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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

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9.82 doesn't sound too good in the majors let alone Peoria.

I love Arbuckle's honesty. Even though he saw 3 shutout innings he knows Floyd has a 9.82 ERA. it seems they're done babying him - gotta like that.

OK, so am I missing something? The Phils won't go after A-Ram, they're not among the teams mentioned as likely trade partners for Sheffield, and Gillick really wants to deal Burrell. Where does that leave the #5 spot in the lineup? I doubt that protection for the Howitzer will come from a 3B with "a little more pop" than Nunez. I mean I'VE got a little more pop than Abe, but I'm not gonna help our MVP see any more pitches to hit. Pat better have something up his sleeve here.

Also, JW, I like the Gillick quotes you pulled from Miller's story about pitchers' conditioning and bunting. Maybe Moyer can show Lieber how to eat just one donut in the morning, not three.

This post confirms that Gillick is a secret Beerleaguer. I can read between the lines. The stuff about the fifth starter and 3B position plus dumping Burrell...all Beerleaguer, although the Pat The Bat Fan Club assures me that Pat will still be with the Phillies this spring.

this a day after the Daily News quotes Gillick as stating that Burrell is in the Phillies plans for 2007.

Gillick was quoted as saying there was a "high percentage" of chance that Burrell would be on the Phillies next season...to which Todd Zolecki countered, "but there's a 100% chance they'll attempt to trade him."

I want to believe that Gillick isn't the kind of guy who will tell you all of his plans.. It just seems foolish for a GM to tell you "we're going after this guy, this guy, and this guy and avoiding that guy and that guy."

You know what I mean? Everybody needs a little keep your real cards close to your chest while throwing the minions (us) a morsel every now and then.

Sheffield for 1 year at $13M for perhaps just minor league suspects is not a bad deal for someone. It is a gamble because of his age and injury history, but he is still a feared hitter because of his outstanding bat speed. I would love to see Sheffield behind Howard. Perhaps the Yanks take back C.J Henry and the other Gulf Leaguers they gave us for Abreu for Sheff ?

Billy Mac: a lot of people are opposed to Sheffield, but I'm with you. I don't know of another available player who would give Howard the protection he needs like Sheffield could.

Additional news: One report on this deal speculates that if Moyer can simply repeat what he's been doing the past two seasons, the performance bonuses push the deal closer to $14 million for the two seasons.

Billy Mac: Brian Cashman doubles over laughing every time C.J. Henry's name comes up.

On the subject of Yankees prospects, Phillip Hughes has been ranked the best RHP in the minor leagues by Baseball America. Jose Tabata, the outfielder I thought the Phils should have got in the Abreu deal, ranked somewhere in the Top 5-10 range (I think) among outfielders. Even Eric Duncan placed in the top 10 of first basemen. The Phillies should have come away with at least one of these players.

At least they didn't take Pavano. I can live with what they got. Especially since it looks like Gillick is going to work with a little bit of the money it freed up.

I very much think the Phils are still in the mix for A-Ram. That is a delicate situation and this time of year, you hear nothing but lies coming from GM's posturing to make the most of any deals they can. Anyone remember how vehemently the Red Sox denied any interest in A-Rod whatsoever before it came out about their interest. If I'm a GM, I'm doing the exact same thing. Burrell is here and no interest in A-Ram.

Burrell would likely get moved for another player with an albotros contract such as Beltre (13mil a year) I'd rather spend that money on 3B anyway.
Wolf may get locked up quickly then Gillick may look to improve the rotation via a trade. The bullpen is a work in progress that will likely occupy the entire offseason.
Plus they either need Dellucci or another lefthanded outfielder.

bobd -

i've seen enough of dellucci, thanks. he's got that cork-pop gun of an arm, and he's a complete butcher in the field.

plus, he cant hit lefties.

he's a platoon DH.

"Perhaps the Yanks take back C.J Henry and the other Gulf Leaguers they gave us for Abreu for Sheff"

I love it!!! Let's assume for a second we do trade equivalent prospects to the Yankees to get Sheffield (likely we would have to give up more). So, in essence the Philles would trade a 31yo all-star RF who has played over 150 games in 9 straight years for a 37 yo all-star outfielder/DH who has played over 150 games FIVE TIMES in 19 years (including 39 last year!).

