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Sunday, July 30, 2006

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a few extra notes, or things that i picked up on: (1) i missed the next season comment, i heard "this season." (2) dellucci is most likely not going anywhere. (3) gillick, after a long pause, said "about 4" for the number of teams bobby was willing to go to. i don't know what "about 4" means in numeric terms, but it sounds alot like 2, or 3 at the most. (4) there was a number of teams trying to get lidle, but it sounds as if the yanks went cold on taking on the more expensive lieber, who has been ineefective and is signed at more than twice lidle money through an extra year. sounds as if lidle was the saving piece to keep this deal form falling through the way the arbuckle deal did. (5) arbuckle is the guy who pushed for henry and sanchez, while gillick had seen monasteries throw. (6) arbuckle's defunct deal involved neither a player traded today, nor lieber. suspects would be lieberthal, burrell, rhodes, cormier, or gordon.

As I said in the other thread, Gillick frank honesty is refreshing. The phillies are working towards long-term success, not the immediate and immediate playoff appearance/first round loss. This actually makes me want to go see the phils more next season. They HAVE A PLAN.

Gillick makes moves that conform to that plan. Or he plugs immediate holes with players that can easily be let go.

the guys over at good fight corroborate the "no contende next yearo" statement by gillick. i totally missed that. yikes.

gr - reports say that Abreu had greenlighted any trades with the Mets, Yanks, or Sox. Probably would have demanded the extra year for other teams, like the Dodgers, etc.

Will, What is Gillick's plan other than to dump salary and stock the minors with low grade prospects ? Was Ryan Franklin and Arthur Rhodes part of this plan ? Was not addressing starting pitching and bringing up AA pitchers who were not ready another part of the plan ? I'll reserve final judgment till the offseason to see what he does with this "payroll flexibility", but till now I am not optimistic.

What is THE PLAN again exactly? OK, cut payroll, got that part...and...hmmm, plan, plan...Franklin, GOnzalez, Fassano, Nunez...will they be a part of it?

No, OK, so the plan is we replace Abreu with Vic/Delluci, replace those two with Roberson, play Nunez at 3b next year, wait four years for a bunch of c-level prospects to turn into superstars at about the time Myers, Utley and Howard leave and...oh, oh, did you mean the plan the owners had for their savings, yes that is some plan indeed.

Nice coverage today, Jason. I really cant believe it came to this -- we just traded our best hitter for a couple of bags of peanuts.

I believe I said "Or he plugs immediate holes with players that can easily be let go." This would apply to all the people that you mentioned kdon and BM. Oh and ryan franklin was designated for assignment. Hence the "can easily be let go" part.

and tom, Chase is our best hitter. Bobby was good at walking though, which was awesome when there was a man on 2nd and one out. Really set up the DP for Burrell very well.

How does signing Nunez for 2 years fit into this alleged plan ?

Peanuts? We also got peanuts? Wait, that changes everything!

Ed Wade did not alot of damage to pick this team in the current position where they are at. Alot of back-ended contracts, no-trade clauses, and trades that depeleted the farm system.

There was some truth to what Gillick said but he is totally full of crap about this team contending this year or next year. If he was truly honest, he would say that the performance of this year's team indicated they could not contend for a playoff position. Therefore, we need to evaluate this team's evaluate and "rebuild" for the next 2 years. There is no way the Phils pitching will dramatically improve by next year and there is litle immediate help available in the farm system.

More troubling is that the drafts since 2003 have been below average. The Phils are going to find that the farm system is going to yield vary little fruit in '07 or '08. What is really going to occur is a reduce payroll with a team that struggles to place a real contender on the field.

Alby you rule! That made my day.

I watched the entire press conference live. Gillick said it would take beyond next season to rebuild the team. He did not put a timetable on it. MG, your analysis is correct, given the sad state of the farm system, the mediocre prospects being acquired and the lack of pitching depth, I think getting back to contender status within 3 years is going to be difficult.

From Keith Law, ESPN insider

"The Yankees get a big OBP boost and the best fifth starter they've had all year, and they did it by using money (of which they have a lot) instead of prospects (of which they have few once you exclude Philip Hughes and Jose Tabata). The Phillies, meanwhile, get some salary relief for 2007, but not much else.

Bobby Abreu may or may not have lost his power -- I think it's overblown, as he's still on pace for 40-plus doubles and doesn't look like he's lost bat speed or raw strength -- but he's still one of the best offensive players in the game. He's about to post his eighth straight 100-walk season and has the fifth-best OBP in the game. The Yankees have been running a Bernie Williams/Aaron Guiel platoon out in left, and while Guiel has hit a few homers since he came to the Bronx, he's still a four-A player who has no place on a contending club's roster. Even if Abreu's home run total remains low, he's worth two extra wins to the Yankees if he takes at-bats away from Bernie and Guiel, and more if his home-run power comes back.

Cory Lidle is a finesse right-hander with excellent control who will probably struggle to be a league-average starter in the American League at this point, but he is an enormous improvement over Sidney Ponson, Kris Wilson and Aaron Small -- whom the Yanks have employed as fifth starters this year. Lidle's best pitch is a splitter, but his fastball is a tick below average so he has to have good command to be effective and keep the ball out of the seats. Since the guys he's replacing have been so bad, he's still a one-to-two-win upgrade for the balance of the season, making this one of the biggest impact deals any club will make this month.

The Phillies finally came off their demands for top prospects and instead chose to dump the two contracts, saving $18 million in 2007 by moving Abreu. The only player they acquired with any sort of major-league value right now is lefty specialist Matt Smith, a 27-year-old veteran of the Yankee farm system.

The Phils did acquire some interesting prospects. Shortstop C.J. Henry is best known as the guy the Yankees took in the 2005 draft even though right-handed pitcher Craig Hansen was still available. Henry is a raw five-tool talent and still just 19 years old. His swing is long, but he generates plus power and is a good baserunner with well-above-average speed. He has struggled in the South Atlantic League this year across the board. Though he has the physical tools to stay at short, it remains to be seen how his body develops and whether he outgrows the position. The Phillies also acquired two players from the Yankees' Gulf Coast League affiliate, athletic catcher Jesus Sanchez and hard-throwing right-hander Carlos Monasterios, both of whom are so far away that they're more pre-prospects than prospects.

So the three minor-league players the Phils acquired aren't going to help the big-league club until at least 2009 or 2010, and none is good enough to be the centerpiece for a subsequent deal. As a result, the Phillies haven't done anything to improve their club for 2007 except add financial flexibility, but with a thin free-agent market this winter, it's not clear that they'll have superior outlets for spending that money."

So let me get this straight: those opposing the trade today would have prefered the Phillies just soldiered on and on eternally with Abreu, believing his presence alone would guarantee a shot at contention? Oh - yes, I almost forgot the world of difference he's made to the Phillies' chance of contending this year. Wait, though: it's not the right fielder's fault, it's the pitching staff! Right. Well, now there's a chance to use some of the money swallowed up by Abreu and Lidle (and Bell, and soon many others) on pitching, indeed on a multitude of other players, ones with heartbeats, ones who could be given a chance to show what they can do for this team, instead of running the same players out there every season, who don't quite seem to be helping it win a damn thing.

