October 12th

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

  • Several names have been mentioned by the media as candidates for the Phillies’ GM position – Matt Klentak of the Angels front office, Kim Ng of the Commissioner’s office, Thad Levine of the Rangers front office,  Ben Cherington formerly Boston’s GM, and Royals assistant GM J.J. Piccolo.  Ng is rumored to be in line for an interview.  Indians executive Ross Atkins is said to have interviewed this week. Former Marlins GM Larry Beinfest is supposed to have interviewed a few weeks ago.
  • The Phillies made another offseason decision this week when seven players cleared waivers and were outrighted off their 40-man roster.  No real surprises here – RHPs Justin De Fratus and Jonathan Pettibone, LHP Adam Loewen and Ken Roberts, C Erik Kratz, INF Chase d’Arnaud, and OF Jordan Danks.  De Fratus, d’Arnaud, and Kratz have already opted for free agency.
  • The moves pare the 40-Man Roster down to 34 active players and six players on the 60-Day DL who will be activated within five days of the conclusion of the World Series.  Those six include Cliff Lee who will become a free agent when his option is declined and the Phillies buy out his contract for $12.5M,  Chad Billingsley whose contract will expire, Matt Harrison who remains under contract through 2017 plus an option for 2018, Cesar Hernandez, Mario Hollands, and Elvis Araujo.
  • The roster moves also avoid arbitration with DeFratus, Kratz, and Loewen.  The Philies have four other arb eligible players – Andres Blanco, Jeanmar Gomez, Domonic Brown, and Freddy Galvis.
  • Aaron Harang and Jerome Williams become free agents.  As does non-roster pitcher Sean O’Sullivan who has declared free agency.

93 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of October 12th

  1. Thad Levine for me. The Rangers system continues to develop promising players which made the big trade of Hamels possible to result in 3-5 viable MLB-Phillies prospects. That ability was because Levine built that system and seems to be stats/analysis involved. MacPhail should have become familiar with him during the months-long negotiations on Hamels. The Rangers seemed to have been pretty consistently drafting well and done well player hunting in Latin America….which would be excellent considering the upcoming LA/CUBAN signing period when it seems that the Phils should/would be very active.

    1. Agreed Levine and Texas were strong in ways the Phillies were weak. I also like the fact that he has experience with a larger budget. He would be my front runner.

      I’d say no right away to Klentak and that is probably not fair to him but the mess that was the Angels front office is hard to get past even though the bulk of that teams problems are caused by the owner.

      Cherington still intrigues me but you have to be able to sift through what was the dysfunction of the Boston F/O given that you had another situation of too many cooks in the kitchen and not the least of which was Bill James.

      I know Ng scores high praise for her knowledge of the game, intelligence and organization skills. I don’t trust that other GM’s,agents and scouts would give her a fair shake in negotiations/evaluations and that would worry me.

      Piccolo and Atkins come from small market mindedness and I don’t like that for us.

      1. I am not sure how Klentak as an AGM gets a demerit for the disfunction in LA but Cherrington gets a pass as a GM in Boston.

        1. Fair question but I did say it probably wasn’t fair to Klentak and if I was privy to information surrounding Cherington and the situation in Boston I would be intrigued primarily because of their farm system and their LA scouting was pretty darn good.

          Whether Cherington was responsible for that or not he understood the importance and likely would have the contacts from his days in Boston to build that up here in Philly. But then what do I know.

          1. Cherington did say something to Globe’s Conforto(sp) last week that is revealing….he wants to go someplace where there is trust.

    2. I do agree as well. I’d be quite happy with Levine as the new GM. I like how Texas has really built up their system using all of their available resources. Like DMAR said it is good that he’s worked with a team that has a large payroll and has experience with how best to use those resources.

      Cherringron is pretty interesting as well considering how well built the Sox farm system is right now although I’d guess he’d have to explain in the interview what the hell happened up there.

    3. I grew up near Haverford College, interned in the athletic department, and went to the same camp as Thad Levine, so that would be pretty cool for me personally.