And people are in favor of this!?!?!

Also, while Sheffield may have been a better hitter at his peak, career wise, it's pretty close.

Career OPS+
Abreu - 137
Sheffield - 145

I'll take the guy who is six years younger and had more than 150 ABs last year.

If gillick explores all other options, I'd be willing to deal with Shef for one year.

Here's a little nugget for you all to chew on though: If Gillick got so hosed on the Abreu deal, why are you so confident that we're going to get any kind of good deal from Cashman this time? Or is it that you're willing to give anything for Sheffield? If I thought Gillick got hosed on that deal, I'd definitely want to stay away from any Yankees.

I'm not sure if your comment pertains to my scenario Will, but I'll respond anyway.

I don't know if GIllick would make a good deal or not; he has made both good and bad deals so far, but we would probably have to give up more for SHeffield than we got for Abreu. My example was a hypothetical: that even in the BEST case (only giving up Henry, Smith, etc.), it would still be a bad deal (overall), given the relative age and injury history of Sheffield and Abreu.

kdon, the idea here is to get a right-handed hitter dangerous enough to prevent Howard gettiing consistently walked or pitched around. There's no point in comparing him to Abreu. They're different players with different functions in a lineup.

For the hundred billionth time: no one got "hosed" on the Abreu trade. The Yankees dealt from a distinct advantage because both Gillick and Cashman knew the Yankees were the only team willing to trade for Abreu. The Phillies had no leverage. Now the Yankees are the ones who want to dump someone. They'll have some leverage here because plenty of teams will ask about Sheffield. But the terms surrounding any deal in which he's involved *won't* be the same terms on which the Abreu trade was made.

RSB, I'm not sure why the player to hit behind Howard should be RH. After all, teams are FAR more likely to walk Howard intentionally with a right-handed pitcher on the mound anyway, and a RH hitter on deck would make the decision that much easier. I don't want to beat the Abreu point into the ground, but a possible lineup of

3-Abreu
4-Howard
5-Utley

is better than any middle of the order the Phils will go into '07 with.

well, the ultimate backup for Howard would be Manny.

as for why a right-handed bat: in late innings, you could bring in your lefty specialist and kill two birds with one stone. with a righty backing howard, you have to use 2 pitchers to throw your specialists.

perhaps the answer is already on the team in the form of JRoll.

Joe, I agree that this is a reason to have a RH bat and a balanced lineup, but it has nothing to do with protecting Howard.

Teams are going to bring in lefty specialists to pitch to Howard anyway, and will bring in a RHP to face Burrell wether he is hitting 5th or 6th...they will still have to use two pitchers.

No kdon, it wasn't in reference to your post.

The same people who complain about the "bad" deal Gillick took for Abreu from the Yankees, want to make Gillick make another deal with the Yankees.

But of course they'll never mention that the yankees have had the upper hand at both negotiating tables.

How many times down the stretch did the Braves and Marlins and Astros bring in a lefty in the later innings and was able to totally neutralize Utley and Howard? More times than I'd care to remember. I don't see how having another yet left-hander behind Howard (who will *never* bat ahead of Utley) makes any sense.

Sheffield is the guy I want behind Howard because he kills lefties *and* righties. No one intimidates him. He has power, but he also makes contact and can get base hits, unlike an all-or-nothing hitter such as Soriano. In the three years prior to his injury-ruined 2006, Sheffield *averaged* 35 HRs and 125 RBI, 154 games, and walked more times than he struck out (average of 86 BBs to 71 SOs). You don't want that guy hitting fifth? Really?

Well said RickSchuBlues. Soriano is being thrown around as the best hitter out there. I don't necessarily think so - he had a big year because it was his walk year. It seems to me that unless they can get Manny (and even maybe if they can) Sheff is the best RH bat available. He had a wrist injury from running into the third baseman. Anyone could have that (Derrick Lee did) - it's not like Sheff is injury prone.

I meant first baseman. And...I just looked at Sheff's stats. More walks than K's is something that doesn't come around very often. And a .400 career on base percentage. Pretty good for a guy with a vicious swing and power.

