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Friday, November 03, 2006

Comments

Go for prospects or real pitchers

I'm scared of Benitez. Also read an article about the Moose and the Mets saying that the Phillies might also be interested. I'd love the Moose at the top of our rotation. What are the chances?

Cheers for your post Jason - you just picked me up out of abject misery and gave me enough food for thought that I could a speculative postscript to my entry this morning (credit where credit's due and all that).

Depending on what Bonds does, I think this might happen, because I think there's a similarity to the thome situation last year - the Giants need a credible leftfielder who can hit for power and get on and we would be doing them a favour by taking benitez. Gillick has to drive a hard bargain here, just like with the two prospects we got with thome last year+rowand.

Looking at Lowry, I'm slightly leary of his spike in FIP this year (5.01 vs 3.84 in '05 and 3.67 in '04), but his hr/g are in line with league average, and he's worth taking a risk on at No.5 (say) to see if we can turn his k/9 back round again after what looks like a tough season.

If gillick lined something up like this quickly, I think I would start getting excited, because it would point the way to Soriano being acquired, but the extra money we save over the next two years - 20 Mill or so - could go into pitching as well.

Sorry. That first sentence should read '...that I could write a speculative postscript...'

Any trade with the Giants the Phils will have to take Benitez. They just want to dump his salary. Could you do Lowry-Benitez for Burrell and a minor leaguer?

Just looking at his baseballreference.com page Lowry looks like a left handed Cory Lidle.

Who right now wouldn't want a 26 year old left handed starter in return for Burrell?

A 26 year old starter who makes 385,000 and gives you 150+ innings a year.

I hope the Giants consider Lowry to be as expendable as a Cory Lidle-type pitcher. He has considerably more talent than that. It looks like it caved in on him late last season, but he's still quite young. In 2005, he was probably a Top 10-15 National League starting pitcher.

by taking benitez straight up for burrell the phils would save ~$20mill over the next 2 years. Not bad for that guy.

Obviously the whole-sale has to stop sometime. But let's not forget that the Giants know Burrell will still have the no-trade clause and the hefty contract. If you want Lowry or prospects, expect to pay part of Burrell's salary, it wouldn't make sense any other way.

Now I'm positively wetting myself at the thought of that kind of trade. Get a younger pitcher like that onside, it gives us even more options. We could make a play for wolf, and keep the rotation younger then by trading out Lieber. Or keep lieber and use the money towards Iwamura AND soriano.

The only thing about it could be we end up over a barrell for soriano - with no burrell we'd need to replace him with comparable power, so we'd be in a big bidding war with the o's/mets (apparently rosenthal mentioned that soriano is deffo for the O's on a six year deal).

will - in taking benitez, we are effectively eating some of burrell's contract, because we would be leaving the giants with 7 mill worth of flexibility for this year, and we'd be taking a player that we are unlikely to use much because of injury concerns (or just plain sense).

Remember, if they don't do a deal with bonds, they fill a need with burrell, and burrell is a little less expensive than what they might pay for bonds.So gillick could bargain hard - like I said, there are similarities with the thome trade, and he got a fair bit out of that - 2 prospects, a major leaguer with potential (at the time we didn't know whether 2004 or 2005 rowand was more likely, so it was a good gamble).

i REALLY hope we don't have to take benitez, but that trade does make sense for both teams.

how about: burrell and floyd for benitez, lowry and a player to be named?

with benitez, we'd be acquiring arthur rhodes all over again. there's no way the giants give up noah lowry. he's left-handed, decent, and cheap.

But imagine we did *and* got Wolf, GR. Four lefties in a Rotation! trade myers and get some junk southpaw in, just so we can have all-lefty all the time!

You are dreaming if you think the Giants would give up Noah Lowry, especially for Pat Burrell.

Sanchez maybe, but you usually don't give up lefty pitching prospects for what would essentially amount to a pretty average hitting first baseman.

I'm nervous. I know I shouldn't be, this isn't Wade at the helm (in which case we'd probably take on Benitez's salary AND pay most of Burrell's, straight up). Jason, I love your take with Lowry, but with them firesaling all of their hitting, is it reasonable to expect that they'd dump young left handed pitching, as well? Even the Marlins kept Dontrelle. I like even the slight salary flexibility, but Oisin is dead-on - we'd NEED Soriano if that deal is done. If not, I guess Dellucci gets his wish to play everyday, something I think we'd all be a little sick about.

We've been conditioned to set the bar so low on what the Phillies get in trades, and I'm damn tired of that. This shouldn't be about dumping Burrell; it should be about how to help the Phillies.

