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Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Rowand has to be CHW bound. Gillick has been talking to a couple AL teams at the GM meetings and he is on record about how trade is how to get pitching. I'm predicting Rowand back to Chi-town for some arms.

I think this is a great pick up. He will be a substantially better hitter than Nunez. The key here is he was very affordable - 2 years totaling $5.5 million. Its hard to work out the line up just yet because the outfield situation is so unsettled. I am happy with the starting rotation and I think either Wolf or Batista would fill out the rotation nicely. We just need some more bullpen help and hopefully Soriano and we will be all set.

On the subject of "how best to use him," Helms was an excellent pinch hitter last season: 45 at bats, .311/.380/.644, 2 homers, 10 RBIs. When he did start, he mostly hit fifth.

Non sequitor: I actually wouldn't mind seeing a platoon of Trot Nixon and Jeff Conine in RF as long as Trot could be had for < $3.5 million for a year... maybe 2 years at $7 million.

As for Helms, I actually thought that we should have picked him up last year... esp. as Abe had come off a "career" .707 OPS campaign with the Redbirds in '05.

Not a bad move...and MPN makes an interesting observation IMO. We love picking up guys after career years, don't we? At least Helms' floor is much higher than Nunez's. I'd say it's a cheap upgrade.

This deal fixes nothing. Helms is nowhere near adequate protection for Howard, he's probably not cut out for every day defense, and he just had one good year as a role player. Like I said in the last post, good move for the bench, nothing more.

My expectations for offseason moves have been steadily decreasing for a while now. No A-Ram, no Iwamura. I can't see anyone being excited over Wes Helms.

- original "Mike"

I dunno, Clout. This is two in a row we agree on. First Scott Graham, now Helms. If he's used properly - i.e. not all the damn time - this isn't a bad move. I'm not *excited* about it, but other than the even more mercurial Rich Aurilia, I don't see a better fix at 3B right now. Nunez will play 140-plus games, because he'll be a defensive replacement in every close game that Helms starts. And Nunez will almost certainly be starting every game Moyer pitches.

Funny thing is I would much rather see Rowand get moved at this point than Burrell. Just don't see what Rowand brings to this team right now offensively or defensively.

I have to admit coming on Beerleaguer and reading these things have made me want to move Rowand. I used to love that guy, especially of course because of the wall run. However being on here has made me realize he is much more valuable to this team as a trade commodity rather than an outfielder especially if we get Soriano and even if we don't. He's disposable and has the ability to be traded for starting pitching. So trade him!

I'm with clout and RSB. Depends on how he's used. Like I said in the last thread - gillick has said he'd make someone a starter only to go back on his word when he got what he thought to be a better option in a trade (vic and rowand).

And I don't want to bore about this, but WE COULD NOT APPROACH A-RAM. The cubs got the deal done in time, SO WE DIDN'T GET A CHANCE TO DISCUSS FREE AGENCY.

Iwamura on the other hand galls. The swiftness that this deal follows the news on Iwamura makes me wonder whether in fact we had put a bid in only to see it rejected. In which case, gillick has sorted out his backup now and will go back to bigger plans.

The money doesn't suggest to me a starting 3b man - its too similar to the offers we gave bench players last year. As Jason said tho', we better have a better option otherwise helms will be left in for a long, long time.

I have nothing against Wes Helms. He'll hopefully be a valuable bench player and pinchhitter. What bothers me is that the Phillies are dealing with a problem postion by putting temporary bandaids on it, again.
The team has a very solid infield offensively, even more so if Ruiz pans out at all. This is the perfect time to put in a younger player at 3B and let him develop, rather than waste $$ and roster spots with guys like Nunez and Helms. The Rockies, for example, have a couple of young 3B prospects that could possibly solve the Phillies' 3B problem longterm.

George S, someone over at philliesphans suggested that that its a stopgap to constanzo in 08, Although that seems a bit soon to me.

