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Wednesday, December 07, 2005


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Please not get me started on Dave Bell. You really think that trying to get rid of him means the Phils just want to cut salary instead of win? Doesn't the article say (and you quoted it) that the Phils are willing to eat Bell's contract to get rid of him? I could not be more excited to see him go, and it is a sign to me that they are trying to win. He could not have been worse last year. He had to be one of the worst 3 regulars in the league last year. When I looked up his splits and saw he hit .199 against right handers, that actually seemed high to me. He must have gone on a hot streak the last few weeks.

Read through my archives on Swing and A Miss and you will know I am no fan of David Bell. But one of the three worst regulars in the league? Not likely.

As for the rumors about Derek Lowe and Brad Penny. I wouldn't be interested in either one. Lowe is too expensive and Penny has had one too many injuries. Matt Morris is another pitcher I wouldn't like to see here. The Phillies already have enough middle of the rotation pitchers; indeed, their entire staff is made up of middle of the rotation guys. Myers might have the arm to be a number 1 or 2, but not the mental makeup. Padilla may have the arm to be THE NO. 1, know where I'm going on that one. Can a team contend with nothing but number 3 guys in the rotation? Maybe with Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols in the lineup every day.


You said: "You really think that trying to get rid of him (Bell) means the Phils just want to cut salary instead of win?"

That's not really what I said, though, is it?

"But one of the three worst regulars in the league? Not likely."

I think it is very likely. I know it's based on fantasy stats, but Sportsline has him rated at 27th out of 30. And that doesn't even take into account his 24 errors and ever decreasing range.

Since it's is fairly interesting here are the Sportsline offensive ranking for MLB for Phillies by position....

C-Lieberthal 19
1b-RyHo 23 (half season)
2b- Utley 2
ss- Rollins 3
3b-Bell 27 Nunez 24
cf-Rownad 12
lf-Burrell 6
rf-Abreu 2

Lieber 27
Myers 25
Lidle 68
Padilla 91

Not to get argumentative, but that is exactly what you said:
"News that third baseman David Bell is being shopped so intensively, in addition to the persistency of rumors involving Abreu, leads one to believe that cutting salary is as much of a priority this offseason as adding the parts needed to win a championship."

Tom: As for me calling Bell one of the 3 worst regulars in the league, how else would you describe a guy who absolutely killed his team by compiling a horrific .199/.260/.287 line in 422 at bats against righties (422!). Only by mashing lefties to the tune of .400/.463/.593 in 135 atbats did he "raise" his total line to .248/.310/.361, which is still gawd-awful. But it was the 422 ab's vs. RHP that sunk this team.

And just to be clear, I wasn't calling him one of the 3 worst 3B in the league (which I will brook no argument that he was), I was calling him one of the 3 worst regulars at any position in the NL. Maybe that is overstating it (just maybe, though), but, as you can tell from above, I still haven't gotten over how they continued to run him out there day after day after day against RHP when he already had established beyond any imaginable burden of proof that he couldn't hit them. Alas, the slings and arrows we must suffer being Phillies fans...

I reacted to the "three worst regulars in the league" line thinking you meant all players not third baseman. My misreading.

No, Tom, You were right. That was what I meant (see above).


I said "cutting salary is as much of a priority this offseason as adding the parts needed to win a championship." I didn't say they'd rather cut salary than win.

But just for fun, let's review what has gone on this offseason. Keep in mind these are not moves I disagree with, and neither is trading Bell. It's not impossible for teams to cut salary and improve, which is what Pat Gillick has managed to do so far.

From this list, I would say cutting salary and adding better parts are equal priorities, wouldn't you?

- trade Thome and half his contract for Rowand and prospects.

- No offers to any of their free agents, besides Wagner.

- No offer, or rumored interest, in a player with a price tag like A.J. Burnett.

- Sign Fasano, Nunez and Santana to small free agent contracts.

- Shop Bell, as reported

- Shop Abreu, as reported by several sources, their highest paid player.

Shopping Bell for what? And who's going to play third everyday? Not Nunez, good grief. Maybe they Troy Gluas is still being looked at. Probably not, however.

Jason, the only thing I didsagree with in your post directly above mine is thatthe Phillies have improved to this point. They have sown the seeds to improve, but they aren't a better team yet. They probably will be by openign day, but not at this point yet.

I've said it before either here or on BSS, but I'm not that negative on a trade that'd land us Lowe, someone like Duaner Sanchez, and a blue-chip prospect like Andy LaRoche or Joel Guzman to take over at 3B at some point. We have $20 million-plus coming off the books next year prior to arbitration/raises (Wolf $9m, Lieberthal $7.5m, Bell $4.5m, Cormier $.5m buyout, Lidle $3.3, and so on) and therefore Lowe's money would nearly even out with Randy's.

I don't think we need to be hostage to the notion that a corner INF spot needs to be a 20-30+ HR, 85+ RBI guy. We already have corner INF production at 2B. I'd be sanguine with a Bill Mueller/Abe Nunez-type platoon. Bell seems like a great guy, but if we can move him for other parts, so be it.

I don't understand why cutting salary and adding pieces for a championship are mutually exclusive, as though there is one and then there is the other. I don't think showing prudence in handing out budget-busting long-term contracts to big question marks or older, albeit still effective, relievers is a sign that the phillies are not interested in winning. Pat Gillick quit a pretty good job in Seattle because he didn't feel ownership was committed, pretty sure he wouldn't walk into another situation without all assurances a title was the goal.

Moreover, trading Thome was not a financial move. It was as clear cut a "you can have one or the other, but not both" situation as there could be, and I for one would have been devastated if they had jettisoned Howard instead of Thome. Because it saves them $$ (to spend elsewhere) is an added bonus, but if they were choosing between Thome and and unproven stick it wouldn't have gone down like that.

If they were to trade David Bell, and even eat a bit of his $4+ mil salary it is because they think they can improve their team by using the salary owed him elsewhere (another reliever?) or even with a cheaper 3b replacement (and I second the "please god, not Nunez" sentiment).

All that being said, the phillies have a budget. Last year it was $96 million, this year perhaps a little more. I find that a very reasonable salary range. There is no salary cap nor are the phillies owned by a corporate conglemerate promoting a lucrative synergistic business (hello, Yes Network or Cablevision) by having a succussful baseball team. Thus, being in the top 5 of the league in salary, where the phillies project to fall, is an appropriate and justifiable position. Phillies fans have no more basis for payroll complaints. Our complaints should lie solely in personnel decisions.

three (arguably) worse regulars than david bell:

jack wilson
corey patterson
cristian guzman

HHAHAHAHAHAHAHA what are yall smokin I wouldnt trade Andy for yalls whole team

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