Open Discussion: Week of October 5th

I imagine most if not all of you are dissatisfied with Meddleton’s half-measure solution exercised this week.  Although I wasn’t necessarily in favor of removal, Meddleton’s actions don’t really address the issues in the front office, and actually may just perpetuate the status quo for another season. 

Matt Klentak stepping down and being reassigned within the organization is not too big a deal.  They have to pay him for the next two years regardless.  Let them get some value out of him.  Maybe he oversees their growing analytics functions and acts as a liaison of sorts.

Promoting Ned Rice to interim GM seems like an innocuous move at first, intended to get the Phillies through the next couple months while Meddleton conducts one of his exhaustive searches for a replacement.  But, his statement that his search could take a year is worrisome.  We could be in for more of the same for the foreseeable future.

Andy MacPhail came through unscathed.  In fact, I read somewhere that he will take over some baseball operations during his final contract year.  Yikes!

I don’t know what we’re supposed to make of this.  I’m concerned that Rice is attractive because he will be amenable to the owner’s meddling in front office affairs.  I’m concerned that MacPhail will now be involved in baseball decisions.  I’m curious if the Phillies are trying to circumvent MLB’s push for minority hiring in the front office.  Not that the Phillies are adverse to minority hiring.  But, if you are looking for an experienced exec with a good track record, it’s hard to find one among minorities because owners don’t hire minorities to fill those positions.

Maybe they plan on suffering through a fake year-long search blamed on Covid-19 so they can hire an experienced front office guy(s) when MacPhail retires and the social climate is different.

What I don’t get is how don’t they have a contingency plan in place to replace a GM?  Everyone in the tri-state area knew this move was possible.  How can Meddleton “fire” the GM without having a priority list of replacements in mind.  MLB is going to allow fans in the stadiums for the LCS.  No reason a GM search should take a year.  One word, Zoom.

Well, that’s my two cents.

The Phillies reported a lot of transactions last week.  Most were bookkeeping in nature as they return players to their assigned locations and clear the 10-day IL.

Sorry for the late post again.  Moving is a pain.  Internet was unavailable for a couple days.  I am unbelievably far behind with email and social messaging.  I went to sleep last night before the Eagles’ game.  Watched the replay this morning.  Hard to believe that you can win your first game of the season in the fourth week and move into first place in your division.  SMH.

I saw a clever tweet.  Something like, as we enter the 4th quarter of 2020, let’s hope Covid is the Atlanta Falcons.

I find it interesting that MLB didn’t play an American League playoff game this weekend.  Three teams clinched on Wednesday, the fourth on Thursday.  Afraid to go up against football?  So, which sport is the real national pastime?

Instructs started yesterday.  It was rainy, I stayed home.  Heading over now.

This is the Phuture Phillies Open Discussion for Phillies and other baseball topics.

Key Dates:

  • September 30, 2020 – Expiration of the Professional Baseball Agreement between MLB and MiLB
  • October 15, 2020, 5:00 PM EDT – Close of the 2019 international signing period
  • October TBA – Trading resumes, day after the World Series ends
  • October – November TBA, five days after the conclusion of the World Series – Deadline for teams to make qualifying offers to their eligible former players who became free agents
  • November TBA, fifteen days after the conclusion of the World Series – Deadline for free agents to accept qualifying offers
  • November TBA – GM Meetings (Nov. 11-14, Scottsdale, AZ in 2019)
  • November TBA – Owners meetings (Nov. 19-21, Arlington, TX in 2019)
  • November 20, 2020 – Rosters set for Rule 5 Draft
  • November TBA – MLBPA executive board meeting (Nov. 26-29 in Irving, TX in 2018)
  • December 2, 2019 – Last day for teams to offer 2021 contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters
  • December 6-10, 2020 – Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas, at the Omni Dallas Hotel and Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, held in conjunction with the Baseball Trade Show and PBEO Job Fair.
  • December 10, 2020 – Rule 5 Draft
  • January TBA – Rookie Career Development Program
  • January 15, 2021, 9:00 AM EST – Start of the 2020 international signing period

The rosters and lists are up to date as of September 20th … 337 players in the org

Transactions (newest transactions are in bold print)

10/01/2020 – 3B Luke Williams assigned to Lehigh Valley from cAlternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – 2B Ronald Torreyes assigned to Lehigh Valley from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – LHP Jeff Singer assigned to Lehigh Valley from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – RHP Reggie McClain assigned to Lehigh Valley from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – RHP JD Hammer assigned to Lehigh Valley from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – RHP Deolis Guerra assigned to Lehigh Valley from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – RHP Enyel De Los Santos assigned to Lehigh Valley from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – CF Mikie Mahtook assigned to Lehigh Valley from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – LF Nick Martini assigned to Lehigh Valley from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – C Jonathan Lucroy assigned to Lehigh Valley from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – SS Nick Maton assigned to Reading from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – RHP Joel Cesar assigned to Reading
10/01/2020 – LHP Damon Jones assigned to Reading from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – C Henri Lartigue assigned to Reading from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – 1B Austin Listi assigned to Reading from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – SS Bryson Stott assigned to Clearwater from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – C Logan O’Hoppe assigned to Lakewood from Alternate Training Site
10/01/2020 – SS Raibently Mercalina assigned to DSL Red
9/28/2020 – Phillies activated 1B Rhys Hoskins from the 10-day IL
9/28/2020 – Phillies recalled LHP Cole Irvin from Alternate Training Site
9/28/2020 – Phillies recalled LHP Cristopher Sanchez from Alternate Training Site
9/28/2020 – Phillies recalled RHP Ramon Rosso from Alternate Training Site
9/28/2020 – Phillies recalled RHP Victor Arano from Alternate Training Site
9/28/2020 – Phillies recalled CF Mickey Moniak from Alternate Training Site
9/28/2020 – Phillies recalled RHP Mauricio Llovera from Alternate Training Site
9/28/2020 – Phillies activated RHP Heath Hembree from the 10-day IL
9/28/2020 – Phillies activated RHP Jake Arrieta from the 10-day IL
9/28/2020 – Phillies recalled RHP Adonis Medina from Alternate Training Site
9/28/2020 – Phillies activated RF Kyle Garlick from the 10-day IL
9/28/2020 – Phillies recalled LHP Garrett Cleavinger from Alternate Training Site
9/24/2020 – Phillies recalled LHP Ranger Suarez from Alternate Training Site
9/24/2020 – Phillies optioned CF Mickey Moniak to Alternate Training Site
9/24/2020 – Phillies activated RHP Spencer Howard from the 10-day IL
9/24/2020 – Phillies optioned RHP Ramon Rosso to Alternate Training Site
9/23/2020 – Phillies optioned LHP Ranger Suarez to Alternate Training Site
9/22/2020 – Phillies recalled Ranger Suarez from Alternate Training Site
9/21/2020 – Phillies recalled CF Mickey Moniak from Alternate Training Site
9/21/2020 – Phillies recalled RHP Ramon Rosso from Alternate Training Site
9/21/2020 – Phillies placed RHP Heath Hembree on the 10-day IL, right elbow strain
9/21/2020 – Phillies optioned RHP Adonis Medina to Alternate Training Site

181 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of October 5th

  1. I feel the same way Jim does.
    While John Middleton’s decision to demote Matt Klentak was a step in the right direction, the truth of the matter is it’s really like removing the tumor, but taking a pass on the radiation and chemotherapy. As long as Andy MacPhail still holds any power/influence in that FO, the Phillies will not get well.
    The belief and dedication to Andy has me questioning Middleton’s judgement. Take a minute to really put MacPhail’s record under the microscope, and let me know what you/Middleton/anyone sees to have any confidence in him.
    These are the facts … during Andy’s last 12 years in charge of baseball operations for three different teams (Cubs 2005-06, Orioles 2007-11, Phillies 2016-2020), he has ZERO winning seasons amd his record is 807 W – 1,034 L. That’s an embarrassing .438 winning % !!!
    He Gotta’ Go !

    1. 8mark … in regards to Jim Salisbury’s list of 14 possible candidates to replace Klentak (let’s hope Middleton is serious about actually bringing in a premier baseball mind) …

      Eliminate Ruben Amaro immediately (I’ve got a better chance of winning the MEGA MILLIONS than RAJ has of being brought back). That leaves 13 on the list.