I don't think a trade of this type, this early in the offseason, precludes sorting out a 3b-man. Its a safety option, and pads out the bench a bit more. I don't think its wasting a roster spot, george - with delluci in all probability on his way out, solid bench hitting is good news.

In other notes, Ken Rosenthal reports San Diego are wondering about Bonds . They're rumoured to be not that fussed about re-signing dave roberts, so depending on how it turns out either them or San Fran still look like viable options to dangle burrell to . . .if they can offer something decent in return.

ok- all this helms bashing needs to stop. here are the truths- his defense is below average but his bat is superior to no-hit nunez's. helms was probably the best option for the phils left on the market. and by the way nomar would have been much more expensive with great chance of injury, plus he hasn't played too much 3rd.

so helms may not be protection for howard but he does ease the pain of countless nunez at bats. here's what i suggest for 3rd next year. helms is the starter for the 1st 7-8 innings followed by nuni for defense in the later innings. helms starts most games but sits against tough lefties, or about once a week...keeping helms fresh and nuni "sharp".

Interesting comment by gillick in the daily news this morning:

"We liked Walker, but one thing we ran into last season was too many one-out guys," he said. "We need some guys who can throw a few more pitches than one out."

Hmm. It sounds sensible, but go tell it to your manager. still, it maybe points to a move away from older one-out guys.

Oisin, I agree. If Helms is insurance and added bench strength, then it's a decent pickup, but if he is being thought of as the solution at 3B, or as RH protection for Howard, then Gillick needs to do better. I have to believe there are better options out there, available in trade at a reasonable cost.
I'm hoping we will see a move in the near future.

"I am happy with the starting rotation."

Mike, I am going to remind you of that statement at midseason if the Phillies do nothing to upgrade, although my guess is you'll be too embarrassed to show your face on this board by then.

Re: Helms starting. If this is the plan, I expect it to end within 2 months or the LHPs in the rotation will string up Cholly. If your rotation is heavy with lefties you damn well better have your best gloves on the left side. I'm with my bud RSB: Start Nunez and PH Helms if we're behind in the 7th or later.

Thus speaketh the Early Morning Club. Carson, I worry about you posting so early. George and me, we have timezones on our side - is your wrist hurting that much?

Curious thing of note in the daily news - gillick made a fairly blunt comment:

"All I've ever said is that we intended to improve our club and everybody drew their own conclusions from that. They looked at our lineup and decided we need to protect Ryan Howard and concluded that we should go after Soriano or Manny Ramirez or Carlos Lee or somebody like that."

That's as clear an indication as I'm going to take that protection is not the top priority in gillick's thoughts right now.

For those who remember back further than I - has gillick ever pulled a smart trade where he's come out the better in the deal?

I dunno about you guys but I am 100% ok with a Helms/Nunez platoon.

I thought Helms was being given the everyday 3B spot, not a platoon, and definitely not a pinch-hitter. I agree with clout on how he SHOULD be used, but he's the starting the 3B this season, I can garantee that.

I disagree will - gillick has shown himself capable of about-turning on ha'penny if he thinks he's made a mistake or there's a better option out there.

Oisin -

PG got rid of Griffey for Mike Cameron, Brett Tomko, and a minor leaguer, Antonio Perez. Perez was/is worthless, Tomko did a decent job doing everything from starting, long relief, and closing, and Mike Cameron put up very solid numbers, 2001 All-Star.

Other than Cameron, the other two didn't stay long, but the M's went from 78 wins in '99 with Ken, to 91 and then 116 in 01 without him.

This is scary:

"With Helms on board, defensive stalwart Abraham Nuñez could be used in a utility role. Helms also will serve as insurance behind Ryan Howard at first base.

"How he's used is Charlie's call," Gillick said, referring to manager Charlie Manuel."

Does anyone have faith in Charlie to manage two player at one position or implement a platoon?