Do I care if the Phillies don't win next year? Not nearly as much as I would if they had left the team essentially the same. Because that wasn't working, either, and it wasn't going to work. Besides that, I firmly believe this trade represents an opportunity to become a better team - perhaps not immediately, but as Will has said, as long as there is a *direction*, I can handle a period of transition. The past two seasons have been exercises in pure denial, wasted time, and frustration over management's refusal to acknowledge that the flawed core it had assembled years ago was just not working out. We now have the makings of a fresh start. That's all any of us could have asked for at this point.

RSB--if I could write it any better, I would. Instead I'll just strongly second that.

This team did need a change but giving away proven assets for essentially "some magic beans" is not the way to improve this team. No player from any of the recent trades is likely to improve this team in the next year or two.

Funny thing is that I have been listening to the WFAN this afternoon while doing work. They basically are sure that this move will probably put Yanks over Sox. Plus, they basically laughed at what crap the Phils accepted in this trade. Smith is regarded as such as non-factor that he couldn't even make the major league club (even with the Yanks pitching troubles this year and last year). As for Henry, is was probably a mistake draft pick by the Yanks and they weren't too high on his future. One of those amazing "tools" who probably won't ever put it together at the MLB level.

Here's to plenty of "heart" and 75-80 wins next year. Yeah!

Agreed.

With RSB that is.

"Wait, though: it's not the right fielder's fault, it's the pitching staff! Right. Well, now there's a chance to use some of the money swallowed up by Abreu and Lidle (and Bell, and soon many others) on pitching,"

Seriously, this idea that the team will reinvest the money is a fairytale...Gillick has said that he doesn't like free agent pitchers and they didn't dump Abreu's salary so they could sign a free agent. If they trade for WIllis and sign him to a long deal or overpay for Zito, I would rethink this deal, but it ain't happening. The money is going to be pocketed.

"So let me get this straight: those opposing the trade today would have prefered the Phillies just soldiered on and on eternally with Abreu, believing his presence alone would guarantee a shot at contention?"

This has to be one of the funnier comments I've read in a while...soldier on eternally, WTF does that mean? If you couldn't do better than low level prospects, you keep him for next year. It's not that difficult.

I've yet to see anyone provide even the slightest bit of evidence that Abreu has hurt the team because of his presence...nothing gaurantees a shot at contention, but a 100 RBI, 100 R, 420 OBP, 40 2B 30 SB right-fielder goes a pretty damn long ways towards that goal.

Between 2001 and 2005 the Phillies won at least 86 games four times. In the pevious 14 years, they did it ONCE.

The pitching and the manager have been terrible. That is a fact. Some of Wade's long term deals have hurt the club (Burrell, Lieberthal, Bell, WOlf, J-Roll maybe) but Abreu's wasn't one of them.

Personally, I have a very simple PLAN for developing a good team. Keep the players who are good and dump the players who are bad. By any possible measuring stick, Abreu is in the former category. This seems like a fairly simple philosophy, but it's obviously lost on some people.

Ugg, with fans this gullible, no wonder

RSB - Value, that's what I wanted out of this deal. Value. And we got nothing except cost cutting. I'm not going to try and read anything longer term or more complex into this trade because it does exactly what it says on the label.

And I don't like it because it says to me that the period of transition will likely outlast the current gm - if they're not trading for prospects that can help them in the next two or three years, then that's what I have to assume. So Gillick's not here to plan a new start, he's just here to ruthlessly slim down the payroll. And if he doesn't have a plan, then we're back to the old favourites, the guys who employed him, the brain trust. Who have shown exemplary planning skills in the last 10 years.

If we had traded abreu for value, or we had walked away and worked hard to trade him in the offseason for value, for something could avail of the skills of utley, howard, maybe hamels, maybe myers in 2 years time, then I would have been okay with it.

Great point Oisin.

These prospects are not going to be around (if ever) until 2010. That means the Phillies are looking toward 2010.

Long after Howard and Utley are both in pinstripes.

At least when the Marlins dismantled their teams, they rewarded the fans with a World Series Titles the year before. We can look back to last year when we missed the wild card by one game. Part of being a Phillies fan is long years of suffering. We're just paying our dues this year...and next year...and the year after that and then in the year 2012 the Mayan calendar ends!

The only thing I am wondering is that how did it go from Hughes to Proctor to Duncan to Henry and the other cast of characters? There was a time when Milledge's name was being invoked. There was a time when Nixon's name was being mentioned. That being said, I don't mind the Abreu move, as long as the Phillies actually spend a good chunk of money this winter. They can't afford to be blown away by other teams with regard to their current needs. If Aramis Ramirez is available, they need to do whatever they can to get him to be our third basemen. As for catcher, I guess it will be Ruiz and Coste (since the FA crop is weak). While I don't mind that, I think that Ruiz needs to be up here learning this staff and getting a better feel for hitting at the Major League level. Who cares if Lieberthal plays twice a week. Its not like he is going to be here next year...

Fox says the Phils get the Yanks first round draft pick next year, too.

Oops, that was their 2005 first round draft pick, C.J. Henry. My apologies for poor reading skills.

let's hope they keep these trades going. rhodes or cormier is next!

If possible, I'm on both sides here:

On one hand, I can buy the argument that we needed to get rid of Abreu and move forward. His salary, his lackadaisical play, his selfishness and refusal to move to lead-off spot won't be missed. Yes, he got on base a lot and in the past had good power numbers, but the bottom line is that we just didn't win with him--at least to the degree necessary to make the playoffs.

On the other hand, to get essentially nothing usable now or potentially ever for Abreu (and Lidle!) is embarrassing. Yes, I'm embarrassed to be a Phillies fan right now.

In the long run, Gillick better have a plan. We still have a decent core with Utley and Howard, but if we can't find the missing pieces of the puzzle, and fast, they're not going to want to stick around much longer, either.

Cross posted at Philliesphans.com:

Watching Baseball Tonight to see more on Abreu from the 'experts' and see them flash the WC standings.

I know we were told we can't win it because we were 10th in the WC standings earlier this week. But now we're 7th. A win tonight and we're within a game of 3rd in the WC race. And only 4 back in the loss column behind the leading Reds. 3 back of the 2nd place Dbacks. And the same amount of losses or fewer than all the other WC "contenders".

Is it really impossible to make up 4 games in the loss column in 2 months?

Yeah, I know we basically stink, but so do all these other teams as far as I can tell.

One thing I don't want to see the Phils do this year is just needlessly spend alot of money on veteran re-treads. The Pirates did that this year (Burnitz, Randa, Casey) and it blew up in their face.

If Phils are going to go with young pitching next year (Mathieson, Hamels, Floyd?) next year, they have got to get some guys to play defense. A supposed strength coming into the season, the Phils' defense has been horrible. Their outfield defense has been awful. Burrell is a mummy in LF and his only redeeming defensive quality is his rifle-arm. Abreu also was below-average in write. Probably the most disappointing has been Rowand. Hasn't hit at all and his defense has stunk. Knew he didn't have much of an arm but his range has weak too. Phils have got to get somebody in either CF/RF you can actually play some quality defense.