  2. Should Utley have been suspended for his take out of Tejada? He went out of his way to make sure the throw to 1st base wasn’t made or accurate enough to get the runner at first. A good baseball play. I’m sorry it ended up with a guy getting hurt but I’ve seen that play many times over the years. If only Utley reached out to touch the bag, I don’t think anything would have been done by Torre. The Mets losing Tejada changes the complexion of the game and the series. Losing Utley, doesn’t hurt the Dodgers very much. They have a better player to play 2nd. Utley’s in there for his experience.

    1. Yes. He should have been suspended. It was a dirty play. He didn’t start his slide until he made sure he threw his body into the guys legs.

    2. 100% should have been suspended. slid as a projectile at Tejada. I think they should only allow headfirst slides into base. Dirty play-

    3. It was egregious. As was at least one of the other highlights I only recently saw from a few seasons ago. Utley’s my boy, but if a player went that far out of his way to make contact with me I would have likely reacted in a way that would have seen both of us ejected on the spot. It was a dirty play; that Tejada broke his leg is immaterial in defining whether it was a dirty play

    4. It was dirty but it was legal. Utley could still reach the base, so he wasn’t called out for interference. I don’t think he should have gotten suspended.

  3. No Utley should not be suspended as he was within the 3 feet of 2B and Daniel Murphy made a nice play but a bad throw to Tejada. Tejada should have touched 2B and gotten out of the way pronto and did not use good judgement on this play. If Utley does not make that slide the Dodgers would be down 2 games in the series and facing elimination tonight. The Dodgers got him for this purpose.

    1. The play was legal, but it was still dirty. It was legal because he was within reach of the bag, it was dirty because he didn’t slide. He ran right into the guy. If a Met did that to Utley or Rollins, you’d have wanted him suspended for the entire season.

      1. It may seem dirty, but a big part of why it shouldn’t be such a big deal is the fact that Utley is also a middle infielder, and just as vulnerable as the people he is sliding into. Like a catcher barreling into his rival at home plate.

        And middle infielders need to protect themselves better when they know it’s going to happen (as everyone in the stadium knew). A safe play would have been just take the one out at second and get out of the way. Most players would have done that most regular season games.

        We are so focused on Utley’s slide, instead of saluting Tejada for sacrificing his body to try to complete an important double play.

      2. Agreed, dirty but legal.

        I don’t recall a precedent in any sport of suspending a player for a dirty but legal play.

        If Tejada doesn’t get hurt, just drops the ball, everyone would be lauding Utley today.

        1. James Harrison of Steelers suspended I believe for legal but dirty hits a few years ago, was BS.

          Warren Sapp against the packers , took out an OLineman after an interception and broke the guys hip on a ” legal but dirty” block, wasn’t suspended….

      3. I am 63 yrs. old and I can tell you that play used to be routine. If that play is either illegal or dirty, then the concept of “breaking up a double play” is no longer a Baseball play.

          1. I do, my Dad took me to the 7th or 8th straight loss in 1964, it was against the Braves, Callison hit 3 Hrs that day. I was 12.

            1. rocco…..making another funny.
              Hope to get there however.
              And yes sdcaphl that play was not uncommon in the past.
              It may have been legal, but a bit too sullied by today’s standards.
              Utley may not get many NY sportswriters votes come selection time for HoF.

            2. Sdcaphl that is the game torre hit that shot into left field bleachers and split a seat. Hardest ball ever

            3. I was at that game as well with my dad and brother. I was only 4 but remember that my dad and brother (he was 20) never stopped talking about Callisons game that day..

              Dirty or not I have seen that play many times in recent years and no one got suspended that I recall.

            4. It was the 7th, lost 14-8 on the final home game of the season. It was also the day the ill-fated 64 Phillies fell out of first place for good. They would then head for the road, lose 3 straight in St. Louis before winning their final 2 in Cincy.

              Ironically, as badly as they played that last two weeks, had they won merely one of their final 3 in St. Louis they still would have won the pennant.

              1964 was my first experience as a Phillie phan, in many ways never quite got over that season baseball wise. That still remains my favorite Phillie team of all time, with 1977 second and either the 2008 or 2009 Phillies as third.

