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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

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Your post nicely compliments Tom's over at Swing and a Miss. Like our batting order, the bullpen and rotation is delicately poised on the edge of a cliff. Remove one element and we’re tipping over. This is worse because Urbina is gone, Wagner is probably going if the Mets wave crazy money at him and Madson is headed for the starting rotation (a rotation which can’t afford to lose Padilla). I hate to sound all ed wade, but we could do with some experienced decent relievers to compliment Aaron Fultz and make up for Geoff Geary. Tejada’s probably better off as a ‘sixth starter’ with his propensity for wildness (although I still believe we could get creative and trade him for someone less wild, no matter how effective it is).

Man, I can see the boardroom at CBP now, tense, edgy, when suddenly Gillick (in a chirpy London accent) says "Hang on lads, I've got a great idea . . .!"

The money madness has to stop somewhere and Billy Wagner's Alpaca farm is the place to begin. If the Mets want to tie up four years and $30 plus million for him, so be it. If Billy and his wife want to move to Connecticut, welcome to the Nutmeg state. As you point out so aptly, Jason and Oisin, there are much better ways to spend that kind of money and improve the club in a few areas.

i know not overpaying for wagner is the right thing to do...but am i the only one having nightmares of him saving 50 games for new york while we end up piecing together a patchwork bullpen and getting burned?

i mean, it would be great if we could take that money and put it into starting pitching (or 3B, CF, or what have you). the problem is, who? it's not exactly a blue chip set of FAs this year.

i am always loathe to count on middle relievers to deliver quality performances year after year. normally the best ones are the ones that come out of nowhere.

remember when we though todd worrell and roberto hernandez were the answers in the bullpen?

3 yrs at 10Mill is insane for Wags. And to be honest paying 3 or 4m for a set up guy doesnt seem bright either. These roles can be developed within the system. I hate overpaying for middle relief when u can find it cheaper in house. Look at the effective non-8th or 9th inning guys last yr for the Phils.

i'd love to promote fultz and aqualung lopez to the 8th and 9th, but there's a reason good closers are hard to find. its not an easy job and those two guys i just named put up nice numbers pitching in less tense situations. wags is an elite closer and if the market dictates, he deserves the money,. however, we're not necessarily the guys to give it to him. my feelings on this are no secret.

I have to agree with gr. The elite closer is a luxury, and I feel its unwise to hold onto a guy when the money can be better spent elsewhere.

I sometimes think wild thing left us with a pathologically insecure legacy about closing, made worse by Joe Table's performances. But we're paying a lot of money into this team already, and is a closer the best bang for our buck? As tom has pointed out at Swing and a Miss, the certainty of wags helped us nuthin' against houston. A closer is like a goal keeper (in the footie, like). Even when he's consistently good, it's hard not to question his ability when he lets you down. I'd still prefer a rotation 1-5 who could do 7 1/3 to 8 innings.

If the Mets are going to spend 3yrs/$36 million or 4yrs/$40 million and Wags expects the Phillies to match it, I'd have to agree that that would be too much money -- particularly in the out years. I'd probably go as high as 3 yrs/$27 million. If he declines, take that $10-12 million for 2006 and try to get as many of the following as possible: Bob Howry/Octavio Dotel, Al Reyes,and Tom Gordon/Bob Wickman. If you can get another starter, perhaps then you consider shifting Vicente to the bullpen and build him up increasing responsibility down the road. Fultz, Lopez, Cormier/Geary then give you more depth for situational, 6th/7th inning roles.

Agreed the Phils should not overspend on Wagner if the Mets offer him the moon, but a solid closer is key for a contender.

But the bigger question is simple: If the Phillies free up money by not signing Wagner or by somehow moving Abreu/Thome/Bell whomever, who's really out there worth spending any real money on that would help this club? AJ Burnett? Puhlease! This is not an offseason where having a lot of money available is going to help you. In fact, with a lot of money and few players, you're going to overspend for marginal talent.
Gillick should make his best effort to sign Wagner, but not by outbidding the Mets, and try to get the other necessary pieces through trades.

Saw where the Pirates might be looking to move Kip Wells (8-18 last season) because he's in his arbitration year and is expected to get about $5 mil. That might be someone worth taking a chance on. I think he's a lot better than an 8-18 pitcher.

Javier Vazquez is also available, although vastly overpaid. This would be the chance to dump salary on Arizona to even the money out, such as including Bell, and then give them Padilla. Just a thought.

kip wells would have been 5-21 if he hadn't beaten the phils repeatedly last year.

Good comments, everyone. Later, I'm going to post some more thoughts on what to do this offseason. There are a lot of directions they could go.

Having thought about it more, I will say this: The money they save from the impending departure of Billy Wagner must go right back into bullpen, to fill the holes at setup man and closer. I like the idea of a cheaper closer and adding a veteran setup man with potential to close in case of emergency. I still like the idea of throwing Padilla into the mix as a setup man to start, and see where that takes them.

How does this look:
Dotel, CP
Howry, RP
Padilla, RP

JW: I'd be comfortable with that depending on how many draft picks (and what rounds they'd be in) that'd cost us. (Confession: That system makes little sense to me, particularly as we had to give up our first round pick last year in signing Lieber... who the Yankees had non-tendered!) Of course if we lose Wagner, we'd seem to get a high-round pick from the Mets, no?

JW: Apologies for the long post below. I just thought some folks who were unclear on the system -- like me previously -- might like the info.

"...However, there are compensatory picks for teams who lose certain free agents. The Elias Sports Bureau has a complex ranking system of all major league players. The top 30% of players at each position are ranked “Type A.” The next 20% are Type B, and the next 10% are Type C.

If a team loses a Type A free agent, it gets the signing team’s 1st-round pick (unless it’s one of the top 15 picks, in which case it gets a 2nd-round pick), plus a bonus pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds. If a team loses a Type B free agent, it gets the signing team’s 1st or 2nd-round pick, but no bonus pick. If a team loses a Type C free agent, it gets a bonus pick between the 2nd and 3rd rounds, but the signing team isn’t penalized. For example, before the 2004 season Boston signed Keith Foulke, a Type A free agent. Oakland got Boston’s 1st-round pick, plus a bonus pick after the 1st round. (Note: a team must first offer arbitration to a free agent in order to get compensatory picks.)"

http://baseball.about.com/od/newsnotes/a/draftprimer.htm

has the padilla-in-the-bullpen idea ever come up with management, or is it strictly a phlogosphere theory? because lord knows he's not the most stable guy on the roster, and putting him into a role he may dislike could be disastrous. not everyone has the tim wakefield mindset...

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