Infield defense has also stuck too with the exception of Rollins. Howard has regressed this season and at times looks like he doesn't want the ball hit to him. Utley has improved but he is still only an average 2B. David Bell was supposed to be this Gold Glove caliber player and I didn't see it. He was ok and had a strong arm but couldn't make a play while charging a ball. Plus the catching position of Lieberthal/Fasano also provided little in the way of defense. Average to below average arms and not great at blocking WPs.

Eastfallow, I've wanted to make your exact point for a week, but I'm kind of an optomist for this team and I figured I would get laughed at.

I agree, if all those teams were bunched around Cincinnati, we wouldn't have a chance, but if would really only take a four or five game winning streak to get into second or third place. The Phillies have problems, but the NL stinks. I'd say the chances are about 1/20, but what the hell, a pennant race is a pennant race. Oh, wait, that's right, we just traded Abreu and Lidle for some teenagers...never mind.

Phils have called up Michael Bourn.

For those who have a problem with the 'value' received in return for Abreu, get a grip on reality. That's what you get when your only option comes down to negotiating with one team, the only one which could afford his bloated contract. That's what happens when you have to get them to add $12 million to the payroll. Adding that much money is not to the Yankees' advantage. They believe Abreu will make that increased payroll worth their while, but they didn't believe it was so much of a no-brainer that they could also afford to give up prime prospects *and* a good deal of flexibility. It's not as much of a one-sided deal as it appears. Believe me, the Yankees aren't doing any laughing over this, and by the same token Phillies fans shouldn't be crying in their beer.

The other option, keeping Abreu (is that a more agreeable way to put it, kdon?), I believe would have proved to be an even less popular and certainly less sensible move. Bobby Abreu is not the difference-maker between a contending team and a non-contending team. If this team is going to shed payroll and try to develop next season, it makes little sense to keep Abreu around, any way you want to look at it.

If you think being within six games of the wild card means they have a chance to win anything, you're conveniently ignoring the 46-54 record, and the ability of the pitching staff to possibly make up that deficit and get the Phillies on top of seven other teams. If you really like those odds and think that Abreu was going to help lead the 2006 Phillies to an exciting postseason, I'd say you're in far worse denial than the ownership which you so revile. If you believe those owners are going to just pocket all the money saved from the deposed contracts, that the "only plan is a salary dump", which is an "end it itself": I share your skepticism of Phillies ownership, but beyond that, how the hell do you know what they intend to do with the money? How can you say with any assurance they have no plan, and we're all just suckers to believe the money will be reinvested? I don't think they're going to go after any free agents this off-season, either. But if Gillick is shrewd enough, this can certainly be a competitive team next year. There has been no wholesale dismantling. Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle are gone. Okay. Rollins, Howard, Utley, Rowand, Dellucci, Myers, Gordon, Hamels, Wolf, and even Burrell are all still here. Recognize any of those names? With even a decent off-season, this team finishes .500 next year, and will be a hell of a lot more enjoyable to watch doing it.

Calling up Bourn is interesting, to say the least. I'll interpret that as meaning another trade is in the works; you wouldn't bring him up to sit, I wouldn't think.

RSB, I am thinking the same thing. Does this mean a trade of Rowand ? Why do you bring up Bourn to be a 5th outfielder and sit the bench ?

Did Bobby need to be moved now or could Gillick have waited for the off-season to make a move for Bobby that would have brought some value? That is the thing that gets me. To give up what is arguably our most-valuable trade commodity for next to nothing is disappointing to say the least. There was no compelling reason to move Bobby now to get nothing in return. If this was the best offer from the Yankees with their backs to the wall, then we should have said “no thanks” and tried to trade Bobby in the off-season. We truly do look like fools here. I agree with those that say this is just a cost-cutting move. It is addition by subtraction. All we as fans want is those additions to be to the win column and not the owner’s bottom line.

Wow. RSB, I had always thought you had some credibility as a baseball fan, but these recent posts have me re-thinking that.

***
"So let me get this straight: those opposing the trade today would have prefered the Phillies just soldiered on and on eternally with Abreu, believing his presence alone would guarantee a shot at contention? Oh - yes, I almost forgot the world of difference he's made to the Phillies' chance of contending this year."
***

I think this is a case of philly fans deciding not to like someone and then running with it. The phillies are not in playoff contention, but it's hardly Abreu's fault. The culprits, in descending order, are probably: Starting pitching, poor infield defense, poor bullpen. Add the lack of production in our 7-8-9 spots (mostly 3B and C), and there you have it.

Now, if trading Abreu got us some help in those areas, then I would have been all for it.

But, RSB, you try to make an argument here...

***
"Wait, though: it's not the right fielder's fault, it's the pitching staff! Right. Well, now there's a chance to use some of the money swallowed up by Abreu and Lidle (and Bell, and soon many others) on pitching, indeed on a multitude of other players..."
***

There are two problems with this:
1. There is no indication that the Phillies plan on using that money to get players. In fact, we have the opposite.

2. Even if they were to use that money - who is going to be available??? Find me a pending FA 3B or C or RF who will be more productive than Abreu next year, and I'll say go for it.


This team just has no clue. And I'm starting to see that our fans, for the most part, have no clue. We've scorned Abreu, saying he has no drive, no leadership, etc. Or maybe that he doesn't have the fire, or doesn't go for the hit, or something nuts where he somehow argue that his .427 obp is actually a detriment to the team. Well, we were dead wrong. This guy was an important piece to have in the lineup, and our failure wasn't having him in the lineup every year, it was failing to surround him with the right pieces.

For example, where's our true leadoff hitter? Rolllins is so overrated as a hitter, it's ridiculous.

Where's our 3B hitter? Every team has a productive 3B somewhere in the pipeline, where is ours?

Where's our slap-hitting, pesky 8 hole hitter? For a while, it was Fasano/Lieberthal. Not good.

And why should we care about the prospects we got, when we're not going to be able to use them to win? Contrary to RSB's arguments, there definititely IS a sense of urgency here, b/c although this was Utley and Howard's first full years - they're 27/28 years old!!! Not 23 like Miguel Cabrera. Not 25 like Pujols. Not 23 like David Wright. So... right in the period where our consensus best players are hitting their primes, we're preparing for a 6 year plan to contend. Brilliant.

People say they're excited for next year, to see the staff we trot out there. I can understand - I was actually excited to see the team Florida put out there, not b/c I'm a Florida fan, but because they had a great, young lineup. We will have nothing of the sort. I'm sure I'm overreacting right now b/c of my sense of despair, but I think for the most part this is true: The Phillies are a moribund franchise, on the level of KC and Cincy - nothing that can carry us in the present day, and nothing that's imminent to help us in the future. I just can't see how this team will contend in any less than 5 or 6 years, right when our best players will be 33 or 34 and ready to be traded for a 27 year old AAA relief pitcher.

And if it sounds like I'm annoyed with RSB personally, that's only partly true. It's probably just my anger at the Phillies being transferred to whoever RSB is. But also, it's because it's clear that RSB has been drinking the Phillies' kool-aid... you're buying the company line, despite "sharing our sketicism of the ownership" or however you put it above.

