Open Discussion: Week of November 16th

Phillies’ General Manager, Matt Klentak, continued adding to the organization in the second week of the off season.  Following the waiver acquisition of RHP Dan Otero on November 2nd, the Phillies FA LHP James Russell on November 12th and traded for Arizona Diambacks’ RHP Jeremy Hellickson.  True to his word (and remarkably similar to his predecessor), Klentak is proving that his emphasis will be adding to (improving?)  the pitching depth in the organization.Hellickson joins Otero on the 40-man roster.  He posted a 9-12 record in the NL West with a 4.62 ERA.  He logged 146.0 innings in 27 starts.  Hellickson represents a cheap solution to the Phillies’ starting pitching needs for the upcoming season.  The departures of Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, Chad Billingsley, and the uncertainty of the readiness of the next wave of minor league starting pitchers has left the Phillies with few options to fill their starting pitching needs.

Otero is coming off a horrid season where he posted a 6.75 ERA in 41 appearances. However, that was coming off a season where he made 72 appearances and posted a 2.28 ERA.  A return to his earlier success would certainlty bolster the bullpen.

Otero is controllable arm for a few more seasons.  He becomes arb eligible after the 2016 season and a free agent after the 2019 season.  He made slightly over the league minimum ($512.5K) last season.

Hellickson is a different story.  He is coming off a season in which he made $4.275M.  This is his last year of arbitration and MLB Trade Rumors’ Tim Dierkes projects his arbitration salary to be $6.6M.  Hellickson avoided arbitration the last two years when he signed contracts prior to the arbitration meetings.  A good first half could lead to a mid-season trade, but the Boras client is not likely to be tendered at the end of the season.

The Phillies acquired Hellickson for a low minors pitcher, Sam McWilliams.  He was drafted in the 8th round of the 2014 Amateur Draft.  He was among the earliest signings that spring (He and Matt Shortall signed on June 7th.).  The 6’7, 190 lb RHP spent his first two seasons in the GCL.   He was among the best pitchers during XST both seasons, and could have easily been assigned to Williamsport both years.  He showed marked improvement in 2015 before being shut down in August with a sore arm.  He returned to participate during Instructs, and although he had resumed his throwing regimen, McWilliams did not throw in any of the Instructs games.  However, that is not unusual for a pitcher going through Instructs for the second time.  Prior to being shut down, McWilliams had shown significant improvement in all pitching peripherals, and had added a couple MPH to his fastball.

The following is just an update of the Phillies’ offseason roster status, which currently stands at 33 players –

Free Agents (5)

  • Cliff Lee, Aaron Harang, Jerome Wiliams, Chad Billingsley, and Jeff Francoeur

Guaranteed Contracts (4) – contract information from COTS

  • Ryan Howard ($25M for 2016, $23M club option or $10M buyout for 2017)
  • Matt Harrison ($13M for 2016, $13M for 2017, $13.5M club option or $2M buyout for 2018)
  • Carlos Ruiz ($8.5M for 2016, $4.5M club option or $0.5M buyout for 2017)
  • Miguel Gonzalez ($4M for 2016, and a vesting option for 2017).

Arbitration Eligible Players (4) – salary projections from Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors

  • Jeremy Hellickson ($6.6M)
  • Andres Blanco ($1.0M)
  • Jeanmar Gomez ($1.5M)
  • Freddy Galvis. (1.9M)

(25) Remaining roster players – Elvis Araujo, Alec Asher, Jesse Biddle, David Buchanan, Jerad Eickhoff, Luis Garcia, Ken Giles, Severino Gonzalez, Dalier Hinojosa, Mario Hollands, Adam Morgan, Colton Murray, Hector Heris, Aaron Nola, Nefi Ogando, Joely Rodriguez, Jorge Alfaro, Cameron Rupp, Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez, Darin Ruf, Darnell Sweeney, Aaron Altherr, Cody Asche, Odubel Herrera

Fall Ball

Miguel Gonzalez had shown significant improvement in back-to-back starts before a step backwards in  his last start.  He gave up 6 ER in 1.2 IP.

Rhys Hoskins (.283/.356/.566) and Cord Sandberg (.310/.396/.405) are performing well in Australia.

Drew Stankiewicz (.409/.435/.545) is off to a fast start in the AFL after his call up following J.P. Crawford’s thumb injury.

Tom Windle (1.93 in 9 appearances) and Yacksel Rios (2-1, 2.37 in 5 starts/19.0 IP) are pitching well in Arizona.

Joely Rodriguez has a 1.26 ERA in 4 appearance/3 starts in the DWL.  Ranfi Casimiro has posted a 2.57 ERA in 3 starts.  Relievers Ulises Joaquin (3.24, 9K in 8.1 IP)and Jimmy Cordero (0.00 ERA in 6 appearances) are throwing well.

Maikel Franco reported to his DWL team, the Gigantes del Cibao, and has been added to their roster but hasn’t played yet.

Several Phillies prospects are playing in the WBSC Premier 12 in Japan.  Roly de Armas is one of the coaches.  Cody Forsythe, Joey Denato, and Kyle Martin are on the USA team. Free agents Anthony Vasquez, and Tyler Pastornicky are also on the roster.  They have advanced past the first round.  Chris Leroux is on the Canadian roster.  Former Phillies Ethan Stewart, Pete Orr, and Phillippe Aumont are also playing for Canada.

207 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of November 16th

  1. Jim, What is your opinion of the Hellickson trade? A guy who could be duplicated in FA without losing a prospect, or a worthwhile gamble on bounce back, and a July trade for a better prospect than McWilliams?

    1. I answered this twice over in the Hellickson Trade thread. If this is a repeat for some, I apologize.

      The Phillies need some starters. There are 48 FA starters listed in MLB Trade Rumors, but that includes all FA starters including the likes of Cliff Lee and Randy Wolf. That also includes the big-ticket starters in whom the Phillies are probably not ready to invest.

      The minors exist to build and improve the big club. The Phillies picked up a major league pitcher who is projected to earn $6.6M in his final arb season. He and his agent (Scott Boras) have agreed to contracts the previous two years rather than go to arbitration. Under a certain set of circumstances, the Phillies might be able to move him at the trade deadline. A more unlikely scenario includes the tendering of a QO after the season.

      Hellickson has regressed from his 2011 and 2012 seasons. He began 2014 on the DL. He has never pitched 200 innings. He is likely to provide 160-180 much needed innings this season. He looks like a 5.0-6.0 inning guy who is going to contribute to the bullpen’s workload. A return to his former GO/AO would be alarming in CBP.

      Given all this, I don’t know that the Phillies could have gotten a better player through free agency. They are obviously comfortable with his price tag in dollars. And there is a chance that the prospect cost could go up as this offseason progresses.

      I have seen McWilliams pitch. McWilliams’ potential is greater than his “back of the baseball card” stats show. The staff completely broke down and rebuilt his delivery between 2014 and 2015. He showed markedly better improvement in 2015, and greater velocity on his FB. The scout quotes below highlight his improvement. The coaches were also able to monitor his innings over the past two season, so there is probably a lot less wear and tear on his arm than most college starters entering their junior years.

      Some scouting reports off Twitter over the weekend –

      Josh Norris ‏@jnorris427 Nov 14 Raleigh, NC
      Scout’s take on Sam McWilliams: 91-93 FB with big CB and slurvy SL. Solid above-avg changeup. Ceiling of No. 3-4 starter. #DBacks #Phillies

      Josh Norris ‏@jnorris427 Nov 14 Raleigh, NC
      Another evaluator checks in on McWilliams: He saw 93-95 FB and improving feel for a four-pitch mix. Ceiling of No. 4. #DBacks #Phillies

      I don’t like the trade, but I follow prospects not major league players. Hellickson fills a need. I would have preferred a different trade piece than Sam McWilliams.

      I don’t think it’s a gamble. The Phillies are filling a roster need at the major league level. A future trade is not their main objective. But it is one of the perks if things go well. Let me put it this way – Hellickson’s floor is pitching as many innings as they can get out of him and he is non-tendered next season. His ceiling (from the Phillies’ point of view) is he pitches well early and they can flip him at the trade deadline. Either outcome is acceptable value for the trade.

      As an aside, if he pitches well enough to be traded and the Phillies don’t, that’s a probable loss since they’ll have to extend a QO for one year at $16M+ or end up negotiating a new contract with Boras for an improved soon-to-be FA player. Yikes!

      1. Very good assessment. I would be stunned if under any scenario Hellickson would get a QO from the team. I could see them trying to negotiate a new contract with Boras but that also seems unlikely.

        1. It has occurred to me that with the hiring of MacPhail and Klentak that the organization may be more likely to negotiate with Boras than in the past. Maybe???

          1. Could be. Big test could be Strasburg next winter if we are going to go heavy after a potential top starter next winter.

            Agree with your take on the trade. I am generally OK with it though would have preferred a different longshot trade piece (as McWilliams has a fairly high ceiling). Would not necessarily count it as a loss if we can’t trade Hellickson though. He only needs to generate 1.0 WAR for the trade to be worth it and if he does that (and not 2 WAR) he may not be that tradeable. A 1 WAR season will have a 4.00 to 4.50 ERA most likely which is kind of what I expect.

          2. The whole Boras/Phillies fiasco started almost 20 years ago in ’97 with JD Drew.
            Then it was Giles running the show, with Monty and Lee Thomas.
            I think you are correct…the regime of Middleton/MacPhail and Klentak may be more receptive to the Boras Co now.

            1. Boras often likes to deal directly with owners, would be interesting to know if he’s had any contact with Middleton.

            2. Interestingly….Marcel Ozuna’s name has been brought up on the Phillies radar….he is rep by Boras, and Marlins GM has already said, in regards to the handily of Marcel Ozuna, something to the effect, ‘if he (Boras) is so interested in running a team, use his 5% commissions he has earned from all his clients and buy a team and run it his way”.

