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Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Soriano at 35 is sure to be worth $15M!!!

< vomit >

Whether they end up getting him for crazy cash or not, I think it's encouraging they are willing to shell out the big bucks. Or at least that's what they're trying to get us to believe.

i'd rather see that money spent on 3 very good players than just one....and if it is just one, please god let it be a pitcher instead of a hack-crazy defensive liability (we already have one)

I would rather take Sheff because he is less of a commitment, hits for a higher average, and strikes out fewer times than he walks. I really don't want Soriano - I can't believe that - but I don't. He's an upgrade from Burrell but I don't think you want to put that much payroll towards him. My hope is that they get Sheff in a trade by the beginning of next week so I can stop being scared of this.

i heard a rumor that manny wants to be traded...yeah, i know...and prefers the NL for some reason. if the phils insist on spending a bagillion bucks on an outfielder w/ crappy defense, i'd sure rather have his bat in the lineup than soriano's. and correct me if i'm wrong, but manny has less money left on his contract than soriano is likely to get.

I'll believe the Phils offering up that kind of contract when I see it. This could just be more "We're really working to make this team better" smokescreen to help make sure they get some butts in seats next year. You don't do a salary dump deal like they did with Abreu to turn around and offer up a contract worthy of the Ed Wade Stamp of Approval. Man, I hope I don't have to eat these words. That's WAY too much for WAY too little. Can't say I'm in love with the Estrada rumor, either.

I don't want Soriano or Sheffield. I want Aramis Ramirez, who has officially opted out of his contract and is a free agent.

my bs flag went way up when i saw that report. first of all it doesn't make any sense for the phil's, secondly he is going to get more than $75 anyway, so why throw out a number they know won't get him to sign? odd.

woudl you spend 5/70 or 6/85 on aram? because that's almost certainly what it would take. if soriano gets his beltran deal (although i'm not sure who would give it to him), the pricetag for a-ram, c-lee and a few others just went up.

From the article on their front page right now:

Montgomery said the team's budget would stay in the $91 million to $95 million range it has been in since 2004, when the club moved into Citizens Bank Park.

"We're at rest at the level where we're grown," Montgomery said. "That first number seems to start with a 9 and be 90-some million dollars."

Benjah, Manny has two years left on his current contract. 18M in 2007 and 20M in 2008. This is way less of a commitment than Soriano which looks to be upwards of $75M. If somehow the Phils could package Burrell with someone to get Manny I would consider it. However, I don't see Boston doing this. Manny is also a 10-5 guy, so he needs to approve any trade. With the Phils recent track record with big money , long term contracts -- Thome, Burrell, Lieberthal, Abreu..., I don't see the Phils acquiring Soriano.

From the Mandel Q&A:

Though the Phillies expect to have a payroll of roughly $94 million for 2007, they'll have $40.5 million committed to five players: Burrell, Moyer, Jon Lieber, Tom Gordon and Jimmy Rollins. Brett Myers ($3.3 million in 2006) and Aaron Rowand (assume roughly $4 million) bumps that to around $50 million for seven players. Now factor in approximately $7 million this season for Jim Thome and you're at $57 million. That leaves $37 million for the remaining 18 roster spots.

I read Marcus Hayes article today. Something I liked was this:

"Soriano, a righthanded hitter who hit 46 homers for the Washington Nationals, could hit fourth in the lineup. That would move Howard to third, where Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols and David Ortiz hit. It would move Chase Utley to fifth."

I have to admit that Soriano has had consistent production over the years, so good production should be expected for future years. Adding Soriano would give the Phils a killer lineup.

As crazy as that lineup sounds, I just don't understand the point of that if we don't even know who our 5th starter is yet. What happened to Gillick's supposed focus on pitching?

how about burrell and rollins for manny and lowell...then sign lugo for SS.......too crazy?? i have halloween chocolate on the brain!

I totally agree with Sam Dracula. The Phils need to let Soriano go, upgrade third base, and get as much pitching as they possibly can for next season. The best move the Phils could make is to get a legimate third baseman (right-handed) who can provide Ryan Howard with the protection he needs. Aramis Ramirez would look great in this line-up! So would Joe Crede, or dare I say Miguel Cabrera (one can dream anyways).

I don't want A-Ram either. His defense is questionable and we need defense at 3rd. I want Iwamura for third (5 gold gloves in Japan and a high on base percentage) and Manny or Sheff in the outfield.

I'll take either of Chicago's third basemen over Soriano. But last month I saw a link to a Chicago Tribune article that alluded to Ramirez' lack of clutch hitting. I don't follow the Cubs so I can't comment, but if it's true all I can say is we've got enough of that already. Given Crede's performance in the '05 Series, I kinda fancy him if we can swing it.