***
"I don't think they're going to go after any free agents this off-season, either. But if Gillick is shrewd enough, this can certainly be a competitive team next year."
***

uhhh... so they're not going after free agents, but they'll have a shrewd off season? Exactly what are they going to trade? Which prospects are they going to develop?

***
"There has been no wholesale dismantling. Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle are gone. Okay. Rollins, Howard, Utley, Rowand, Dellucci, Myers, Gordon, Hamels, Wolf, and even Burrell are all still here."
***

ummm, you've been calling this the "blowing up the team" that we've so desperately needed, but then you say there's no wholesale dismantling? Which do you want?

And of the players you list, only Howard, Utley, Myers, and Hamels are certain contributors for the next 3-4 years.

***
"Recognize any of those names? With even a decent off-season, this team finishes .500 next year, and will be a hell of a lot more enjoyable to watch doing it."
***

If there's going to be no free agents, and if there's not much to trade away for pieces, exactly what will constitute a "decent off-season"? Makes no sense at all.

GJ, the Phillies tried all winter to trade Abreu, with no success. This off-season, he'd have been a year older and coming off a far less impressive season. What makes you think Abreu could have brought anything more in the off-season? His salary would still have knocked all but four teams out of the running, and there additionally not have been the urgency felt by a contender to get itself over the top. I would argue that they probably wouldn't even have gotten as much as they did today if they'd waited, plus they'd still be stuck with that lingering albatross even longer. To me, they'd only look like fools if they hadn't finally pulled the trigger and do what they had to do.

The Phillies are playing like a rejuvenated team today. Coincidence?

And finally:

"If you think being within six games of the wild card means they have a chance to win anything, you're conveniently ignoring the 46-54 record, and the ability of the pitching staff to possibly make up that deficit and get the Phillies on top of seven other teams. If you really like those odds and think that Abreu was going to help lead the 2006 Phillies to an exciting postseason, I'd say you're in far worse denial than the ownership which you so revile. "


These are all arguments for trading Abreu for valid pitching help. We haven't done that at all. The money won't be used to sign an FA pitcher (see Gillick's comments prior, and see lack of FA pitchers). We got nothing we can trade for a pitcher.

To extend those arguments into an argument that Abreu has no value period is a gross miscalculation.

Oh, for goodness' sake, RSB:

***
"The Phillies are playing like a rejuvenated team today. Coincidence?"
***

No. That's that the Phillies do when there's no pressure on them to win at all. We've seen this the last 5 years. We're now officially selling, giving up on the season. Has nothing to do with being free of Abreu or whatever you're insinuating.

Plus, florida, while fun to watch, while full of great young players, is pretty terrible this year too. They beat up on a 22 year old anibal sanchez. Woo hoo.

What I'm sick of here is people calling my "credibility as a baseball fan" into question. Disagree is you will, but leave it at that. You can dissect my arguments all you want and respond in a condescending, rhetorical fashion, but understand that you're leaving all kinds of unaddressed points by the wayside.

I really have no idea what would cause someone to feel their opinion and knowledge was so irreproachablr and so final so as to disqualify the dissenting opinion of another. That kind of arrogance is unacceptable. We can disagree and debate 'til the cows come home, but don't presume you have the absolute answers and that my perspective is so warped that you have no choice but to piss all over my opinion by saying that I lack credibility. I would be content to let the more civilized readers here to make up their own mind about what I have to say, but my instincts are not to passive when I am unreasonably attacked by someone who believes they *know* they are right.

Well, Ed, are *you* kidding? Yeah, the Marlins have been so wretched that they came into the doubleheader ahead of the Phillies in the standings. And all Sanchez had done in his previous five starts was go 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA. Yeah, total pushovers.

This guy was an important piece to have in the lineup, and our failure wasn't having him in the lineup every year, it was failing to surround him with the right pieces. --Ed

That should go on his tombstone.

Oh relax, RSB. Passionate debating shouldn't be avoided... have some thicker skin. If it bothers you, just realize that my opinion of you doesn't really matter b/c it's purely based on 3 or 4 posts on some random phillies blog.

Instead, tell me why my arguments to your posts are wrong, b/c I really am curious how you can come to some of your conclusions.

And finally, we have a better record than the Royals, and the Phillies stink. So saying that the Marlins are ahead of us in the standings just doesn't hold water. And no first year pitcher is Roger Clemens, no matter how hot he was in his last few starts. You know better than that, surely.

All that said, Abreu handled the constant rumors and the trade itself with total class. The moment when trade was annouiced at the park and Abreu and the fans had a mutual lovefest was kind of a surreal moment in Philadelphia sports history.

I think he's a great hitter and a great person but not a winning ballplayer. I'm sure he'll have success with the Yankees, but it won't prove a thing to me. The Yankees are established winners, not to be affected by Abreu's approach to the game one way or the other. The Phillies were and are a different story.

Ok well as a Mets fan, I really wish you guys hadn't done a deal with the devil. Some mets fans are happy to have Abreu out of the division but WHY THE YANKS?? We as mets fans hate the yankees a hundred times more than we hate the phils, and i understand that PG's major goal here was to dump the salary but was there really no other option (in terms of getting some sort of major league talent)?? I understand that the no-trade clause hindered anything major happening and PG was simply happy dumping salary but can someone please tell me what the general phils consensus is on this one?

Is that 31 for Utley now?

Alby, that comm ent was great!

Maybe we can also trade Lieber to the Red Sox for a year supply of peanuts for each fan that attends a game next year. Maybe then people will come out and watch the Phils AAAA team.

Watchout now the Phils have moved into 2nd place WooHoooooooooooooooo!

RSB: There are informed opinions and then there are silly opinions. I have a lot of respect for an informed opinion even if I disagree. And you certainly have a right to your silly opinions (the silliest is that the losing team next year will be more fun to watch than a team with proven stars). But folks like Ed and kdon and myself have a right to point out silly opinions when we see them. And you mentioning the Marlins is absolutely hilarious. Look at the quality of prospects they got when they dumped their vets and compare it to what the Phillies have gotten in tese moves you are hailing as so great.

Ed, do I avoid passionate debating? I'm all for it. I just don't like it when my credibility is questioned. You wouldn't either. You can have an opinion about my opinions but don't make it personal by saying they lack legitimacy because they don't match yours.

I don't feel the need to counter everything you said and try to convince you to see it my way, particularly as you tend only to address the small portions of any given argument which suit your established views. I am not Pat Gillick and I do not know who he plans to target in the off-season. I do know that the Phils still have a more than a few trading options in the organization, which could include Madson, Floyd, Ruiz, Bourn, Victorino, Rowand, or even Myers in addition to the veteran retreads still standing here, depending on which possibilities may emerge at much later dates with any number of teams. I fail to see where my failing to provide you with exact answers to what the Phillies intend to do beyond this point - when it is impossible for even them to say - means that I have arrived at my conclusions haphazardly.

The Phillies have not played this kind of inspired baseball for a long time. My feeling is that they're looser because all the long-awaited changes have finally taken place, and perhaps anxious to prove they're not going to totally suck from here on out because of them. I can't prove it but neither can you can't prove against it, Ed. It's just my interpretation.