  2. This seems to be a calculated trade. Hellickson is literally a rental since the Phils only have Asher, Sev Gonz, Buchanan and Joely in AAA. The Phils will more likely call up Thompson, Eflin, Lively, Pinto after the July traded deadline which they hope Hellickson eats enough innings and can be flipped for some prospects.

    Personally, I prefer if the Phils sign the likes of Vogelsong, Guthrie, Rich Hill if the 2-tier SPs and bounce back candidates (Fister, Latos) don’t want to come here and keep any of the Top 40 prospects.

    I can’t blame Klentak for pulling the trigger because there’s some business sense (eat some innings and keep Buchanans, SevGon in AAA) and upside (can be flipped at trade deadline) to it.

    1. That tier of lesser, available talent includes Mat Latos and Justin Masterson. Though neither is wart-free, both have had more recent success than Hellickson. I would prefer signing either in free agency at a reasonable price rather than trade for Hellickson and then pay him north of $6 M.

      1. “No chance” is way too strong of a statement. Giles is a very valuable back of the bullpen player – age, $ and stats all make him a top asset.

        1. Giles is a valuable closer based on age and $$$ but there is no way the Cubs give up a Solar or Baez for him

        2. Imo Giles biggest value is with a team that is operating on a budget if the Cubs go out and sign another big name pitcher I think they could be that team especially if their closer becomes volatile

          1. Every team is on a budget. some just have higher budgets than others.

            The goal is surplus value. Paying $500k for an elite closer generates a lot of surplus value that can be applied elsewhere.

    1. No, because Theo Epstein knows what he is doing. The deal the Padres got for Kimbrel is once in a lifetime because the stars alingned:
      1. Dave Dombrowski doesn’t value prospects. 2. The Red Sox had two highly regarded prospects that are essentially blocked by better players that are very young and cheap. 3. The Red Sox are desperate to win now, after two losing seasons. 4. Boston has money to burn.

      1. I agree with your statement, but I just want to point out that this is the second time within a year that Kimbrel was traded, and both times the team trading Kimbrel did well.

        In the Braves’ trade, they received $60+ million in salary relief, a top 50s prospect, plus a competitive balance pick. That’s a staggering sum of money for a team going nowhere and with a modest budget.

        I think the Phils will get a nice return for Giles, but it may take time and patience and some luck.

  3. Crawford is the Phils’ No.1 prospect.

    If he meets expectations, the Phils will have a top-of-the-order, slick fielding SS for the next decade.

    But looking around baseball, we currently have Lindor, Correa, Seager, Addison Russell and, possibly, Machado who are young stars who also play short. Three of them set high defensive standards, and three of them set high offensive standards. As good as he may be, it will be difficult for Crawford to eclipse any of these five guys.

    Having a potential star at short is a nice start, but, with the current wave of top talent throughout baseball and at a number of positions, not nearly enough.

    Franco, Nola, Herrera, and Eickhoff may be nice players – regulars, but probably not stars.

    There are eight regular position players and fIve starting pitchers. If a team is to field a winner, there generally should be a few stars among these 13.

    That’s why expecting the Phils to be a top team as soon as 2017 or even 2018 is a stretch.

    1. stairs…Machado may stay at third for the Os.
      But your point as to ‘star power’ in correlation to team success is a valid point.
      JPC and Randolph could still be the star element, plus possibly add the 2016 1.1.
      Luck may be in Franco and Nola also as star power
      Herrera and Quinn do provide star defense in CF and hopefully above average hit tools..
      But then again…..who rated as that star with the Royals?
      ..maybe Cueto during the playoff run
      It can be done.

    2. @derek – most comments i saw see the Phils as a 0.500 team by 2017, and may start to contend around 2018-19. I don’t think most believe that Phils will be a top team in 2017 like what you said. Mets and Nats will probably fight for the NL East for the next 2-4 years while NL West or Central will have the 2 other wild card teams.

      MLB, unlike NBA, is not driven by stars but it definitely helps if you have 1-2 stars in your team.

    3. No one would have dared typed this about Lindor and Russell as recently as June of this year. Lindor has exceeded expectations but only on a SSS. I see no reason why Crawford can’t be considered the 3rd best player on that list come this time next year.

  4. Not sure I get the point with Crawford. That there are a number of talented young players at SS with other teams have no effect on Crawford, other than making all-star teams. If he is an above average regular at a key position for the Phillies, then they have filled one of their holes.

    I also disagree that a team needs to have stars in the line-up. Good teams need to not have holes in their line-ups. KC doesn’t really have any superstar players but rather have a line-up that challenges the pitcher from 1-9. Their starting staff is solid but they don’t have an ace. Biggest strength is their bullpen but even there they had more quantity of talent than specific star players.

    I do agree that the Phillies are several years away from being a championship caliber team because they have so many voids to fill in the line-up and starting staff. They will need both good drafting and good luck over the next couple of seasons to return to contention.

    1. The point about Crawford is that fans tend to evaluate their own team simply by comparing it with previous seasons’ versions of their own team. So, maybe the Phils hit bottom this season (or this season and next), but the team is adding prospects, should begin improving by 2017, and continue to improve in subsequent seasons.

      The Phils’ expected improvement, however, does not mean they will become a top team again since other teams are not running in place waiting for the Phils to catch up. Moreover, there are a lot of excellent young players either in the league or in the high minors (This is a great era to be a baseball fan.). Crawford is the only one of these excellent young players in the Phillies’ organization.

      You can build a winner either with a few stars or, as you state, being solid 1 through 9, provided, in the latter scenario, the team is well managed from the top down and has a plan. So, if the Phils morph into either the 2015 Royals or the Cards in most years, they can win without stars. Call me a skeptic, but I think the star route is the most likely route for the Fightin’s.

  5. Read that the Phils are the supposed “front-runners” for trading for Marcell Ozuna.

    What do we think it would take to land him? Could see Asche involved in a deal.

    I think he’ll be a nice addition. Power hitter, young, a buy-low candidate since he’s coming off a down year.

    Regarding the Hellickson trade, anyone who thinks that’s a bad deal for the Phils is just nuts. He’s on an affordable one-year deal, will eat innings, and has upside that might be able to be parlayed at the trade deadline.

    And the refrain that’s often repeated on this board, that all No. 5 starters are easy to find and just as easy to replace, well, I hope Jerome Williams’ performance last year will quiet that crowd. He was painfully awful. If all No. 5 starters are fungible, how the heck did we wind up with him? Hellickson should be a big improvement over a starter like Williams was.

    1. Fritz – I’ve been reading that all over the place and to be honest, I just don’t get it. Ozuna is surely an interesting piece but for the Phillies to be all in on him? It just doesn’t jive. He won’t come cheap and the Phillies outfield situation is set to drastically evolve with Altherr followed by Williams, Quinn and Cozens within the next 18 months. I’ll pass

      1. Cozens in the next 18 months seems highly optimistic, considering he’s only played a handful of games at AA!

    2. I don’t understand why people on this blog keep adding Asche as a trade asset.

      If a 25 yo player can’t find a spot on the worst team in baseball, why would anyone value him? He has no defensive position, had an OB% under .300 last year, has no power or speed.

      Come on guys, I know we are all fans, but let’s be realistic. Asche is not a major league player. Every team in baseball has multiple players at AAA like him.

      1. Ha, that’s exactly why I want him traded =)

        The only reason to pursue Ozuma, imo, is if we can get him on-the-cheap. Asche, and a couple of backend prospects?

        Though I really don’t know what the expected compensation for him would be–hence why I was asking for opinions.

      2. I don’t really disagree with you. That said, Asche may have SOME value (not much) to a team that can play him at third base. It’s possible (though unlikely) to see him develop there to the point where he is a worthwhile major league player. Whereas as a left fielder, even under the most optimistic assumptions regarding future development, he is at best a replacement level player.

    3. fritz….please convince me Marcel Ozuna is not DB.2. Some little stats.
      Dom Brown:
      WAR…career….minus.7 ( oWAR…2.7 [2013, 3.3]—-dWAR..minus5.5)
      Slash….246 /.305 ./ .710

      ISO- (2013-.222)…career-.159…wRC+ 94
      Best season-2013..25age season (2.5WAR)

      Marcel Ozuna:
      WAR…career….5.5 ( oWAR…4.5{2014, 3.4}—dWAR..minus.2
      ISO- (2014-.186)…career-.151…wRC+ 101
      Best Season-2014…23age season (4.5WAR)
      Defense-better then Dom Brown but still somewhat challenged

      Bottom line…both sent to minors for more development, both have had some defensive flaws in the field, Both have immense natural talent.
      Ozuna does have better dWAR numbers then Brown, though negative.
      Ozuna would not supplant Herrera or Altherr in CF and RF respectively, so he is a LFer.
      I would gamble on Ozuna at a lower price….no starting pitcher from the MLB roster…but Marlins want front-line starters.

      1. I’d rather the team get in on the bidding of Ah-seop Son or Guillermo Heredia if they’re in the market for a youngish outfielder. The Phils are short on tradeable chips but long on cash and hopefully the imagination to pursue a far-reaching search. The Marlins have worked hard to disabuse the idea that they’re selling low on Ozuna.

        1. Son would be an interesting add for us. He can keep the seat warm for Nick Williams and then be a good 4th outfielder.

  6. Trade Giles for a haul similar to what the Padres got for Kimbrel. Giles is younger, cheaper and has controllable years. That should net at least 2 top 100 prospects and a lottery ticket or two.

      1. Klentak wants pitching….have to assume talks start with Appel and then maybe Martes…would they be interested in giving them up?