Actually, I like the notion of Estrada for Burrell. Burrell's former agent is a team executive there, and he lives in Arizona, so maybe he'd okay a deal. I've seen some negative comments about Estrada, and I believe third base is a bigger priority than catching, but I think Estrada would upgrade an already decent catching situation. He's three years younger than Coste, three years older than Ruiz, and last I heard still a good clutch hitter.

Aramis Ramirez hit .293/.378/.611 with RISP this year. his numbers on the season were .291/.352/.561. I am not a big fan of RISP numbers because they're just not consistent, but I have a hard time seeing that he's a poor clutch hitter (except by the Pat "1.027 OPS with RISP in 2005" Burrell definition).

Like I said, Aramis' supposed lack of clutch was implied by the article in the Chicago newspaper, tho' I don't remember the specifics. Thanks for posting the numbers.

Hard to believe rumors of a straight up trade for Burrell without paying a portion of the $27M, then spending $75M or more for Soriano and then find adequate pitching within the remaining budget.

Like Willard Preacher, it also looks like a smokescreen to me!

We could do a lot worse than Soriano, and there's something to be said for spending money on talent regardless of positional needs (i.e., there just isnt a pitcher worth 12 million a year in this free agent pool). Statheads have always had a fetish for beating down Soriano, which I never got; his plate discipline and defense leaves much to be desired, but the same could be said for many well-compensated power hitters.

I just wish we'd see more creativity in Gillick's approach to reshaping the roster; instead of "we have X money to spend on Y free agents" why not "we have X number of players who we'd like to trade for who might be available for the right price."

If the Phils' big off-season move consists of signing Soriano for $75M and dumping Burrell, the Gillick era will go down in history as far worse than the Wade era. No improvement in starting pitching, hoping failed prospects and minor league dreck like Sanches & Cordrey can improve the bullpen and keeping Nunez at 3B so they can spend all their money on an inconsistent, bad-fielding player with a bad attitude and one of the worst BB/K ratios in all of baseball who happens to be coming off a career year will destroy this franchise for the next decade.

I'm not convinced that Soriano or Ramirez would be the best way to go... while we'd all like to see a lineup of great hitters, from a projection sense we'd gain more wins from shaving off 20 runs via better pitching than adding 20 more from better offense... not to mention it'd be cheaper to fix a weakness area a little than to improve a strength a little.

benjah: Very interesting! Manny is worth 10 Sorianos. Can you imagine him between Uts and Howard? Lowell is just OK as a hitter these days, but still has a great glove. The problem would be at SS where Lugo is not remotely as slick as Rollins.

Dave X: You are exactly right, but I fear the Phillies may fall into the trap that held the Cubs and Bosox down for so long. You play in a bandbox so you want a lineup full of big boppers. Meanwhile, the pitching is mediocre at best and you wind up coming close but never winning the big prize. With a poor pitching FA pool this offseason I'm not sure how much the Phils can do to improve things there. But it sure is fun to imagine Manny in a Phillies uni!

The fact that Baltimore is interested in him makes me especially skeptical about Soriano...

But really. I can't remember any other off-season starting up with this many big names being bandied about. Remember the winteres when Terry Adams and Ron Gant were the big deal acquisitions? I'm enjoying all these rumors, keep 'em coming!

I will believe that the payroll be $91-$94 million dollars on Opening Day as much as I believe that I will see Santa coming down my chimney in about 2 months.

This Soriano thing has the typical stinky whiff of a Phils' PR move. The only time the Phils have been major players in the free agent market has been when they need to convince fans they are "truly" trying to contend.

Brief history of Phils major free agent signings:

1. 1987, Lance Parrish - After a few seasons of declining attendance, the Phils sign Lance Parrish and their season slogan for 1987 is "Lance us a pennant." Unfortunately Lance hits a mediocre .246 and the Phils finish below .500 but there is a slight uptick in attendance from 1.9 million to 2.1 million.

2. 1995, Gregg Jefferies - After the 1994 strike that was deeply unpopular in Philly, the Phils attempt to sign boost fan interest by signing Gregg Jefferies. We all know how that turned out. This move backfired from an attendance standpoint as the Phils' fan don't get over their love affair with the 1993 team.

3. 2002, Jim Thome - Coming off several seasons where attedance is under 2 million, the Phils' ownership is desperate put a new spin on the franchise. Thome has an impact on the field but a much bigger impact at the box office as Phils' attendance rebounds from 1.6 million to 2.3 million at the Vet.

This ownership views FA primarily as a marketing tool and a way to put more fans in the seats. Since the Phils had an uptick in attendance this season and already have some very marketable players, I just don't see them signing a Soriano or a Ramirez. Simply no reason for a business point of view.

i'm still not over the phil's not picking up manny when he was waived a couple years ago.