      A big, fat “No” to anyone with any connection to Andy MacPhail: Hendry, Dombrowski, Ryan, and Proefrock. That trims the list to 9.

      Duquette is 62 YO, and completely ignored the international market while GM in Baltimore. He’s only on the list because he went to college with John Middleton. Down to 8.

      Sabean and Piccollo aren’t progressive enough.

      So that narrows Salisbury’s list to a half dozen guys: Billy Owens, Jared Porter, Ray Montgomery, Tim Naehring, Bobby Heck, and Erik Neander. Each of these guys have both scouting backgrounds and work for clubs who embrace analytics (two things Middleton is looking for). However, only one of the six actually has GM experience. Erik Neander may be the youngest dude (just 37 YO) on Salisbury’s list, but he has been Tampa’s General Manager since he was 34 YO. During his tenure as GM, the Rays have gone 226-158 (.559 winning%), and Neander was named Executive of the Year in 2019 for the incredible job he did on a shoestring budget. The other thing I love about him is this: unlike Andy MacPhail, Neander is in no way risk averse. Middleton would have to oust MacPhail (should not have to think twice about that) from his job, and offer Neander the Phillies President of Baseball Operations title to land him. Get that done, John!

      1. Nice work, Hinkie. Liked how you systematically reduced the field of legitimate candidates. Bobby Heck may be the next best thing to Neander since the obstacle is MacPhail’s indefinite status, plus he’s a Tampa guy – by osmosis alone that gives him an edge up on some others. The apparent lack of urgency on Middleton’s part is bothersome. (Oh, Jim….is Meddleton MacKlentak?🤪) It’s like Johnny Cigars is advertising to the public that there’s a spill in aisle 21 that needs to be mopped up. And we all get to watch the cleanup. So disjointed, and disappointing from a guy most if not all of us thought was a no nonsense owner ready to move aggressively and decisively. Meticulous my a$$. Come on, John! Cab you not see the forest for the trees?

        (And does anyone know if in fact he reads Phuture Phillies?)

      2. I’m not sure that MacPhail is a strong barrier to getting a guy like Neander in here. By most accounts he is stepping away after the 2021 season. Given the COVID situation as John Middleton described it may make the “onboarding” process smoother. Then after 2021 Erik can completely overhaul the team as he sees fit.

  2. Hinkie, Theo Epstein. It is believed he will not extend his contract in Chicago, which has 1 year to go. Ask permission to talk to him. He could be President of Baseball operations, and MacPhail can advise or whatever for the year, since Middleton likes him, and I can’t think of a better guy than Theo. After that, for me, it is Naehring or Neander.

    1. matt … I’m not sure who is more available: Theo Epstein or Erik Neander?
      Obviously, Epstein has two WS titles on his resume, but he’s also had all kinds of problems building a BP in Chicago. Outside of giving up a stud prospect (Gleyber Torres) to rent Aroldis Chapman (which won them a championship), I can’t think of too many success stories in the Cubs’ BP. Neander has been collecting/developing dominant (and inexpensive) relievers every year in Tampa. The Phillies are crying out for a GM with this kind of talent.

      1. Rays do two things very well….develop pitching and obtain best return value on trades….what they lack, is developing positional players.
        Phillies could use a guy who can oversee pitching development and making trades that at least ‘break-even’

      2. Hinkie, I read a column by Matt Gelb in The Athletic, and asked him about Theo. He answered me that “a number of people had mentioned Theo Epstein’s name, and upon further digging, I believe that is not a good match.” I don’t know why, but I can’t argue with him. Is it not a match because of MacPhail, or some other issue? I don’t know, but I am back to Naehring or Neander.

    2. Get MacFail “out of here!”. Start the management rebuild now. We don’t need him and I will clean out his desk, drive him anywhere he wants to go for good. I am so over Klentak and MacFail

  3. I get the fans frustrations on why cannot let go of Klentak. I have a tweeter battle with some fans about it – most here knows that I’m not a Klentak apologist but I do understand Middleton’s reasoning of finding use of Klentak since he is paying for it. In fact, I think that Middleton forced Klentak’s resignation and let Klentak go out his way as a courtesy to McPhail.

    Hiring McPhail is probably Middleton’s biggest blunder and yet McPhail keeps standing. I don’t know if the two history in the past but I agree with Hinkie — the dedication to McPhail is unexplainable.

    Middleton said that he still learning the baseball business. His lack of conviction and decisiveness is disappointing considering that he is a successful businessman. If Middleton doesn’t know how to run a baseball team, he should have hired the best available baseball people and let them run the team.

    Klentak will get a lot of flak because he has the resources and support to build a competitive team. All that Middleton talk (i.e. money spending, want the ring back, etc) is gesture, since the fact of the matter is the leadership of this organization is failing ==== we don’t need to be a genius to know what’s the normal end game for failed leadership.

  4. The Phillies are truly stuck in a wasteland of their own making. A directionless front office, a minor league system devoid of talent, and forfeiting draft picks to sign underachieving free agents. Added to that mix was a decision to hire an inexperienced manager who couldn’t handle the basic in-game moves required of all managers. Look, I understand John Middleton’s desire to hire a well respected baseball man as team president with the illness and passing of Dave Montgomery. But his pursuit of someone that was enjoying retirement was curious. And I don’t really blame Andy McPhail hiring Matt Klentak, who was all in with the analytics school of thinking that John Middleton fell in love with. But at some point, John Middleton should step back, hire someone with a true vision of what it takes to evaluate, draft, and develop young talent. Other teams have no problems finding such people. And that person should be able to recognize that a player on the downside of his career isn’t worth a contract that would prevent the flexibility to address other needs.

    1. Klentak is a true product of Corporate America’s best know unspoken dark secret —- People are hired because of WHO they know and not because of WHAT they know.

      Almost all of knowledgeable Phillies fan expects that Klentak will be the GM from the time McPhail was hired. The interview process was just a show just like how Corporate America does it.

      I used to like Middleton because I like leaders who are decisive and go direct to the point. Middleton proven me wrong. He forced his way up just for POWER and not because he believes that he is capable of running the Phillies successfully.

      Middleton’s move #1 — hire McPhail. Sign that Middleton is clueless. But fans are so done with Amaro that anybody other than Amaro is better.

      1. John Middleton fancies himself as the George Steinbrenner of the National League, and by golly, he has successfully turned the Phillies into the Yankees of the 1980s, draft poorly and just throw money at every free agent in hopes of winning. A shame that Mike Arbuckle’s last few drafts we’re terrible, because Marti Woliver’s were even worse, and unless Mickey Moniak and Adam Hasely turn into solid Major League players, Johnny A’s legacy will be no better

  5. As alluded to above as soon as MacPhail was hired everyone knew it would be Klentak, btw Eppler in LAA got canned and he was the guy deemed better than Klentak when that job opened. I was driving to dinner Sat evening and heard the entire press conference. I was asking the reporters questions before they did. I jumped on the comment when Middleton proclaimed the greatness of MacPhail since he won 2 World Series(1987 1991) yet he was hired in 87 so he deserves zero credit for that title but does deserve credit for 1991. However that was 29 years ago(no one specifically brought that up). Eskin immediately jumped on Middleton and correctly pointed out that he deserved zero credit for 87 but was wrong by saying he didnt deserve it for 91. As Middleton spoke about the Sixto trade I said to my wife that JT is gone, she asked how can I tell and I said he is laying the groundwork between possibility no fans in 2021(Philly mayor PA Gov are Dems and not to get political but we know that trend) and then going on about the Lee trade. He absolutely blasted his baseball people by saying that they told him they could get the extension done, and without an extension he would not have signed off on trading Sixto. I also like how he correctly pointed out that for 100 years, except for two periods in early 70s and late 90/early 2000s this franchise cannot draft talent. That is where the biggest problem is, but not just the draft. The complete inability to produce all star players from LA is holding us back. For years all we heard was how great Sal A was in working with a shoestring budget, but for the past 8-10 years thats false, we suck and evaluating raw talent.

    1. That inability to produce all star talent from LA signings is baffling.
      Their best LA talent…Galvis/Cesar/Villar/ Domingo Santana/Chooch/Carassco and now Sixto…..were all low money signing bonus outlays.
      Probably more luck, than skill in the talent searching.
      The huge bonus monies…..the heavily scouted kids, $500K and above thru $4.4M all have stumbled and struggled….some failed

      Makes no sense.