    1. I also agree that Giles should be traded. My only question is when.

      There may be some GMs that want to pitch a little more to prove that he is a top reliever.

      In any case, I think the Phils should begin entertaining trade proposals now and pull the trigger on the right deal. The right deal may take a while.

      1. Will Giles’ value ever be more higher then now? Phillies are in a unique situation with a potentially another Papelbon type reliever that is cheap with limited mileage on that high velo arm.
        Almost sounds like the Cole Hamels argument from Oct 2014.
        trade him in the off-season to avoid injury or keep him until the July trade deadline and deal from strength, if he is healthy.

        1. “Will Giles’ value ever be more higher then now?” Definitely yes, during the season, when all the moveable parts are in place. Right now a team could sign O’Day, Soria, Shawn Kelley for just money. The market will spike in season for a vteam in need like the Nats with Papelbon last year.

    2. This stuff is hilarious.

      Look, it’s one thing to say, as derek says above, that, with luck and patience the Phillies could get a nice return for Giles. Depending upon the definition of “nice,”, that’s a reasonable and even possibly correct statement. But their chance of a Kimbrel level return is zero. Even setting aside the fact that Giles is not as highly regarded – that’s true whether one thinks it’s justified or not – you have two inconvenient but related facts to deal with:

      (1) The Kimbrel trade was an outlier, almost universally regarded an overpay, with a series of unique factors pointed out by anonVOR above which are not repeatable.
      (2)The teams that are possible destinations are all run by front offices who (at the same time) (a) highly value prospects, and (b) place a relatively low value on closers.

      Throw in the fact that Chapman is also on the market, and the Kimbrel level return is a fantasy.

      Which isn’t to say that tht ePhillies shouldn’t sat least see what the market for him is. A top 25 prospect is out of the question, as are multiple top 100 prospects. But if the stars align and they are offered a prospect in the 25 to 50 range – IMO unlikely but possible – of course they should grab it and run.,

    1. I’m not sure I understand this move. They might have been the highest bidder… I don’t know for sure… but an American League team might have been his best chance to play on a big league ball club. A power-less DH would be a better option than a straight pinch hitter. He really doesn’t have a position in the field.

      1. Astudillo is smarter than you think. No team is looking for a DH with no power. The Braves have zero catching in their system. As a player with no power no speed and low OBP, his only chance of making the league is as a catcher.

        1. Astudillo is a very interesting – nearly unique – player. If he could develop his skills to the point where he was a serviceable back-up catcher, he would have interesting value as a back-up catcher who starts once or twice a week and a pinch hitter who plays pretty much every other day. Astudillo could be a GREAT pinch hitter, which is something of a lost art as the specialized pinch hitter that every team used to have up until around the mid/late 90s has been replaced on the roster by the relief specialist, typically the LOOGY. And I’m not so sure the LOOGY is more valuable than a truly great pinch hitter. It will be interesting to follow him going forward.

          1. He will never be a “great” pinch hitter with zero power. Having no power in the majors would really hurt him.

            1. It’s a fair point – he could be a very good pinch hitter. He will get his share of hits and will always make contact; not a small thing in this era of high leverage relievers. The guy basically never strikes out.

          2. The problem with him being a backup catcher and pinch hitting is most teams don’t like to pinch hit their backup catcher due to their typically being only 2 people on the team capable of playing the position @ a mlb lvl.

  7. I have not given up hope that JP will be a Star. I saw the list, and think he can be as good as anyone on it. And the part about stars is untrue. You do need them, they may come, however, in different forms. For KC, the Star was the BP. Then Cueto performed like a Star when it counted. It does not have to be an individual player. And, sometimes it is the circumstances. Panda was certainly a WS Star for the Giants last year, but was not nearly a Star for the BoSox this year.

  8. I agree with blanket. I think Giles value has to be almost equal to kimbrell, who some say is in slight decline already peripherally. He has the experience but that’s negated by the 13 million dollar price tag. That said, what Boston gave was comparable to us giving up nick Williams who isn’t even top 50 while Margot was top 25. Corny, who was ranked lower than guerra, medina, instead of Logan who is younger and dominated with similar if not better scouting report, neither in top 100 but I’ll call this a draw. Finally jesmuel might be a decent comp for the fourth player. Who would be ok with giving this up? I’d be livid, and this package is less than what Boston gave up. But if we can get a sim. Package, we would be arguably the top farm system in mlb! I feel like we have a real strong core of up and coming relievers so Let’s do it!!

    1. If the Cubs sign Price, as it appears he wants to team up again with Joe Maddon, then maybe they become players in a Giles move. There are plenty of prospects still a few years away in their system….Happ, Jiminez, are RHP Cease are intriguing IMO, then three LHPS Sands, Steele and Hudson are a few years away but have potential for rotation starters.
      They could easily get Giles without touching a player on their current 25 man.

      1. Houston and Cubs both wanting Giles would be great, though Melancon could be available and more attractive.
        I read somewhere after the draft that Cubs were going to see at Instructs if Happ could be a second baseman; if the answer is no, they mnight be more open to trading him.

        1. How do we get the Pirates to want Giles? they like cheap cost controlled guys and they have some really nice minor league pieces.

          1. While I’m not necessarily buying in to a Giles trade — this is semi tongue in cheek — but from a marketing standpoint, who better than the possessed Giles to fit in to the Steel town mold (cue in a Flashdance number…sorry).

  9. Herrera received zero ROY votes. I know it was a good rookie class in the NL, but I was at least hoping for a few 3rd place votes for him.

    Giles finished 4th last year.

    1. Delino DeShields, whom the Rangers essentially swapped for Herrera, garnered one third place vote in the AL ROY vote; even though his numbers were a lot worse than Herrera’s.

    2. Hard to see Bour, Pedersen , especially going cold from June on, and Piscotty, a late call-up beating out Herrera. But Herrera was never a celebrated rookie to begin with.
      Heck BA did not even have him as their top 20/25 Rule 5 last year…..he was no show on their preview for the 2014 draft
      IMO, the top four are right where they should be.
      Herrera could have had the best season ever for a Rule 5 pick ……in their first year after selection, in the MLB.

    3. Herrera was on a very bad team,so almost anything he did was ignored. The ROY award seems to be settled in advance anymore.Not that Bryant didn’t have an awesome year,but he was the favorite almost from the time he showed up.
      For my way of thinking it really doesn’t matter as long as Herrera has another good year in 2016.
      Then I think the Phillies have a big decision to make.Do they keep Herrera or trade him and go with the often injured Roman Quinn? I don’t think they can keep both because they both have similar talents and Altherr and Williams should be ready to be everyday by the end of 2016.

  10. This year’s Rule V Draft is a little more than 3 weeks away. That should be interesting. Romus, I think you mentioned when the lists are finalized for 40 man protection. Right after, we should see the list of eligible Phuture Phils.

    1. Hopefully they can hit on another pick like they did with Herrera. It is nice to see that our scouts were able to recognize Herrera’s abilities when he wasn’t even listed in the 2015 Rule V draft preview that Romus mentioned. I’d like to see them grab a pitcher as well as a guy who can play LF. I do not want to see Asche be handed the LF job because we do not have anyone better than him. We have all seen what he has to offer and he clearly is not an Mlb regular. A nice selection to play LF would complement Herrera in CF and most likely Altherr in RF.

  11. FYI – The Phils are definitely looking for a college pitcher as the 1/1 pick. Puk is clearly the favorite at this point (8 months away…)

    1. This is a rebuilding franchise. They need to pick the best player – period. I will be livid if they pick a player they believe is not the best player due to the player’s position/role or proximity. If they think Puk is the better player, that’s fine – but what I don’t want to hear is “well, Groome might be the best overall arm and pitcher in the draft, but we think we can be competitive again in 2018 and Puk gives us the best chance of doing that.” THAT will piss me off.

      1. With a college vs. high school pitcher though, it’s not only about proximity, but about risk. If the two are close in terms of talent, I’m fine with taking the guy who may not be the best overall arm as you say, but is closer to the show, and thus more likely to make it without any major hiccups.

  12. They just had Groome into CBP for a visit, and while Puk is a top choice, I think there are a number of top choices just waiting for their seasons to play out. I would not rule any of them out yet. LHP is, ideally, the way to go based on the lack of same in the farm, but they really need to get it right.

    1. @matt13…Gillick was in Florida to evaluate Puk last month. He liked him. Now how much weight does Gillick have these days?

    2. Matt- the top 4 players in the draft are all pitchers – right now. I believe the new GM said they would be looking at all of them and try and determine which one of the 4 was the best – regardless of whether they were college or high school players and their respective development time lines. The kid from NJ supposedly has the best stuff but would need more development etc. Puk hasn’t been just a pitcher and supposedly has “more pitches” left in his left arm since he plays elsewhere too. So it goes. I don’t think any decision will be made until they play through spring 2016.

  13. 15 million a year to Brandon Crawford. 29 yrs old. 260 hitter who hit 21 homeruns last year. but before that not a lot of hr power. Salarys are getting nuts Its.not the fifteen million but the years he got. Why buy out two years of arb. Why not see if at 30 yrs old he shows it wasn’t a fluke last year. or do 260 hitting shortstops get 15 million a years,

    1. rocco…it helps when you win a Gold Glove and SABR rated him SDI at 16.8…far away best in all baseball….the second and third place guys were Hechavvaria and Simmons….6/7 points behind him. He also had a 5.6WAR with over half from defense 2.9dWAR. So his glove had a lot to do with the contract also.

      1. Romus I think my main point was he did it one year. The power is the difference in his game. The previous year 256 with 10 homeruns, imo isn’t a 15 million dollar player. But maybe I am wrong. I think at his age and two years left. If I was gm I would have waited one more year.