MG, I guess it comes down to whether you believe Gillick is calling the shots or if ownership is. Obviously, ownership dictates what the payroll is, but that doesn't (or shouldn't) affect who exactly Gillick targets if in fact the payroll is more flexible this off-season. It's difficult to say either way. On the one hand, it's hard to imagine that a seasoned GM with pull and prestige like Gillick would have taken the job if he didn't get absolute control over the team's personnel - but on the other hand, you look at the peculiar conditions surrounding the decision to retain Manuel and hire three coaches with mangerial background, and you do have to wonder what exactly is going on.

If there is a Soriano or Sheffield contract in the works, the key would be to do it *without a no-trade clause*. It isn't the humongous salaries granted to players (other than Bell, who became virtually untradeable regardless of contract stipulations) which has hampered the Phillies in recent years so much as the damn no-trade clauses. I don't think any of us would really be crying if we opened the sports page in the morning and learned the Phillies signed Soriano. He's not a great player, but he is a damn good one, and despite his shortcomings, he does offer a significant presence in the lineup regardless of whether his number in the past were inflated by hitting leadoff or hitting ahead of Mark Teixeira or whatever you want to say. He wouldn't be my first choice to spend $15 million on or to fill the right-handed power-hitting void, but you know what? He would give the Phillies a better shot. You may argue they should spend on pitching instead, but that isn't going to happen. And if they do sign a player like Soriano, it provides a whole different spin to the outcome of the Abreu trade. I can already hear you laughing, clout, and telling me I'm deluded if I think Soriano is better than Abreu. Well, I don't think he is - but I do think he better suits the Phillies' lineup needs more than Abreu did or could now. They need a strong right-handed bat behind either Howard or Utley. So regardless of the fact that Abreu might debatably be a better all-around player - I'll take that trade if it comes down to it.

Very good discussion.

Few thoughts-
1. Soriano is a great athlete. His power and speed combo is awesome. Keep in mind that batting 4th or 5th in the lineup, his steals will almost certainly be limited, as the Phils won't want him running into outs, and therefore taking away part of his appeal.

2. Burrell isn't as bad as some of you make him out to be. He's not a superstar, but he certainly doesn't suck, he isn't even average, he's above average and eating his salary doesn't make sense to me.

3. Pitching is thin in free agency this season. Locking up Moyer was smart, and getting Wolf, Batista, or any other guy with similar #'s to be the 5th starter will be ok. It's the best option, because prying away Schilling or signing Zito just isn't going to happen. So go with the best option available instead of getting stuck with a Madson/Floyd debacle again.

4. Sheffield remains an interesting option for 1 season, beyond thanks.

5. A-Ram's defense is ok for a 3rd baseman. He's a contact power hitter and right handed, he would be the Phillies dream come true to answering offseason problems/questions if we got him.

6. Put me on the Manny bandwagon.

RSB: Call me old fashioned. I believe in getting equal value or better in trades. Screw the "oh he doesn't fit in" stuff. The Phillies have a long-standing reputation of getting ripped off in trades.
Your assumption that Soriano could be had for $15M is false. You probably base this on the $75M contract he'll get with the idea that we can always trade him thus limiting our exposure to $15M. Well, sometimes you CAN'T trade a player like this, especially if he reverts back to his past form. That then ties your hands for the future.
In any event, if the Phillies don't upgrade the pitching, they won't make the playoffs, Soriano or no Soriano.

RSB - I know what concerns me is not that the Phils will sign Soriano, even though 5/$75 is a terrible contract and 7/$117 is even worse. in a perfect world, it would be great to have him in our lineup next year. what does concern me is that in order to get Soriano we'll pay someone $7/8 million to take Burrell off our hands. because then all we've done is replace one overpaid slugger with another one, and I have a really hard time seeing how that move substantially (if at all) improves the Phillies.

We all act like the Phillies are the only team with a dumb front office. We base this opinion on trading away players like Abreu and Padilla for a handful of beans. I tend to think there are other teams out there that are as dumb or dumber than the Phillies.

Going with this "other dumb teams" theory, I believe someone else will overpay for Soriano. He will not be a Phillie. This Soriano FA talk is just good PR for the club. I also believe that there's got to be a team out there lusting for Burrell. The Phillies history is littered with trades for a power hitter that never pans out. Burrell will be that player for some "other dumb team".

Sign Iwamura. His nickname in Japan is "Top Gun" and he uses a red bat. That's good enough for me.

I heard the Randy Miller article that said Arizona would trade Estrada for Burrell was false, with Arizona saying that Burrell only has "40 good swings a year".

Hey, guess who Soriano's #1 comp is on B-Ref: Aramis Ramirez!