    2. Middleton in making that statement discredits himself doesn’t he? I mean if you knew trading Sixto without an extension in hand was a bad idea why put your stamp of approval on the deal.

      I personally like to believe that I would not have approved the trade unless I had extension paperwork on my desk.

      Water under the bridge perhaps or as you point out laying the ground work for not re-upping JT at his number. Which would be doubling down on a bad hand IMO.

      1. Why do folks constantly say that they wouldn’t do a trade without an extension. The player doesn’t have to agree with that theory plus the other team doesn’t have to allow you to even talk to the guy. Those extensions rarely happen as part of the trade.

  6. I Just read that Middleton said, Should never had made the Sixto trade without extending Realmuto, Its going to be hard to sign him over virus loss of revenue, I dont care if they resign him, i dont want to overpay for him. Rather get that third starter, and see if we can give DIDI a three yr deal for fair money, and get a good third starter, Spend money on bullpen and starter, first, Hope that we develop that catcher with the prospect we have, I would give three years to DIDI cause if we see stott can play, then one of them goes to third,

    1. rocco… earlier where JTR was looking to match or exceed catcher Joe Mauer’s Twin’s contract of 8 yrs/ $184M with an AAV of $23M from when he signed it in 2011.
      Not sure that will happen now with the COVID pandemic revenue issues.
      Middleton could get him at $21/22M AAV for 5 yrs…that is somewhat reasonable IMO.
      But if other teams like the Yankees, Braves, Nats or Mets decide to jump in…..then I would play poker with them and let them break their bank for him…because it will be for 6 yrs I would think and approaching $24/25M AAV..
      But agree….if he walks…get that third impact starter.

  7. Rhys Hoskins has TJ, and out 4-6 months. That interferes with his ST, and at the 6 month mark, into next season. That is not a good thing. I hope it is the shorter time table, and he gets some quality ST in. I wonder if that increases the chances of Jay Bruce coming back?

    1. Knapp had his mid-October 2013 and was hitting in the Thresher’s lineup first week of May 2014…his was on his throwing arm which was his bottom arm when he swung a bat from the left side. He was swinging a bat in April

      Rhys should be ready by April, unless he has a setback in his rehab.

      1. I remember his first stint in Clearwater. He was used exclusively as a DH and was awful. When they felt he was healthy enough to play defense, he was transferred to Lakewood and finished strong.

  8. Rhys Hoskins underwent TJ surgery today. He’s expected to miss 4 to 6 months of baseball activity. It’s on his left (non-throwing) arm. Not sure what impact this has on the team since Alec Bohm is ready to hold down 1B.

    1. This will give the Phillies to chance to see what they have with Listi and Hall. Knapp can probably handle 1B too especially if he hit again in 2021. I like to see Bohm at 3B unless there’s a better option or Bohm’s defense in 3B is detrimental to the success of the team.

      1. KuKo….not sure about Hall….he may be trying out with another team.
        This could be his MLB Rule 55 year and can walk as a minor league free agent.
        Though there was no minor league season, MLB decided to count this year as a minor league completed full season for all minor leaguers.

        Jim Peyton would know for sure if Darick Hall is eligible this year or perhaps next.

        1. @romus – i think Hall is R5 eligible since last year but I don’t expect any team to pick him up again in this next R5 draft so Hall might be invited back in 2021 ST. Hall is mid-25 by ST so it will be good time for him to show what he got and this might be his best chance to be a big leaguer.

          I hope that Listi and Hall performed enough to get the job they are both cheap and can create some payroll flexibility but I still prefer to have the best available 1B whoever that player might be.

          1. Kuko…yes realize the Rule 5 aspects .but Rule 55…whereas he can walk as a free agent if he wants without any restrictions.
            I thought it was six years in a system and entering the 7th, the player can decide to become a free agent…I am not sure what the years are now.

  9. 8mark, even with the TJ for Rhys, I think they plan on Bohm playing 3B, and giving him a chance to show, over an extended period, whether or not he is a 3B or has to move. I don’t think they are ready to make that decision yet. If he moves to 1B, who plays 3B? Is the DH in the NL next year, so is that where Hoskins goes, or do we trade him? I wouldn’t want to do that. I am not thinking of that while he is out injured, but down the road. I would want to find a way for Hoskins and Bohm to be here long term.

  10. Several thoughts on the GM /Pres of Operations – overheard at the water fountain that Theo is probably gone in Cub-land – reliable source – same one who told me Bryant was headed to Philly and it came out that was being talked about ad nauseum but Cubs insisted on Bohm and Phils wouldn’t budge (looks like a rerun of JT trade because Bryant is a free agent after ’21). Probably mutual ending since Theo sounds like,” oh well, time to move on and win another WS title for another team who hasn’t won in awhile.” Note he only works for teams with $$. While he still has 1 year left – he sounds ready to move on, and I think owner would permit that – openly. That team needs an overhaul due to massive free agent contracts due ’21 – they can only pay 3 of those players, not 6 of them. And they lost to the great Marlins.

    As for Theo – clearly very talented. Agree with Hinkie’s remarks ref BP pitching- he has had trouble building the pitching staff and decimated their prospects with Quintana and then Chapman trades. Imagine the Cubs with Eloy Jiminez and Gleybor Torres !!! Of course, they would have no WS trophy either. However, their pitching acquisitions of late – Kimbrel among others have not been productive. The evaluation of Quintana missed something ? and to just rent Chapman ? Win now cost alot of $$ and its time to rebuild in Cubbie land.

    Maybe question is — who would make best GM candidate – Theo ; Naehring ; Neander ? Back to Hinkie’s ideas. I know this – any management candidate from Tampa is simply got to be the favorite – they are simply in a league of their own for astute deals, pitching knowledge, and strategy with no $$$$ ! Middleton needs to contact the Rays’ HR department and ask for a roster of their employees.

  11. Maybe it’s the leadership that permeates down to front office from ownership of rays. May not always be as simple as hire the next leader of rays front office.

    1. I agree. It seems, from the outside, that Rays ownership sets a budget, but the front office is allowed to do its job with respect to scouting, evaluating, drafting, and developing talent, plus who they target in the J2 market, and, for the most part, any trades and FA signings. And it seems that Tampa Bay’s front office is populated by personnel held in high regard by the rest of the league. Tampa Bay seems to be as successful hiring the right people for the front office as well as the players they draft.

      1. This is the effect if an organization that hires personnel based on qualifications and not who they know — exactly the opposite of Phillies organization who seems to cater nepotism and hiring less qualified personnel because of their ties with somebody in the organization —- Klentak (ties with McPhail) is the clear example of that. Middleton even admitted that Klentak is inexperienced so why hire Klentak over other more qualified candidates especially if Middleton is paying Klentak millions of $/year. Andy McPhail is another example of failure in hiring the right personnel in key areas. Ridiculous!

  12. I heard Girardi being interviewed on Sirus MLB radio about an hour ago and he was asked about the current Phillies front office and the turnover.. Girardi said all the right things “I can only control what my responsibilities are” and “we just take it one day at a time.” I thought I was listening to Crash Davis quotes from Bull Durham..

    Hinke I like the Neander guy from the Rays.. Will we hire him? Probably not..

    1. Hawkeye, I’m no Hinkie but from the 14 names which Jim Salisbury listed over the weekend, I would speculate the following:

      5-1 Jim Hendry, not because of his qualifications but unfortunately for his relationship/endorsement of Andy MacPhail when Middleton hired him. Plus the Phillies seem to have admired the Cubs model for rebuilding in the past.

      5-1 Tim Naehring, who Joe Girardi will likely plug from his Yankee days. And we can’t minimize the skipper’s voice in the process. Plus, after all, John Middleton is Steinbrenner South, right?

      8-1 Erik Neander (as club president) or Bobby Heck (as GM) both of whom hail from Tampa. These are longer shots if the owner doesn’t break from his old boy network.

      10-1 Billy Owens, a lieutenant of Billy Beane’s in Oakland, another organization which does more with less, like Tampa.

      The bigger odds may be the over/under date when Meticulous Middleton will finally come to a decision. Let’s not hold our breaths.