    2. This reminds me of when we resigned Howard well before he was to become a free agent. Obviously they are completely different players, but 15 mil a year through his age 34 season probably isn’t going to look good in hindsight. Rollins got 11 mil a year at age 33 and Jhonny Peralta got 13 mil a year at age 32 with both of the contracts going through those players age 35 season (Rollins option pushed his deal through age 36). Crawford will make a little more, but will give the Giants a few more quality years and his deal ends a bit earlier than these other two. I think this contract will look better once Ian Desmond signs. Desmond is already 30 and should get a 5 year deal, maybe even 6.

  14. Uncuriously, the “best player available” will turn out to be a pitcher…just like the “best player available” was Crawford followed by the “best player available” Nola. Not surprisingly, both choices at our #1 pick seemed to fill the most important impending holes of the the team. And, since pitching tops the list of needs “the best player available” in ’16 INEVITABLY will be a pitcher. Teams almost always draft to fix their teams…considering need to be primary except in very few cases.

    From this viewpoint, Puk would have to mess up or be injured during ’16 to not be chosen by us @ #1.

    1. I don’t necessarily agree with this. I think Crawford actually was the best player available the year he was chosen. With Nola, I DO think he was chosen according to need and proximity in the 2014 draft where it was clear that that Phillies were so desperate to fix their farm system deficiencies that they did a 180 and pretty much selected ONLY college players (as if you can fix a baseball team quickly by drafting a bunch of college guys). Now, I like Nola a lot and he could turn out to be a gem, but I think they moved from the BPA model that year.

      This year, if a Bryce Harper or Ken Griffey, Jr. were sitting at the top of the draft, I think they would take that player, but from all sources, this year, the BPA actually will be a pitcher. They need to draft the player they think has the best chance to be an ace and, yes, proximity does play some role in that calculus, but the timing on his arrival should not be a consideration. You don’t want them taking Greg Reynolds (who? Check out the 2006 draft – low ceiling, low 90s righty with a supposedly high floor and low ceiling taken second in the draft) when a young Clayton Kershaw is available.

      1. I checked out that guy…..Phillies also drafted him in the 41st round in ’03. Kudos to Ed Wade for not signing him
        But that draft on a whole seem to have had poor results if you go by the aggregate….only 6/7 of the entire first round of 30 had any major league success.
        Even the number one pick looked like an early bust, but took awhile and eventually had to be converted to RP for his success with the Royals.
        The 2016 draft has the four pitchers sitting at the top. If it come down to Groome or Puk, you would think both will have successful MLB careers.

      2. That’s interesting thinking in hindsight, that Crawford was the best player available at a position of need. I recall a whole bunch of the regulars here wishing for DJ Peterson and Hunter Renfroe over JP Crawford because the team “needed” advanced college bats with power, not a HS Shortstop with no power or speed. I think we need to break out the archives.

        1. To be clear, one can argue who, at the time, seemed to be the best player available, but that’s not really my point. My point is – what was the Phillies’ draft philosophy at the time? And, I think, at the time, they were just focusing on the player who they believed had the highest ceiling and would make the best major league player, regardless of the proximity. Now, in later rounds, they may have focused more on need, but I think (I don’t KNOW this – nobody knows this for sure but the people who drafted him as the comments ) with that first pick they were looking for the BPA.

  15. What does “best player available” mean?

    If one guy has the higher ceiling and the other the higher floor, which one is the best player available?

    (I was one of those who preferred Touki Toussaint over Nola because of the higher ceiling. We’ll see how that plays out.)

    1. It’s a good question. It’s a complicated analysis. But, to put in the most simple terms, it’s an evaluation of who, based on ceiling, proximity and risk, represents the player that the team believes will be the best (most valuable, really) major league player, regardless of position/role and regardless of that player’s estimated time of arrival in the big leagues.

      1. So in essence, it is a subjective evaluation done by each team based on what they believe will be the best major league player.
        Why wouldn’t then, every specific team’s selection be the BPA?

        1. It depends upon how you define BPA. I think it is wrong to define BPA as ‘good performing guy with the highest ceiling’ as many do. Probability of reaching the vicinity of the ceiling is as important as absolute ceiling. This is why ‘proximity’ is not a bad thing at all and is worth a step-down in ceiling. With the need for development and maintaining health during the development process comes a lot of risk, which is why the record of success for H.S. pitchers at 1.1 is not at all good. College players are the highest probability of approaching their scouting ceilings, but it doesn’t look as though any colllege hitter will challenge for the 1.1 spot in 2016. Barring arm abuse in the CWS, I think college pitchers have the next highest possibility of success, although truly elite H.S. position players are about on a par. Unfortunately, there also doesn’t seem to be a truly elite H.S. position prospect for 2016. There are always very high ceiling H.S. pitchers, and this draft appears very rich in that category, but these guys have the lowest probability of success at 1.1 of any category. If Puk is close to ceiling of the H.S. pitchers like Groome, I would go Puk. I also will worry about arm abuse until he is at CLW and healthy.

          1. Pretty much this, except that by the time the draft comes along there may be a HS position player worth taking. At this point for me, I’d need the HS Pitcher to be once in a lifetime or so far ahead of every other possibility that the decision would be without question.

        2. There are a variety of reasons for this. Some teams are risk averse and rather have what they deemed to be a solid floor rather than a higher ceiling. Some teams are desperate to win right away, so they’d prefer to get a good player now rather than a great player later. Still other teams have such a strong philosophical bent toward drafting position players or pitchers that they would rather have one type of player rather than the other, even if the player they pick is less highly regarded.

    2. We want a star from our 1.1 pick, so I am not as concerned about floor as I am about the probability of the guy coming close to his ceiling. I think speaking about ‘floor’ with regard to a pitcher, especially a H.S. pitcher. Pitchers are so prone to arm injuries, including career-ending shoulder injuries, during the development process from H.S. draftee to the major leagues, that the floor for any H.S. pitcher (and really for most college pitchers) is ‘injured, out of baseball’ prior to sniffing the major leagues. Floor makes more sense when dealing with position players.

      Nola made great sense over Toussaint, because he was very close to being major league ready. This greatly reduced both his injury risk and his development risk. Nola is one of the few pitching draftees who was close enough to MLB-ready for it to make sense to speak of a floor (he still could have hurt his arm in his first week and been career-over, but he had about as low odds of that as you can get with pitching draftee.)

  16. I think we are really all just waiting to see what Klentak does and how he approaches his job. Now, from the organizational standpoint, I read several comments from guys like MacPhail and Gillick saying they would prefer a college arm and suggesting they value proximity to a great degree.

    To his credit, Klentak has a lot of good things. First, he said he would draft the best player. Good answer. He also said the team needs to be creative in finding talent through all possible avenues. Another good answer. Furthermore, he said that, to be competitive, the team always needs to add “waves” of talent and would have to anticipate needing talent years ahead of time. I LOVE that answer.

    Klentak’s approach contrasts dramatically with Amaro’s approach. Amaro, did not design the system and process to obtain waves of talent and he did not plan for the team’s needs years ahead, and, in fact, he clearly ignored the team’s long-term needs at a time when pretty much everyone who follows these things saw that as creating a huge problem down the road. Rather, the team identified a select few “special” talents to retain, but otherwise used prospects to trade for established players who were both expensive and had a short shelf life. The problem with this approach (actually, there are many), is that because all minor league talent is uncertain, you always need multiple players (redundancy) as many players simply will not pan out (Exhibit A: Dom Brown). That’s why it’s a good idea to have both Knapp and Alfaro, Quinn and Herrera, and Asche and Franco. Second, you need to plan your system and talent development in such a manner that you are anticipating needs years in advance. As much as Boston has come up short recently, they really are not in bad shape because their system was develop to add waves of talent (Boston’s big recent mistake was in devoting too much money to second tier pitching talent – something almost everyone on this site commented on last spring – and we were all right). Third, when you add waves of talent, you then have redundancy and a base of talent from which to effect targeted trades.

    Amaro didn’t add waves of talent and did not adequately plan ahead and so, one day, he woke up with a really bad team of expensive older players and a weak farm system. He tried hard to change course and add talent when it became clear that there was no way for the team to contend, but in baseball there are no quick fixes; his fate was sealed.

    1. You should add the Old Ownership and Pat Gillick to Amaro’s name as they all are responsible for not developing young talent especially the Old Ownership.

      1. This isn’t really about blaming Amaro (although he’s obviously highly culpable) – it’s about the approach of the new administration versus the old administration.

        1. Perception is such a funny thing isn’t it. Dave Dombrowski followed essentially the same type of plan in Detroit, misses, subtly gets canned and then the Red Sox seem to value that so they give him the head GM job in Boston and almost immediately Dave does what Dave does he starts dealing prospects.

          I’m also growing tired of the re-writing of history on the Pujols deal. The Cardinals had a $200 Million dollar deal on the table for Albert. The Cardinals got lucky in that Arte Moreno’s ego got the best of the Angels. Yet many will try and paint that one as some brilliant move on the Cardinal’s Front Office’s part.

          And same here this isn’t about excusing the exiting regime’s process. It’s about not tagging it to one specific person.

          How many GM jobs open the year after a WS title vs. how many get filled after a few horrific seasons.

          I don’t believe any big market team would have behaved differently after the 09 WS loss I mean they followed that season with a 97 and 102 win seasons.

          I have no reason to believe Klentak won’t do a fine job. Fact is he has Almarez heading up his drafts and he has Middleton saying he’ll put up the money for the International talent. Additionally he has this years 1/1 pick followed by 3 really solids Crawford/Nola/Randolph. Heck he can only go up from here.

          1. Amen on the comment regarding Pujols and the Cardinals. Their management team was way in on resigning Pujols, there were just outbid by deeper pockets.