I don't want to overemphasize something like lineup construction, but imagine a 5-6-7-8 of Burrell, Conine, Helms, and Coste, all RHB, unatheletic, and all incredibly slow. It seems almost impossible that this bottom group could produce runs other than walking (which only Burrell does) and hitting HR.

Since the signing is official, I'll repost the .394 BABIP that Helms put up last year. He is taking a step back this year. I look for him to be between a .750-800 OPS.

As for defense, I'm going to trust my eyes on this one and say Abe is the far superior defender. I have to say this is a bad move if Helms gets more than 300 ABs. What is it with GIllick and career years....Dellucci, Nunez, Helms, possibly Soriano...

Interesting point, Kdon. One of the things which has me wondering about how helms will fit in is gillick's supposed love of athletic players - Its one of the reasons why I don't think he's the final answer at 3rd. Assuming we did get soriano, we'd have a very schizoid quick quick quick then sloooooow lineup.

Oisin - but first he has to be disproved. The season hasn't started yet, so he can't be disproved yet. And even if he really sucks, it'll take till June for him to lose his starting job under Manuel, we've seen that already. The best we can hope for is that Manuel takes him out for Nunez in the 7th or later if we're leading.

As far as the line-up goes, this line is exactly as kdon says, quick then sloooow. Right now, anyways. I would expect to lose Burrell for sure now. This could also be another nudge from Gillick to Burrell, saying, "Hey, I could totally bat you 7th in this lineup"

Man I agreed with clout and kdon in the same day, must've forgotten my kool aid this morning.

I'm looking forward to Charlie's new late game lineup for doubleheaders:

SS Rollins
RF Victorino
CF Rowand
1B Helms
LF Conine
C Ruiz
3B Nunez
2B Sandoval

feel the excitement!

Will - remember last year when gillick signed franklin and we were convinced he was starter number 5, only for him to be moved to the bullpen? Nothing is ever set in stone with gillick. That's one of the few things you can say with certainty about the man.

ae - ugh. stomach just lept halfway up my throat.

slightly odd comment from Gillick in the Daily News re Soriano:

"I can't even say we're interested," he insisted. "Our plans might not necessarily include him. We like him. We're studying the situation. All I've ever said is that we intended to improve our club and everybody drew their own conclusions from that. They looked at our lineup and decided we need to protect Ryan Howard and concluded that we should go after Soriano or Manny Ramirez or Carlos Lee or somebody like that."

is he walking back the previous rumors, or is this just more bluffing?

column also says that we made an offer to an FA reliever yesterday, but doesn't even guess who it might be. Gillick says he's looking for someone who's more than a "one-out guy." he also says that catcher is an "area we have to address." I have to think corner OF, starting pitcher, and the bullpen are all much more important.

Good point Oisin, I just think that Helms would have to boot a lot, and I mean a lot, of balls in ST, to end up splitting time with Nunez at third to start the season. Especially if Helms is the "answer" to protecting howard and we sack Burrell this off-season.

Wes Helms is a career .268 and a below average fielder by all accounts. He hit well last year against the Phillies, .317 with an OBP of .430. That is one of the reasons Gillick signed him. I've had this discussion with Jason and remain convinced Gillick leans heavily toward signing players he already knows and/or have good records vs. the Phils. This is another bandaid solution at a key position. While it didn't cost too much by today's wildly inflated standards, and is only a two year committment, it isn't an answer I am happy about.

As for Rowand, we shouldn't assume he is going back to Chicago though they have problems in centerfield. Kenny Williams traded this guy away to acquire Jim Thome in part. The other part is he saw a batter with major holes in his swing whose contact was going down and K's were going up. And sure enough, Williams was right.

Inserting Helms at third makes outfield speed more valuable. Victorino and Bourn come out of this trade looking a little more attractive because of their defensive tools.