Ramirez is even more dangerous, but he's a total nut job. No thanks. Sheffield isn't exactly a feel-good sort of guy himself, but so what. He plays hard, he doesn't say much, and he swings the bat like a total bad-ass.

The Phillies *need* bad-asses.

RSB holds tight to his fantasies!

"no one got "hosed" on the Abreu trade"

A trade, oh foolish one, is measured by who got the most value in the deal. It is not measured by whether RSB likes your game or not.

Jason, and anyone else with a clue, is right. The Phillies should've gotten more.

Are we measuring the trade, oh hopelessly arrogant one, solely on personnel value and not factoring in the monetary value which accounted for the entire reason why the trade turned out the way it did?

All bottom-line and no context makes Clout a dull wit.

RSB makes an excellent point about leverage because of Abreu's no-trade, but the Phils should have still walked away with a better prospect package. Abreu could retire as a Yankee. That's quite a gift, plus, the Phillies even settled up on Abreu's option year.

We're probably arguing over one better player from that group, so it's not worth getting bent out of shape over, plus, three of the players are years away. They weren't going to get a huge offer because of the contract size and because of the leverage, but I didn't expect the return to be quite so poor.

So tired of talking about Abreu. It was a straight salary dump to bring down the payroll for next season. What ever the Phillies received in return was unimportant.

As for Sheffield, the Yanks don't exactly have the upper hand when trying to deal him. $13 million dollars for a guy coming off an injury-plagued season is alot. Plus, Sheffield has a reputation of being a malcontent on underachieving teams. For the Yanks to get much in return, they are going to have to pay at least a portion of his salary next year.

I am not excited at the prospect of the Phils trading Burrell for a bag of peanuts and trying to go after Sheffield as an alternative. The Phils would be better off spending that $13 million to acquire a bonafide alternative to Gordon in the pen and signing another starting pitcher.

MG, I don't agree. Getting someone to protect Howard is *vital* to this team's chances. When teams finally realized just how dangerous Howard was, they stopped pitching to him. He hit only two homeruns in the last three weeks because there was no one remotely good enough to protect him. If you want to have any chance of Howard being the force he can be, he must be *reinforced* with a solid bat behind him. Pat Burrell is not that player. He is too reluctant to swing the bat with men on base, he is too easy to pitch to, and he does not make very good contact most of the time. The Phillies' offense was carried by Rollins and Utley in those final weeks, but that isn't going to be enough. The offense was not functioning well and I see that trend continuing on into next year if the issue is not addressed.

As for Sheffield being perceived as a liability: I don't think so. His injury, as noted by Dukes, was a fluke and not age-related. As I previously mentioned, he had averaged 154 games a year in the three previous seasons. Offensively, he shows no signs of slowing down. He hit well over .300 with strong power stats in his limited action in 2006. I also don't think Sheffield was seen as a malcontent for the Braves or the Yankees, obviously two of baseball's best organizations who had no reservations about taking him. I don't think the Yankees are going to have to work all that hard at getting someone to trade for him.

Outside of the over-rated Barry Zito and the oft-injured Jason Schmidt (absolutely no way the Phils would buy into that risk), the only other starting pitcher they might do well to sign is Randy Wolf. That won't cost them all that much. If they can move Burrell, they can afford Sheffield, and it would be a *significant* upgrade to this team.

Moving Burrell is just not a good idea. First you must look at the production you would be trading away. Bringing in a free agent that puts up Burrell type #'s will cost nearly as much as Burrell does. Also, the Phils will most likely have to eat a portion of Burrell's contract which essentially is tacked on to payroll, meaning his replacement will make their own salary plus whatever part of Burrell's salary on top of that. Just like Ryan Howard's unsaid salary was about 5 million because of the chunk of Thome's contract the Phils accepted to pay...see what I mean. Difference with the Thome deal and potential Burrell deal, is that we had an adequate replacement ready at a low-level salary in Howard. Who's going to replace Burrell from within the organization? Conine, Roberson, Bourn, Rowand...all 4 of them together couldn't give you Burrell's production!

check out the ESPN.com article about Sheffield - he's understandably irritated (no clubhouse problem there!) that Cashman plans to pick up his option just to trade him. not really news, but what is news is Sheffield's comment that he would have been going for a three-year deal as a FA. I would hope that the Phillies (who, FWIW, are never mentioned as a serious pursuer of Sheffield) would not have given him that.