            5. You guys are making me feel so good. I often feel like an old man around here, but I was only 3 months old when that game took place. Keep chatting – it brightens my spirits.

            6. sdcaphl….no problem.
              Looking at the attendance, just over 20K on a Sunday afternoon, and the Phillies were in the pennant race to get to the WS, and Connie Mack could max out at 33K, seems to be a little shocking low when looking back.
              As a kid, did not realize if the fans had given up….the NFL and AFL were no where near as popular then as now, so what did the people do on a Sunday afternoon in September!

            7. We played outside. There were very few games televised back then.

              One NFL game on Sunday, a national game determined by the NFL and the network. I don’t ever recall watching the Eagles on TV in the 60s. I can remember working in the garage with my father listening to the game on the radio.

              Home baseball games were rarely, if ever, televised. Thank god that Bunning’s perfect game was in NY on Father’s Day or we wouldn’t have seen it. Most road games weren’t televised either.

              Even college football on Saturday was different. One national game of the week at noon or 1:00 PM (usually a Big 10 game). The NCAA and network (ABC, I think) decided. If ND played at USC, we would get a second televised game.

            8. Ty romus. I was there in the fifty cent bleachers seats. That was the game torre hit that homerun. I was one section over . The wood seat broke when the ball hit it. I was a young kid but remember that ball. Romus was selling peanuts at the park that day. first time we meet.

            9. rocco…..selling peanuts in the stands!…..no way….it was cold Ballantine.
              And I think I remember you now…were you not that whining little kid pestering his poor father wanting to go home, and keep asking ‘is it almost over, I want to go home and watch Maverick and play cowboys’?’

  4. Dirty play? Obviously.

    Legal, smart, game-changing play? Absolutely.

    Give him the MVP of the series–he turned the momentum of the entire series with that one play.

    Its in the rule book that what he did was legal. Change the rule, don’t punish the player.

    1. Yep, this. I don’t see how the suspension is justifiable if he didn’t break the rules. The rule Torre cited in his ruling pretty much backs up Utley’s case: he didn’t leave the basepath.

      I’m sure they’ll change the rules in the offseason. I think they could amend the rules without removing takeout slides from the game altogether, but I suspect they’ll go all the way with it.

    2. I found Bowa’s comments spot on as a Shortstop he said Tejeda should have gotten out of the way, because that was not a double play ball. Guess he really wanted to complete the double play Utley wanted to break it up. It was not a dirty play peroiod

      1. Great comments by Bowa. Even the midday guys on WFAN said he had his back to 1B and it wasn’t a doubleplay ball.

  5. On a side note:

    A softball teammate of mine when I had have lived in Los Angeles, who was drafted by the Yankees when Chase was drafted by the Phils, had played on a handful of teams in high school with Chase (all-star games, showcase events, etc.).

    Didn’t really have any good words to say about Chase. Pretty much what we’ve seen from him during his time in Phila: hard-nosed, unfriendly, no fun, just went about his business without interacting or even noticing his teammates. Also called him a selfish player (but that may have been because they were all-star teams–he never struck me as a selfish player; in anything, that slide shows how unselfish he is as a teammate as he could have been the one injured on that play).

    Like every other Phillies fan, I’ve loved having Utley on the team, appreciated his contributions and will never forget his comments at the parade. But I always viewed him with my buddy’s comments in mind. There’s a lot of current and former Phillies with whom I’d love to have a beer; Utley really isn’t one of them.

    1. Your friend’s comments seem inconsistent with his style of play, teammate chemistry and coach like presence. Your friend’s comment is consistent in Utley’s business like approach to the game and interacting with fans before games he made little eye contact with other people but did with kids. He seems a lot different and looser off the field than on it which is based on my one autograph event with him. There was a good article about Utley in The Inquirer a couple years ago and it covered a lot of behavior and personality.

    2. Hard to evaluate your comment and the judgment that Utley was a “selfish player.” Did Utley refuse to lend out his bat or did he just decline to comp your guy with game tickets when the Phils played in L.A.? Selfish players are easier to pick out in sports involving passing — soccer, basketball, hockey, perhaps football.