Like I wrote last month, looking ahead to next season, the player I like least is Conine, who will surely want playing time. By adding Helms, he'll never see action at first base, which was part of the plan I thought. In outfield, I'd rather give those extra chances to Bourn, especially now that they've weakened defense and speed by acquiring Helms.

Good teams can win and develop at the same time by giving their best prospects an opportunity.

RE: Trade talk of Rowand for SP

IMO, ain't no way Phils obtain a quality starter straight up for Aaron Rowand. On value alone, compare the contract a starter such as Garcia, Buehrle, or even Vazquez would receive on the FA market with that of Rowand. Gillick will have to include a young, quality arm (not Floyd) to make that deal, further depleting the farm system in the process. Given the dearth of available starting pitchers, too many other teams would have more to offer than a no-contact CF with a weak arm, no matter how much the ChiSox might like Rowand. Unless Gillick can pull off a heist, I don't see anything more than an average middle-reliever straight up for Rowand.

On a related point, at least the Phils won't give up a draft pick with Helms. Given the inconsistency of middle-relief, is Borowski or Weathers really worth the loss of a top draft pick?

VOR - I don't believe that comparison between the FA market and trade market is ever a good basis for an argument. A free agent can always potentially sell their goods to any team - its classic monopoly - whereas if you can find 3 or 4 trading partners for a player you're doing well.

Plus, relative valuation always comes into it - its easier to let go of a marginally better than league average pitcher if you've got an option to replace them - and equally, someone could offer us carlos beltran for cole hamels and (I'd hope) the phils would still tell them to go to hell.

I think if we get anything for rowand (and I don't think its definite either), it will be because there are two teams chasing him and both have to fill that CF gap.

VOR: right but Rowand's definitely worth a decent reliever or a decent prospect, especially to CWS, who are trying to recapture their mojo from '05

Oisin: Agreed that FA and trade markets are not fair comparisons. But I still have got to believe too many other teams would be willing to offer more than Rowand, a mediocre centerfielder at best.

dunno VOR - in philly I think we're down on him because vic has looked that much better, but this is the first year his defense has disappointed. I think everyone's been a bit shocked by that, stathead or old-school scout (mike berquist at A Citizen's Blog had a good breakdown of Rowand's defense before the start of the season, and it looked all good). If its seen as out of the ordinary, its easier to ignore the down year, put the slump in hitting down to the collision after The Catch, and be prepared to trade decent goods for him.

I just hope gillick is willing to let him go for a good offer.

oisin- my wrist does hurt, but i'm an early riser regardless. i show up to work an hour and 45 minutes before i'm on the clock so i can surf the net for baseball stuff. i love baseball, more importantly the phils. plus i have my own blog to do, and it's easier for me in the morning.

I'm not all that worried about Conine. I doubt he'll last the season with the Phils. Someone will have a need for him, whether it's a team that needs another veteran starter or to fill a gap in the outfield due to injury.

No, see Will, you are now (sort of) questioning the decisions of've put the Kool-aid down!

I think it is possible the Phillies could get Garcia for Rowand (+ maybe a prospect) because of the salary differential. The White Sox could shed $5M in salary, replace their hole in CF, and find a spot for McCarthy. Although it is certainly possible that WIlliams will get better offers for Rowand, there actually aren't that many teams that could offer them a starter and take on a $10M pitcher.

There is also no justifiable reason why Burrell should hit behind Helms and Conine...of course, there was no reason he should have hit behind Conine in September too...

that's true john - he's minor-league filler waiting to happen!

Will: Hope you're correct. A decent reliever or prospect would be a good deal, especially considering CF is the only position with an adequate replacement.

Oisin: Could be Rowand had a down year, he did have a reputation aa a top
center-fielder prior to coming to Phila., but his arm is weak and his lack of fundamentals were dissapointing. How many times were posts made during the 2006 season about his lack of hitting the cut-off man? Also, consider his power numbers that don't even close to compensating for his high number of K's.

I hope I'm wrong, but I think Rowand's trade value is being overestimated.