While I would probably be in the "don't sign" Soriano camp, there are some conditions that would make it acceptable:

1) Trading Burrell w/o eating salary.
-This may be impossible, but some team could do it if we include a mid-level prospect.

2) The deal is only 5 years and doesn't have a no trade clause.
-One nice thing about Soriano is that he doesn't get hurt and seems to have the type of body that is resistant to injury.

3) The team still upgrades 3B

The reason I would consider Soriano over Burrell is not because of the BS "clutch" thing or his supposed negative impact on the rest of the team. Quite simply, at this point Soriano is a far better player than Burrell for three reasons: speed, power, and durability.

Speed is obvious. Powerwise, over his career, Soriano has averaged 35 HR per 162 games as opposed to Burrell's 31, all while playing in inferior HR parks. Burrell also seemed to struggle a lot when he played for long stretches, making me think his 150+ games played seasons are gone.

This signing would still leave holes at 3B, RF, 5th starter and one or two bullpen arms, but if the Phils can sign Soriano AND do these other things, it makes them a better team. If signing Soriano means we have Nunez at 3B, a AAA guy as 5th starter and Vic in RF, never mind.

RSB, thats an excellent post. Many won't agree, but I sure do. Gillick is too old to fart around with management calling the shots. He probably said "give me control, or give me Del Boca Vista".

Iwamura should get the shot at 3b. His defense is good enough and his presence might create a buzz around the stands. Gillick has shown himself to be a pretty good judge of Japanese talent.
(read: Ichiro)

And who is to say that the new coaching staff might help Burrell back to his days of consistent pop, or to at least teach him how to hit one of his 29 homers in a game where the score isn't already 15-2?

We can only hope his entrance music is "Highway to the Dangerzone"

Paul, I read RSB's position as agnostic on whether Gillick has control. During the Abreu trade, most of GIllick's defenders said his hands were tied. The way I see it, he is either hamstrung by management or a very poor GM.

I love the 40 good swings a year quote. Pretty accurate.

I looked at Awamura's stats and he strikes out A LOT! We don't need another one of those.

article about the Phils in the NY Times today:

interesting: "If the Phillies acquired Sheffield, they would be, considering the Abreu deal in July, essentially swapping right fielders. It may not take more than a pitcher like Ryan Madson, who could be used as a starter or a reliever, or a midlevel prospect or two to obtain Sheffield."

I'd pull the trigger on that one...

"We don't need another one of those."

good point. we managed to dump that deadweight Abreu, now we should probably ditch Howard and Utley too. after all, strikeouts are really killing our offensive production, which is the major problem for this team in the offseason.

1) I am a big no to committing long term $ to Soriano. Line up the average numbers for Soriano and Moises...Alou played fewer games but his averages are equal to Soriano across the board.

2)I am marginal on Sheffield but would prefer his one year deal and production to Burrell.

3) I am just not getting why folks think A-Ram wouldn't considerably upgrade this team.

4) Of all these moves, the best one being discussed is Manny. He is simply the best hitter by far of any being discussed...and none of these guys are choirboys.

RSB - My point wasn't that Gillick doesn't have control over personnel moves. He certainly does. Still, I am certain that Montgomery and co. gives Gillick well-defined parameters that can't be exceded. One of those things was not firing Manuel this offseason.

Another is the size of the budget.
The opening day payroll last year was under $90 million. I find it high unlikely that the Phils will spend even more money this offseason. Just no reason to from their perspective. Phils sold a number/renewed a number of season tickets with their late season run. Plus, the Phils have a very marketable team that makes it easier to sell tickets to the fans.

As for Abreu, that is a done manner. Tired of rehashing it. Phils aren't paying any of his salary so Abreu doesn't have any baring on this next season.

MG, every public comment I have seen from ownership indicates that payroll will be over $90 million for 2007. for example, in Zolecki's Oct. 30 article "Phils eye Soriano, Sheffield during off-season shuffle," he attributes to David Montgomery that the payroll will be in the "$93 million range," and could go higher.

Sheffied for Madson---in a heartbeat!

Just looking at offense, take a look at Soriano's career numbers vs. Carlos Beltran:

Beltran (1176 AB's) - .281/.355/.492 (.847 OPS) - 203 HR - 227 SB

Soriano (961 AB's) - .280/.325/.510 (.835 OPS) - 208 HR - 210 SB

I took out RBI's because Soriano has hit leadoff most of his career.

From ESPN Rumors:

Nov 1 - Officials with the Phillies and Cubs denied their teams were interested in Gary Sheffield, so the Yankees have five days left to find an alternate trading partner, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.

Okay, say we get Soriano and Iwamura; where does Iwamura bat (with his red bat)?