      1. After reading Jim Salisbury’s piece today, I would add Theo Epstein at 4-1 IF and only IF Middleton lags through 2021 and waits for Epstein’s contract to expire in Wrigleyville. Salisbury suggests Theo may have interest in having ownership stake as well, along with the $10M per year plus which he’ll command.

  13. Looking at the ATL NLDS Line up — it’s obvious that their FO knows how to build a sustainable winning team — good combination of home grown talents + trade returns + smart short term FA signings.

    This is a sharp contrast vs Phillies team built by Middleton/McPhail/Klentak — shallow home grown talent + poor trade returns + super expensive FAs.

  14. Also 2 other failings, KuKo. One, which Romus always talks about, and I agree, was not once did Klentak use the team’s financial ability to grab prospects from another team/s by taking on salary. I am talking about the pre-$207Million payroll days. And, we have received no boost from the International market. That goes along with lack of talent evaluation skills, but Atlanta has helped themselves that way, also.

  15. I have a great idea….let’s come up with that one thing which the Phillies front office does well, and spend a day posting our thoughts and commendations on it.

    On the other hand, Middleton may announce his new hire by the time we come up with it. Nevermind.

    1. I like your idea 8mark i think the FO hit a homerun, when they Put Romus cutout behind homeplate, That man is a hunk

    2. Actually, this would be an amazing place for a new/young GM with a vision.

      As much as we slam the Phillies, Middleton is a reasonable and fair-minded person and he is willing to spend money. I think he wants nothing more than to find the person who can be the GM here for the next 10-20 years. It’s a very stable environment, with a generous owner, a great stadium, fans who show up when the team is decent, and a great TV deal – it’s a sweet gig and way, way better than Tampa or Oakland; night and day better.

      1. I will not doubt that Middleton is a fair and reasonable person. Middleton admitted that he is still learning the baseball business — his choice of having McPhail as his baseball advisor seems ill advised. Even most of us knows from Day 1 that McPhail is not the best hire to lead the rebuild so I’m question what is Middleton’s rationale why McPhail? With hindsight, the hiring of McPhail is his biggest blunder.

        1. Kuko, my guess is that Middleton saw MacPhail as a “safe” hire because of his baseball bloodlines and the moderate success of his time in Minnesota. I doubt that Middleton himself had accrued much in the way of a wide circle of influence throughout the industry. Kirby Puckett is long gone, God rest his soul. And so did MacPhail’s relevance as a legit baseball executive. Sadly, JM is trying to convince us (but really, himself) that MacPhail was a reasonable hire. He may never realize it, or at least admit it, even after MacPhail is well on in his semi-retirement years as a special advisor to the managing partner…still. We all may have to learn to accept it as Middleton’s greatest downfall. Let’s hope a hero with real baseball chops is waiting in the wings.

          1. Yeah, but “safe” pick doesn’t seem to be the logical approach if one team wants to rise from the bottom. McPhail, Klentak, Randolph, Moniak and a bunch of others that are deemed “safe” choices are decisions that hold this team back.

            One factor that’s in favor of the Phillies is that Philly is a big market city — revenue stream, spot light and marketability works well with big FAs and good steady source of incoming cash flows.

  16. I agree catch, and I never understood why he hired MacPhail to begin with. I know about the Twins WS 30 years ago, but he had been out of Baseball for 3 years, and with Middleton, and the Bucks, consolidating their ownership of the team, it would have been a perfect time to bring in someone who would be here 10 years or more. But, here we are, and I don’t think, giving Middleton the benefit of the doubt, that the whole “MacPhail is retiring after 2021” scenario would not have been talked about so openly unless he was preparing to hire MacPhail’s successor as well.

  17. Corey Seidman has an article where he ranks the top 15 1B in the Majors, and he has Rhys at 7th. I have always been a Rhys Hoskins fan, and I think that indicates to me that we should be glad we have him, and despite some defensive issues, he is a core player going forward. I really want Bohm to stay at 3B, and again, that may be wishful thinking on my part, but going forward, having Harper, Bohm and Hoskins is a good start with Nola, Wheeler and Eflin.

    1. I don’t think having Bohm and Hoskins in the lineup together will ever be a defensive issue. I expect Bohm to eventually settle in LF once Cutch is gone. And then there is the DH becoming a permanent fixture by 2022. Hoskins has DH written all over him. Perhaps by then the Phillies can find a slick fielding 1B with a nice bat to bolster an otherwise iffy defense.

      1. “…….. slick fielding 1B with a nice bat …”,
        need to find the next Keith Hernandez, even settle for another John Kruk.

        1. Romus, I was thinking Willie Montanez. He was so much fun to watch. He was a legitimate hot dog. The ones of today are all filler.

          1. Yep…I thought 4 years ago Odubel would be the latest version of Willie Montanez on the Phillies. But he regressed.
            On the pro and con ledger for Matt Klentak….another ‘con’

    2. 7th? I would have these players before Rhys right now:

      Freeman, Goldschmidt, Rizzo, Olson, Belt, Voit, Abreu

      Then you can make a case for Alonso and Muncy.

      With Hoskins’ defensive issues, he hasn’t been over 2 WAR since 2017. He’s under contract for 3 more years and unless he starts hitting like crazy, he won’t get a second contract from the Phillies as a 1B. Hoskins needs to be the DH.

      1. Though in this truncated season his Barrel% and EV/HardHit rankings are higher than the past.
        Barrel…….14.8%…highest for him
        EV………….89.8…same as usual for him…66th percentile in the league
        HardHit….42.6%….68th percentile
        LD%………27.8%…highest in his career so far.

        …..his August he started picking things up, though his RISP still was below par…slashing 206/.372/.529 in only a SSS of 43 PAs.
        And those pitcher’s splits!
        vs RHP…209/.331/.418
        vs LHP…350/.519/.750

  18. George Springer with a couple dingers today, passing Babe Ruth with 17 post season HRs, tying him with Nelson Cruz and Jim Thome for homers in his 1st 54 post season games. Wow! 54 post season games! Should the Phillies fail to re-sign Realmuto, the free agent Springer would be a legit addition to our outfield. Yes, a starting pitcher is one the shopping list. But a CF of his caliber gives that lineup a boost especially if JTR is gone.

    1. 8mark…..sorry, Mets’ Cohen going for the trifecta….JTR, Trevor B and George Springer.
      “………With incoming owner Steve Cohen awaiting MLB approval of his $2.4 billion purchase of the Mets from Fred Wilpon, the Phillies’ NL East rival could be involved in the bidding for marquee free agents such as Realmuto, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer and Houston Astros outfielder George Springer.”

      1. Romus, I highly doubt Cohen signs all 3. Probably one, I’ll grant you since he wants to make the big splash his first year at the reins. Possibly two if the numbers are right, with the Mets still reportedly losing $200M this year, twice what the Phillies reportedly lost. Cohen’s first order of business should be building his front office.

        1. 8mark, What effect does the 200 million have on him? He doesnt own the team, the previous owners takes that hit, I think its really possible to get all three in his quest to pack the stadium and become the division top team. A lot will depend on the vaccine in a lot of decisions, but Cohen has the cash to get all three with no problem

          1. rocco…he still has Conforto and Thor (coming off TJ in June 2021) to sign long term this time next year,
            …and they are both $20/25M AAV players

            Looking at the large market teams……they each have budgets….and it looks like 4 is the max super big contracts they will incur.
            Nats have three, their main pitchers, so they may go to 4 with JTR.
            Yankees are a team that takes on those contracts also….they have two right now in Cole and Stanton….soon 3,4 or 5 with Judge, maybe even Sanchez and a new pitcher they will need for 2021.

          2. Cohen will assume debt in the deal. Very likely to cover this years expenses bank loans were secured.

          3. @rocco – in most business acquisitions, the $ paid by the new owners normally covers both the assets and liabilities although with certain exemptions. In this case, the contact obligation to the players will be transferred to Cohen since Cohen bought the team including the players so he holds rights over the players which includes their guaranteed contract.

    2. Okay, this is a little outside the box. Can the owners’ filibuster the discussion on the purchase? It could be in the interest of most, if not all, to limit the Mets in the free agent market by delaying their approval of the sale. If you can’t hire a new GM over Zoom, maybe you can’t have real owner discussions over Zoom either.