Benitez is really terrible...I think we'd be lucky to have him duplicate Rhodes' performance. he's basically a $7M mop-up pitcher.

but this is a good starting point - I am sure that SF is not going to give up someone like Lowry straight-up for Burrell, but that's why Gillick makes the big bucks. package him with Floyd, maybe Nunez (assuming we go for Iwamura or one of the hitless wonder FAs), come up with a deal that works...

ae: Precisely. Identify the key players (Burrell, Lowry) and go from there.

Agreed, Jason. It seems that Philadelphia sports in general has been a dumping ground for washed up or problematic players, as opposed to a youth movement or any real semblance of building winning teams (even college teams can rebuild/recruit in cycles - what is the Philadelphia cycle, a championship every 30 years or so?). When the Marlins can come into the league, win a championship a few years later, sell off 95% of the entire regularly playing roster, rebuild and win again just a few years later, it tells me that something has been "broken" for quite some time in the Phillies' methodology. How many teams do we have to see use the "fantasy sports" mentality (I'm looking at you, NY Yankees), only to come up short?

The brightest positive that we have is that we never saw Howard or Utley packaged about 5 years ago, only to do what they've done with another team. I'm with you, J, let's quit playing not-to-lose, and try to build a winner for once. Afterall, we don't NEED to trade Burrell away, and therefore shouldn't just to get him off the books, unless they can get some value for him.

Jason's right - we're to used to gm's not pushing for good deals. Gillick's record on this was tainted when he let abreu and lidle go for dirt. But here he's dealing from a position of strength - he doesn't have to do the deal. It would be nice to lose the wages, but they can cope with them. I don't think Gillick is foolish enough to think we need to lose burrell at any cost.

If Burrell is traded the Phils MUST replace his offense, I'm guessing with Sheffield or Soriano...fine.

If Burrell is traded the Phils NEED to not eat any contract at the same time acquiring something worthwhile.

Why in the world would the Giants trade Lowry?
There aren't that many better lefty starters in the NL.

I count Glavine, Hamels, Willis, Capuano, Petite, Francis, and perhaps Maholm and Duke.

Perhaps lost on most on here is Mr. Burrell actually saying he'd accept a trade elsewhere. I take this to mean he finally understands that most don't want him here, including his own team.

He's part of the group that didn't get it done. That's why I'm still a fan of the Abreu, Bell and Thome trades more than anything. They didn't get it done, and the Phillies started moving on.

The thought of Burrell in any other uniform makes me happy.

i think lowry could be moved, but not if the giants are in complete rebuilding mode. if they are trying to win the west next year, i could only see them moving lowry if we gave them a legit starter in return. we could move lieber for benetez (salary wise) and burrell for lowry - then either pay some of burrell or add a prospect. just a thought.

I'm out in SF got a chance to watch Benitez this past season. Benitez still has above average stuff but he is a total head case. Blow a number of save chances this year that ultimately cost him his role as a closer.

Plus, Benitez got in a several incidents with teammates including one high profile fight where he blamed Steve Finley for not running fast enough on a play where Finley was thrown out (Benitez game up a HR in the 9th to blow the game).

The Phils do desperately need bullpen help but Benitez is not the answer. He would wilt in Philly and become a clubhouse cancer.

As for getting Lowry in return, this is almost no chance. The Giants are planning to go with a much younger team next year and build around some of their young pitching like Cain and Lowry (they do want to resign Schmidt). Giants have some decent young arms in the minors.

Here is a trade I wouldn't mind. Burrell (plus his entire contract) for Brad Hennessey plus a minor league arm. Hennessey doens't have overpowering stuff but he would be a great long-man out the pen or as a spot starter. Plus, Hennessey is only 26 and should improve a bit.

MG- I'm sure Gillick recognises that he wouldn't get much use out of benitez. It was speculation on hayes part to mention him, but I can see the sense in offering to include him in the trade as a sweetener. but I don't like the idea of just someone like hennessey+prospect, although it wouldn't be the worst.

If the giants do have the arms in their system and they're committed to getting schmidt, I don't see lowry as unlikely to aim for. He's had an off year, and gillick should be able to push for him if their need for a LF/1b man with power is big enough.

I tend to think Hennessey is a bit more realistic to get out of SF for Burrell. I know we tend to set the bar low on these types of things, but part of that is because whenever the Phils make a trade, everyone in the world knows they have to do so.

But we don't have to make the trade on burrell, tom g. For all the talk amongst reporters of how we're looking to trade him, we've also got gillick saying his production isn't to be sniffed at and he's probably going to be with us. Unless ownership is saying to gillick that he *has* to be traded (and we just don't know on that), I don't think we should be expecting the worst here.