Sorry, that was games, actually Beltran has 600 more AB's than soriano.

Top Gun can bat 2.

top gun

See you in the playoffs

the more productive Utley should hit second (more PAs), and the (yes) strikeout-prone Iwamura should hit fifth...but yeah, that is a heckuva lineup.

So, it appears that Soriano is favored over Sheffield by the Phillies, for whatever reasons. This strikes me as a similar scenario to that of 2002, when the Phillies traded Rolen for what was certainly 'lesser value', but were thereby eneabled to sign Jim Thome a few months later. In '06, the names are switched to Abreu, and perhaps Soriano. I don't think anyone is going to be nearly as excited about Soriano as they were about Thome (at least judging from the thread here!) and I have decidedly mixed feelings about it, too. I do agree with those who feel that the amount of money necessary to land Soriano is *too much*. I also am not sold on the idea that an offense which looks great *on paper* is going to get the Phillies anywhere. It never seems to, and the Phils have certainly gone into seasons with the best one through eight in the league on paper, only to stumble. Go back to '87 with Parrish, '95 with Jefferies, '03 with Thome. Everyone was all excited about how many runs the Phillies would score en route to a playoff appearance, and needless to say it never happened. The Phillies have always been a team which can score a ton of runs in bunches and then go out and get shut down by a 3-11 pitcher the next day. There's never been consistency to their production, and I don't see how a guy like Soriano is going to give them any additional consistency - he's another guy who's prone to slumps and strikeouts, and yes, ae, strikeouts *do* take their toll on offensive output. You can live with them in a few players if those players are otherwise tremendous, but if you have too many k's up and down the lineup, those year-end offensive team stats are meaningless. I don't want a team that oohs and aahs with a 14-2 win one night and then crashes a 2-1 loss the next. A team that emphasizes contact and fundamentals with a healthy dose of extra-base power mixed in - a team that perhaps won't score 10 runs routinely, but which will find away to *consistently* plate 4-7, is far preferable to a homerun-or-strikeout lineup. I have to agree with clout on the one point he makes about the Phillies coming to resemble too many Red Sox and Cub teams built on brute strength because of their small ballparks. Soriano is an upgrade on Burrell, but he is not really *enough* of an upgrade to justify his price tag. I wish the Phils would explore more sensible options before making any run at Soriano - a guy who *would* adequately protect Howard, but who would *not* change the fortunes of this franchise.

A Phillies source predicted Soriano would “hit 50 homers” playing half his games at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park and “steal 50-60 bases.” - that's from Randy Miller.

apparently his source thinks the bases are only 85 feet apart at cbp. what a stupid quote. soriano has never stolen more than 43 - and we know how much the phil's run (see: victorino, shane)

I like having these rumors swirling around with the Phils being mentioned, but at the same time I'm ready for the madness to being. I'm dying with anticipation for the Phils to answer their offseason questions. I always look forward to this time of year, but now more so than every because of BeerLeaguer, mine, and other blogs...good discussions await!

i don't care if the phillies don't sign one offensive player - i just want some damn pitching.

I actually think Soriano's stolen bases will decrease if he comes to Philly because he won't be batting leadoff anymore.

I agree with Tim. We need to limit the amount of times we give up 5+ runs a game, not try to create the perfect offense. Obviously we need a new 3B, that's all we really "need", if you actually stop to think about it.

132 658 (Utley K's AB's)
181 581 (Howard)
160 647 (Soriano)

473 1886 (Totals)

Utley, Howard and Soriano strike out ca. 1 in every 4 AB's.

63 594 (Ramirez)

376 1833 (Totals, substituting Ramirez for Soriano)

Utley, Howard and Ramirez strike out ca 1 in every 5 AB's

I'd go for Ramirez. Fills more of the team's needs. Younger, too. And he would not cost as much.

my guess is that Aramis Ramirez is the overwhelming favorite of posters here. the only problem is that he appears to be less available than Soriano - or at least the rumor mill is not in overdrive for Aramis. also, a big contract for Soriano will probably drive up Ramirez's eventual payday - unless Soriano takes the whole winter to get his situation worked out and Ramirez signs quicker (tho he has no incentive to do so).

FWIW, yesterday MLB Trade Rumors posted an unsubstantiated rumor that Ramirez is asking for 6/$15 per or 7/$14 per, while the Cubs opened with an offer of 5/$70 total.

The more I think about it, I think Gillick is enamored with three things with Soriano: his speed, his power, and his youth. Sheffield can't offer that.

If I was Soriano, I'd be excited to come to a team where the pressure to be the homerun king won't be there as Ryan Howard will shoulder that pressure.

So it looks like we're on the fast track for Soriano and Iwamura. A-Ram will go elsewhere.