VOR - I'm not disagreeing on either of the weaknesses you cite, and to my mind his value is absolutely being overestimated - but I think its plausible that its other organisations doing the overestimating. One of the things should make him attractive is he's still a one year rental - so I'm presuming it makes it easier for other teams to gamble on him.

Just saw that Tampa Bay won the Iwamure bidding. Seriously?! The Devil Rays outbid us!? claims the Phillies were one of the bidding teams and the timing of the Helms signing would confirm that the Phillies thought they had a shot. Like to see what the bids were )PHillies and winning). I have a feeling that Top Gun will significantly outperform our current topic of discussion.

Wouldn't this be something the PHillies could have afforded given the Abreu trade and all the money they want to throw at SOriano?

... not to mention Top Gun is young and can defend. It would have also opened up some marketing possibilities for the Phils.

Have to give Gillick some more time to see what unfolds but I am not awed by an offseason that potentially highlights Helms, a catcher (Estrada?), and a few veteran retreads for the bullpen. It would almost be deja vu from last offseason.

When all is said and done, I still hold the belief that Dave Montgomery comments about the payroll being $90+ million next year are totally bogus. says Phils were one of the teams "rumored" to be interested. From the get-go it seemed highly unlikely they would try and sign another left-handed bat.

What is this problem with lefthanded bats (not saying it's you, TG, just the PHils)? The Phillies currently have TWO lefthanded hitters, one of whom (Utley) hits lefties would be nice if the lineup didn't go RH in spots 5-8. Imawura makes so much more sense than Helms on so many levels (defense, balance of lineup, speed, marketing, youth, hitting) that it shouldn't be surprising we signed Helms.

I'm getting a bit angrier at the confluence of a crap signing like Helms and the D-Rays getting Iwamura.

If you listen carefully, you'll all hear a dull, wet, thudding sound coming from the east. It's me smacking my forehead off the desk in frustration at the missed opportunity of Iwamura.

so please, lets just not mention him any more. my head hurts and the blood is hell to clean up.

(and yes, I realise he was left handed, but surely we could have got a right handed hitter for RF or even LF and switched burrell over?)

The Phils couldn't top $4.5M for the Iwamura bid? With nothing to lose if they can't negotiate an agreement?

He'd replace Nuni with equal or better defense, provide more pop, and would probably fare better than Nunez, even against lefties.

Agreed MG, off-season has been a disappointment so far. If Gillick is unable to make any significant deals, maybe he locks up Utley long-term to save face.

"If you listen carefully, you'll all hear a dull, wet, thudding sound coming from the east."

Is that the sound of Imawura's head hitting his desk after he realizes he is going to the Devil Rays? And he though he was stepping UP in competition.

Sorry Oisin!

Seriously, the bid was $4.5M? That is basically what we will be paying Nunez/Helms this season. Christ, this keeps getting worse!

I don't believe the Phillies bid on Iwamura. the reports I've seen said the bidders were Tampa Bay, Cleveland, San Diego, and Boston.

"When all is said and done, I still hold the belief that Dave Montgomery comments about the payroll being $90+ million next year are totally bogus."

I have that feeling as well. Although my season tickets went up $2.00 a seat. Not bad for the Phillies... cut salary, increase ticket prices, and the faceless owners get richer!

The fact the Red Sox were also outbid for Imawura raised my eyebrow. Seems to me that something with this guy may be a little off.

That being said, he was obviously an upgrade from Nunez offensively and has to be better than Helms defensively. That being said all in all he probably would've cost twice what Helms did (including the right-to-negotiate money).

They had better be saving that money to sign somebody big, or else this off season really sucks. So far these signings are all bogus patch jobs. Until the end of the offseason, I'll judge each acquisition on its own, but hold off sweeping generalizations until the complete team is obvious.