There is no way the Phillies are going to get anything close to Noah Lowry in any trade for Burrell. They should be happy with Benitez, who could possibly be a replacement closer if Gordon goes down. Of course, Gillick shouldn't stop there, because there's a good chance they could *both* go down. And then there's the issue of whether Benitez would be a loudmouth about not being the closer. Frankly, I have no illusions about Benitez even as I endorse the proposed trade. He might be much better than people give him credit for, or he could be the next Ugie Urbina.

But let's look at this for what it is: a chance to dump Burrell *very* early in the offseason. And I'm all for it. Here's why: a) the Phillies need as much of his wasteful contract off the books, pronto; b) they *aren't* going to be able to get anything quality in return for him - Gillick should know that well enough after trying in vain to get a taker for Burrell last off-season and at the trading deadline - so what's the point of holding out any further; c) like the Abreu trade, you *can't* just judge it as an isolated transaction. It has obvious and serious repercussions for the moves the Phillies are thereby enabled to make afterwards, and if the issue is making the Phillies a better team, then focus your attention on the larger picture. *Pat Burrell has very little trading value.* The Phillies are more likely to be a better team without him, and moreover *with* whomever the team is able to next acquire thanks to his departure. Make the move.

Benitez is NOT a replacement closer. he has a fairly good ERA last year, but his WHIP was over 1.5 - that's terrible for a reliever. I wouldn't even trust him as a setup man.

secondly, trading Burrell for Benitez does NOT put us in a better situation moving forward. sure, we save about $7M by taking Pat's salary off the books, but then we have to cover not one, but two outfield positions. the FA options who will come that cheap are very unlikely to post an .890 OPS. I guess trading Burrell helps us in that abstract, moving forward sense - but I honestly don't give a damn any more. if we're going to trade contributing players, we need to get tangible returns, not this abstract "larger picture" stuff. when we traded Abreu, it made us worse as a team. you can say all you want about how it was cutting our ties to a failed team-building strategy, but what it comes down to is we ditched a valuable player for spare parts. we cannot afford to do that again, even if it means we have to live with a bad contract for another two years. it sure beats living with an even worse Soriano contract for the next five to seven years.

More idiot logic from RSB: Dump Burrell for nothing like we di Abreu and then hope, pray and fantasize that the Phillies can get better players with the money they save. I sometimes think RSB is a Mets fan who thinks up ways to ruin this team.
What winning teams do is get decent prospects for their vets.

What 'tangible returns' do you really expect to get for Burrell, ae? And if your idea of a solution is just to keep Burrell - I really don't understand that.

The Phillies haven't been good enough, and at least Gillick is trying to do things differently, unlike Wade who just left his rotisserie team roster the same every year regardless of the result, and then complained when the great team he put together inexplicably 'underachieved'. Who can possibly fault Gillick for trying to put together a different team? Why the hell is everyone so conservative about this? Why do you want the same old damn players being rolled out there every year, and then jump to defend them because of their wondrous OPS's? Instead of creating supposedly revealing charts comparing Soriano's career OPS to Abreu and Burrell, why not ask: where did this team ever get with Abreu and Burrell as cogs in its offense? Nowhere, nowhere, nowhere, nowhere, nowhere, nowhere, and nowhere.

With all the names going around, is it really 'praying and fantasizing' to conclude that by trading Burrell, the Phillies will be enabled to follow through on their clear intention to acquire one or more of these players? And again, I'll ask: what 'decent prospects' do you expect to get for a lumbering, hobbling second-rate slugger with a huge contract? Who exactly is fantasizing here?

RSB, I do see your point and I have always been one who has supported the "addition by subtraction" of the Abreu trade. However, I will have to respectfully disagree with you on Burrell. He absolutely DOES have some trade value which Gillick MUST capitalize on. After all, he's only 30 years old and he does put up above average numbers. You are 100% correct that the Phillies have gotten nowhere by placing their (millions of) eggs in the Burrell basket, however, that isn't an excuse to sell him for pennies on the dollar. Granted, it will not be easy, but if Gillick is going to move him, he needs to be able to add some value to this team. If not doable, don't trade him away just for the sake of trading him and dumping more salary.

I respectfully disagree, Willard. A point I made earlier is that Gillick has held onto Burrell for an entire year after holding out for something that teams were just not willing to offer for him; besides that, remember that there are very few teams to which Burrell would even *agree* to be traded, which further reduces the Phillies' leverage and ability to get anything significant in return for him. If you want Burrell traded, you need to accept they aren't going to get much for him. You can look at his numbers all you want and say he should have value, but the fact is that given the circumstances - injury, bad year, big contract, limited no-trade status - he simply does not.