The rest of the crystal ball is fuzzy.

Anyone know what that Iwamura guy will sign for? I thought I read 4 years 40 million somewhere. Is that accurate?

...he's a fine hitter and could jump to the top of the list of available 3Bs quickly. If it's true that Japanese baseball is a cut above American Triple A, Iwamura's .390 OBP and .550 SLG should hold up pretty well.

I don't know about Iwamura's glovework, but Iwamura could probably outhit every free agent 3B outside of Aramis Ramirez. If I'm the Phillies, I jump on this and give him a three-year, $24MM deal.

Translations indicate that he could post a .850-.900 OPS in the Majors.

A recent interview with Iwamura (in Japanese) indicates that he'd be willing to convert to second base, shortstop, or even center field if needed. He was a five-time Gold Glover at third in Japan.

Signing Soriano AND Iwamura, when considering posting fees, seems unlikely. At the very least, it would probably require someone to take on Burrell's full salary (which, given the restrictive nature of no-trade clauses, is unlikely; if I'm AZ, for example, and I know I'm one of 5 teams Burrell has consented to go to, there's no way I don't make the Phillies eat half his salary).

I would like some opinions on this lineup -

Why hasn't Jimmy been discussed as an alternative to protecting Howard? And Shane leading off?

Top Gun

Just curious.

Thanks for the input.

I think Iwamura's price tag may not be that high - I don't believe there are many teams heavily pursuing him. the Phillies are invariably at the top of the list, and the Padres had been mentioned as well recently - but they picked up Branyan's option, which seems to suggest that they're less than 100% on Iwamura. I've seen the Red Sox and Indians mentioned too, but not nearly as often as Philadelphia. I have no idea what kind of posting fee he'll pull down - projections seem to be in the sub-$10M range - but everyone seems to agree that he'll pull down at most a 3/$24 contract.

"i don't care if the phillies don't sign one offensive player - i just want some damn pitching."

First post Tim ever wrote that I agreed with.

Chris: I love the idea of batting Rollins down in the lineup, but the problem is, the Phillies don't have a leadoff hitter. Victorino's BB/K ratio is hideous and he can't steal bases.

No worries Clout, that's why we brought in Davey Lopes!!! If the guy can do anything it's teaching players to steal bases.

Victorino is an exciting player, covers a lot of ground and has a great arm. But he's got a hack that's going to be exposed this season. I could see 110-115 strikeouts from Victorino as a leadoff hitter.

ae wrote

"Philadelphia. I have no idea what kind of posting fee (Iwamura will) pull down - projections seem to be in the sub-$10M range - but everyone seems to agree that he'll pull down at most a 3/$24M contract. "

OK. Assuming a $9M posting fee and 3/$24M contract, that's $33M over 3 years or $11M per. That seems insane for someone totally unproven in MLB and is a left handed hitter to boot.

Totally agree with Weitzel - Victorino is a good player off the bench or in a platoon-role but he would really get exposed if he played everyday. Doesn't hit for a high enough average and doesn't walk at all.

One thing that is truly baffling to me is that MLB teams are once again handing ridiculously long contracts at high-dollar values. It is one thing to make a mistake on a player with a 2- or 3-year contract (e.g., Gordon). You can clean this up and move a player if it doesn't work out.

If you sign a player to a 5- or 6-year contract, you are basically screwed. On top of it, more teams are starting to hand out no-trade clauses again. Probably one of the most assine things in baseball is to give a long-term contract with a no-trade clause. This is a business model almost guaranteed to fail.

Not sure that Soriano protecting Howard makes sense. As mentioned ad nauseum, he strikes out too much and could fall out of favor (a la Pat the Bat) with fans very quickly. Also, he might put up 40-50 HR's in CBP, but I'd bet a year's salary that he doesn't steal anywhere near 40 bases as a Philly. Last year was a contract year (which is why he made the stink about playing OF) and Manuel doesn't seem to put an emphasis on SB's (evident by JRoll's dropoff). Just fuels the fire that you're not getting much more than Burrell in this spot.

I do like the Rollins protecting Howard scenario, but it won't happen until '08 at the earliest, when the new manager makes a lineup change.

Pitching is paramount. Let's just say that there's a reason that the Yanks would even THINK about a Sheff for Madson deal. Not to mention that if Sheff doesn't get a longer term deal than his one year option, he's a clubhouse cancer waiting to happen.

Off topic, but I have to mention - the fact that we can see a 80+ post thread dealing with Phillie's baseball in late-October/early-November is a testament to both Jason Weitzel's fine website and the always insightful and respectful Beerleaguer "family." As always, good discussion with thoughtfulness and factual basis. You don't see that in a lot of Message Boards anymore.