    2. You also need to place emphasis on the minor leagues by budgeting sufficient funds, not losing draft picks, and not trading good prospects for short-term benefit. RAJ famously said the Phillies did not believe in 5-year plans. They also did not believe in transitioning from the old core. The Phillies golden era came from a rush of similar-aged minor league talent, which the team supported with similar-age-or-older expensive vets, with the obvious problem being that these guys aged out at just about the same time. Something that needed to be planned for; something that even a half-arsed 5-year plan would address, but something that RAJ totally ignored until the ownership changes began. To me, that places the bulk of the blame on the stubborn old ownership guys who saw nothing beyond the current marketing power of their aging core. I think we were all surprised by the rapidity with which the team totally went into free fall after the 102-game season, but a less abrupt fall was inevitable for a team which refused to gradually bring in replacement talent for the old core, before they slipped toward zero WAR.

      1. Yup, there were a lot of problems with the old approach. Budgeting poorly, planning poorly, and not have a long-term plan to replace talent were all part of the problem.

      2. You’re not wrong about most of this, but I would frame it a little differently …

        The central problem was the failure, over a number of years, to develop talent. How much of this was Amaro’s fault, how much was the fault of the owners, how much of this was drafting, how much of it was development is hard to say. But I wouldn’t say it was lack of planning – there’s no plan that will make up for a decade of failure to develop major league talent; conversely, if the talent pipeline had been intact, the team would probably have managed the transition much better, whatever one thinks of Amaro’s plan, or lack thereof.

        1. Well, part of a 5-year plan would be picking a year to trade each member of the expanded core, when they still had value and to replace them with younger talent. It seemed that part of RAJ’s plan was to shift minor league $ to the major league salary budget. Sign Papelbon a week early and you forfeit your #1 draft pick, which is a $million towards Papelbon’s salary in year one. Spend small in international market, when it was unlimited, and that’s another $ million a year transferred to the MLB salary budget. RAJ always had an MLB salary snugged up against the max he was allowed to spend. He consistently gave up extra talent in trades to get money back in order to stay within his salary budget. A lot of excess minor league talent was lost this way — doubtless the reason Santana is no longer in our system.

          1. @allentown1….very well put, and exact in the root causes for the fall from grace. Ruben now will be the example of how to take a WS contender and a 102-win ’11 team and collapse within 2 years to a 73-win team in ’13.
            Just one question….why mention someone like Santana and not D’Arnaud, Carrasco, Cosart or Singleton?

            1. Regarding the trades of prospects ….

              I was the most vociferous critic of the Pence deal, so we’re not in disagreement there (though in fairness the failure of Singleton to develop makes that trade look … less bad … in retrospect). But what’s interesting about his trades on the whole … remarkably few of the prospects traded have amounted to much. Some still may (Santana in particular may end up being a star). But it’s not like the position of the franchise would be THAT much better now without those trades.

              I find it particularly difficult to criticize the Halliday trade, even in retrospect.

            2. I wouldn’t have planned to trade the vets prior to 2012. I also would have followed the Cardinals’ approach with Pujols and not extended Howard. We all said from the start that he was a guy whom we could expect to decline rapidly through his 30s. His Achilles injury made the decline worse, but it was already evident and it should have been clear that he wasn’t going to be worth that contract.

              I don’t understand your comment that these guys had no value after 2011. We got good value for Rollins and even got a tad of value for Utley this season. Utley’s 2011, 2012, and especially 2013 seasons were good enough to give him significant trade value (yes we would have had to send $). Rollins 2011 and 2012 seasons gave him good value at the 2012 trade deadline. Cliff Lee had substantial value at both the 2012 and 2013 trade deadlines. Halladay wasn’t tradable other than after the 2011 season and that was too early to give up on a second WC, the window still seemed very open after 102 wins. Ruiz was very tradable at either the 2012 or 2013 trade deadlines.

            3. I’m not saying no value. Just not the kind of value that would have moved the needle much in terms of the rebuild.

              Any further response would require me to go deep into the woods in terms of specif players, something that I don’t have the time or inclination to do.

              Again, much of this is arguably semantics. e.g., we’re in agreement on Howard. I just see that as more of a lapse of talent judgment than a failure to plan. I ALSO think that, as it turned it, it didn’t make a huge difference (it’s not as if they would have, for example, re-allocated his salary toward amateur talent or development). It would have made a difference had they otherwise remained competitive (in which case the money could have gone to a good FA).

          2. Look, I agree with some of the specifics, but on your larger point I think you’re 100% wrong. Your idea of a five year plan would be a bad plan. You don’t “pick a year to trade members of the expanded core.” No organization works that way. None. Nor should they. The key to maintaining a competitive team is to have a continuing flow of young talent coming from the minors. That ALLOWS YOU to replace older players as the young talent becomes available.

            That’s the general rule.As for the Phillies specifically …. it would have made no sense at all to trade the core players before 2011. After that, as a general rule they had marginal trade value. That’s not unusual – players have the most trade value when they are young and cost controlled. But for the same reasons that they have trade value, they also have value for a contending team.

            This gets back to a tired disagreement that we (not just you and I) have been having for literally years. As a general rule, veterans with a market contract don’t have a huge trade value. Yes, some exceptions apply. Hamels was one (and I agreed on that point, even while – correctly – being skeptical that he could get us an elite prospect or prospects in return). But the fact that as a GENERAL RULE you’re not getting a huge return in prospects in return for over 30 veterans with a market rate contract, PLANNING to trade them (as opposed to trading them if a good deal presents itself on an opportunistic basis, and/or trading them if you have a replacment ready) is a mistake.

            1. I would go so far as to say that, as a general rule, trading a veteran is usually a sign that a mistake was or mistakes were made. Not always, but usually.

              (1) A team that falls out of contention (for a big market team like the Phillies that’s USUALLY a result of mistakes made) will often trade veterans, as the Phillies did last year).
              (2) When a CONTENDING team trades a veteran, more often than not it’s because the veteran has under performed. Not always the fault of the organization, but often so (e.g., a bad FA contract). Of course, these trades usually don’t net large returns.

              A contending team rarely trades a veteran who is performing well.

            2. I realize I’m kind of beating this into the ground …. but to clarify the issue, let me ask you a question, rather than just making assumptions:

              Are you saying that the team should have considered trading veterans before 2011? If not, then I fail to see your point (as I said, with a very few exceptions the veterans had little trade value after that point).

              But if you are, then I vociferously disagree. Contending teams don’t, and shouldn’t, trade veterans who are performing well enough to have significant trade value. You can find some exceptions, but they tend to be very situational – e.g., trading from a surplus of talent, or taking advantage of an overpay.

            3. I Think that is why I really love the way the cardinals do business. They for the most part don’t give out a lot of bad contracts. and keep a steady flow of guys who can help from there minor league system.

          3. Another way to look at this … let’s try a counterfactual here. What plan, in retrospect, would have avoided the down years? No fair talking about spending more internationally – that’s ownership. What could have Amaro have done differently? I don’t see much IN TERMS OF AN OVERARCHING PLAN. Sure you can point to some specific mistakes – forfeiting the Papelbon pick is only one example; there are more, most of which we would agree on. But at the end of the day, NO TEAM, no matter how good the plan, is going to be able to remain competitive given the talent drought that the organization suffered. Could not have been done.

            This response is long enough without going through each specific veteran, but I would argue that, in EVERY case (except Lee, and Hamels who was traded for a very good return) the trade value of the vets was low by the time a trade made any kind of sense at all.

            If some of the specific mistakes had not been made … again, they weren’t lack of a plan, but just mistakes (often of talent judgment) ironically enough, I’m not sure even that on balance would have meant a huge difference. The team would have been a bit better in 2012-2015. Probably not good enough for a playoff berth. Maybe just good enough to convince the organization to make some win now moves that weren’t made. Worse drafting position. Maybe the organization would be in worse shape now.

            I don’t say that to endorse the mistakes. The point is that a few years out of contention was inevitable given the failure of the system to produce good players. Some of that was Amaro’s fault, some f it wasn’t.

            I’m still not sorry to see him go, because he DID make mistakes, and those kinds of mistakes might have had greater salience going forward than they did in retrospect.

            (And obviously I somewhat over simplify. SOME of those mistakes still are hurting the team going forward. e.g., Possibly the Papelbon pick would now be a good major league ready prospect.)

            1. I’m not going to get into the ‘was this the fault of RAJ or the fault of the owners’ argument, although I think you’ll remember that I assign most of the blame to the owners. But not spending internationally and not busting draft bonus guidelines were a big part of the problem, and unless you want to talk strictly about how good a GM RAJ was, you can’t ignore them. Of course the talent drought is why the Phillies declined, but there were specific causes for that talent drought, which deserve to be discussed. The Lee trade was stupid. Owners who wanted to win a second WC could have ponied up the $9 mill to have both Lee and Halladay. If they refuse, RAJ could have stuck with Lee. The Pence trade (both ways) was stupid. In acquiring him, we gave up too much and it was a pointless attempt to gild the lily of 100-win team. Yes, it increased the talent level somewhat, but it risked harming chemistry.

              A plan would have set expectations for what the farm needed to produce and would have provided an ample bonus budget to achieve that, rather than the ad hoc slighting of the farm. A plan would have suggested trading specific vets in a given year, when value could still be had and in years when saving some $ was important.

            2. As I said, I think much of our disagreement is semantic, and as for the rest, we may have to agree to disagree. But I can’t resist one point … trading Lee was probably a mistake, but one of IMO small conseqences. The prospects trade for Oswalt didn’t amount to much, and he pitched well in the post season. Of course it’s possible that Lee would have pitched even better, and the team advanced, but that’s speculative at best and had nothing to do with the funk.