also, RSB - "if they can move Burrell, they can afford Sheffield"...correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we move Abreu to get that vaunted "payroll flexibility?" first, moving Burrell will probably save us $8M in payroll, tops - that's if we include just $5M; I've seen us offering as much as $7M in some projections. second, we then need two corner outfielders, not just one - we do not have anyone other than Burrell who can play 150+ games as a productive corner OF right now. and finally, are we so desperate that we need to move two productive outfielders (and I agree, neither is an ideal #5 hitter) to get just one? do you really think Sheffield is so much better than Burrell that he'll make up for having a .750 OPS (which is probably a best case scenario) in the other corner?

Sheffield has put everyone on notice he would only play one year with any team to whom the Yankees trade him. That doesn't seem like much of a risk for the Phillies to take, but who would they give up for the pleasure of Sheff's company?

Sorry Drama Queen, I just can't watch Burrell look at another called strike. I don't care what we get back, it has to be better than what showed up when we needed him at the end of last season (oh, sorry, with the exception of that one blowout game when we didn't really need him)

With all this talk of free agent signings & trades, has anyone heard any rumors or details of the new CBA regarding free agency & draft picks?
If teams no longer lose or gain FA-related draft picks, that would change the entire off-season strategy for most teams. If that's the case, I wouldn't expect the hot stove to warm up until the new agreement takes effect.

I would rather have bought Sheff straight up off the FA market than risk losing prospects to the yankees for a one year guy.

VOR: apparently the new CBA has been finalized - no more draft choice compensation for FAs, and also a slotting system for draft bonuses.

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/mlb/article/0,2777,DRMN_23924_5083133,00.html

Thanks, ae!

Burrell may clog basepaths so bad that Drano and Liquid-Plumr couldn't fix it. He may blankly stare at more 3rd strikes than Stevie Wonder would. But, I still say if you take his bat out of the lineup we're looking at a major deficit. That's my opinion. I too am disgusted with the things others are, but I just don't want to create another void in the lineup for sake of easing people's pain. That's what we did with Abreu, and look at our options for RF next season...grim!

Dukes, what FA do you propose to sign with the $8M or so we save by trading Burrell? Jay Payton? Preston Wilson? Jeromy Burnitz? yes, please, let's sacrifice 100-150 points of OPS just to get a guy who doesn't "look at strikes" (because I guess Howard struck out swinging 181 times last year?).

ae- great comment. People need to be realistic when looking at dealing Burrell and seeing what the downfall will be.

"he taught us all how to bunt" - priceless

<< VOR: apparently the new CBA has been finalized - no more draft choice compensation for FAs, and also a slotting system for draft bonuses. >>

I don't know what you're reading, but I see the Phillies receiving a supplemental pick for Dellucci. I believe he'll be rated as a Class B free agent, and the new CBA says the team losing that type of F/A gets a comp pick if arbitration is offered. Dellucci will reject arb and sign elsewhere.

ae, you're right to point out that Abreu was moved in part to improve payroll flexibility, but it appears they need even more in order to make the moves they want to this winter. Gillick's got his hands full. We'll see if he can be as creative and successful about getting someone to take part of Burrell's salary the same way he did it with Thome early in the off-season last year (although, needless to say, Burrell's not nearly the player Thome is).

Sheffield's impending free agency may or may not make him a tougher sell for the Yankees. Obviously, when a player who's 38 wants a multi-year deal, it's something of a risk regardless of the track record. But Sheffield may or may not ever get that 3-year deal he's looking for. Bats like his are rare in the game, and for Ryan Howard's sake, few teams need one like the Phillies. I don't want to hear about Burrell's "production". If you just see an accumulation of numbers and forget all the scores of times when he completely wilted when the team needed him, you've got an extremely short (or selective) memory. Burrell did not get the job done last year. If he winds up staying, you *still* need to find a more suitable number five hitter to protect Howard. It'd be nice to think they could knock out two birds with one stone and net a solid right-hand hitting third baseman, but it remains to be seen just how likely that is.

RSB - Sheffield has been very productive the past 3 years but he depends on generating incredible bat speed. I am very leary of trading for a guy coming of a wrist injury at his age. Never know when that phenomenal bat speed will diminish a bit.