Willard is right. We're all a big family. Who would have thought that clout and RSB are related. LOL!

I just read in Ken Rosenthal's column on FoxSports where a rival executive (Gillick?) feels the Mets will pursue Soriano.

I've liked Jimmy at #5 all along, but as WP said, Rollins will lead-off as long as Cholly's the manager.

No way Soriano signs with the Phils:
1. A Burrell trade is highly unlikely without picking up a substantial portion of his salary.
2. Unlikely to sign a FA to an expensive multi-year contract with Utley & Howard long-term deals looming in the next few years.

I'll add one more ...

3). Burrell, Conine, Rowand, Victorino, Bourn and possibly Dellucci is a lot of outfield. Not the greatest outfield ever assembled, but not a prime area of need, either. Dellucci has become a Type A free agent, meaning it's more likely he will be offered arbitration by the Phils, making it a little less likely teams will pursue him.

I'd say that depends which teams, J. Sabean's Giants, for example, have shown an almost pathological need to rid themselves of upper-level draft picks.

The chances are about 40 percent that Dellucci returns next season. If he surprises me and accepts arbitration, he's still a valuable trade chip, or they can just keep him for a platoon. It's much more likely he'll seek a two-year deal somewhere. San Francisco would be a good, positive destination for him, and the Phils get compensated with picks. The Phils will probably offer arbitration to both Dellucci and Fultz.

I'm not 100% sure, but under the new CBA, teams will no longer be compensated with picks for losing free agents. In that case, arbitration offers will decrease, maybe significantly.

VoR: From my understanding, only the rules for B and C FAs change this year. Type A free agents stay the same until '07.

Back to Soriano ... something I didn't know. From Buster Olney:

"The Phillies are going to offer Alfonso Soriano a huge deal, writes Todd Zolecki. When Phillies GM Pat Gillick worked for Seattle, he tried to trade for Soriano in the spring of 2001, but refused the Yankees' offer of Soriano for pitcher Jose Paniagua."

Thanks, Jason!

say it ain't so, Pat. sigh.

I don't really see the appeal behind hitting Rollins fifth. he's spectacularly streaky, looking like Ernie Banks one month and Shawon Dunston the next. you really want the May Rollins (.235 BA, .690 OPS) protecting Howard? Rollins has good power for a middle infielder, but he is far from an RBI machine. not that I'm arguing for Burrell as the protection, but he did hit four more HR in nearly 200 fewer PA. and Howard runs pretty well for a big guy, but somehow I think his double/triple numbers will drop if he hits with Howard on base. I could see Rollins sixth, assuming we netted one of the big sluggers floating around - but that puts Victorino in the leadoff spot, and while I think he could potentially be a solid full-time player, that's a big risk to take.

that should read "I think [Rollins's] double/triple numbers," just realized that's unclear.

I would prefer that the Phillies sign a 3B who has a solid glove, which is one reason I like Iwamura. Say what you want about Nunez, but his glove saved some runs for the Phillies down the stretch last season on plays that Bell never would have made (and probably wouldn't have been made by ARamirez either). Some of the improvement in the Phillies pitching needs to come from playing better defense behind it. I wasn't impressed last season by the team's defense at all. No range in the OF with poor throwing arms, suspect at 3B before Nunez, and very poor fielding from the pitchers.

I would not trade Burrell unless the other side took the entire contract, and we got a pitcher we could use in return. Familiarity breeds contempt they say, and seeing Burrell nightly can drive you nuts, but frankly he's not a bad bat, especially when healthy (don't know if he ever will be). There are worse things than having Pat the Bat in the lineup.

Given the paltry FA market for pitching, I don't see any way that the Phillies can really upgrade the staff without a trade of some kind, and that would probably have to be a trade of a decent player. I would look at a team like the Angels and offer Burrell (and maybe someone like Gavin Floyd) for one the Angels' starters, maybe Kelvim Escobar. He had a decent BB/K ratio and did not give up a lot of HRs. The Angels need a bat, and Burrell could play LF and DH. Their DH last season (Salmon) hit 9 HR. Aaron Rowand might be another chip to be used to get some pitching as well, especially if the Phillies sign someone like Soriano.

Should the Phillies sign Soriano, I would not automatically lock him in as protection for Howard. Despite his HR power, I would still consider keeping him at the top of the order, and moving JR down where he would be more effective. Soriano's strikeouts would be somewhat less of a problem as the leadoff man, and his speed and SB potential are very high. JR could offer enough protection for Howard I would think. He hit 25 HR last season as a leadoff hitter. He could probably hit 30 if his emphasis was changed from getting on base to driving in runs. (Just speculation on my part obviously) And after all, 'protection' for Howard simply means having a hitter behind him who can hurt you, not necessarily a HR hitter. JR could certainly do that.