I'm disappointed that we have Wes Helms instead of Iwamura. I here the gentlemen's clubs in Tampa are pretty liberal. Maybe we can convince "the Bat" to allow us to trade him and Helms to TB for a pitcher and the rights to Iwamura.

Today clout referred to RSB as his buddy. It's amazing how this site now has a lot of agreement and consensus since the season has been over. I find that most of the posters write what I agree with. Carson, VOR, clout, kdon are all my buddies.

For ZachT. The year I graduated from Stockton saw the Phillies win 86 games and finish 2nd in their division. Mike Schmidt led the league in HRs with 38, Greg Luzinski led the league in RBIs with 120, Dave Cash led the league in hits with 213, and Gene Garber led the league in pitching appearnces with 71. Steve carlton had an off year with only 15 wins.

Jason writes, "Good teams can win and develop at the same time by giving their best prospects an opportunity." To which I'd add, only if their best prospects are MLB quality. I don't believe Bourn is ready to his ML pitching.

I agree with what seems to be the consensus on Helms -- it's fine if he's a platoon player/RH bat off the bench, but the staff ERA will go back up to pre-Nunez levels if he plays every day. If Helms starts, that gives us an infield of Rollins and three below-average gloves. Yeah, I know Utley's fine on the DP, but he can't go to his right. Howard is frequently slow to react to grounders. I haven't seen much of Helms, but everyone seems to agree he's below average. From the POV of the pitching staff, this is a recipe for disaster.

Oops. That should say, "ready to HIT major league pitching."

As long as the outfield remains the same, I guess we'll never find out about Bourn.

Unless, of course, he gets a lucky break like the list of the others who were never supposed to hit MLB pitching. Victorino. Coste. Utley. And who's that last guy? Right! Howard.

Howard showed improvement in his fielding in the latter part of last year, so the final word on him has yet to be written.

Utley does have restriction in his fielding but I wouldn't say he's below average. Average may be more apt.

If Helms performs like he did the last time he had a starting role, he's below average.

haha, good point JW. Of course they all came to fruition under the tutelage(sp) of Cholly. Luck or skill?

Dave Cash - Yes we can! Great team. Thanks for the memories Lake Fred.

I think that's my comment for the day I'll just wax nostalgic for the rest of the day..

I remember 1958, Richie Ashburn, Wally Post, Harry Anderson, Ed Bouchee, Chico Fernandez, Robin Roberts, The Dalton Gang....

I'll spare you the rest.

I dont know, and maybe somebody's already mentioned this before, but I think the stockpiling of experienced bench coaches is insurance for a potential bad start this season. I think that if we start off bad the first couple of weeks either Williams or Lopes will be the coach. I am kind of surprised that Howe would even leave considering the potential volitile managing situation in PHilly. I see this as Gillick's most calculated strategical move yet. If Manuel screws up, he's got 2 former MLB managers to pick from to replace him. If he didnt he would have to resort to an unproven commodity and who do we really have in the clubhouse. I certainly dont think any of us believe that Dubee would be named the manager. I still hope that we get Soriano, and I will be much happier with Helms at that point.

All I got to say is, if Wes Helms and, as reported by Comcast earlier this morning, Adam Eaton are our biggest free agent signing this off-season, expect yet another 2nd place finish. They need to get Soriano and probably somebody else in order to have a legit shot at contending.

sadly, Parker, that move was Gillick's best so far.

I wouldn't mind an Adam Eaton signing. He throws too many pitches, gives up more HRs than you'd like, and is not the best fit for CBP, but he is a major-league pitcher with 4 quality pitches. Similar to Randy Wolf but with slightly better stuff. Too much inconsistentcy but still throws enough quality starts.

Phils need at least one more starter and Eaton requires no compensation. Unless Gillick has something up his sleeve, Eaton should be okay at the bottom of the rotation (as long as he signs for bottom-of-rotation bucks).

Wow, Lake Fred that was an awesome year to be a Phillies fan. I hate to think of what the stats will be when I graduate. Burrell leading the leagues on looking at 3rd strikes. Worst Starting Pitching ERA in the league. and so on...

