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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

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Bad, bad planning. If they wanted to keep wagner, the smart move was to let the old GM to do the negotations, having set down the parameters for those negotiations - ed was more likely to get a better price then monty because he has been talking on and off with Billy Wagner's agent, and would have the best idea of a strategy. Of course, those negotations in all probability would have dragged on to at least the winter meetings, requiring ed to stay on for another year. So if monty wanted wade to go, he had to resign himself to not focussing on wagner, which is bad for all the reasons you just specified.

You can only hope that Monty is meeting with BW and his agent to assure them that the Phillies are interested in re-signing him, to agree on a negotiating timetable, and ask that they wait to deal with the new GM in accordance with that timetable. At least that's what I would do if I were Monty.

Whether the Phillies should commit $27 mil to Wagner is certainly debatable at best, but I would still make re-signing him a priority. A closer of this caliber is a necessity if you want to win anything meaningful. $8 mil per, with some options in there would do it. Even with a poor starting rotation, BW still saved 30+ games.

This is not to downplay the need for starting pitching. But think back to April when the Braves decided to go with Smoltz as a starter and let Kolb close. I thought then that was a big mistake. Smoltz was saving 40+ games a year consistently. How many would he win as a starter? How many saves would his replacement get? Even if Kolb had pitched well, this was a net loss for Atlanta.
This is a similar situation that the Phillies now face. You can pass on your closer for a starter. It's a bad deal when your closer is one of the top ones in baseball. The starter you might get for that $9 mil will be not much more than a Leiber or a Lidle. It'll be a net loss for the Phillies. Atlanta should have kept Smoltz in the pen and looked for a starter. The Phillies should sign Wagner and look for a starter through trades (or the $$ from trades).

I would seriously consider moving Abreu for prospects and use that $$ to help sign your #1 starter as a FA. Let Victorino or Michaels have their shot in RF.
The need to move Thome goes without saying.
I would also move Padilla. The Phillies coaching organization as it now stands is not capable of 'developing' a closer. Padilla as a closer is a dream. Move Padilla out.

Minnesota is looking to move both Hunter (CF) and Koskie (3B). Maybe the new GM could engineer something with the Twins for those two for Thome?

Let the games begin!


I hadn't heard that about Koskie. Very interesting.

As long as they have a budget for starting pitching, I'm OK bringing back Wagner. But they must get frontline starting pitching, however they decide to do it, whether it's by getting a cheaper closer or saving bucks by dealing away a player like Abreu.

doesnt koskie play for the blue jays and have a sub .250 batting average (to go with a post-30 age)?

Doh.

Maybe he meant Cuddyer or someone. I thought Koskie was still on the Twins, too. I'm not up on my Twins or Jays.

I might have mis-read the Koskie item. I'll check back on it and try to find it again.
Sorry if it's a screw-up.

definitely get something for padilla. He's the kind of pitcher with 'upside' and potential that always tempts a gm desperate for pitching.

Just don't trade him to atlanta, or they'll win next year too . . .

I'm still antsy about trading abreu for pitching, but I can't see how else we're going to get it. Abreu for pitching, padilla and bell for hitting 3b+young backup catcher/decent relief?

I think wagner (or someone else reliable) is important, because it means we don't move madson to close. I would not rely on u-get to close as his location isn't consistently good enough for it. If madson and fultz stay in relief, so much the better. But if we move madson to start or close, we need to replace him in relief or we're just down to fultz, assuming u-get doesn't want to stay in relief. we need two decent relievers to build a bullpen around, and a good closer.

The permutations are worse than those deciding group four of the World Cup qualifiers . . .

I agree with alot of what is being said. I do not agree with our recently dispatched GM that Wagner is THE top priority. Better starting pitching is. Wagner is asking for alot of scratch--money that could be spent elsewhere. I still think Tejeda could step into the role--with obvious bumps in the road as he learns the job.

No one has mentioned it, but there is a decent chance a lot of teams would hesitate to give Billy Wagner the three year deal he seeks. I wouldn't be surprised if most teams would offer him the same deal as the Phillies: two years with an option for the third.

George S. makes a good point when he mentions the Atlanta Smoltz-Kolb decision, but it is important to note that the Braves never would have made that decision if they even imagined Kolb would be the disaster he turned out to be. Still, as George says, the $9 million for a year of Wagner wouldn't buy tremendous starting pitching.

I think most people agree the Phillies top priority remains a top quality starter. Without one, as Jason points out, we would rarely get to Wagner in the first place. But it is going to be very difficult to sign or trade for a top starter given the reputation of CBP. At this point the relative statistics of its homer-friendly dimensions are not what matter most. The perception if not the reality is that this is not a good park for pitchers. Trying to get one to come here under those circumstances will be a very big obstacle. I suspect the best the Phillies will be able to do is try and land a top quality prospect who is ready to step in and who has no veto power on where he pitches. That is where Abreu might be very good bait.

I'd hate to see Bobby depart given the need to find a third baseman and catcher and the likely experiment in centerfield with Victorino and Jason Michaels (I am assuming Lofton departs). But this may be the last great opportunity to get value for him.

As for suggestions that the Phils consider using Robinson Tejeda in the bullpen, that is a very big gamble given his late season arm problems, his tendency to walk people and his inexperience in that role. He showed a lot of fortitude in his late-season starts and seems to have a live if somewhat tender arm, but I wouldn't want to go into the season depending on him as my closer.

We all agree that starting pitching is needed, but has anyone looked at the free agent pitchers this year? Matt Morris is about the only one that would represent an upgrade for the Phils. It may be that a trade will be the only thing that will bring a real ace.

i don't buy the idea that this team needs to be blown up moving forward. especially when the pieces of the team being blown up are the only consistent ones on the team.

regarding wagner, i don't see who takes his role if we lose him. urbina, madson, anyone from the rotation - i look at any of them in the closer role and i get flashbacks to jose mesa circa 2003.

regarding abreu, trading him involves losing the single reliable bat in the entire lineup and attempting to replace him with two rookies (for the record, i think utley is up to it but i'm skeptical of howard turning into willie mccovey) and a hitter whose followed his last good season with a 324-game horror show. besides, i'm not so sure his trade value is that high after his disappearing act down the stretch (even though it was due to fatigue and injury and not some kind of phantom "un-clutchness").

do we need a gm who's creative and willing to make changes? absolutely. i just don't think gutting our roster of quality players is the best use of his presumptive creativity.

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