      1. Not sure they have done that in the past, or can do that once the owners meeting takes place.
        However does seem there are a few ‘no’s among the 29 other owners.
        He needs 76% to vote yes….which he will get more than likely
        But as the article below says…..his purchase of over $2B for the Mets does not in anyway hurt the value of the other 29 teams, but could be advantageous for their value, especially the small market clubs.
        Those hedge fund guys do make some money….he is almost $15B worth.
        Will Leonardo DiCaprio play him?…Wolf of Wall Street .2

  19. My educated guess is these wealthy guys serve the lord $ first. If Mets sell for $$$$$$$ it makes them all richer. Competitive team distant second to lord $.

  20. From the Grain of Salt department:
    Jon Heyman suggests the Phillies may look deep into the NY Yankees front office if they choose to replace interim GM Ned Rice before the 2021 season, naming Jim Hendry (currently a special advisor), Tim Naehring (VP of baseball operations) and Damon Oppenheimer (VP of domestic scouting). All have connections to either Joe Girardi and/or Andy MacPhail (….gag…gag…)

    This may be a physically painful exercise for us to follow, folks.

    “I suggest you grab a beer….don’t cost nothin’.” ~ John Belushi as Bluto in Animal House (for our younger readers)

  21. I would take Tim Naehring, no question. But, how do we get him without the Title of President of Baseball Operations? And, if MacPhail retires sooner rather than later, so much the better!

    1. Managing Partner John Middleton
      President Andy MacPhail
      ……Asst Senior Executive Vice President . Tim Naehring
      Executive Vice President David Buck
      Chairman Emeritus Bill Giles

      …fits like a glove right in there. 🙂

  22. Recently I have been wondering how the elite teams were built. Thought that it would be interesting to break them down as a comparison to how the Phils were built. I will start with the Dodgers.

    They have 9 players who had over 100 PAs. Here they are with their WAR, how acquired:
    Mookie Betts 3.0, Trade for a 2nd round pick, a CBA 1st round pick, a 3rd round pick
    Corey Seager 1.9 – 1st round pick
    Chris Taylor 1.5 – traded for a 1st round pick
    Justin Turner 1.3 – signed as a minor league FA
    Will Smith 1.3 – 1st round pick
    Cody Bellinger 1.2 – 4th round pick
    A.J. Pollock 1.0 – Major FA signing
    Austin Barnes 0.9 – throw in in a major deal
    Edwin Rios 0.6 – 6th round pick
    Max Muncy 0.4 – signed as a minor league FA

    Starting pitching staff:
    Tony Gonsolin 1.8 – 9th round pick
    Clayton Kershaw 1.4 – 1st round pick
    Julio Urias 1.2 – Int’l FA signed as a 15 year old for $450k
    Walker Buehler 0.5 – 1st round pick
    Dustin May 0.4 – 3rd round pick
    Ross Stripling -0.5 – 5th round pick

    Top Relievers:
    Jake McGee 0.7 – picked up on waivers from Rockies
    Victor Gonzalez 0.6 – Int’l FA
    Dylan Floro 0.5 – claimed off waivers
    Kenley Jansen 0.5 – signed as an undrafted free agent *catcher*
    Blake Treinen 0.5 – FA signed to a 1 year $10m deal
    Adam Kolarek 0.3 – acquired in a trade for an 18th round pick
    Brusdar Graterol 0.3 – acquired in a trade for Kenta Maeda, who was signed as an Int’l FA
    Caleb Ferguson 0.2 – 38th round pick

    1. Here are the salaries

      Mookie Betts $32,000,000
      Justin Turner $20,000,000
      A.J. Pollock $15,000,000
      Cody Bellinger $11,500,000
      Corey Seager $7,600,000
      Chris Taylor $5,600,000
      Max Muncy $2,500,000
      Austin Barnes $1,100,000
      Will Smith  $573,500
      Edwin Rios  $566,000
      TOTAL POSITION $96,439,500

      Clayton Kershaw $31,000,000
      Julio Urias $1,000,000
      Walker Buehler  $603,500
      Dustin May  $573,500
      Anthony Gonsolin  $566,000
      Ross Stripling $1,629,363
      TOTAL SP $35,372,363

      Kenley Jansen $18,000,000
      Blake Treinen $10,000,000
      Joe Kelly $8,500,000
      Dylan Floro  $593,500
      Brusdar Graterol  $566,000
      Jake McGee $563,500
      Adam Kolarek  $583,500
      Victor Gonzalez  $563,500
      TOTAL RELIEF $39,370,000

        1. Spending $100 million on 4 players isn’t the main takeaway here. It is how much productivity they are getting out of the small contract players.

    2. I forgot to add two players who actually have a negative WAR this year:
      – Joc Pederson -0.1, 11th round pick, $8m salary
      – Enrique Hernandez, -0.1, acquired in same deal as Austin Barnes, $6m salary

      1. A few things jump out to me:
        1. 11 players on the roster with the best record in MLB were drafted by the team. And draft picks were used to get Betts and Chris Taylor, so that is 13 players that came from draft picks. Astounding!
        2. What jumps out the most was the impact on the starting pitching. 5 of the top 6 were drafted by the Dodgers and the other was an Int’l FA signed for $450k. And all of them are on rookie deals with the exception of Kershaw.
        3. They struck gold twice signing Turner and Muncey to minor league FA deals. That’s just good scouting and development. They must have seen something that they can change.
        4. How little they paid for their relief pitching which was 3rd in all MLB (1st in NL) in WAR. 5 of the 8 top RPs were all paid under $1m salaries. Again, amazing scouting and coaching.

    3. V1 – great breakdown. I still think of something that was posted on this site about 11 years and 11 months ago, so I dug it out of an email I sent my dad at the time:


      All contributed big to the championship, and all were homegrown. You can stretch it further. The following were acquired using the fruits of the minor league system:

      Moyer (Barb/Baldwin)
      Blanton (Cardenas/Outman/Spencer)
      Lidge (Costanzo/Bourn/Geary)
      Bruntlett (Costanzo/Bourn/Geary)
      Stairs (Castro)
      Eyre (Schlitter)

      The game has changed since 2008, but you still can’t buy your way out of drafting and developing well. As your analysis of LAD shows, this is particularly true of building a bullpen.

        1. Ya think Bloom would like to have said yes to Graterol as part of the Betts deal now…

          The other thing that jumped out at me is that of all the Catchers remaining D’Arnaud is highest paid at $8 million

          Catcher is not a place where you want to put a large % of your payroll

          1. DMAR…agree.
            Assume you mention catcher in reference to the JTR situation right now.
            Posey may have been the last….and his big contract came the year after 2014…their last WS ring.
            Now if current circumstance in the environment dictate an AAV of a lot less than
            $ 25M, and JTR and his agent accept that, say in the $20/22M range…then the Phillies should consider JTR.

          2. I think that it is an oversimplified conclusion to simply say that a team shouldn’t invest a lot of money in a catcher. The key to building a great team is the value per WAR that you pay. As they said in money ball, you are paying for wins, not specific stats.

  23. Corey Seidman has a helpful breakdown on the potential for the Phillies to shed between $65M-$73M in salary. I might keep either Phelps or Neris but both together will make too much money. I would non-tender VV, Hembree and Morgan since arbitration will award them more than they’re worth. Only Eflin and Hoskins are worthy of arbitration increases. That should leave enough money to re-sign both JTR and Didi, go after a SP and somebody who could pass as a closer.

    1. “…go after a SP”….there will be plenty, but will there be any that can be a cost efficient and effective number three in the rotation?

        1. I suppose so….if it is LHP that is desired…there are always Paxton, Smyly, Ray and Minor to name a few, who will be hitting the open market.

            1. His 4Smr FB actually upticked a few velos….maybe reason why his K/9 also shot up this past season…highest in his career.

              Of course he only thru 26 innings….so really not a completely reliable indicator of projection for him

            2. I like Smyly a lot as a guy who could piggyback with Spencer Howard or compete with him for that #5 spot while he develops. I’d give him Velasquez’s guarantee.

              He pitched very well in the rotation and out of the pen for SF at times. Not to mention for us.

              If Hamels would be open to that type of 5/6th role I’d bring him back in a heart beat on a low guarantee.