Eaton is a good pick up I guess if we don't pick up Wolf, which people are starting to think we won't. Also hearing about Carlton makes me think we need an Ace for this staff. Myers isn't an ace, and Hamels is still a few years off from being an ace, but I doubt we'll ever pick one up in FA or trade half our roster for one. So I guess we'll have to wait out Hamels.

When the Phillies traded for Carlton, he wasn't an ace. He was the 2nd starter for a great Cardinals club. Their ace was the great fireballer Bob Gibson. The Phillies didn't really have an ace at that time, but we traded our best starter, Rick Wise, for Carlton, who won 20 games for the Cards that year. Carlton had his career year, right off with a horrible Phillies last place team, winning the pitching triple crown with 27 victories, 310 strikeouts and a 1.97 ERA in 1972. After that he was up and down as he lost 20 games in 1973, but he had 4 more 20 win seasons with the Phillies down the road. Maybe we should trade Myers for a young Steve Carlton!

Carlton may not have been an ace (it's kind of tough to be an "ace" when a two-time Cy Young is blocking your way), but he already had a pretty good resume in 1971...three-time All-Star, second-best ERA in the NL in 1969, ranked in the top ten in strikeouts three times 1969-71.

That Phillies team that had winners of the HR, Hits, and RBI titles the year I graduated from Stockton, won three straight division titles the next three years.

This year's 2nd place division team, had winners of the HR, Runs, and RBI titles. If Utley had one more hit, he'd've shared the hits title with Juan Pierre of the Cubs. Now let's see if this team can win 3 straight division titles!

Gramps - I know about half those guys. Not because I'm old, but because my ma clung onto memories of the team from the late 50s/early 60s. Apparently her first crush was Chico Fernandez. And she still has a signed picture of art mahaffey knocking about back home!

Will - one of the things which cheered me about helms (and pointed out by dajafi over at The Good Phight) is that cholly put in a very succinct analysis of the change in helm's batting style - shortened up his swing, much better batter. Cholly causes us all headaches, but he deffo knows from hitting.

(And he speaks Japanese. Jayses buh that would be useful if we had a japanese player.)

(kdon - contusions slowly healing)

And he speaks Japanese

So that's what he's saying on the post-game press conferences!

I did a little more checking on Helms' batting numbers. He improved as the season wore on. His numbers were similar against both righties and lefties. No Hit Nuni's bench time is assured. They won't platoon Nuni, who will only be a late inning defensive player.

Helms is David Bell

He's older, hits lefties well, below average hitter overall, & can't field.

Helms innings 1-7, Abe comes in the 8th and 9th in close games. That shouldn't be too bad.

Jason, it was scouts who doubted the ability of Utley, Howard and Victorino to hit major league pitching. I had no idea, since I live south of Philly rather than northwest. Based on what I saw of them in their first limited exposure, I disagreed; I wasn't impressed by the handful of ABs I saw Bourn get. But anecdotal evidence that scant isn't worth much. That's why I trust you guys on the minor leaguers. But I didn't see much of Bourn, and apparently Cholly wasn't too impressed, either, since he rarely gave him ABs. Is he the real deal or not? How much of his BA is based on his speed? In general, my sense is that you guys who sees the AA and AAA teams overrate the minor leaguers; then again, Coste worked out fine, though of course half a season is a slim basis for long-range projections. Let's put it this way: When I see Travis Chapman's minor-league stats, I always wonder why he never made it. Yet several organizations took a shot at him, and none saw a major leaguer there. So is Bourn another Chapman, or another Victorino?

I disagree JB. Bell could field, Helms cannot. So does that mean Helms is worse than Bell?

Also I was thinking about this offseason and WWEWD (What would Ed Wade Do?) Would he sign Helms? I'm thinkin we would already have Soriano of course Wade would give him a 9yr/144 million dollar contract complete with no trade clause.