  6. As for the GM position, I think Klentak is still the lead guy because of their prior relationship. However, the Texas guy is interesting to me for the reasons stated well above.

    As for Utley, I do think it was a legal play although I think probably a bit dirty. I also agree that certain guys always play like that and its within the rules. Pete, Rose, Gary Matthews, and more recently Bryce Harper come to mind. Tejada knew Utley was on first and I imagine he knew what was coming. It was an awkward play and that contributed to the injury. Does this became as big of an incident if its not done against a New York team? I laughed at the comment that Utley will get drilled the next time he bats. In that event, Utley will happily take first base and try to be a pest on the bases like he always does.
    I miss this level of excitement in Philly!

  7. It seems inevitable that the slide rule will be amended in the offseason but I think MLB should address two areas.
    One area is pitchers hitting batters especially near the head or knockdown pitches(it was funny to hear Pedro Martinez complain as he knocked down or hit batters often). The offending pitcher should be suspended as long as the batter is on the DL and get more progressive suspensions if the pitcher continues to hit batters.
    The second area would be to actually have the infielder touch 2B or any base and throw out the “neighborhood rule” entirely.

    1. Maybe I am just too old fashion. When I was a kid my favorite book was “A Thinking Man’s Guide to Baseball”. In it there is a story about Dizzy Dean knocking down the first eight batters he faced. He skipped the pitcher out of professional courtesy and then knocked down the lead off hitter again to make it an even nine. Noone wants another Dickie Thon incident, but sometime by the ’80’s batters started coming to the plate in body armor and diving into pitches. I don’t think pitchers should be throwing at batters heads, but batters need to make more of an effort to get out of the way.

      1. On hitting batters, Chase Utley is the Phillies all-time leader in getting hit…173.
        In all of that time of getting plunked for the team, I think I saw him only one time glare at a pitcher…I think it was a Giants pitcher Most of the time he seemed to give a cursory effort to ‘get out of the way of the pitch’, then head for first.

  8. With regard to hard slides common sense should prevail. As much as I love Chase and the way in which he plays the game there should be no place in baseball for that kind of slide or lack there of.

    1. You guys please be patient me, as I as you can tell feel very much the opposite of many of you. Here is a question for everyone. If Tejeda had not broken his leg, would everyone say it was a Dirty play?

      1. In my opinion it was broken leg or not but MLB has to look into the mirror since the rule is broad and allows for a play like that to happen.

        Silly for them to suspend him and then hear Torre talk about getting together with the players union to change the rule. Reactive VS. Proactive.

      2. Whether he broke his leg or not, it was a dirty play. But the broken leg is the reason Utley was suspended, not because it was dirty or illegal. I’m fine with that. The guys leg is broken due to Utley’s recklessness.

        1. Was Coughlin suspended when he broke Kang’s leg? (No.) While Coughlin started his slide earlier and could still touch the bag as he arrived, he did target Kang who was further from the bag than Tejada.

          I see no consistency with there being a suspension. If this hadn’t been a NY player, I don’t believe there would be this much controversy.

          1. has a player been suspended for a slide or collision in the history of baseball?

            i didnt like the slide but baseball has been ignoring the issue for a while, but this is high profile, like the Posey slide which caused them to change the rules at home plate.

            1. RAEF…..no, I don’t a player has been suspended for slide….ejections however after the a brawl ensues, then suspensions for the brawl.
              Here is what Pete Rose said on Utley’s incident:
              “We can’t pitch inside; now we won’t be able to break up double plays?” he said. “What’s baseball coming to?”
              …I think Bud Harrelson however, would have something different to say.

          2. @Jim: There is no consistency because each situation is different. You don’t see players run body-first into prone middle-infielders that have their backs turned. Players usually slide. He purposely ran into the guy full force. You don’t see suspensions for that, because nobody does that.

        2. So Utley should have let him complete the double play and the Mets win. The series would be over right now.

  9. Franco ranked 4th ahead of some good names on the IL rankings. From the chat:

    Danny (Philly): What kind of power upside does Franco have? Can he remain at 3B long term?