If Gillick has the opportunity to act quickly and move Burrell before the Soriano/Sheffield/Ramirez sweepstakes gets underway, I won't blame him one bit. It sounds like this is his strategy, and it makes sense. The Phillies have to know exactly how much they will be able to offer, and only with Burrell out of the way will they know for sure.

We're not getting Lowry.

I'd settle for Benitez (assuming he would be a mandatory piece) if we got a good prospect with him. We need to remember that there's 2 sides to this deal and getting rid of Benitez's contract may be as high on their list as getting rid of Burrell's.

RSB - I see losing Burrell and Abreu to gain Soriano and Benitez as a net loss.

trading Burrell should not be a priority. almost the only thing we got out of the Abreu fiasco was salary flexibility, and suddenly it's just not enough? we have enough holes this offseason (i.e. RF, 3B, SP, RPx2/3/4?) - I don't see any reason to add LF to that list.

I don't like Pat. I wish he was somebody else's problem. it's immensely frustrating to watch him hoover up so much salary and put up numbers that are, at best, not a whole lot above league average. but right now, we don't have anyone in our system who can do even that much, and every FA and trade bait who could be expected to do so is an even worse bet due to demanded salary/age/injury history/whatever. this is a question of priorities, not the quasi-psychological issues you keep hammering away at.

(NB: if we're making moves to improve clubhouse morale, Benitez is possibly the worst single player you could pursue. and neither Soriano nor Sheffield is exactly Mr. Chemistry either.)

I agree with RSB that there is no chance to get anything good for Burrell. Why in the world would the Giants trade a young starting pitcher for an outfielder in this market?

They could sign Lee, Soriano, or Stewart or trade WAY less than Lowry and get Sheffield (and given Sabean's love of the AARP guys, I'm betting this is who the Giants get.)

I disagree, however, that this means we should give Burrell away for nothing. Considering Burrell is the only legitimate everyday corner outfielder on the entire 40 man roster, we should hesitate before trading him.

A colleague passed along this report from the New York Post.

From the beginning of spring training through the disappointment of losing to the Tigers in the ALDS, Mussina didn't allow his impending free agency to become an issue, and believed it would work out with the Yankees. And while Mussina returning to the Yankees remains a strong possibility, once the club doesn't pick up a $17 million option, Mussina is free to talk to all teams.

The Phillies would also appeal to Mussina, a Pennsylvania native and resident.

I don't see any way the Phillies get involved in this, nor do I believe Mussina wants to finish his career at CBP. That "Pennsylvania appeal" could not be more meaningless. He's from Lycoming County, which is not close, or connected in any tangible way to Philadelphia. It'll be Yankees or Mets for Moose.

Mussina is from closer to Pittsburgh than Philadelphia, so there's no "homecoming" factor there. I don't know that he's an option, although it sure is nice to think about.

All this talk about Benitez and Sheffield has me hoping that clubhouse chemistry is being considered in this off-season. I have argued (although not many agreed) that getting rid of Abreu allowed this team to break out of its shell and start to play with some grit and determination we hadn't seen prior. I don't want a clubhouse cancer (Sheffield without his precious multi-year deal) to splinter this young team. It could do damage for long after the cancer is removed.

I wonder how long the Yankees had to think about picking up *that* option?! Geez!

WP: It has been suggested by at least one source that if there was indeed a black cloud in the clubhouse, it was definitely not Abreu; it was Bell.

If Burrell agreed to waive his "no-trade" for 3 teams and only one is interested in obtaining him, then I don't see how Gillick holds the cards. As kdon mentioned above, there are plenty of other options besides a $27M injury-prone, defensive liability with slightly above average offensive numbers. Last off-season (according to the rumors), Gillick held out for a top-of-rotation starter in exchange for Abreu and ended up with next to nothing.

If a Burrell salary dump is used to sign ARam or Iwamura, then essentially they've traded Burrell for quality. But, as RSB mentioned, if the Phils are indeed serious about ARam, Iwamura, Soriano, etc., they need to move quickly on Burrell.

BTW, if Burrell plays a full season at 1st, he'll make Jim Thome look like Derek Lee.

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If given a clean bill of health, any thoughts on Klesko in left? On the downside, he's a 35-yr-old lefthander, but he makes contact, posted credible numbers in a pitcher's park, can play 1st in a pinch, and would come at an affordable price for 2-3 years.