I am so F-L-U-S-T-R-A-T-E-D with this team and the owners.

Can we dump Charlie now too? What's stupid is that I enjoy going to ballgames so much I actually go down to CBBP....we should all protest and not go to games.....let Eskin take over!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clout: BS. It's not a "silly" opinion, any more than yours is. How must it feel going around with that kind of mindset? Opinions that can't be backed up with statistics are not necessarily "silly". How audacious of you to say so. If I would prefer to watch a team with more energy, which might possibly lose more games than a dull team with more talent, what exactly makes that a "silly" opinion? That is my personal preference. Who in hell are you to proclaim superiority of prefernce over mine? Who exactly are you to profess respect or disrespect for someone's personal preference - or to proclaim that my opinions are not informed? Do you have an ounce of shame or common decency in you?

My only issue with the legitimacy of your arguments is that you seem to make contradictory arguments. Namely, if you concede:

(a) that we won't sign FA's (and btw, a friend of mine compiled a list of potential 2007 FAs, and it's depressing)
(b) that the trade of abreu did not net us tradeable commodities
and (c) that we really didn't have much in the minors to begin with,

well, I just don't see how you'd define the successful off-season that would allow this team to contend next year.

As for my calling your credibility into question, I had no idea that that would be the comment you'd fixate on. I didn't mean to make it personal, it's just sports debating. If someone said that to me here, I would take it as a sports argument b/c it's a phillies blog and I don't know anyone here. If a FRIEND said it to me, or my WIFE, well, then, that would be different.

Look, counter my arguments, or don't counter them, but I didn't just focus on random, out-of-context statements from you... I took whole paragraphs and after reading your posts, took those statements which seemed to represent your stance. They didn't just fit into my arguments.. Now stop avoiding me!!! :-)

RSB: I would define a silly opinion as one that is based on false assumptions, factual errors and illogical conclusions.

Now, let's not get all Shakespearean here, RSB...

"You rocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!" "If you prick me, do I not bleed?" etc...

:-)

We're all phillies fans here, just having a debate. It's conceded we all hate Montgomery and Ed Wade, let's just go from there.

this business with touting next year's 'financial flexibility', especially apparent in RSB's earlier post, has got to stop in favor of reality. the phils saved the money from abreu's contract...and that's it. bell, franklin, and lidle were all free agents this year. getting rid of them has not saved the team one red cent for 2007. with abreu's $15-17 million next year, the team will need to sign a C, 3B, semi-experienced starter, at least. they also need to restock their awful awful farm system with position players, otherwise, salary dumps with lopsided talent shifts like this will keep happening. there alot of contracts up at the end of the year. that's great. the organization will need to replace them. with who? the off-season acquisitions this year were so bad (fasano, franklin, nunez, gonzalez, rhodes), hope feels tremendously misguided.

From my friend, who tried to compile a list of the best potential 2007 FA's. It's scary.

******
So I think just to see if there's any benefit to giving away Abreu, let's take a peek at the top FA's for 2007. I'm looking at unrestricted guys or players who, IMO, won't have their options picked up (option years will have an asterisk next to their names).

OF
Carlos Lee
Soriano
Sheffield*
Cliff Floyd
Trot Nixon
Jose Guillen
Jim Edmonds*
Torii Hunter*

IF
Nomar
Hillenbrand
Huff
Lugo
Loretta
Luis Castillo
Craig Wilson
Posada
Pudge Rodriguez
Javy Lopez

P
Zito
Maddux
Gagne
Mulder
Schmidt
Kerry Wood
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Mussina*
Marquis
Lilly

I don't think anyone's opinion is wrong or right (only time can tell that), but sometimes the ways the opinions are couched can be cause for misinterpretation. Either way, this is about the Phillies and not life or death.

That said, my hoping to get more in return for Abreu doesn't mean I've no grip on reality. And just because part of me didn't want to see him go doesn't mean I don't think it'll ultimately be the best for the team in the long run.

I'm just frustrated that this team got little value outside of the salary saved--and we have no real clue as to the Gillick game plan, the what next.

I'm not sure if this even makes sense. Right now it's just sadness and frustration speaking.

At no time did I say the Phillies would have a contending team next year. I said "competitive". .500 or thereabouts, nothing embarrassing. I would gladly take that. I realize there isn't all that much Gillick can do. But take a look at the team on the field in this doubleheader. Is it really all that horrible? It isn't.

Sports debating with strangers or not, language is language. When you condemn a person's credibility, what you are doing is saying his opinion is not valid. I don't know of anyone who would take kindly to that. I make a point to anyone who thinks they can use words or meanings like that casually in discourse of any kind. I take being a baseball fan very seriously and I have been an avid fan of the Phillies for over 20 years. Few things have meant as much to me through the entirety of that span as Phillies baseball. You don't watch and read everything you can for all that time related to something, and then have someone call your opinions on the subject uninformed without wanting to let that person know they're TOTALLY out of line. Especially with the increased debate on Abreu's worth to the Phillies, certain regulars have been saying these kinds of things and by the time you got around to saying it yourself, Ed, let's just say a little anger had built up.

Well Bobby is gone, and gone are the days where a player will spend 10 or more seasons with one club. Abreu brought out the best in the Phillies at times, and with the people that were critical of him not playing up to par was also part of the way the Phillies generally played at times.

Since Pat Gillick has arrived on the scene he's cut more payroll than a mass layoff of the Communication Workers of America over the past few years! That put's a smile on the face of the owner who now has a fatter wallet and oh yes, the fan's attendence has really made the Phillies suffer significantly either at this point, so why not? Cut all your stars, get all the salary money back and hope for the best- there are still people in the stands watching for now, but I feel that this house of cards the Phils are trying to put together will collapse real quick. There is a reason you trade your top two players, it is called a fire sale. You've accepted that the moves you'll make by doing this will result in no playoffs for the Phils. Will the fans still play to see this 'B' team put out by Gillick and the Owners of the Phils? Time will tell, but I can bet one thing this is going to get uglier before too long!

castro again?????? did he buy manuel a second house?

Clout, any way you define your insult, you're out of line, and you're dead wrong. You evidently assume that your logic is infallible and your opinions are the only ones that could possibly have been arrived at by the powers of reason. No opposing views can possibly stand in your universe, there is only room for your incontrovertible deductions. Your methods of debate are purely tyrannical.

One thing we can all agree on, I think, is that Pat Gillick's personnel moves since he joined the Phillies have been below average at best. The analysis from ESPN Insider Keith Law posted by Billy Mac higher in this thread is the best assessment I've seen so far.

RSB: I won't belabor this, but as I said earlier I respect well-reasoned opinions even when I disagree with them.

Belabor it if you will. Demonstrate exactly how my comments are "unreasonable" if you're going to make such claims.

At the risk of sounding like a Pollyanna, let me try to add a little perspective here.