    Josh Leventhal: A lot of power. He’s a definite middle of the order, or 4-5-6, kind of hitter. Franco has made adjustments at each level. He used wave at breaking pitches out of the zone regularly but has since improved his strike-zone judgment. I think the Phillies would love to keep that arm at third base, and some observers think his fielding is good enough to stick there.

    1. Pat myself on the back on this one. I don’t know josh. but its what I said before he was brought up. you seen it when he hit lhv.

  10. It was not a Dp ball to begin with I’m pretty Ultey didn’t want to hurt Flores knee with his head. Ultey has always played the game hard , it was legal although the result wasn’t what what anybody wanted.

    1. Murphy flipped him the ball from almost behind the bag , and Tejada was in a different position, back to the runner, to receive it, then having to turn and getting almost blindsided by Utley. Would have helped if Chase however would have at least touched the bag.

  11. With the AFL starting tomorrow, does anyone know if Edubray Ramos will be there? I read on another site that he was pulled back but he’s still listed on Glendale’s roster. Interested to hear how Crawford and the others do though.

    1. I do not know. I read a similar story, probably the same site. It doesn’t explain from where the information was received. But shortly after the two injuries were reported, only Therrien was added to the Glendale roster and only Pivetta was removed. Ramos isn’t listed on any of the VWL rosters. I guess we’ll see when the games start tomorrow (12:30 PST).

  12. The best response to Utley getting suspended came from Bert Blyleven. He said, “Let’s see, catchers can’t block plate, future base runners can’t slide hard into 2nd base. Let’s remove OF fences to keep outfielders safe.”

    1. In fact the teams should just line up along the baselines for 2 Hrs and then we all go home. Nobody wins, nobody loses, and nobody ever gets hurt.

  13. I really believe it comes down to money. The league doesn’t want stars hurt. It would hurt tv ratings. Could you imagine the cubs without Bryant and solar right now? Or la losing Kershaw . This game was great , now its not being played the way a lot of us grew up watching. I am not for intentionally hurting someone. But if your a catcher and I am coming home I will blast you. if you a second basemen or ss. I will take you out. I want to win, that’s why we play the game.

    1. rocco……strangely, most of the serious injuries requiring hospitalization this year were the fans in the stands with batted foul balls or splintered bats….and the pitchers getting hit on returned batted balls.
      Probably nets for the fans….and who knows, helmets for the pitchers?
      But to your point…perhaps the TV revenue does come into play and the stars need to remain healthy to maintain viewership.
      Next year Philllies get their first big check from Comcast, first of twenty-five….$63M.

  14. back in the old days( i’v been watching baseball for over 70 years) a pivot man on a double play would submarine his throw to first to make the runner get down in his slide. although tejeda didn’t have the opportunity to do this on the utley play. vic power of kc was knocked cold by a throw that nailed him between the eyes when he came in high on such a play.

    i believe utley’s slide was legal but dirty. probably in the future i will be illegal.

    1. Both my age and experience are similar to yours. I am reminded of a game played in the 1960’s when the Dodgers were playing team X and their shortstop was attempting to make a double play — touched 2B and threw to 1B only to hit the incoming runner in the head and knock him out. Despite the considerable commotion, Jim “Junior” Gilliam , the great Dodger 2B, retrieved the ball ( from the outfield) and ran over and tagged the now prone runner to make sure he was out. His comment, “that’s the first time I tagged out a dead man.” Imagine all the crying and moaning that would create today ???? Gilliam would be pilloried for his inhuman behavior and all runners would be wearing football helmets after extensive testing for concussions.

  15. I remember romus telling me back in the old days. Ty cobb would come in with his spikes. To hurt you. Romus was a kid back in the 20’s but he remembers that cobb tried to hurt you.

    1. rocco…..another funny…..you just keep rolling them out.
      ‘Ty Cobb wanted to play…but none of us could stand the son-of-a-beech when we were alive, so we told him to stick it!’…Ray Liotta, ‘Field of Dreams’

  16. Back to the GM search for a minute. While I think that Kim Ng is smart, analytics savvy and has become a legitimate candidate, I see her weakness being in the area of player evaluation. Both at the amateur and Major League level. In stories I have read about her, that seems to be her self- criticism as well. I know the GM has scouts, but don’t we need someone with more of that expertise in a GM? I am not knocking her as a choice, I would be happy with it, but I am leaning more towards Piccolo and Levine. Klentak is not as high on my list because I think very little of the Angels Farm system.