Plus, Sheffield did pipe up at times with the Yanks and Braves but they both had veteran leadership & managers that kept Sheffield's comments to a minimum. Funny, I don't see that kind of leadership or manager on the Phils. If the Phils get off to a rough start or Sheffield doesn't get a contract extension, I am willing to bet he would become moody and verbal.

Walter - I am reading the Rocky Mountain News article from 10/21 quoted in that post.

RSB - like I said, I agree with you entirely that Burrell is not suited to hit fifth. what worries me is that trading him for peanuts leaves us with yet another hole to fill, because we do not have anyone that can take his place. and IMO it will be impossible to fill this additional void with the extremely minor salary relief we can get.

DQ makes an excellent point about how weak RF will be next year. Last year there wasn't much of a drop because Abreu was at his worst and Delucci had the best two months of his career. However, if Rowand or Vic or Conine occupies RF next year, the level of production will be significantly worse.

I'm actually not against signing Shefield, but it still seems silly to go through all of the Abreu stuff just to get an older, more injury prone player.

RSB, I'm interested why Utley can *never* hit behind Howard. Jeff Kent (a comparable player skill-wise to Utley) hit behind Bonds for years. You may think I'm joking but I honestly think the reason people don't think of Utley as a cleanup hitter is because he is skinny.

Utley can hit behind Howard, but is that really where the team should be utilizing him? Howard needs someone to drive in, and Utley is the team's best hitter. Plus, he has very good speed.

kdon, I'm not necessarily saying Utley can't hit behind Howard, or shouldn't. I'm just saying he won't. Generally the guy with more power hits deeper in the order. The Phillies are the last organization in the world that would ever break from that, or any, established mold.

I remember at some point this season, Jason posted about how Pat Burrell's numbers always make him look like a better player than he is in the offseason, which is the perfect time to trade him.

I remember being somewhat skeptical, but I'm glad to see people like Drama Queen and others here falling into that trap. Here's hoping a few GMs follow.

I'm not so sure that the old rule about the guy with the most power hits 4th still holds (if it ever did). Bonds hit 3rd for the Giants, Sosa hit 3rd for the Cubs and McGuire hit 3rd for the Cards. And, oh yeah, there was this guy named Ruth...

I agree that Howard should have players that get on base in front of him, but Utley is a power guy himself, meaning he is going to hit a Ton of doubles, making it more likely that Howard will be pitched around.

I agree RSB that the PHillies are not contemplating this, but my point is that they should. If all we did was throw out ideas that the Phillies already sanction, this wouldn't be a very interesting board.

Also, Howard walks (and will walk) more than Utley, so it seems better to put the guy who walks ahead of the guy with power

John, do you understand the difference between (incorrectly) claiming that Burrell is a great player - which nobody except maybe Pat's mom is saying - and (correctly) pointing out that A) he is untradeable without paying a substantial amount of his salary and B) we cannot get comparable production out of either our current outfield corps or an FA who we can afford given our self-imposed cap and the other, more important needs we have to address this offseason?

ae- once again you beat me to the punch and took the words/rebuttal straight from my keyboard.

I'm not claiming Burrell and an awesome player by any stretch of the imagination. I see his negatives, I'm not blind. I think others are blind though in their assessment of Burrell, allowing the negatives to completely overshadow the fact that Burrell produces above average for a corner outfielder. Yes, he crapped the bed last season with runners in scoring position, but the season before that he was money/clutch.

But go ahead, trade Burrell away, eat a huge chunck on his salary, get stuck with a lesser player in his place and have a crappy hitting outfield next season and see if we score nearly as many runs.

I am not a huge Burrell fan either but giving him away for almost nothing and having to potentially pay a decent part of his salary on top seems kind of foolish.

having Burrell in LF next year doesnt scare me. Dellucci or Conine starting anywhere does. Both off the bench? Hell, yes! But not as every day.

I'm wondering if Rowand could play 3b (and not kill Jimmy or the pitchers)?

i could totally see Howard batting 3rd. I could see getting Rollins to bat behind Howard, but only if a "true" leadoff man came ino being. Rollins seems to have that "clutchability" that is needed.

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