IN RSB's fantasy world the reason the Phillies haven't made the playoffs in recent years has nothing to do with weak pitching or David Bell or Thome's injury or bad managing. It was all the fault of Abreu & Burrell. Thus by dumping them for nothing you help the team.
The problem is: That's all it is. A fantasy. And a team that trades Abreu & Burrell for Soriano (or Sheff) and Benitez is worse off, not better off. That is simple reality.

VOR: Klesko is done as a fielder. He might still have something left as a DH.

god, will the 'grit and determination' business ever stop? we traded our best all around player, and one of the best phillies of all time, for garbage instead of using him in a meaningful way (like hitting 2nd or 5th in the lineup, two spots we now lack). this business about trading bobby making the team better is ludicrus. it seems to be based on the fact that the team got hot after he left. sorry, this is not an absolute a+b=c situation. the team got hot in 05 in a similar way at a similar time. the team played well this year because the pitching was better and august howard and september jimmy showed up and hit over .400. delucci got hot and that's nice, but he's still an inferior player (offensively and worse, defensively!) over a full season. it should be pretty clear, now that the team is considering handing out a huge contract to another corner outfielder that, all things considered, the bobby trade was pretty foolish, at least for what we got. if we had a stud corner outfielder at AAA, i could see it, but we don't and got so little in return the salary flexibility is just going to disappear as quickly as it was here. or, it won't and we'll be left with a mediocre outfield and possibly a slight upgrade at another position. awesome.

Great point, gr. I always thought the notion that Abreu's trade played a big role in the Phillies' resurgence was simplistic. The Phillies traded arguably their two best all-around players the past two seasons (Polanco and Abreu) in return for little while creating two holes they're trying to fill (3B and protection for Howard).

Frankly, it appears the Phillies have less leverage w/ Burrell than they did w/ Abreu (at least the two teams on his list wanted him). Arizona's "40 good swings a year" comment about Burrell is very telling. Maybe Gillick can snag some decent high-level prospects for him from SF, but no way in hell I want Benitez on this team.

All of the mental energy and keystrokes spent on this board regarding Soriano, Ramirez, Burrell, the Japanese 3B, etc. is entertaining, but it's all noise to me because this is what really grabs my attention: other than possibly re-signing Wolf (which I hope happens), the two pitching rumors thus far seem to revolve around Batista and Benitez. That's discouraging, if not scary. Batista is mediocre at best. Benitez is worse. These guys would take a so-so pitching staff backwards. Let's hope they just remain rumors.

From what I've read, I do not want Benitez.

I'm willing to keep Burrell next year, rather than trade him for peanuts.

I'm usually with you on most of what you have to say, but Lowry seems like super-wishful thinking to me.

sorry that last paragraph should ahve read:

This is NOT to say Burrell does not have problems - . . . .

To those who said Burrell is just above average - here are the NL averages in some fairly normal stats:

runs per game: 4.76 (Pat 6.4)
BA: .264 (Pat .258)
OBP: .334 (.388)
SLG .427 (.502)

Only one leftfielder has a higher obp in the NL - Bay at .396

Three leftfielders have higher slg: Holliday (586) Soriano (560) Bay (532)

Four leftfielders have runs created per game: Soriano (7.0) and then Bay, Roberts, Holliday (6.4).

Plate appearances of all four: Soriano 728, Bay 689, Holliday 667, Roberts 567, Burrell 567.

This is simply to say Burrell does not have problems - although peoples view on that differ - it is to say that he is one of the top 5 left-fielders in the NL on basic numbers. That means you should be able to get more from him in a trade. Last year the contract was more of a problem. This year 27 mill on 2 years is less of a problem. Owners certainly seem more bullish with the labour deal signed if speculative figures on all potential fa's are anything to go by.

Burrell provides offensive production as Oisin points out, but with only a handful of teams to make a deal, Burrell's trade value is nearly zero. Abreu only had $15.5 M for 2007 and 2 months salary in 2006. So, why would Burrell at $27M with serious concerns about his health and outfield play demand additional value. Abreu is certainly a superior player to Burrell. And if Gillick were to ask for Noah Lowry in return for a package involving Burrell, he would look like a fool. As I posted earlier, name 7 better left handed starters in the National League than Lowry. Add to this Lowry is only 26 and is signed through 2009 with a team option through 2010 for peanuts in today's market. With the scarcity of good left handed starters, these are the type of players that team's covet, not trade for overpriced corner outfielders/ dh types.