"Familiarity breeds contempt they say"- in regards to how some fans feel about Pat Burrell. I've been saying this all along...completely agree with you.

Although some of you suggest all this big name rumor mill happening is simply a smoke screen, I on the other hand am buying it hook-line-and-sinker. If the Phils front office is trying to fool me, then consider me fooled. I look at the Millwood deal, the Thome signing, the Wagner deal, the Flash Gordon signing, locking up Burrell, Wolf, Lieberthal, and Rollins long term and think they are trying to win, just hasn't happened yet. *I don't neccessarily agree with all those deals by the way.

Jimmy Rollins is not a number 5 hitter. He should bat 6 or 7 in any lineup that has a good leadoff hitter and descent middle of the order.

And Pat Burrell really is that bad. The quote that he has 40 good swings a year is pretty right on. The funny thing is that on most of those swings he fouls the ball straight back. Half the time when he hits a home run it's on a terrible swing and he gets lucky. Face it Phils fans, the guy just can't get it done.

Soriano and Iwamra would give us the best chance to contend with the mets. Keeping Pat Burrell just won't work - we've tried that before.

Good post, George S. I hadn't really thought of Pat the Bat as a DH. He'd be a great DH. He could rest his feet in the dugout all game, eyeing up the ladies in the stands, then 4 or 5 times a game, stand at the plate and take swings. I don't follow the AL much, but I would think there has got to be some teams with a bad DH that would look at Pat's stats and salivate, bite the hook and swallow the contract whole, plus give us a pitcher.

I agree with Dukes. Hoping Rollins can hit behind Howard is a recipe for disaster. What Soriano lacks in OBP compared to Burrell he makes up for in speed and athleticism. If somehow they can throw in a mid or low level prospect to get out of paying part of Burrells contract I'd consider that.

Iwamura is a gamble, but outside of A-Ram, 3B free agents are thin. With the many reports saying the Phillies aren't interested in A-Ram, combined with Gillick's past history with Japanese players leads me to believe this could happen. Amd for what it's worth Johjima went .291/18/76 his first year here posting slightly poorer numbers than Iwamura, while being in a tough park to hit in a pitcher's division. So what i'm saying is it's a gamble I'd take. If he gets kaz money at 3/20 and you posted at 10-15, that'd still be less than 12 mill per year after all is said and done and that's cheaper than a-ram or any other legitimate 3rd basemen out there.

lots of info in Hayes' Daily News column today...

Interesting stuff from Hayes today. The highlights:

It's possible the Phils sign Soriano AND keep Burrell

Shefield is the backup plan to Soriano.

Rowand is going to stay, and will likely start (Vic back to the bench)

Lieber and Floyd are being shopped

Put all this together and it seems like the PHillies really are going to open up the bank. I was skeptical of them doing this after Abreu, but I may be wrong. THe new labor agreement and watching an 83-win team win the WOrld Series may have changed their minds. I know it is craz, but we could have a lineup that looks like this next year:


Now that looks nice, but it will cost something north of $60M. I'd still rather the team sign someone like Schmidt or Zito, but they may be unwilling to come east.

I guess the starters could end up being:

DQ - the reason why I'm not buying the front office line on Soriano is the deal is against everything gillick has previously said is good business practice. Too long. No trade clause. Up against a bidder with more money who has outbid Gillick in the past. Plus, as randy miller noted in his article, the agent gets final nod on the deal, not the player.

i think the talk of maybe dealing burrell and montgomery talking up the 'anything's possible' line is all about convincing the mets they have a fight on their hands. Plus, I would hope that if three other teams are interested in iwamura, they have to think our bid to negotiate can't be too high because we're committed to soriano - and anything we can do to psych them out on a blind auction is a good thing.

Kdon, I took that article as indicating options, rather than we can have it all. The talk of trading lieber was an eye-opener tho'.

If you note throughout the article, gillick doesn't say much other than there are ways to work out a deal around no-trade, that rowand will definitely be back, that the phils have contacted a dozen free-agents and that if necessary other players will be moved. the rest is a good round-up of the rumours we've all heard already. The crazy 'we'll do anything, we can spend anything' talk came from montgomery in yesterday's article.

Still, acknowledging there are options is good. Options make for an interesting and creative offseason.

That was an interesting article.
I am glad to see Rowand back.

My guess is that our lineup will end up looking like this...

Top Gun

Honestly I would be happy with that lineup. Or moving roward up and Vic down. If we sign Wolf to be our #5 and add arms to the pen with the money not spent or soraino. Maybe Jamie Walker or Oliver Foulke, Bradford, etc...

Anyone else happy with this situation?

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EST. 2005

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