      3. To elaborate on one specific point … I wouldn’t say, at all, that he “refused” to bring in new talent … that’s unfair. Set aside controversies about spending on amateur talent – whatever one thinks about that issue, it wasn’t Amaro’s call. Talent is brought into the system int he following ways:

        (1) Drafting and development (supplemented by international signings; given the constraints of ownership, this was actually a bright spot) – by far the best source of incoming talent. Again, give some blame to Amaro for the failure here, but it was a failure of process, not a choice.

        (2) Free agency – no longer the main source of talent, one which would not have been helpful given the team’s development cycle, and one of which was not in any event ignored. (One could if anything fault the team for doing too much of this and forfeiting picks – a legitimate criticism).

        (3) Trades – I won’t go on at length about this one – with one or two arguable exceptions (Lee certainly in retrospect), the team really didn’t have many missed opportunities in this regard. By the time the window of contention had closed, the trade value of most of the veterans was minimal.

        (4) Scrap heap players – again not something that Amaro was particularly good at (but see Herrera), but not a “refusal.”

        1. Another aspect of this is successfully bringing that talent into the majors. Some of this is luck but some of it is related to development and timing. For ex, the Giants and Cardinals have had a very high rate of success in this area and thus sustained success. Cubs and Mets have done this well recently. On other hand, Boston has had a lot of minor league talent, but those players have not transitioned as well as some of the others mentioned above. Phils did well this year with Franco, Nola, Herrera, Altherr, Eichoff all having early success. Hopefully this continues.

  17. To Amaros credit….he went for it…he tried to win the next one and the team was close 09-11….granted he didnt have a long term plan and he sacrificed prospects…but the goal is to win the Championship …he went for it…came up short…i wont fault him for that…the long term plan and Lantin market are his and mgmts fault

    1. How would the world be different if Cliff Lee held the lead against the Cards and we won that series and went on to win the WS in 2011? Would we all feel differently now if we had won twice instead of once in that span?

      1. I’ve pondered this myself fairly often. But first, they would have been underdogs to win the Series or even get to it without Howard (you can’t also say “what if” on his achillies). Looking back I would not feel all that differently as what transpired since and how it could have been minimized through smart moves.

  18. Read an interesting article on MLBTradeRumors about the Detroit Tigers are “upgrading their analytics department from one full-time employee to three, as well as interns and some outside consultants”. So there are some teams even more behind the times than the Phillies!

    1. Well, that was Dombrowski’s show. It’s very interesting that the Red Sox, long thought to be among the forefront of SABR-friendly organizations, have now brought in a new President who seems to discount SABRmetrics. Now, Dombrowski does have a long track record of impressive scouting victories and good trades and that’s great. But if I were a Red Sox fan, I would not be happy that he was the guy brought in to oversee the turnaround the franchise.

  19. I love the best player available discussions. I think we all agree that we want a star at 1/1. We don’t know who, if anyone, will rise above the pack in this next high school and college seasons. It is certainly possible that our pick will turn out to be a guy that no one is talking about yet. A guy who grew 4 inches and added on 20 lbs this year and next year he’ll be a beast in his senior year in high school. Its possible. More likely however is that it will be a guy like Puk. There’s no question that if Puk has a great season, he’ll be a 1/1 candidate. What I’ve been told is that for a high school arm to be a 1/1 pick, he has to dominate in high school against all opponents. He has to have it all. Groome could end up being that guy but so far, he’s in the mix but probably not the pick. With that 1/1 pick, I want a future ace or a future #3 hitter because those are the two hardest things to find, and we have neither of them in our system. I think the preference of a college guy over a high school guy is not the proximity, its the fact that the prospect miss rate should be lower because you’ve seen the kid for 3 additional years (assuming he’s a junior), he’s older and usually more mature, and you’ve seen him against much better competition. That’s the theory.
    Of course, if the next ARod or Mike Trout is sitting there, let’s take him….

    1. ‘…….. future #3 hitter because those are the two hardest things to find, and we have neither of them in our system’.
      Interesting…if the #3 in the lineup is your best all around hitter, as has been mentioned by some analysts, I assumed all along JPC and/or Cornelius Randolph could fill those voids.

    2. I think they will draft with an eye on getting better quicker. Therefore they’ll choose the advanced college pitcher over say the high school pitcher who could be great in about 5 or 6 years.
      Just the size of the crowds they were drawing at the end of the year was enough to get Middleton to shed his Howard Hughes act and become more of a hands on owner. I don’t know how much they lost last year,but even a billionaire hates to lose money.Let the fans lose interest for too long and it’s hard to get them back.Check Cleveland.
      That doesn’t mean they’ll get into the free agent market right away,but McPhail was hired to at least get back to respectability.
      Whether it works out or not remains to be seen,but ownership ( I think) realizes the the fans are not sold on 5 years or so of last place finishes.
      If the 1st draft pick turns out to be a good one most fans are not going to worry about the one that got away 5 years from now.

      1. Maybe the route they take. I disagree on the time for a great H.S. pitcher to arrive. They have a huge risk of failure, but the ones who make it arrive a lot faster than 5-6 years. Kershaw spent only 2.5 years in the minors. Even with all of his injuries, and he missed more time than he played, Hamels spent less than 4 seasons (and only 200 IP) in the minor leagues, before coming to Philadelphia.

  20. The above dialog got me thinking about the whole concept of a five year plan …

    I would go so far as to say that good organizations DON”T HAVE, and shouldn’t have, five year plans. That doesn’t mean they don’t plan …. but good organizations have to be flexible.

    Why? Because players are unpredictable. Veterans and prospects both. Organizations need to be nimble and adroit to react to the unexpected, good and bad.

    The one constant should be focus on developing a steady flow of cost controlled talent. But that isn’t a “plan” per se. That’s just how teams succeed. The Phillies failed spectacularly in that regard, for a number of reasons (many or even most of which Allentown correctly identifies). But not through lack of a plan.

    1. You write as if 5-year plans are immutable and not subject to revision as surprises occur and circumstances change. Whether for IBM or a baseball team, this is simply not true. A 5-year plan forces organized thinking and a review of all the things that impact the future of an organization. It is updated at least annually and modified more frequently if circumstances change significantly. Even though a 5-year plan becomes an evolving blueprint in practice, it still beats seat-of-the-pants reactions to changes, because the changes are viewed in terms of the existing plan, giving context to how the intermediate future is impacted. The Phillies have been driven far to much by in-the-,moment seat-of-the-pants decision making. They have found themselves in the midst of a 5-season funk, in large measure because they failed to consider how the decisions of the day impacted the intermediate future. The hole we’re in now is this intermediate future that they intended to deal with when they got here. It isn’t pretty.

      1. Allentown, I suspect that much of our disagreement is semantic. If so, I’ve already wasted far too many words. I’ll end this with this simple summary of where I THINK we disagree:

        The funk isn’t (primarily) the result of a failure to see how the decisions of the moment impacted the future (though there are a few decisions which could be so characterized). That would be third on my list of causes for the funk. First would be a simple failure of drafting and development. Second would be a number of poor decisions which aren’t so much lack of foresight, but more poor talent judgment.

        And the first problem overshadows the second and third to such an extent that the team would have gone through a similar funk even without the second and third ones – albeit a less deep funk.

        (I’d add that there are ALSO some “win now” decisions made before 2011 which JUSTIFIABLY sacrificed the future for the present.)

        1. There certainly were some awful 1st and 2nd rounders selected by Wolever. To me, it is very telling when a team gets better guys later in the draft and with cheaper LA signees than in the primo selections of the draft. That means (my interpretation) that the guys at the top, who have who view and approve the big $ signings, aren’t doing a good job of judging talent, compared to the actual area scouts who are allowed to have their favored guys taken in the later rounds. The Phillies have done well in the first round the past 3 drafts, partly because of better draft position, but I think partly because they finally put aside the riverboat gambler approach to making big bets on very raw toolsy HS kids, who hadn’t shown well developed baseball skills or the vital hit and control skills, in the hopes of lucking into a star at the end of the 1st round or into the second round. They picked too many guys who were just too much iffy flier picks for the first and second rounds. Thus, the bulk of their spending was wasted. They were gamblers not rational baseball talent evaluators. Then, rather than conclude that Wolever wasn’t a good talent evaluator, RAJ concluded that the draft wasn’t worth the cost.

          1. Yeah, we’re in agreement on almost all of this. I wouldn’t go as far as you in your last sentence, though I do agree that Amaro somewhat undervalued draft choices.

            Of course we’re forced to speculate about some of this because we don’t have access to internal deliberations. I think it’s entirely possible that, somewhere around 2011 there was an internal awareness that the state of the system was such that a down period was inevitable (I think it was at that point) – and a conscious decision was made to try to extend the window for another year or two before the inevitable down period. If so, that’s a defensible decision even though it didn’t work out well.* Nor does it excuse various errors in executing that strategy.

            *I would note that it could easily have worked out in 2012 at least. A lot had to go wrong in 2012 for the team to fall as far and fast as they did. The 2012 team looked like a contender at the start of the season, and the team would have contended but for the collapse of the pitching staff.

            1. I would contend that starting in 2013, the team shifted to rebuild mode (even if not calling it that) – the plan at that point was good, and the execution mostly so. Setting aside conservatism on spending on the draft and internationally (and even that shifted somewhat), I think the biggest error of execution after 2012 was the failure to trade Lee.

            2. Of course it could have worked out in 2012. After winning 102 games in 2011, it made perfect sense to try to win in 2012. The trade deadline of 2012 is when we should have started to move some of the older vets. Having just traded for him, Pence would not have been my #1 trade priority, given age and overall ability.

              Btw, I did not invent the ‘RAJ didn’t think the draft was worth the cost’. RAJ actually said that on the record and the local papers printed his comment.