Billy Mac, whilst I'm happy to admit that this is speculative, the fact is the giants may be in need of a left-fielder. I don't think this deal happens if the giants re-sign bonds. but if they don't, burrell will be a year on from his operation, and should guarantee them at least this year's production for the next two years.

The abreu (and lidle) trade was not a good trade, and seemed to be forced by the idea that we had to get rid of abreu at all costs because the team was out of it and we were rebuilding to 2008. with only one big contract/no trade deal left, there isn't nearly as much pressure. 27 mill over two years is 13.5 a year. Soriano is rumoured to be looking at 19 mill a year. Burrell is no longer overpriced compared to alternatives, especially if you think soriano is worth that kind of money. There is no doubt in my mind that owners are starting to throw stupid money around again - the lengths of rumoured deals has increased, the value per year is up. This is not the same market as last year.

This is what gillick is paid for. you want a good team, aim high. You want value in a trade, ask for it. If you've any doubts on the latter, just remember the smile on cashman's face after the abreu and lidle trades.

Oisin, Agreement on the Abreu deal, but we differ in our opinion on the trade value of Burrell. It is very difficult to get value when you can only trade with 3 clubs, although you can argue Thome would only play for both Chicago teams and Cleveland and Phils got some value for him. So, I will give praise to Gillick if he gets this done. But the Phils also had to pay $22M of the remaining $46M on Thome's contract. $13.5M is about 1/7 of the Phils' projected payroll, so Burrell's contract is certainly overpriced for someone who essentially was a part time player the last two months of the season. Burrell is seen by both the GM and manager as someone who can hit no higher than 6th in this lineup. It is pretty bad when 40 year old Jeff Conine was seen as a better option to protect Ryan Howard. 1/7 of your payroll for a 6th hitter who cannot field nor run seems overpriced to me. That being said, the Phils shouldn't just dump Burrell for nothing. I would be OK with keeping him, but don't delude ourselves to think he has trade value.

Billy Mac - the reasons for decreased value that you cite are all fine, but they are relative to this team.

Burrell's value to another team may be greater. What decreases his value to us? most would say the k's looking behind Howard and the wages. With regard to the former, no one else in the NL, outside of the cardinals, are faced with that kind of problem. And as for the latter, yes 13.5 mill is 1/7 of our payroll, and yes that's way too much for what burrell did for us this year. But a different team will be able to allocate money differently, and as I said, his value is not dramatically out of whack with the market right now.

One consideration for any other buyer is could he manage more time at the plate under another team - I'd say yes. As bad as his foot was, gillick has since said its not a health issue. He was getting benched as much over the protection issue in the last two months as his health problems. another team will not look at how we used burrell - its irrelevant to them - the only things that count are the numbers, the wages and to some, the personality. Gillick's job is to make another team think how good a fit burrell is for their needs

All goes back to whether the giants want barry. Dave pinto at baseball musing noted the following which is interesting. Not as positive as I would have hoped, but they still have issues with the guy. We'll see what happens.

I think it's absolutely hilarious to think that Lowry could be had for Burrell. Benitez is damaged goods, but then so is Burrell.

Sancez would be a steal, but then we need 2 outfield free agent pickups unless you want to play Victorino in left.

i feel like aaron rowand- as i have broken my wrist by falling off a ladder, i was going at my gutters with wreckless abandon...stupid!

anyway, i'll still be reading and doing my best to comment with my non-dominant hand...hunt and peck method sucks! but this goes to show you my dedicatation to the phils and beerleaguer.

WARNING: Do not read the following if you throw up easily.
The Chicago Tribune says, "The Phillies are shopping right-hander Jon Lieber, who was 9-11 with a 4.93 earned-run average this season and is due $7.5 million next year. Lieber and young pitchers Gavin Floyd and Ryan Madson could go to the Yankees in a package for Sheffield."

Let's see, the rotation after Hamels & Myers is less than mediocre, there's no one in the minors ready to step up, the bullpen is a disaster and we'll trade 3 pitchers for a 39-year-old immobile slugger with a bad attitude who makes $13M per year and wants a 3-year contract?

Either Brian Cashman is paying Gillick under the table or RSB is now the Phillies GM.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but ... I'm with clout.

the following article was mentioned by a guy at PhilliesPhans.com - it makes for an interesting read on the GMs attitude to free agency and payroll flexibility. It sounds like this year's offseason will be operating under profoundly different financial assumptions to the last couple of years. If that's the case we definitely have options aplenty.

The Phillies need to be careful here because starting pitching w/out long-term commitment is at a premium. The Yankees don't want or need Sheffield anymore, so do the Phils need to give them so much?