I live in Delaware, where we also get the Orioles on our Comcast system. The last few days their team has gotten a great boost from -- believe it or not -- a retread named Fernando Tatis. Those with long memories may remember that he was the Cardinals' hot prospect at 3B several years back, pre-Pujols, until a game vs. the Phils where he tore his hamstring so severely he fell out of organized baseball. The point being that you never know where free talent can be found. I agree, the prospects for the Phils look rather grim unless -- and it's a big unless -- Gillick can find some free talent somewhere. In Seattle, it was Ichiro. We're unlikely to get that kind of boost here, but there are lots of overlooked pitchers every year who blossom into above-average contributors. (Everyone who foresaw Aaron Harang turning into a good starter for the Reds, please raise your hand. Yeah, I thought so.) Granted, Gillick's record based on the past year is nothing to inspire confidence. But if -- a big if, I concede -- ownership will let him respend all the money he has saved with this deal, maybe we'll find something good under some overturned rocks. For instance, if he can swing a deal for Melvin Mora to play 3B -- a rumor that swirled for quite a while in Baltimore earlier this year -- they might make the playoffs in what we all can see is a very weak league.

In short, the meager return for Abreu is a downer, but it's not the end of the world, or even contention.

RSB: OK, if you insist. Here's one misstatement of fact: "The past two seasons have been exercises in pure denial, wasted time, and frustration over management's refusal to acknowledge that the flawed core it had assembled years ago was just not working out."
Last year, this team finished one game out of the Wild Card spot. One game! A bounce here or there and they're in the playoffs. If they went on a hot run, who knows? And yet that one single game in a 162-game season proves it was a flawed core that was not working out?
Here's another uninformed statement:
"Bobby Abreu is not the difference-maker between a contending team and a non-contending team."
His stats say differently. Can you possibly believe the team that missed the playoffs by 1 game would have done just as well without him?

Clout: I agree. In addition, I would contend that the coaching staff -- in particular, a DH-league manager and a clueless 3B coach -- cost the team at least one game. The best part of trading Abreu is we finally can stop hearing this constant anti-Abreu chorus.

And yet the fact is they did *not* make the playoffs and if they had, they would had have been flushed out by the Cardinals so fast your inflated head would have spun. Moreover, the fact that they were one game out of a wild-card spot seemed to give credence to the idea that this was a playoff-caliber team - a notion which served to keep much of that core together and more or less ruin the 2006 season. Had the Phillies made these kinds of moves in 2005, much less 2004, perhaps they wouldn't be so behind the curve going into 2007 and would be in far better position to win sooner rather than hanging on to the *factually* misled hope that this group was going to bring a championship to Philadelphia. The '05 team did in fact go on a "hot run" but ultimately lost to their closest competition when it mattered most, and did so in such a characteristically feeble way that it remains my defining recollection of that team. To some, that hot finish was enough to satisfy, but to me, it was no accident that they missed by one game. No matter how many small margins that could have been perceived going one way or the other, the Phillies were a team that was going to find a way to come up short in the end. You may disagree with that perception, but in no way can you presume to call it "uninformed". The term does not apply.

As far as the Abreu statement, no, Clout, his stats do not "say" differently. They do not say anything but what they are. If Abreu was such a difference-maker, then why did the Phillies, who were good enough to have winning seasons in four of the last five years, not reach the post-season? The truth is, it is impossible to say that it is because of the rest of the team's failing or if it is fact partly attributible to an example set by Abreu's lack of drive, or more tangibly Abreu's poor performance in important situations. In translation, one could reasonably arrive at either of those conclusions.

You have not proven with either of these examples that my reasoning is unfounded or unreasonable. Feel free to try again.

I checked out tonight's boxscore and most of the team is still there. Nobody's crying about our old third baseman being missing. Now our underperforming right fielder is gone, but the lineup is essentially the same. We may lose some power and on base percentage, but the falloff in run production won't kill us. The freed up salary money should help us immensely. We did lose a decent starter, but hopefully Wolf will hold up as a .500 starter, that's all we lost.

I think some of the back and forth commentary about other's comments seems out of line. If you don't like someone's comments, write an opposing comment, but ignore the writer that you disagree with. Mentioning their name just makes them mad, hurts their feelings and pisses them off. We need to be civil when we're ripping the Phillies management and players.

Just got back from the game, so let's use that as a diversion back onto the field of play.

-- Since the all-star break, the Phillies have played good baseball, including three-consecutive decisive victories over the Marlins. Tonight was more of the same – timely hits, and pitching that was better than anticipated.

-- Tomorrow, I’m going to write about Chase Utley. He’s wasted no time in becoming the undisputed best player on this team in every regard. Some of you think the team is five years away, but Utley isn’t the type of player reserved for losing teams. A player of his quality has to be infectious. Along with Howard, Rollins, Burrell, Rowand and Dellucci if they attempt to resign him, I’m not real worried about the offense for the next couple years. In addition, I’m 90 percent certain that catcher will be a FA priority.

-- The current lineup with Dellucci has a good look to it. I liked it back when it was first tried when Burrell started going in the tank.

-- Wouldn’t it be something to find the answer to one of their holes by scouring talent from the international professional leagues? FYI, other teams have done that.

-- We can all agree that Abreu will be missed for his on-base percentage, doubles and knack for creating runs, but there’s something to be said about a good, old-fashioned hard-hit ball. It gets the juices going. That’s what I saw tonight. Granted, the Marlins weren’t too slick with the gloves, but I like what I’ve seen from this group over the last couple games. Triples, doubles, slams ... good stuff.

-- Rick White should retire. He looks totally cooked. Bring up some of this Triple-A talent, perhaps the guy they picked up today.

-- I agree with RSB about Bourn. I think it’s very interesting. I’m not totally sold that another outfield deal is coming, but it’s interesting nevertheless. Over the next year or so, they need to figure out the leadoff position, and Bourn is a possibility if he continues to develop. I thought for sure they’d bring up “old trusty” Chris Roberson. I’m glad they didn’t. I’ve seen enough to know he’s where he belongs, and that’s in Triple-A. Bourn is the better fielder of the two, and his speed is second to none in baseball. I also think I've seen enough to know Victorino isn't a leadoff hitter. I think he's a dynamite fielder, but not the answer at No. 1. And I know I've seen enough to know Rollins is a six-hitter with the potential to knock in some RBIs. Next season, they need to do what they can to turn this guy loose with some baserunners ahead of him. Another solid rip tonight for J-Roll.

Reading over the comments, I like some of the stuff RSB has said, and I think Gillick held a very honest, encouraging press conference. I for one had no desire to see the Phillies carry on business as usual with this club. They're getting more expensive, older and winning less. I’m disappointed in the prospects they received, but it seems now that Abreu was much harder to move than expected. Like I said earlier, the whole situation is a shame, but that's, like, the story of the Phillies.

I’m getting off topic. Phils win another one. “Selling” certainly hasn’t equaled “losing.” They’re closer to the playoffs than they’ve been in weeks. After tonight, they’re 5 back of the Wild Card leading Reds with only 5 teams between them.

I’m interested in this. No reason to turn our backs on this team now. Mathieson Tuesday. Hamels good to go. New opportunities for players to shine. And still in the hunt. It's OK.