            3. I would contend that what the team shifted to in 2013 was ‘stop going all out to win now’ rather than rebuild mode. In rebuild mode, they would have traded members of the core for prospects, as they did after the ownership upheaval this past season. If you are rebuild mode, you don’t hang onto Rollins, Utley, Lee, Ruiz. You also have no use for a Papelbon. There is a difference between returning to normal operating mode and entering rebuild mode. For a bit less than a year we have been in rebuild mode.

            4. Yeah, Lee aside, I just don’t think that looking to trade veterans at the trade deadline in 2012 would have made much of a difference (and would have had some downsides).

              Okay, let’s get specific:

              Ruiz – don’t think his trade value was ever that high. I think you get a lottery ticket or a bench piece/reliever/back end starter.

              Howard – untradeable

              Utley – he would have vetoed a trade, so a moot point. Even that aside, I have my doubts that his trade value at that point (or in 2014) was all that much greater than what they eventually got for him.

              Rollins – again, trade value wasn’t that high, probably no higher than his actual eventual return.

              Hamels, Papelbon – I’m confident that they maximized the return on both players, Hamels especially. when they were actually traded.

              it is at least somewhat relevant (though the weight of this isn’t that high) that, absent Ruiz/Ultey/Rollins/Papelbon/Hamels in 2014 the team would have been a true horror show – those guys all had good seasons, accumulating 17.4 fWAR between them.

              That leaves Lee. In retrospect certainly failing to trade him seems like a mistake – though we don’t know what the offers were.

            5. Re your second comment, here’s where we differ – I don’t think that “let’s trade all the veterans immediately” has to be part of a rebuild. Now, in fairness, you’re far from alone in thinking that that is the case. And clearly if you can get the right return, yes you trade them. But:

              (1) Sometimes waiting can get you a better return. That CLEARLY seems to be the case regarding Hamels, and possibly for Papelbon.
              (2) Even when that’s not the case, it’s defensible (at least) to hold on to some of the veterans when the return is not that great – which I contend was the case for almost all of the veterans at that point. It’s defensible because there are concrete reasons to avoid 100 loss seasons – which WOULD have happened in 2013 and 2014 if they had gone into fire sale mode. They would have been fielding AAA teams.

              My guess – from direct and circumstantial evidence – is that was what the team was thinking from the 2012 deadline through 2014. And IMO that strategy ended up working just fine, whether through luck or design.

              Again, Lee is the exception here. If they turned down a good return for him at the deadline in 2012, that’s a significant unforced error. Though it’s quite possible that they didn’t like the offers in 2012, and hoped to get a better offer at the 2013 deadline. If that’s the case, obviously it didn’t work out. But it seems to have been the same calculation with Hamels, and in that case it DID work out.

            6. I see that I wrote that confusingly. I did/do not advocate trading all the vets after 2012, but that is when they should have begun to trade a member or two of the core. They traded Pence and Victorino, but I would not have traded both of them. Rollins or Ruiz. Both had very good value.

            7. Two big picture points first: (1) I just don’t think that would have moved the needle much in terms of the rebuild, even assuming that you’re right. (2) Since you’re essentially saying that the traded the wrong 2 guys, I don’t think you’re really disagreeing with the team’s basic strategy, you’re disagreeing with the execution.

              That said, in terms of the specifics: just why do you think that trading (say) Rollins and Ruiz rather than Vic and Pence would have been a better choice? There’s two possibilities: you think they could have gotten better prospects back, or you think that they would have benefited more from keeping Pence and Vic rather than keeping Rollins and Ruiz.

              As for the first point, obviously the prospects we got back in those deals didn’t work out. But that happens. Even if you think that was in part poor talent evaluation by the organization (as opposed to luck), the meaningful question is whether Rollins and Ruiz had more trade value than Vic and Pence at the time. I think that they pretty clearly did not. Of the 4, I think Pence had the most trade value. It’s true that Rollins had 2 more years of control, Pence and Ruiz only one. But Rollins and Ruiz were also a lot older. That matters when it comes to trade value. They were at a greater risk of decline, and they in fact declined. Factor in that Pence was either going to re-sign or get his team a comp pick, and I think Pence was clearly the most valuable trade piece.

              As for value going forward, this is obviously quite secondary given the needs of the rebuild. It’s complicated by the fact that only Rollins was signed past 2013. You can’t assume that Pence or Vic would have resigned – and even if they had, it doesn’t really help the rebuild. Setting that aside, Pence has had the most value of the 4 (though all 4 have had their moments) since then. And one can argue that that was predictable. But again, for that very reason, Pence had more trade value.

  21. According to CSN, we signed five players on minor league deals, with spring training invites. None seem overly inspiring.

    Copied from CSN: Here’s a quick look at the five players:

    RHP Chris Leroux, 31 – The reliever had a 3.90 ERA in 85 1/3 innings in the Brewers’ and Phillies’ organizations in 2015. He has pitched in the majors for the Marlins, Pirates and Yankees.

    RHP Reinier Roibal, 26 – Used mostly as a reliever in 2015, he posted a 1.64 ERA in 31 games while pitching for the Phillies’ Clearwater and Reading clubs. He has averaged 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings in four minor-league seasons.

    INF Emmanuel Burris, 30 – The veteran infielder has played in 287 major-league games with the Giants and Nationals. He hit .279 and had a .341 on-base percentage for the Nats’ triple A Syracuse team in 2015.

    RHP Frank Herrmann, 31 – He appeared in 95 games for the Indians from 2010 to 2012. He pitched in the Angels’ and Pirates’ organizations last season and registered a 3.76 ERA in 52 2/3 innings. He had 53 strikeouts and 10 walks.

    INF Ryan Jackson, 27 – He has spent time in the majors with the Cardinals and Angels. He has hit .272 with a .343 on-base percentage in 680 minor-league games.

    1. Most of these guys are org. filler. Roibal, however, is something more than that. I saw him at Reading and he has quite a good arm. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he ends up hooking on with the Phillies or another major league team in a year a two as the 11th or 12th man on a staff.

  22. Not many people here have mentioned Sweeney…who plays 2b and OF. His introduction to MLB didn’t go all that well but he does indicate some potential as–maybe–an infield/outfield reserve. Looks like he’ll be going to AAA LV to start ’16. With more “seasoning” he could turn out to be a useful piece in a while.

    Thanks to all for the discussion on “BPA.” Not looking for Mr Goodbar…rather looking for a Puk.

    1. I like Sweeney – quite a bit, actually. Sweeney is precisely the type of minor league lottery ticket the Phillies should be looking to acquire. His hit tool is questionable, but he has a ton of skills (speed, plate discipline, surprising power) that, if everything goes right, could turn him into a very good player. It may not work out, but I love the thinking behind that trade and he was a very good gamble, in my view.

      1. Sweeney was a very good get, for an August post-waiver trade. He would have probably been one of the 1st players selected in the upcoming Rule 5 draft. Under normal circumstances, the Phillies probably get a #25-30 ranked Org player for an August waiver trade rental. By targeting a player that would be hard to protect on the other team’s 40, they got better value. Underrated move.

  23. A guy that we haven’t talked much about is the other guy in the Utley trade with LA (John Richy). At 6’4″ 215, he appears to be a solid workhorse sort of guy. He’s 23 y/o but has put up some pretty good stats. His K/9 is in the low 7s. His BB/9 was .7 in 2 games. His HR/9 is low. SSS and all but that’s pretty impressive or maybe he wanted to impress his new bosses with a good debut in CLW. He averaged less than a hit per inning in CLW but prior to coming over he averaged more than a hit per inning. I assume he’ll regress to the mean after being here for longer than breath mint. He was a 3rd round choice out of Nevada – Los Vegas.

    Is he top 30 material or another lottery ticket arm? Will he be in the AA rotation or start him in A+ and push his way upward? Is he ultimately a reliever in disguise or even org filler?

    1. At the beginning of the year, FanGraphs viewed him as a potential #4. That sounds about right, if all goes well. It’s also possible that his stuff plays up better in relief. He was a nice arm to be included in a trade. More inventory with upside. I hate to refer to people in this way, but, when push comes to shove, it’s about stocking up on multiple players with upside and playing the odds.

  24. I wonder the Pirates would have interest in Giles. He is young and controllable so salary wouldn’t be an issue for a few years. With Melancon on the block, they could flip a prospect or two from that deal to help acquire Giles. They also have a strong farm system to trade from if they wanted to go that route.

      1. I think the problem with both teams (and almost all of the other teams looking for a closer) is that they are run by people who value prospects highly and closers not so highly.

        At this point, Arizona is the one organization out there with a need and a traditional front office. But I honestly don’t know their system well enough to know if they match up with us.

        1. Klentak does want pitching , as he says, like everyone else, and the D-Backs have a half-dozen pretty decent pitching prospects, that are approx. 2 years away. Two lefties that could be offered within a package deal, would be Alex Young or Cory Reed

      2. DMAR…Rosenthal says the Marlins also inquired about Giles availability. Not sure how valid that is, but the Phillies could be hesitant in trading within the division And the Marlins farm system is rankednear the bottom right now.
        I still, like you mention, think the Astros will be a major player for him, and I would not entirely discount Dave Stewart and the D-Backs just yet, ne has pullded some surprises in the last year or so.

        1. I saw that but like you said I dismiss the Marlins farm system. To Larry’s point above yours while Luhnow and Theo may value their prospects I think they know they have plenty of them so as long as Klentak wasn’t ridculous in his wants they would part with one really decent one and a few other middle of the road prospects being blocked.

          When it comes to Giles I don’t think the goal should be to get a haul for him but if we’re talking Astros you can ask for Derek Fisher and possibly one of Feliz/Martes and then possibly Guduan.