But let's face reality a little bit; at 37, Lieber is a No. 5 starter. If there's a plan to replace him with something better, why not shop him? Aside from the last month, I remember spending most of the season bashing the guy. While Floyd and Madson received most of the blame for the early failing of the pitching staff, Lieber was the biggest disappointment of all. He's not a hard worker, he's not in shape, and worst of all, he's completely hittable. The Phillies were willing to dump him to anybody last season, and nobody wanted him, not even the Cardinals, who were hanging on by a thread. To me, that's speaks volumes. There were games when he would hang at least one pitch every at bat. He's clearly at the tail end of his career.

But as bad as he was, I wouldn't include him in a deal for Sheffield. Before you deal Lieber, they need another stater, and most importantly, they need another dependable reliever. Lieber can at least give them seven innings.

Lieber was the biggest diasspointment on the team last year but the Phils don't have a single viable alternative. Plus, Lieber is in the last year of his contract. If worst comes to worst, he should be alot easier to move this year before the trading deadline.

As for this upcoming year, I will be very happy if Lieber can give the Phils 12 wins, an ERA of 4.50, and near 200 innings. Phils need someone to take some pressure off this bullpen and give them some decent innings.

I don't understand why the Phils are so ready to throw away Madson. Madson was generally pretty awful last year, but it didn't help that the Phils treated him like a yo-yo for the entire season. Back and forth as a starter/reliever.

Madson has valuable to this team in the bullpen. His career numbers demonstrate that and this team needs all the bullpen arms it can get. The only reason to trade Madson is if he privately sulks about being in the pen. Otherwise, trading him away for nothing is downright foolish.

I am not at all surprised that the Phillies would be shopping Madson. He has no clear future with the Phillies, proving unreliable both as a starter, and increasingly, as a reliever. I believe he has a great arm and the ability to be a very good pitcher in some capacity with some team, but I have doubts it'll be the Phillies. He hasn't really been effective for one and a half seasons. Check out Zolecki's article about the various relievers the Phillies are targeting. Madson is not in the plans as a set-up man. His 'value' is that he can be used in any number of roles and pitch longer than most relievers - but the fact remains, you never know what you're going to get from him when you put him into a game. As with Lieber, my preference would be for a pitcher who provides more positive results and not merely 'innings'.

If the Phillies deal Lieber, they probably would look to sign Batista. It's really a lateral move. Starters aren't easy to come by, but Lieber is no prized commodity despite the 'innings' he gives you. I hardly think he's irreplaceable; besides, the off-season is quite young. If all it'd take to get Sheffield is Madson and Lieber, I'd make the deal. They're two pitchers, but ultimately it's an inconsistent middle reliever and an aging, hittable starter. I absolutely think Sheffield can help the Phillies more than both of those two combined. I understand that teams are largely founded on pitching, but if you have a chance to get an elite hitter for two subpar pitchers, especially considering the need for that hitter in your lineup, then you pull the trigger. And then there'd be no foolish Soriano contract unnecessarily clogging up the works.

Regarding Sheffield's supposedly 'bad attitude': if he's good enough for the Braves and the Yankees, two of baseball's best and most clear-headed organizations - he's good enough for the Phillies. I don't buy any argument that his personality would hurt the team.

Dunno, with even mediocre pitching being of use in a trade, I'd prefer to see lieber or madson rather than both. But as a trade it wouldn't put my nose majorly out of joint, not least because Lieber's innings per game seems to be crazily up and down.

RSB - on sheff's bad attitude, the flipside of the argument is that it takes a tough organisation to keep him in line. Could the phillies, and particularly manuel, do that?

Doesn't the nature of Sheffield's injury worry any of you? The injury proved difficult for not one but two hitters to come back from last year, with D-Lee suffering from something similar. Granted, it's a traumatic injury, in that it was caused by a single event and is not related to his injury history, but the fact that Sheffield tweaks his bat back and forth so hard in his pre-swing makes me believe that his wrists are even more important to his swing than with most other hitters. Given that, his age, and the questionable steroid situation with him, I'm far from convinced he'll ever be an "elite" hitter again, much less a reliable player.

RSB - I just don't understand your logic sometimes. Why give away something for free (Madson)? Just plain stupid. If the Phils move Lieber for Sheffield, that is ok as long as the Phils sign an adequate replacement such as Batista.

If the Phils include Floyd, I am more inclined to see him go. Floyd has had a couple of chances here and just hasn't made it work. Floyd seems a change of scenary at this point.