It is okay. I like that Bourn and Mathieson were called up, even if they are premature arrivals. Why? Because it signals that the future is beginning now. Calling up Bourn to fill Abreu's roster spot is a *statement*, and so is trading Bell and releasing Franklin. It feels like there's reason to be excited about the fortunes of this team again. They may lose, but we have a lot of players to keep an eye on, we have a torrid Utley and a he-man in Howard, a phenom in Hamels and now other important rookies to watch as well. Even the older rookies, Coste and Sandoval, feel like so much fresh air. The rot is being pumped out of the system. It feels good.

Something for those who are holding on to hope for this season, like Wietzel: 59 games left, and 43 games left against the Fish, Nats, Braves, Astros and Cubs - all lousy teams currently BELOW the Phils in the standings. (Yes, I consider the Braves lousy, and you might remember we're currently ahead in that season series 5-3.) We'll know more tomorrow, but I bet the Nats, Fish and Cubs get a lot worse. Only 16 games left against winning teams (Mets, Cards and Reds). This team can get hot with this schedule, riding the excitement of having a long hitting streak and (can you believe it) the MLB HR leader. Not ready to drink the Kool-Aid, but I ain't giving up, neither.

I knew this team couldn't compete with David GIDP Bell (who I have been calling "The AnitChrist" or simply "Damien" for two years now) or with Abreu content to walk in front of Howard and Burrell, neither of which are especially spry out of the box. A batting order shake-up is long overdue (damn Cholly and his lineups), but with the NL being so damn weak and a lot of the talent in the NL going to the AL at the deadline, who knows?

Still depressed we didn't get much to show for Abreu/Lidle, though. Would have been nice to get more AA/AAA talent, don't you think? I used to gloat about the Abreu/Stocker deal ... now I'm just sad. Sad Abreu never wanted to lead off, sad the fans never took to him because he couldn't speak English well, sad because if he gets into the hall of fame, it'll be as a YANKEE. God, how that just appalls me. And if you don't think he's a HOF candidate, you're insane. Stats get you in the HOF, and he's got them out the yingyang. Intangibles, which he lacks, don't mean squat come HOF voting, unless you're a real ass, which he isn't. Nice guy. This trade was just sad. A double-header sweep hasn't improved my mood at all.

I agree very much with the last two posts. I am just excited for change. I believe some of these young guys will really shine and the ones that don't we've weeded out and we can replace them with another handful of players next year, only some of which will pan out. But eventually there will be a bunch of younger, more exciting players to watch and really root for.
I love that Abreu was traded. I'm one of them. Obviously I wish we'd gotten more, but I realize why we didn't. The only part that does disappoint me is that Lidle had to be included as I thought we could have gotten some decent prospects for him alone.
I'm anxious to see what the last little (i assume little) moves they pull off are. Hopefully we get a major league ready player, at whatever position, or at least a AAA guy to come up in September or early next year. They can't only get single-A guys, can they?
One last thing, even though I really haven't said anything much so far: I bet next year the bullpen isn't talked up (like it has been the last few years only to end up average) but ends up being very strong. Even if we trade Gordon.

Thanks, Jason, for an excellent synopsis on a very big day. Lots of nails were hit on lots of heads with that post.

If there is another outfielder deal, Gillick said it's likely not going to be Dellucci.

I've pulled the plug on this season and I'd be happy if they just got back to .500. Then we'll see about those other teams, which you would have to include everyone in the West, the Reds, the Braves (until the Phils beat them without mercy), and the Astros. All of those, including our young staff and skittish bullpen, have weaknesses.

I meant the Weitzel and RSB posts, but that other one ain't bad either. Plus, really, we traded Kevin Stocker for a 4 minor leaguers! Who'd have thought?

Whether they continue to improve and make a run for the playoffs, or they fall on their faces at least there's Utley and Howard. If Utley can continue this streak, he can single handedly save a fan base that has been hanging on by a thread.

What i'm trying to say is, ya'll post too fast and i have to sleep eventually.
Go Phillies.

RSB and Jason - I've woken up feeling about as depressed as I was going to bed last night. I cannot accept the line that it was *that* hard to move Abreu, especially when they overcame the problems with the option. Nothing about what we got in return for the trade suggests that we were planning for the near future.

Furthermore, whilst I normally wouldn't give credence to the media reports of how a trade was developing, in this case since they accurately predicted the outcome, I have to assume that they accurately charted how the deal progressed - the phils asked for a good return on abreu with only ONE buyer, did not really use any other interested parties to raise or maintain his his price, got him to drop the demand about his option, and then let Cashman say drop the price for abreu. Since Gillick is not a stupid man, we have to assume that $15 mill was too much of a burden, and abreu had to go. Whilst I appreciate that the phils have won a couple of good games, the trade does not indicate any willingness to put younger pieces in place for the next two years.

Even if Mathieson, Bourn, Delluci, Castro and Hamels turn into great contributors to this team in the next two years, we had the opportunity to make better of the deal, increase our depth in youth further (all at NO extra cost) and walked away from it. I cannot take any solace from a management team that is not prepared to plan to maximise the returns from their one of their most tradeable assets.

I don't want my team to settle for a weak wild card place to make it to a weak postseason only to get wailed on by the AL. I don't want my team to expect to win the NL east next year, still have no depth and then get wailed on by the AL. I would like my time to think long and hard about how to become a dominating force. Nothing about this deal suggests to me that they think about anything other than how much the last couple of years has cost them and how its important to cut costs on payroll.

Jason, you make the point that it would be great if we picked up a surprise in the offseason, but we shouldn't plan to pick up a surprise. We should plan to swell our ranks with good young talent and see what sticks, so that a surprise makes the team better. Nothing that gillick has done so far with the phillies suggests he's a man to actively exploit other people's weaknesses in assessing talent, so that would suggest that we've even less of a chance of finding that bonus package in the offseason.

Jason makes the point that he feels our offense is okay, but I cannot believe that Rowand is a great factor offensively - what we've seen of him this year looks like what he did last year, and makes the spike of two years ago look like a career year. He is shortly going to be 29, so that suggests that he's as about as developed as he's going to get. Burrell's physical state suggests as a hitter he will decline faster than abreu - his swing is not as good as abreu's and he is first and foremost a guess hitter, so I think his obp will decline faster. Rollins is a fine player, but he needs better players around him, needs not to be the focus on leadoff, and I don't see where those other hitters are going to come from.

The management will not show us where the depth is going to come from. Delluci is fine and good, but we can expect maybe two more years from him with his age at 33, and I don't see where the 3b, C, and at least two more decent pitchers are going to come from. Madson is probably not the answer. Wolf is two years off given the profile of someone who's undergone tommy john surgery.

I repeat, the only thing they demonstrated with their actions yesterday was that it is important to cut costs at ALL costs. Furthermore, if they value truly these players they got in return, we can only expect worse in the coming six years.

Never seen this site before. You all sound remarkably informed, I didn't know there were such intelligent discussions of sports on the internet. My opinion would be that.. there was no need to deal him now if this was the best that was being offered. The players we got back are fairly marginal prospects- a decent reliever and a talented shortstop who isn't hitting in single A. We cut costs, yes, but the only point of cutting costs is to go and spend the money you save more efficiently elsewhere. Is there a better way to spend Abreu's salary than on Abreu himself? In the upcoming offseason at least, that doesn't appear to be the case. Perhaps in the 07-08 season we'll haul in some big-time starting pitcher, but if it's that offseason we're waiting for, why did we have to deal him now? And can someone explain to me why the Orioles were offered the Angels' Santana, and even Oswalt for Tejada, and we can't even get a quality prospect? Is Tejada's contract not as long or something?

