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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

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sounds plausible jason. And I love the sound of a deal for a rock solid catcher. Good deductive work there, boss.

but does this mean chewing on lieberthal's salary if he goes in a trade elsewhere in addition to paying for molina?

Thank George S. for planting the seed, Oisin.

At first I thought this kind of signing would not be possible, but realistically, what's standing in the way?

The answer is only Lieberthal, really. He would need to wave his no-trade clause, and the Phils would almost certainly need to take on some of his salary or toss in another player. I see the Dodgers as a good fit for the entire black hole actually, and Lieberthal plays well in Chavez Ravine.

Plus lieberthal's west coast originally, isn't he?. And we keep hearing rumblings about a deal with the dodgers.

Whatever about gillick's move with padilla, everything he's done so far has got folks' brains working harder than ed wade ever did. I don't think I've ever put this much effort into thinking about the offseason, between assessing moves made and trying to guess new ones.

Obviously I would rather have Molina than Liberthal, but Lieberthal will be tough to move without eating lots of salary. And Lieby is only two years older than Molina. Lieberthal hit well in August and September and .260 , 12, 60 is OK for a catcher on this team. If the Phils have an extra nickel it should go towards starting pitching. If they have another nickel it should go towards relief pitching. That's where they need to focus any remaining cash.

This is my first post in this forum, just found the site and am really enjoying following the discussions and timely information.

I'd be very wary about signing Molina at his age. Looking at his numbers, they aren't that much of an improvement over Lieberthal. Certainly not enough of an improvement to warrant using whatever payroll flexibility the Phils have right now when other areas need to be addressed. And given his age and position played the drop off is coming soon (much like Lieby).

Furthermore this type of deal is what got the Phils in their current payroll quagmire. Rewarding aging veterans with overpriced contracts based on past, not future expected, performance.

Unless the Phils can move Lieberthal and not give Molina more than 2-3 years, I think this ia move to be avoided.

Best,
Michael Toole

Michael Toole's first comment is a good one. His age bothers me a bit too, but everything else I love.

i am of the opinion that a solid defensive playcalling catcher could get pat gillick his five extra wins. i'm not saying its molina, but i *am* saying it ain't lieverthal.

lieberthal. the v and b are right next to each other, you know.

Molina's numbers may be on the rise, but he is 31 and a catcher. I don't see where he is an improvement in any asset of the game over Lieberthal (save defense which I do realize is very important for a catcher) and worthy of a multi-million dollar contract.

If the Phillies can move Lieberthal and have somebody take on either all or a good percent of his salary (LA doesn't seem like a logical fit, their catching situation is fairly set) and then sign Molina to a quick and easy 2-year deal for less than what Lieberthal was set to make, then the move makes sense to me. Anything else and it just seems like a move for the sake of making a move with the team not really getting much better.

I look at Benji as a career .273/.309/.397 hitter (OPS+ 86) coming off of a career year at the age of 30 that was out of line with anything else he had done to this point. That is red flag enough for me to stay away.

Compelling arguments made all around on the subject though, keep up the good work.

A quick check around baseball finds that 31-year-old starting catchers are about the league average or a little older.

If the Phils could pull off this kind of trade - I'd rather get rid of Bell and sign Bill Mueller or another quality third baseman free agent, since next year's crop does not look that impressive. Lieberthal will have a better year this year (contract year and all) and the deficit in production compared to others at his position is far less, if non-existent compared to the offensive black hole at third since Rolen (except for when Polanco was playing there - can we get him back in exchange for Bell?)

I'm with Mike Toole. Molina is a 31-year old decent-ish catcher. Let's not get locked into anything too long term that will destroy payroll flexibility. I'm beginning to think that we just can't make enough changes this year, and perhaps we should just sit back and suck it up for one more year. Then Lieberthal, Bell, and Wolf (and their combined $21 million!) will all come off the books, and Phils can make multiple BIG moves then. I don't want to see us get locked into more mediocrities such that we don't have much money to play with next year. That would doom us to continue on the 85-87 win level for years. I say let's accept mediocrity for one more year and plan on being big spenders to take us over the top next year.

To get back to a 3B with power numbers, why don't the Phils try and put something together to get Glaus - the D'backs want to move him for a CF so they can move Green back to right and Tracy to 3rd.

agreed with mike t, tom g, kuff, et al. (kuff's last sentence is my personal theory for what's going on in gillick's head).

i too am wondering what happened to the glaus talks. i remember him being all over the place a few weeks ago, but not so much any more. his injury history is a giant minus, but he's still only 28 and you have to think would put up great #s at CBP. a gigantic risk, but the reward would be great.

make that the reward COULD be great. crucial difference.