My logic is that I don't know if that Yankees make the trade for Lieber and Floyd. If you can throw in Floyd instead, then by all means. If it requires Madson, then give them Madson. "For free" is not quite the same, by *my* logic, as "getting Gary Sheffield in return".

my problem with that trade isn't so much that the value is off - I doubt Floyd will ever pitch in the majors, Lieber is running on fumes at this point, and Madson is questionable at best. so it's not so much that any one of those players is valuable, it's that we don't have replacements for them readily available. a guy like Batista is probably a pretty good bet to duplicate or possibly even better Lieber's performance, but with the FA pitcher class this offseason, I could see some ridiculous deals getting handed out as teams lose the Zito/Matsuzaka/Schmidt sweepstakes and have to spend that earmarked money on something else. it's a tough call...if we were getting prospects back in that deal, even questionable prospects like the ones in the Abreu fiasco, I would feel a lot better about it.

i agree with rsb on this one, as the yankees want the best package in return, so it will probably take all 3 to land sheff. i'd be happy to see madson and floyd go. lieber is still useful, but can be easily replaced by a pitcher like batista. basically this all boils down to acquiring a bat to protect howard, and sheff still has the ability to do that...just questionable because health/age.

gillick will plug the bullpen holes...this man has the phils linked to so many names...i can't ever remember an offseason like this before w/ the possibility to do so much.

The idea of Floyd pitching in New York, the biggest stage in baseball, is pretty laughable. If Floyd does indeed need a change of scenery, it would need to be to some low-pressure environment, like his hometown Orioles. His freckle-faced head would pop in New York.

Good point about Floyd and NYC - that'd never work, would it. If the Phillies did include him along with the other two, though, I'd agree that the Phils should get at least one other prospect in return.

I'm curious what the rotation would be after Madson, Floyd and Lieber are dumped for Sheff. Other than RSB, is there anyone here who thinks the Phillies pitching staff now is playoff caliber? Anyone else think Batista, Condrey and Sanches are the solution? Oh, and what if the Phils do that deal and don't re-sign Wolf? And does anyone seriously think the Yanks will give up a decent prospect when they got Abreu & Lidle for garbage? Cashman made Pat Gillick his bitch in that trade.

Just like old times on Beerleaguer. Nothing like a little Sunday night hostility.

no Eagles game, so I guess we have to work out our aggression some other way...

I'm puzzled by why so many are so quick to give up on Madson. He has three quality pitches; he just needs to learn to throw them over the black instead of the middle of the plate. I'm with those who question Sheffield's ability to fit in with this team and, more to the point, this city. There's a big difference in playing for the Yankees, where few players get booed, and the Mets, where the fans are more like Philly fans. And Atlanta fans barely know the game. One bad week in CBP and Sheffield will be a problem. He also won't provide much protection for Howard if he's hurt again. All in all, I wouldn't give up much for him. And anyone who thinks Batista would be a straight-up replacement for Lieber has been sniffing glue, or ingesting whatever hallucinogens made some of you guys think the Giants would part with Noah Lowry for an overpriced corner outfielder. The talk about "we" set the bar too low made me laugh out loud. "We" don't set anything, folks. For the life of me, I will never understand why Gillick accepted such a sack of garbage for Abreu, but if that's all he could get for a corner outfielder who can actually play the field, get on base at one of the best clips in MLB and, at least occasionally, hit in the clutch, he must either accept even less for Burrell or cough up part of his salary in exchange for prospects. And frankly, that's all I would expect in return -- prospects, hopefully better than the bozos the Yankees flushed away for Abreu.

It's not that I am totally against getting Sheffield. Sheffield is a great player but there are some big red flags. Age, injury, and defense aren't exactly working in his favor. Really a high risk, high reward type deal.

The bigger issue I have is that for most of the season last year, the Phils' pitching stunk. It was the starting pitching for the first 3 months and the bullpen the last 2 months. Granted, Lieber, Madson, and Floyd had pretty terrible seasons last year but how are the Phils going to replace them? Ok, I will be serious and limit that to Lieber and Madson.

People are acting like the Phils have already signed Batista and/or Wolf. Batista and Wolf are going to get more interest than normal since the starting pitching FAs are so weak and owners are pretty flush with cash. If the Phils move Lieber, there starting rotation is Myers-Hamels-Moyer-???-???. That rotation is really shaky.

Two other things to point out - there is almost no way that Moyer and Hamels both make it though next year with at least one visit to the DL between them. Just not happening. The other thing is that the Phils don't have a single guy who is ready to step into the starting rotation from the minors. Some promising arms but they are at least a year away. Don't even get me started on the crappy state of the bullpen.

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