I'm more excited about this season and this current roster than I have been since mid-May.

what I find most disappointing about this whole saga is the revelation of how much a significant portion of the fanbase straight-up hates Bobby Abreu. the fact that one of the most consistent run-producers in the National League can be venomously referred to as "rot" just makes my head spin. Abreu was the best offensive player we've had since Mike Schmidt - another guy who struck out too much and took too many walks, but then I guess he "knew how to win."

it's not Abreu's fault we haven't been to the postseason in lo these many years. if you want to blame someone, blame the management and their magical thinking approach to baseball. but guess what? the logic that overvalues marginal players (i.e. "proven winners") like David Bell and aging relief pitchers is the same logic that undervalues guys like Abreu because they don't know how to win (until they put on pinstripes, at which point they suddenly become one with the culture of winning, or something). it should be instructive that the Yankees are consistently one of the best teams in baseball when they have shown a complete lack of interest in judging players based on instinct and gut - see also Rodriguez, Alex (and obviously their payroll is a pretty big factor too).

the Phillies may eventually become a franchise that isn't the laughingstock of the league, but first we will need to ditch not Abreu, or Burrell, or whoever else is currently not "exciting" enough, but the upper management staff. then maybe we can move out of the dark ages and stop building teams based on horoscopes. don't count on Utley or Howard sticking around for that, though. they'd probably rather play somewhere that knows how to win.

A man in his 60s does not become GM to dump payroll. If Gillick isn't gone over the offseason, then I'm guessing he either A) knows that the payroll dump won't be significant to the ability of the team to compete, or B) knows that the dump won't be permanent.

I'm surprised, shocked, even, that a lot of people are down on this trade.

The idea that the current batch of Phillies, who came together during the Wade years, could contend at this point is ludicrous.

Sure, they came close to a Wild Card birth the last two years, but being the best of the sort-of good teams is not what champions strive to do.

I like the dumping the salary and the bringing fresh blood into the farm system. I like the idea that the Phillies will actually rebuild. Look. It's worked in Cleveland, Florida, etc.

The Phillies lost an overpriced good player and a pitcher who can't help them now and deserves a shot solidifying a good rotatation.

The Phillies still have two of the best young players in the league.

I'm excited, finally, about what the future holds, even if that future is the 30th anniversary of the last Series win.

It will be interesting in the coming attendance numbers to see whether the Kool Aid drinkers represent the larger percentage of the fan base than the realists. Pretend all you want about Bourn, Victorino etc. Reality wins in the end. As for Dellucci, he's a free agent at the end of the season. He's much in demand. Why would he want to sign with a team that will lose 85 games next year? The papers today suggest, correctly I believe, that the Phillies will not go after a big FA pitcher this offseason.

JZ: Two things. First, I have yet to see one post on this thread that said the team should be kept together. The argument is about dumping players without getting quality back. As for Florida and Cleveland, please look at the quality of prospects those teams got when they dealt their vets. Now look at what the Phillies got.
P.S. Phillies ownership loves guys like you. You're willing to support losing for the next 3 years. Good luck for your 2010 timetable!

Gillick said he doesn't want to play the FA pitcher game, and I don't know that I blame him.

I don't know, clout. I don't really care about the fans who come out or stay at home. I went to last night's game and the team looked sensational, at least for one night. Utley's hit, to reach 31, was one of the best moments of the season.

JZ,

This was not Cleveland, this was not Florida. It seems ridiculous to have to continue pointing this out, but they didn't get quality minor leaguers in return. If this was really about getting "fresh blood" into the system, why not pick up half of Abreu's salary and get Tabata of Hughes?

As for breaking up the team, Bell, Lidle, Lieberthal, Wolf, etc. were all comming off the books anyway.

There seems to be an error of logic (strangley endoresed by Jason) that says:

P1) The PHillies didn't make the playoffs
P2) ABreu was on those teams

Conclusion) Abreu is the reason they didn't make the playoffs.

Of course, you could use this syllogism and plug in Utley, Howard, Myers, J-Roll, WOlf, Lieber, Lieberthal, Geoff Geary and it would make just as much sense.

RSB, you say the team didn't make the playoffs with Abreu so he had to go. OK, so how 'bout the 1972 Phillies, they were HORRIBLE, absolutely HORRIBLE, and you know what, Steve Carlton was a part of that team. Should have dumped him. You say you read Phillies history but you seem almost totally unaquinted with the fact that some of their best teams were lead by quiet, unassuming players, from Whitey to Schmidt. If the team misses the playoffs the next two years, should Howard go, Utley?

I wouldn't be surprised if this team plays well, I've said all season they have had the talent. WHat has changed is not Abreu, but the fact that the looming trade deadline has passed. And lets not forget, the team won big the day BEFORE Abreu was traded and as Jason said, they have played well since the all-star break.

I'll be rooting like crazy for the Phils like I always do, but to think the team has improved in the past few days would be incorrect.

Jason, you're right to keep the postive focus on mathieson et al. It is clear is only marginally different to those that went before - a bit more honest, a but more cautious about free agents - but if this team is ever to win something in the next five years, it will be in spite of the ownership, their general manager and his organisation, not because of it.

We shall see. I think the fans will vote with their feet on whether they approve of the Gillick Era and the moves he's made so far.

sorry, previous comment should have read that gillick is only marginally different to those that went before.

kdon & Oisin: Amen to both of you! kdon, it should also be noted that those awful mid-90s teams featured Rolen & Schilling. And they were dumped too. How did that turn out?

I like the trade, get rid of all these underachieving stiffs. Bell, Abreu, Lieby, Wolf, Burrell, etc. I've had enough of these idiots telling us "this was the year", only to have them crap the bed in August every year.

Here's a read on the trade from Rotoworld's Matthew Pouliot: "Pat Gillick gave Bobby Abreu away. It’s not even an exaggeration. The Phillies probably had better offers for Cory Lidle alone than C.J. Henry and Matt Smith. Henry, a 2005 first-round pick, has plenty of talent, but he hasn’t hit yet and he might not be a shortstop. Smith is just going to be an adequate reliever for a few years. It’s disgusting that Abreu could go for so little when his contract is hardly unreasonable. Don’t blame the Yankees for adding Abreu to their already mammoth payroll. Blame Gillick and some of baseball’s other GMs for not doing their jobs better."

Rotoworld? Don't sell yourself short, clout. Beerleaguer, its posters, and yourself included are better sources than Rotoworld.

Jason: I love Beerleaguer! It's just that I prefer Beer to Kool-Aid!

Yeah, I don't like the trade but it seems hard to believe they could have recieved the Yankees #1 pick from last year for Lidle!

Since Cashman took over for George, the Yankees don't do deals that stupid anymore.

Sad that you feel the need to reduce everyone to either "realists" (your side) or "Kool-Aid drinkers" (irrational other side). You sound like friggin' Ann Coulter.

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