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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

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This is the first move Gillick has made (outside of the Thome trade) that I like. Gonzalez is far superior to Nunez, both offensively and defensively. Like Perez, he will never take a walk, but unlike him he will hit a fair number of HRs. This is a good step in beefing up what was looking like one of the worst benches in the NL. Too bad they now have to cut Perez and eat his contract.

Hypothetical: Would you rather have Jason Michaels or Alex Gonzalez on your bench?

JW: For power? I'd rather have ASG, but this move still puzzles me. Why, however, did we sign Nunez for all of that dough if we were going to go out and get someone like him? What I think of all of this points to is that Manuel really must have issues with Tomas after that game where Tomas was kidding around with Miggy Cabrera while the Phillies were losing. Of course if we have any major injuries in the IF, we should be okay for stretches. I just hope that Shane is still dialed into the zone.

Some teams operate on the theory that you can never have too much pitching. Others say you can never have too much hitting. The Phils, visionaries that they are, evidently are operating on the theory that you can never have too many backup/utility infielders.

This seems like an appropriate time to admit that, sometimes, when I'm laughing on the outside, I'm really crying on the inside.

According to MLB.com, the Phillies have agreed on this deal.

As to your question JW, I'd rather have JMike than ASG.

I will be shocked if Perez is not on the roster on opening day. I don't see the Phils eating his contract. To me the Gonzalez signing means the Phils will open the season with 4 outfielders and the bench is now set: Perez, Nunez, Gonzalez, Fassano, and Victorino.

Now they're talking about having these guys learn the OF, too. Instead of signing a 5th utility IF and trying to have some of the IF learn the OF, why not just sign an Alex Gonzalez-equivalent OF to begin with? Ugh.

And I note for the record that having 5 utility IF on the 40-man roster (4 of whom are essentially journeymen, replacement-level talent with no discernable upside) says, with many, many exclamation points, that our farm system is about as barren, desicated, and bone-dry as possible.

Kuff:
I couldn't agree with your last statement more. I was planning to post something on this very subject.

We spend a lot of time talking about prospects here, but the reality is, the farm system is as bad as advertised. This move to pick up Gonzalez and possibly put him in outfield couldn't uncover the dip and zero-confidence in the farm system more, specifically the class that moved through Reading and Scranton the last two years and should now be ready for the big show.

There isn't a single player getting a legitimate look in camp that ranks even in the top 10 of Baseball America prospects, and probably shouldn't. That list includes Roberson, Sandoval, Ruiz and even Victorino. Victorino and Ruiz have the best shot at sticking, but it wouldn't surprise me if Victorino had a terrible spring just like last year and fell further than his projected No. 4 in the OF depth charts. As for Ruiz, he's battling a catcher with major-league experience and may start, and stay, in Scranton.

You'd like to see more young guys get a chance, but only if they can cut it. With additions like Fasano, Nunez, Kroeger and now Gonzalez, it certainly appears that the Phillies have very little confidence in their young players, at least for next season.

Hm, it's a wonder they passed on re-signing Ramon Martinez, while they were at it. Are Luis Aguayo and Jackie Gutierrez still available?

But seriously.

Gillick's most notable activity in his initial off-season has been to stockpile the fringes of the roster: set-up men, mop-up men, and once-a-week pinch hitters. Perhaps some of these guys will develop into valuable role players, but he's tinkering with odds and ends and continuing to neglect the larger picture...oh, he'll *acknowledge* it and say there's a need for this and that...and then go and pluck another independent league journeyman to be a non-roster invitee.

SchuBlue:

Right you are. Your observation gives even more support to the theory that they are just going to play this year out, then make big moves next offseason when Wolf, Lieberthal, and Bell's $21+ million come off the books.

At least Alex S Gonzalez is only costing us $750,000. That doesn't seem too unreasonable to me. Of course if we have three utility infielders on the opening day roster... even if we only carry 11 pitchers and hence have 6 bench slots... we'll have problems. Perhaps we'll get lucky and be able to trade Perez and Rheal for some fringe prospects this spring.

Completely concur on the derth of high level positional prospects. To his credit, though, Gillick appears to have pulled off a minor coup in the Thome trade. Hopefully he'll follow that up with a highly developed college pitcher with either the 1st round pick or sandwich pick this year.

What's the outlook this season on the new guys- especially Victorino? Are we looking at the next Tomas Perez, or the next Chase Utley (who is the next Jeff Kent, by the way).

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