          1. I feel pretty confident some of these LHSP;s (also add Jose Quintana to your list above) will have to settle for one year deals because of a depressed COVID market.

            And if Middleton would put the full court press on for Erik Neander, he could build a Don Perignon bullpen on a Budweiser budget, and allow more money to be used on other needs (LHSP/CF/maybe C or SS).

            The fact that Heymen is reporting Middleton may be perusing through the NYY’s FO for a President or GM doesn’t surprise me at all. That’s why I’ve mentioned Tim Neahring as a favorite. I just hope it’s not Hendry. That hire would have the stench of Andy MacPhail all over it IMO.

            1. Should have also mentioned those LHSP’s will have to settle for one year deals because most of them (add Cole Hamels to the other names) had either down seasons or injury plagued seasons (in addition to a depressed COVID market).

            2. Imagine you spend $300+ million on a player that plays once ever 5 days and still lose to a team that has an active payroll of $28,290,689

  24. Charlie Morton must feel terrible having to pitch the past four years with the Astos and the Rays to a 47 and 18 record instead of for the Phillies.

  25. A better way to look at the Dodger’s elite roster construction is to look at the Salary per WAR.

    Position Players 20202Annualized WAR $ per WAR
    Mookie Betts 8.1 $3,950,617
    Justin Turner 3.5 $5,698,006
    A.J. Pollock 2.7 $5,555,556
    Cody Bellinger 3.2 $3,549,383
    Corey Seager 5.1 $1,481,481
    Chris Taylor 4.1 $1,382,716
    Max Muncy 1.1 $2,314,815
    Austin Barnes 2.4 $452,675
    Will Smith  3.5 $163,390
    Edwin Rios  1.6 $349,383
    Joc Pederson -0.3 ($28,703,704)
    Enrique Hernandez -0.3 ($21,851,852)
    TOTAL POSITION 35 $3,160,767
    Starting Pitchers
    Clayton Kershaw 3.8 $8,201,058
    Julio Urias 3.2 $308,642
    Walker Buehler  1.4 $447,037
    Dustin May  1.1 $531,019
    Anthony Gonsolin  4.9 $116,461
    Ross Stripling -1.4 ($1,206,936)
    TOTAL SP 12.96 $2,729,349
    Relief Pitchers
    Kenley Jansen 1.4 $13,333,333
    Blake Treinen 1.4 $7,407,407
    Joe Kelly 0.3 $31,481,481
    Dylan Floro  1.4 $439,630
    Brusdar Graterol  0.8 $698,765
    Jake McGee 1.9 $298,148
    Adam Kolarek  0.8 $720,370
    Victor Gonzalez  1.6 $347,840
    TOTAL RELIEF 9.45 $4,166,138

    1. To 29 other MLB fan bases, the Dodger’s org is a point of envy and astonishment with their talent evaluation and acquisitions, which in of itself has produced 8 consecutive NL-West division titles.

      But when you read Dodger blogs and a significant number of their fan base comments ..they are express a slightly different tone
      They tired of Don Mattingly after 4/5 years, and soon Roberts could be gone…quite possibly after this season, if they do not get what they are striving for.

      When their chief rival 400 miles to the north has won three titles in the last 10 years with, what some may consider less in a breath of overall talent, especially in the depth area…..their fanbase is getting edgy.

  26. Good pitching breakdown of Sixto. One thing of note, he tips his change up in two ways:
    1. Different arm slot
    2. Different finish (falls off on change).

    MLB hitters will figure this out soon. He will have to make adjustments.

    1. I wonder if they started to already? He got crushed by the Nats and Braves the second time they faced him.

    2. It just gives me such a headache that we traded this guy. That “objectively excellent” offseason looks and more and more subjectively average all the time

  27. Assume Neris and Phelps will be back in the BP….also now Adam Morgan…who will miss the first three months of 2021 with surgery on his left arm pronator.

    1. Romus, as I posted yesterday, for the price of keeping them, I might keep one of either Neris or Phelps but not both. The latter may return to previous form. Neris has IMO run his course here. As for Morgan, Velasquez and Hembree and their projected arb figure, see ya! None of the 3 is worth it.

      1. 8mark…not sure you can let go of a player when on the injury/rehab list.
        Morgan may have to be placed on the 60 day IL 40 once the next season starts, since after the WS, the 60 day IL goes away until the first day of the 2021 season….,…and if he is rehabbing then maybe longer.
        It is outlined specifically somewhere in this attachment.
        I will have my assistant rocco research it for you if you wish! 🙂

        Click to access 2012MLB_MLBPA_CBA.pdf

        1. I just Was informed by the league office, Contracture to the big bang theory, Morgan if it was before 2pm on june 8, then the office of the first party, will seek permission form the second party, to arbitration the suggestion of payment, thru the bank of New york,

        2. Romus, I just read in MLBTR that Morgan will be out 6-8 months. The Phillies can in fact non-tender him, then wait to see if another team signs him later, before signing him to a lesser deal…but at this point I wouldn’t unless his velo spikes upward significantly in rehab bullpen sessions.

          1. Yeah see that also…but I do not see the Phillie org doing that sort of thing…letting him hang out there in limbo while recovering from the surgery.. Not sure they ever did that before, especially with a home grown player that has been in their org for almost a decade now.
            Unless of course, he wants it that way and rather check out the free agent landscape..

  28. How long was he pitching injured? Certainly did not look good, and a drop in velocity is always a warning sign. But, if the plan is to punt 2021 and keep Ned Rice around, and use the pandemic as an excuse, then Adam will be perfect for 2022, and join SerAnthony in the BP!

  29. 25 year old KBO shortstop Ha-Seong Kim will be posted by his team as a free agent available to all 30 MLB teams. With no slam dunk SS prospect in the system I certainly hope that the Phillies have some interest and inclination to explore the matter. For once it would be nice to see their name among teams actively pursuing top international talent, aside from an occasional Jhailyn Ortiz or a Yhoswar Garcia who are miles from reaching the Show.

    1. Phillies were 7th in MLB….21.6%.
      But their BP was a big helped for them in avoiding the play-offs!

  30. Romus, not that this was a normal year by any stretch, but it took an historically bad BP to keep us out of the Playoffs. It was agony to go through, but looking back it makes me angry. It took being that terrible because with even a poor BP, we would have made it. I am not pretending, however, that we were otherwise that good. Too many times we scored early and did nothing the rest of the game. I think our situational hitting is far from optimal, and our D leaves much to be desired. But, it would have been nice to see Nola, Wheeler and Eflin in the Playoffs, if for no other reason than experience. I would have liked to see if Nola rebounded from a couple of less than stellar Septembers by being in the Playoffs. Of course, the counter argument is “maybe Nola should have been better in September.”

    1. Yeah…..sometimes teams may press hard when they realize they have to score more because relievers cannot meet the challenge of either holding leads or keeping the team in a game.
      That could be the case with the offense later in games.

      Nola situation is a mystery…perhaps he tires late in the season. he will need to figure it out. Career Sept/Oct: Split. – W7- L12…ERA 4.28…GS-27…WHIP- 1.3

      And looks like Trevor Bauer is doing some self-marketing:

      Trevor Bauer
      Kinda looks like the @yankees could use some more starting pitching. Interesting.
      10:35 PM · Oct 7, 2020

    2. yeah matt…..The BP did make it difficult.
      The offense may have felt compelled to press harder for more runs knowing that the releivers were not up for the challenge of holding a lead or keeping the game close.

      As for Nola…-7-12 record in 27 GS and a WHIP of 1.3 with a plus 4 ERA in Sept/Oct is not good….he will need to figure out what he has to do to correct that trend.

      1. My guess is that he needs the occasional day off so he doesn’t pitch every 5th day. It wouldn’t hurt him to get in better shape.