          If we’re talking Cubs you might get McKinney and Pierce Johnson who knows.

          1. DMAR……Reymin Guduan, who I think the Phillies will look at in the Rule 5, will probably not be protected tomorrow, as he wasn’t last year…but passed thru the Rule 5 draft , primarily since he was an A-level player…this year he pitched at Corpus Christi-AA level so he has more experience and I am sure will be scooped up, unless the ‘Stros protect him tomorrow….right now he is not protected.

            1. Guduan has a career walk rate OVER 7 and it’s not like he either K’s hitters or Walks them, he has consistently given up far more hits then innings pitched. No thank you, sounds like it would be a wasted pick to me. The guy from the Astros org that I would consider is the OF Teoscar Hernandez who looks like he has some solid tools. He has put up a season where he hit 20 plus HR, 30 Plus SB while getting on base at a clip above .370. with a career .261 minor league average. Looks like he can do a little bit of every thing (including strikeout haha) but that’s the guy i’m looking to select.

            2. EricD….just look at his AA stats….IP45.2 H38 HR3 H33 K59 Ave.220 WHIP1.55 ….if a team can harness his command….he will dominate. His H/9, HR/9 and K/9 are plus.
              But you have to remember what the Phillies are looking for…..I do not think they will take a hitter. They seem to be leaning pitching.

          2. Forget about getting any of those Houston flame throwers in the Rule 5. They just cleared space on their 40 in the Villar trade.

          3. I’m not convinced now is the time to unload Giles but if it were part of a larger deal involving pieces the Phils could replace in free agency, it’s worth considering. Phils could match up well with the White Sox, a team that’s always ‘all-in’ and competing despite the odds. A low cost way to address some Chisox needs provides a chance for the Phils to strengthen their pitching without dipping heavily into free agency.

            Giles, Galvis and Asche for pitchers Erik Johnson, Francelis Montas and Onelki Garcia (needs Rule 5 protection), infielder Micah Johnson and outfielder Avisail Garcia. The salaries balance and give the Sox a chance to spend on an outfielder in free agency.

            The Phils can pick-up replacements (Broxton, Asdrubal Cabrera and re-sign Francoeur) in free agency,

  25. Rule 5 eligible players have to be protected tomorrow. I’ll predict Roman Quinn, Gabriel Lino, Jimmy Cordero, E Ramos and Yacksel Rios will be the 5 players they add to the 40. I think they leave Perkins, Stassi and Logan Moore unprotected and Moore will be selected in the Rule 5 by another team.

    1. Looking at the list from MLB (and confirmed by Matt Wink’s article) — Carlos Tocci is also exposed to Rule V. There will be at least teams 4 to 5 teams that are in rebuilding mode that will be tempted to grab Tocci (being Top 10 prospect from a Top 10 farm) and keep him. I know Tocci is NOT MLB ready yet, but the Phils need to protect him.

      The Phils only have 7 open spots with at least 2 going to FA (OF and SP) leaving only 5 open spots. If the Phils are considering to draft 1 or 2 in Rule V players – they can only protect 3 or 4 who I assume Quinn, Tocci, Ramos and Cordero.

      IMO, I would like the Phils to release Murray and/or Neris in the 40-man roster to get another shot in drafting prospects from teams with deep farm via Rule V.

      1. Earlier in the year I believed Tocci was Rule 5 eligible too, but he isn’t. He signed a contract for 2012 in August 2011, which makes him eligie next year.

        1. @Anonymous – that’s what I thought too that’s why I’m surprised to see Tocci’s name in the MLB list. I know that Tocci, Pinto and E Garcia signed in the same signing period and Pinto and Garcia are eligible next year but Tocci’s name pop out this year.

          I also saw a list of Rule V eligible prospects inlcuded in each team’s Top 30 — Phils list is only Quinn and Tocci but HOU, STL have at least Top 30 prospect that they need to protect. I will try to post the link if I can find it again.

          1. Kurdt, look on mlbtraderumors for an article (yesterday) by Jonathan Mayo who lists all those eligible for Rule 5. Tocci is listed there as well.

            1. Romus, the Mayo article for MLB has the list of all the teams with the number of Top 30 prospects that need to go on the 40 man in parentheses. All the numbers match the number of players except for the Phils. They list 3, but the number in parantheses is 2. Is there one that is up for debate?

            2. matt13… picked out another odd thing with the MLB list…Phillies are the only team with that discrepancy. Quinn is the obvious player to be protected….Tocci or Tirado would be the one’s who’s status could be questionable. Or perhaps MLB just had a typo in their printing.

          1. KuKo….oops. maybe a bit of bad luck…his 21st birthday falls on Rule 5 draft day, that may be what MLB is using for their criteria.?????.

          2. MLB explained it in the article….’international player or high school Draft pick signed in 2011 — assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 5 of that year — must be protected’

          3. Well, if its true that both Tirado and Tocci are eligible to be selected this year, I’d have to take back my Yacksel Rios prediction. Hopefully they find a way to keep Gabriel Lino protected.

  26. The Cardinals are leaving their #11 rated prospect, RHP Louis Perdomo, unprotected. Seems like an Alberto Tirado level prospect.

    1. Do we know for certain that Tirado is un-protected?

      if so, that is a major mistake. he will definitely be picked. a hard throwing bullpen guy is an easy selection.

      i would be very surprised if Tocci is picked. but it is possible. interesting prospect, but no where near ready for MLB.

      1. v1…the 40 list does not need to be finalized until later tonight and they have a few open spots on it anyway….all they need to do is to get to 39 or less to participate in the Rule 5 draft.
        MLB’s Jon Mayo changed their discrepancy this it reads three all the way that need protection:
        Philadelphia Phillies (3)
        No. 6 Roman Quinn, OF
        No. 14 Alberto Tirado, RHP
        No. 20 Carlos Tocci, OF

      1. rocco…..a little current trivia:
        MVPs: 2015
        Win- NL:Harper-AL:Donaldson
        …interestingly, three never made BA’s Top 100 …Donaldson, Goldschmidt and Cruz.

  27. This has got to be a stressful day for Rule 5 eligible players. If they are protected on the 40 man, they go from a 5K per season salary to a 67K per season salary. If they go unprotected, but get selected in the Rule 5 draft, they get a chance to go from 5K to 414K salary. I guess if I’m a pitcher, middle infielder of CF and I am any good, I hope to be left unprotected.

  28. Looks like the Astros didn’t have room for all of their flame throwers. They protected Paulino and Gustave, but left Guduan unprotected.

  29. Puk vs Groome. Something no one really talks about is just because someone is in high school doesn’t necessarily mean that they are closer then the other. Yes there is an age difference and yes there is a difference of quality of competition (to a degree bc Groome has most definitely faced really good competition on the AAU circuit and at IMG). I’ve seen both of these guys throw, Puk on TV several times (yes on tv but hey i’ve never seen Kershaw live but I can see his talent) and have seen and coached against Groome several times . . . Groome is the better pitcher RIGHT NOW, he has the better stuff RIGHT NOW, it’s without question in my mind that he is the better pitcher and will end up being the better of the 2. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not a scout but when someone is as good as Groome is and as good as Puk is for that matter, I don’t know that you really need to be a scout to see it. I don’t know Puk mental make up but I do know Jason’s make up and it’s second to none. He is the number 1 pick and if he isn’t then check back in 10 years when he has won a Cy Young award . . . I am that confident. Directly from scouts and a few college coaches “He’s a young Kershaw who could have more upside”.

    1. “Directly from scouts and a few college coaches ‘He’s a young Kershaw who could have more upside’”.

      Happen to catch the name of that scout/coach?

      I’d need to know a lot more before being persuaded by your arguments. I’d like to know who does well pitching against elite opposition, who pitches well late into games, who is easily coached, how much rest each is used to between starts, who adds pitches comfortably to his repertoire, who bounces back from adversity, who holds runners well, who fields his position.

      If I coached against a top prospect, I’d follow his career with interest and wish him well, the same as you. But ….

      1. Coach Schlossnagle was one of the college coaches who comped him to Kershaw. They were going to recruit him then decided that there was no chance that he ever stepped foot on a college campus Also Roger Williams who the pitching coach with Louisville said he is similar to Kershaw but better at their same levels. As far as the scouts I don’t know the name of the area scout who said it, just know he is an indians crosschecker. I’ve personally talked to all 3 because they 2 recruited 2 of my guys.

    2. I’m no scout either, and don’t pretend to be one. Things can always change during the spring preceding the draft, but the best scouting reports I’ve heard pretty consistently seem to favor Groome. It’s unfair to compare anyone to Kershaw because Kershaw is in the process of becoming an all-time great, but Groome appears to check all the boxes from what I’m hearing.

    1. Luckily we are in a situation where we can keep Giles if the price isn’t right. Dave Stewart’s mood could also change if the Dbacks are in the hunt for a playoff spot next season. He is content with Ziegler as the closer, but Ziegler is 36 and we know that injuries and declines in production are common with older players. Ziegler’s track record is good and it is reasonable to think he could have another productive season. However, Giles is entering his prime and has the electric stuff you look for in a closer. He would be a nice long term option if they did decide to pull the trigger.

      1. Agree.
        He is taking the risk that Ziegler last the whole season healthy….and the Phillies if they trade Giles, does not go to the Dodgers or Giants.
        Do not see the Padres and Rockies having a need to trade for a closer come July.

        1. Those are some pretty big risks for him to take as GM. Even if Giles is traded to another NL club like the Pirates or Cubs that could still hurt Arizona’s chance of getting into the wildcard game. Acquiring Giles would allow Ziegler to slide back into the 8th inning role where IMO he is better suited. He may not want to give up the prospects to bring in a closer, but a strong off season from the Giants and Dodgers may force his hand if they really want to compete.

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