  17. Sure they could change the rule around second base.To,runners must slide directly at the base,not at the fielder. But also how about, no more neighborhood play.

  18. Don’t know if this has been posted or not, but Kiley McDaniel recently published sortable draft rankings for the next three drafts. For 2016, Puk, Groome and Hansen are 1-2-3, all with 55 FV grades. Most interestingly, however, is this tidbit from Groome’s notes:

    “There’s already industry buzz in recent weeks that the Phillies are targeting the local boy, who is transferring back to his original high school in New Jersey for the spring, as the #1 pick come June.”

    Personally, I’d love for a hitter to launch himself into the No. 1 pick conversation next spring. But if they’re going pitcher, I’d be very excited if it was Groome.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/scoutboard.aspx?draft=2016mlb&type=0&pos=all

    1. I would like Groome with that pick, but if Puk has a lights out brilliant year I think it would be very hard to not take the excellent college lefty coming off his best year when he could very well be in the rotation within a year and half or two years. Still, I want the player who has the best chance at reaching his high cieling. Whether that’s Puk, Groome, Hansen, one of college outfield bats, or the HS OF idk yet. I’d rather that player be a hitter just because the probability of them suffering a career threating or changing injury is less likely.

  19. One thing is for sure, Elvis Andrus is no Jimmy Rollins. That comedy of errors was one of the more bizarre innings I have ever seen in my life.

    1. Throw Mitch Moreland in the group and Odor may have had a play on Donaldson’s blooper with a little more luck.
      Oh Cole…..defense came up short.

  20. I guess one of the consolation prizes of watching the playoffs is getting to see some guys you rooted for over the last several years. Bummer to see Cole and Diekman loose, but Ben Revere and Madson move on. I am hoping that Rollins and Utley can make it to the series. Big night tonight!

    1. Man the Dodgers looked bad last night and are terribly put together for a team with a 200 million plus team payroll. At least with Utley they showed some life while Jimmy Rollins looks ready for retirement.

      1. Former Cardinal, Lee Thomas wasn’t too bad either…Phillies ’93 team over achieved and almost came close, took him 5 years but he got them there.

        1. Romus I would hire this guy. and pick his brain. Imo he is in the best organization in baseball. they know how to build a team. They don’t have to spend like the yanks or other teams. They scout well and develop players.

          1. I don’t know if I’d hire him, but I would sure as heck interview him and take him seriously. The Cardinals are probably the best run franchise in baseball. The never-ending pipeline of talent is staggering, the coaching is great up and down the system and they know exactly when to acquire a player and when to dump a player.

          2. rocco……you reminded of the Astros vs Cardinals feud between Jeff Luhnow when you mentioned ‘pick his brain’.
            Luhnow took his analytical skills and formulae with him to the Astros from his job when he was with the Cardinals., Of course one of John Mozeliak’s staffers decided to ‘bug’ the Astros’ his system to see what the Astros were doing with original Cardinal formulae. Copyright issues I assume at stake.
            Everyone wants the Cardinals system since they have been able to do it successfully without a lot of $$$$$ outlay like the Yanks, Sox, Rangers, LAD and other large market teams.

  21. Lee Thomas made a crucial mistake when he “suggested” that fans should come out to the ballpark even when the team wasn’t good because the game is entertaining. I don’t think he ever lived that one down. It was around the time of the famous Bill Giles “small market team” quote.

    1. Yes…year or so after the ’93 team started their descent. He was gone a few years after that, to be replaced by Ed Wade.

  22. I have heard about 4 interviews so far but not piccolo or Levine, who I thought were the frontrunners. The Gillick/MacPhail baton hand off happened a couple of weeks earlier than thought, so I thought that a GM hire was imminent. I know he moves slowly, but I was hoping a GM would be in place in time for the organizational meetings in 2 weeks. I am not rushing him, but he knew he was getting this job last January and certainly has put a lot of thought into it.

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