  31. Yesterday as the game was starting, i listen to one of the commenters, He listed how the braves had three young starters, to build around, i was so depressed, they sign a stud latin player to a bad contract get three starters , Fried, Anderson Wright, to build on, young and cheap , And it seems that one vet on a one year deal that helps, just a amazing organization, Could you imagine if they could spend more money, Last point i have beat this a lot and sorry to repeat, but Nola when he is at 90-92 just isnt the same, that 93 to 95 which i know is only a little more Velo seems to matter a lot with his stuff,

    1. rocco….you nailed it, good job, take the rest of the day off and enjoy the weekend, you earned it.
      ..and yes the Braves seem to be doing it right….depressing.
      Nola’s arm may grow weary later in the year, maybe a reason why his velo fluctuates on both his 4 and 2Smr FBs…but in the same game it seems it may dip and then he seems to get it up to 94.
      And he does do better with that extra days rest.
      4 Days,GS…W27…L27
      5 Days,GS…W29…L9

  32. When you watch the Braves and Dodgers both easily sweep their series, it’s impossible not to see all of the in house groomed talent on both teams. They both brought in my FA or trade a missing piece (Betts and Ozuna) but the rest of the teams are almost all from their system. Compare that with our team and our system and the difference is painfully obvious. Middleton spoke to this so he gets it too. Fixing it will not be easy though. Who in our system even has that potential? It’s a short list…

    1. Plus they each got lucky (Turner and D’Arnaud). Phils got lucky with Werth but nothing since. Isn’t that the job of a good GM?

      1. Yes, but the good GMs get “lucky” all the time, which leads to the conclusion that it’s not really luck but better scouting and better management of resources. In the last few years, the Braves have gotten “lucky” with d’Arnaud and Ozuna and Donaldson and Markakis, among others, so, you know what, I’m not attributing that success to luck at all.

        1. I do agree that the better GMs get lucky more often because they make better decisions that include higher likelihood for success.

      2. May not be the politically correct thing to say, but the Phils got “lucky” with O Herrera too.

  33. Player development of drafted and IFA players is what builds organizations. Winning the offseason gets the press all excited but it’s the boring development of players which do not create headlines but do win titles.

  34. If Middleton gets it, then why hire Matt Klentak, who had zero experience in scouting, developing or identifying young talent? Sure, there is a place for analytics but they are not meant to replace scouting and rarely tell you what a player is made of. I hope Mickey Moniak makes it, but his selection was made because of the money they saved. They thought they hit big on Kevin Gowdy and Cole Stobbe, and how did that work out? It wasn’t just drafting but scouting the minor leagues so they knew who to get in trades? How great was Klentak doing that? He has a few inner circle guys he relied on, chief among them being Ned Rice. So, who is in now? Ned Rice, and we have to hear him praised by Middleton, who is quickly becoming nothing but hot air.

  35. Another in my series of “how they were built”…the Atlanta Braves:

    Position Players Annualized WAR Salary $ per WAR How Obtained
    Freddie Freeman 9.2 $22,359,375 $2,435,662 2nd rd pick
    Ronald Acuna Jr. 8.5 $1,000,000 $118,313 Int’l FA ($100k)
    Marcell Ozuna 6.8 $18,000,000 $2,666,667 FA, 1 year deal
    Travis d’Arnaud 5.9 $8,000,000 $1,358,025 FA, 2 year deal
    Dansby Swanson 5.1 $3,150,000 $614,035 Trade which started with their 2007 1st round pick
    Ozzie Albies 3.4 $1,000,000 $298,354 Int’l FA ($350k)
    Adam Duvall 1.4 $3,250,000 $2,287,037 Acquired for former 1st rounder
    Austin Riley -0.3 $568,500 ($1,789,722) 1st round pick
    Johan Camargo -0.9 $1,700,000 ($1,836,420) Int’l FA ($42k)
    Nick Markakis -1.8 $4,000,000 ($2,283,951) FA, 1 year deal
    Ender Inciarte -2.1 $7,700,000 ($3,644,033) Trade which started with their 2007 1st round pick
    Position Total 35.1 $70,727,875 $2,016,872

    Starting Pitchers Annualized WAR Salary $ per WAR
    Max Fried 4.1 $583,500 $144,074 Trade which started with an Int’l FA
    Ian Anderson 3.0 $563,500 $189,731 1st rd pick
    Josh Tomlin 1.1 $1,000,000 $925,926 Signed as a minor league FA
    Huascar Ynoa 0.0 $563,500 N/A Trade for minor leaguers
    Kyle Wright -0.3 $573,500 ($2,124,074) 1st rd pick
    Robbie Erlin -0.8 $290,220 ($358,296) Claimed off waivers
    Touki Toussaint -1.1 $563,500 ($521,759) Trade for Phil Gosselin (yes that one)
    SP Total 5.9 $4,137,720 $696,586

    Relief Pitchers Annualized WAR Salary $ per WAR
    Tyler Matzek 2.2 $563,500 $260,880 Signed as a minoir league FA
    Chris Martin 1.4 $7,000,000 $5,185,185 Traded for a former 1st round pick
    A.J. Minter 1.1 $575,000 $532,407 2nd Round pick
    Shane Greene 0.8 $6,250,000 $7,716,049 traded for a CBA 1st round pick
    Darren O’Day 0.8 $2,250,000 $2,777,778 Traded for a former 2nd round pick
    Mark Melancon 0.8 $19,000,000 $23,456,790 Traded for a former 4th round pick
    Grant Dayton 0.3 $655,000 $2,425,926 Claimed off waivers
    Jacob Webb 0.3 $563,500 $2,087,037 18th round pick
    Luke Jackson 0.3 $1,825,000 $6,759,259 Traded for some minor leaguers
    Will Smith -1.6 $13,000,000 ($8,024,691) FA (3/$39)
    RP Total 6.2 $51,682,000 $8,322,383

    1. Some things that jump out:
      1. The Braves spent only $4m on their starting rotation in annualized salaries. Also worth noting that the Braves drafted a pitcher in their first round in 2015, 2 in 2016, 2017, 2018 (didn’t sign), and 2020.

      2. They only paid $2m per war with their starting position players. They hit the jackpot several times on low priced Int’l FAs. Ozuna on a 1 yr deal and d’Arnaud on a low cost 2 year deal looks like steals. Very shrewd.

      3. They get huge impact out of low cost relief arms. Their most expensive RPs were by far their worst values.

      1. Not to take any issue with your analysis – in fact, much appreciated V1. But in fairness I would submit that they arguably have the top GM sans an ivy education in the business. They have been blessed with lousy teams that enabled them to stock up on stud starting pitching – which is all a credit to their scouting/drafting. They have been extraordinarily lucky finding Duval for nothing ; the Werthian late bloomer catcher D’arnaud has become the best offensive catcher in the game (and you could see it in his production with Tampa last year); and Ozuna wakes from a several year slumber to become a premier dh. Notwithstanding, their lineup makes average hitters better because of its depth. Is this a product of Antholopusian design ? or that plus good fortune ? I suggest its – both. Now add in the premier LA player and sign him to a 10 year team friendly contract for one tenth of his value ?

        1. Absolutely nothing that you listed had anything to do with luck. They have a process and approach that is different and more effective than the Phillies.

          1. RU … The Braves do have an enviable club. I give credit to Alex Anthopolis for building a premier BP (thru trades and free agency) over the last year. He also gets high marks for the contracts he’s got some of their key players to agree to. The short term contracts signed by Donaldson (2019), Ozuna, and d’Arnauld have been big wins. The Cole Hamels … deal not so much.
            However, the bulk of their talent was brought in by former (disgraced) GM John Coppollela. As GM or Assistant GM (under Frank Wren), Coppollela acquired Acuna, Albies, Swanson, Riley, Inciarte, Markakis (originally), Fried, Anderson, Wright, Toussaint, and Ynoa. He also brought the Braves their top two prospects: Christian Pache and Drew Waters.

            1. Hinkie…. the irony…three GMs that built their teams…..Coppollela, Luhnow and AJ Preller….all disciplined at one time or another by MLB for infractions in talent acquisition.

              At least the Phillies can hold their heads high…Ruben and Matt Klentak never went outside the lines!

            2. Yeah, Romus. The Phillies GM’s have all won MLB badges for Good Citizenship. So proud of that. I think those badges are displayed in trophy cases on the main concourse of CBP.

    2. Very good analysis for sure.
      When adding the injured 23-year old Soroka, another one of their first round HS pitcher draftees, into the starting mix that also will increase their overall WAR a little less than a tick or so for this year.

        1. BTW … RU, I’m not trying to take anything away from Anthopolis. In fact, I’d compare the job he’s done in Atlanta to what Pat Gillick did here after Ed Wade left (after acquiring the Phillies key pieces).