Not sure if this list is still accurate, but here are the free agent catchers next season:

Top 2006 free agents: Jorge Posada (Yankees)*, Javy Lopez (Orioles), A.J. Pierzynski (White Sox), Jason LaRue (Reds), Mike Lieberthal (Phillies), Damian Miller (Brewers)*, Rod Barajas (Rangers), Gregg Zaun (Blue Jays), Doug Mirabelli (Red Sox), Mike Redmond (Twins)

The Yankees hold a $12 million option with a $4 million buyout on Posada for 2007. … If the $3.75 million team option is declined, Miller can return to the Brewers in 2007 for $2.25 million plus the chance to earn $750,000 in incentives.

My concern is, the market for starting catching becomes pretty vast next season, and could get expensive. The Yankees could be in play, Chicago, Texas ... There is not much youth here.

I don't think not wanting to shell a couple million dollars on a league average catcher is all that crazy. I'm not sure I quite understand the relavance of citing the average age of catchers around the league. I know it isn't an exact science by any means, but take a look at the age-based similar players to Molina - after the age of 30, the average OPS+ of the 10 most similar players is 88.

It is a mediocre group of free agents this year with an especially mediocre group of third basemen and catchers. It's a shame that the Phillies can't go after arguably their two biggest offensive positions of need, but sometimes the market dictates the action and not the other way around. Molina is average at best; why pay for average when you have other options?

I believe Posada's option is a vesting one that will kick in with a fairly reasonable number of plate appearances this season. That's one of the reasons they are looking at Molina - they could move Posada out from behind the plate and get him some at bats at DH so that the option doesn't kick in (it is specific to PAs while catching).

None of those catching FAs grab me. Lieberthal was not that bad by the end of this past year.

The focus should be on third and a true #1 starter, and there will be some of those available next winter when our rotation will have #2 Myers, #3 Lieber, #4 Wolf (if they re-sign him) and #5 Madson/Tejada (still don't see Floyd making it).

Several points worth remembering:

1) Other than ruiz, we've nuthin' solid in our system. a 2 year hire with ruiz+fasano as back up and whilst we look at ruiz won't leave us short.

2) lieberthal's injury history would suggest to me that the probability that he's going to perform worse next year is significant. He's not just past the point of diminishing returns for a catcher, his past injuries make him less durable and bad dropoff in offensive numbers next year more probable

3) Lieberthal has been terrible throwing out runners since joe kerrigan came with his perfect pitch theory. Joe went and lieby hasn't improved at all. It's a small aspect of the game, but I got sick of watching guys make it comfortably to second this year because the throw was slow, late or off-target.

4) we need to replace at least one half of the black hole, be it bell or lieberthal, to stop the effect on our run scoring. replacing both might be a bonus

5) a change in catcher may improve our pitching staff.

I'd give lieby away if we had an affordable, competent, fit replacement. I'm not saying throw crazy money at him, but if no one's biting that hard, we don't have to pay much for someone as good as lieby offensively for two years, less likely to break and better defensively and with the pitchers. Sounds like molina. Goes without saying we still need a pitcher.

I've heard good things about Jaramillo, but he seems to be a few years away. Johnny Marz, I seem to recall, also likes his game, too.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/J/jason-jaramillo.shtml

For a 3B option... and a pop off the bench option.... what about Wes Helms? http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/H/wes-helms.shtml

Now that the D'backs just completed the steal of getting rid of a guy they had to in Vasquez in exchange for a similar pitcher, El Duque (albeit for only one year) plus yet another potential CF of the future in Chris Young and their new closer, Luis Vizcaino (which is why they had to pony up dough), it is the perfect time to offer Michaels and a relief pitcher (maybe Brito or Geary?) for Troy Glaus - Az will want to shed cash and fix their bad fielding situation. Then we can send Bell to L.A. or Pittsburgh for a reliever. Please Pat - I'll love you forever!

Dodgers will not want Lieby with Navarro and Phillips. They are set at catcher. Too bad this is not the Salary capped NBA where players with large contracts with just one year remaining have value. I am fine with Lieby for one more year. This team has much bigger concerns than catcher. Troy Glaus is a very interesting name. But please , not Looper.

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