      1. Yeah. He only pitched 3 games this year so I didn’t include him. But he is a complete stud who is cheap for the next 4 years.

  36. I don’t know how much Middleton gets it. I am beginning to feel he is just hot air. Why, if you have a 100 year issue with drafting and developing talent did he sign off on a GM with zero history of talent evaluations? And, why is Ned Rice here, possibly for the season, when he was one of the inner circle that worked with Klentak? And the lack of evaluation skills also matters when deciding which players from other organizations should be acquired by trade. How has that gone? It is depressing watching the Braves, knowing they have Kyle Wright up next, Soroka coming back, a couple of top ranked OFs in the pipeline. And, we can’t beat the Marlins, and the Mets are getting a Billionaire new owner, just itching to make a splash.

    1. …………….and I was feeling so good about today, Matt! The season is over and everything, no more bullpen collapses to watch. I have noticed that positive posts on JM seem to be in decline. I guess when you admit your drafting/development problems are a century old and you seem to have trouble jettisoning the people that are the cause of the problem, that might be a cause for the decline.

  37. It is true that Atlanta has had some bad teams and drafted well. But, we have had some bad teams and drafted not so well. The Dodgers have had some good teams and still drafted well. And, maybe there is a lesson to be learned about luck being about preparation meeting opportunity, not just the Baseball Gods being mad at the Phillies. And, Skeet, I am sorry to ruin your day. I see the teams that lost the last 2 days, the Marlins, Padres, A’s and see such better futures than what we are looking at. And, meanwhile Middleton praises Ned Rice! I wanted him to speak when the season ended, and now I want him to just stop.

    1. matt13….if it is any consolation, when it comes to drafting over the last 20 years, …the Phillies do better than the Braves in 5th round picks..Howard and Hoskins.
      The Braves basically have Phil Gosselin to their credit.

  38. And for anyone who thinks we are unfair to Kapler. Chris Young over Rick Kranitz. He deserved to be fired just for that!

    1. I remember very clearly watching all of our young pitchers progress in 2018 and thinking, and saying here, that Kranitz was and is a great pitching coach. And then he was fired for absolutely no good reason at all. This organization has a had a huge problem not only in developing talent, but in scouting its own players and personnel. How you could watch this man do his work on pitchers like Nola and let him go is staggering. Just like watching Jimmy Butler on your team and thinking that, somehow, Tobias Harris is a better player. Astounding lack of judgment all around. Welcome to Philadelphia sports.

  39. Did I ever tell you how much I love it when the best team money can buy (the Bronx Bombers) bombs-out!

  40. I am in shock over how a organization like the Rays who dont spend money, can be so good, Just shows you how with good organization skill, scouts, money management you can be very competitive and win, To have the rays scouts and fo with our money would make us great,

    1. rocco…Rays had home field advantage …..all the cut-outs wanted the Yankees to lose….didn’t you hear the cheering when the Rays utilityman hit that HR!
      Tough to win on the road when the crowd is against you….ask Burt Hooton.

  41. As I watched the Rays and Yankees being out pitcher after pitcher throwing gas, I couldn’t help think about how far the Phillies need to go.

    1. Absolutely/100%/Totally Agree with v1. Outside of Ser-Ant’ny and Luis Garcia, Matt Klentak stunk at supplying the Phillies BP with power arms. Hopefully, the new GM focuses on K-rates when building a pen. Usually need power arms, guys with a premier breaking ball, and a couple of “funky delivery” types. Need at least 3 LH throwers.
      Connor Brogdon and JoJo Romero look like keepers. Not sure where Victor Arano was this year, but he could help in 2021. And gotta’ hope Ser-Ant’ny returns to his old self in 2022.

  42. If the philosophy is to get guys with command and not care about velocity, you end up without power Pitchers. Not everyone can be Aaron Nola, who came out of College ready. But, even Nola is a different Pitcher if his velocity dips 2 MPH. And to be a Major League Pitcher without heat, you need such perfect command, that is makes the degree of difficulty so much greater. I don’t know if things are different now under Brian Barber. McLean Abel, great name, seems to have “electric” stuff, so there is hope.

    1. matt13…..the farm system now has plenty of guys who can throw 95 or plus velo.
      The only caveat…they are all relievers for the most part.
      The Threshers had two unknowns …..Keylan Killgore and Tyler Carr … who were able to get it around the 95 zone.
      Erik Miller, Francisco Morales, and maybe Starlyn Castillo (if he ever pitches) are about the three starters that may be able to get it up above the 95 speed limit

      1. And forgot draft pick in July…Mick Abel as a starter…and 6’8″ Carson Ragsdale also got it up there but he is a reliever…he has a deceptive three-quarters delivery, throws a 90- to 93-mph fastball that has reached 96

  43. Romus, I am high on Miller, who is also a Lefty, and have been high on Morales, who seems to have been around for a while but only in Low A. this year was a washout for most of the Minor Leagues, and I am anxious to see what progress a lot of our guys make this upcoming season. But, even if some of the Pitchers can be quality BP arms, that is a big improvement. We seemed to have faced BPs all season with one after the other young Pitcher throwing heat.

  44. Reading Scott Lauber’s thorough breakdown on the pres./GM situation this morning, I’m scratching my head over how Middleton (according to 3 of Lauber’s sources) would prefer MacPhail to either retire or cede his baseball related duties in order for a smoother transition this winter.


    Hey, Johnny Cigars! Holy Smokes! May I make a suggestion? FIRE MacPhail just like you forced Klentak to “step down”. What am I missing here?

    1. You are missing nothing. Middleton’s biggest problem (he has a few, mind you), is that he has cast his lot with the wrong people and at a time when he should be decisively moving on from MacPhail, he is having him lead the search for a new leader. I don’t think he has a good, mature voice in the organization that he trusts.

      My guess is that we are going to have a caretaker President and GM for a year, which is not good at all. That said, I do like our more recent drafts since we departed from Almaraz’s set of priorities. He is as responsible as anyone else for the failings of this organization, although, trust me, MacPhail, Klentak and even Middleton share plenty of the blame.

  45. Apparently early indication is that Cashman and the Yankees will forego the JTR sweepstakes.

    “To be fair, this is all fantasy GM-ing. It’s unlikely that Sánchez will go anywhere this offseason. The Yankees likely won’t want to dip into the free-agent pool with a guy like J.T. Realmuto, as has been the rumor (and the team has been connected to him in the past), because they’re still going to have to pay their homegrown guys at some point in the coming seasons.”

    Now if only Cohen and the Mets decide to look in another direction….say Bauer, or SPringer or DJ LeMahi.
    It may be easier for the Phillies to retain JTR without breaking the bank.

  46. Teams seem to do pretty well with defense minded/work with pitchers well catchers which realmuto is. The xtra cost bat is luxury that hamstrings you. Guy like Springer seems more worth the $$.

    As far as FO guy from yanks not sure if great fit here. These guys used to working with best of everything because of financial resources. Give me guy who needs to work and dig a little harder because of a little more in limited resources. Cards, KC, San Fran …Pittsburgh

    1. Also, the Rays and As are two of the latest with success on smaller budgets.
      Cards and SF I do not put into those categories ….though their management /FO personnel may still be top-notch

      1. Romus are you going to auction off your Cutout, For charity,? Lot of interest in it if you want to have a auction,

  47. I think I would pass on JT and sign Didi, James Mcann, Bradley Jr, a starting pitcher looking for a bounce SVP year, and a closer like Hendricks. If they sign JT, there will be too many holes. While JT is the best catcher, that’s only because he’s compared to other catchers. As a 1b or DH, his numbers wouldn’t look great. Paying him $25 x 6 years would be crazy.

    1. J.T. has to be the top priority, even if it means overpaying a diminishing player in the last few years (as, let’s face it, the Phils will be doing with Harper as well one day). Everyone knew he was in line for a big contract when the Phils made the trade, so not pulling the trigger would be ridiculous, given that he has done nothing but perform since his arrival. (COVID has changed the team’s finances, of course, but I’d imagine it’s done the same for every other franchise). He is a top bat at a premium position and is key to being successful during Harper’s prime.

      This team is going to be expensive for a long time, and needs to figure out how to fill in the holes through the Pharm system. (Step 1: Fast track Francisco Morales to the bigs as a rocket-armed reliever).

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