Where are people getting this "They said Utley, Howard, Victorino can't hit" stuff from?
The day Utley was DRAFTED, all the stories said he was a hit machine but there were questions about his glove. Howard got hardly any mention at all in the media, but I can't imagine the scouting reports said he couldn't hit.
It is true about Victorino as he failed miserably in a couple of tries with San Diego & LA. Count me as a doubter. I still don't think he can put up his 2006 numbers over a full season playing everyday.
As for Bourn, there are indeed doubts about his bat and they are legitimate. I think he's a far better prospect than Roberson, but that's not saying much.

Don't be afraid to address the one who wrote it directly, clout. "People" didn't write it, I wrote it.

When he was with San Diego, Victorino was a very young Rule 5 pick just like Fabio Castro. To say he failed miserably is a little extreme, isn't it? They tried to make it work, but he obviously wasn't ready.

The point about Howard, Coste and Victorino is they all came into this season with certain doubts, be it hitting or fielding. I'm totally with you on Victorino as an everyday player, but no one misses Jason Michaels. That's all that was expected from him. It's only too bad Michaels was traded for total garbage.

I don't want to make this into a big thing, but the Phils need to get some sac and take some risks like that with young or unproven players once and a while. That way, maybe they don't need to resort to so many medicore stiffs all the time, a philosophy that hasn't generated a playoff team since '93. Of course, the much bigger point is they need real talent evaluators and an overhaul of the minor leagues.

ANYWAY, getting back to the original point. Is Bourn the difference? Doubtful. But it's the concept. If Bourn hits .220 for a couple of months as a No. 4-5 outfielder, at least they know. Is it that much worst than watching 41-year-old Conine bat .250 with no speed, no range and no arm, waiting for those big clutch hits he left in Florida five years ago?

Not much of an upgrade, Iwamura would've been nice. The fact that they didn't top $4.5 mill shows that they didn't seriously try to get him, maybe they figure its easier to be "almost" a playoff team. That way, they won't have to worry about getting into the playoffs and raising payroll to take them over the top.

Clout, so we are clear, the Mike up above who said he was happy with the starting rotation was posting here for the first time I think.

I'm the Mike who posts here pretty frequently, though I've slipped in the off-season. Anyway, I don't want the infamous power of the Clout memory for damning quotes turned against me on this one down the road.

I'd love to see some sort of upgrade in the rotation, which is most likely through dealing Rowand and throwing in a guy like Floyd, who seems destined for failure in Philly.

I don't believe it's fair to say for certain Bourn can't hit major league pitching. He only got a smattering of ABs in September, there was no room for an extended trial with the Phils intent on getting to the playoffs. He should get the kind of playing time this spring that Roberson got last spring (which probably won't prove anything, but it's the least they can do). I'm also not ready to write off Roberson, by the way - no one knows what he's capable of if he got a chance to start for even two weeks in a row. I have a feeling he'd show you a hell of a lot more than he did as an infrequently-used reserve, and the same most likely goes for Bourn. I'm reminded of Billy McMillon, to cite just one example, who supposedly was a career minor-league/marginal talent that was given an extended shot by the A's and contributed mightily to their winning teams a few years back. That's the kind of shot supposedly marginal guys like Roberson will never get with the Phillies, unless they somehow adapt to pinch-hitting three times a month and making enough of an impression that they eventually play their way intop the lineup. Most young players aren't equipped for that, however, and shouldn't get written off when they show little out of that role.

Also, to Jason's point, let's not forget that going into this season the Philly media's line on Howard was that he couldn't hit lefties and that would hold him back as an everyday player.

According to Philadelphia's 610 WIP Radio station, the Phillies have offered another contract to Soriano. According to the source, this offer is 6 yr/ 98m contract with a 7th year club option.

After a much needed month rest from baseball and specifically this site...i am back and ready to get rolling for 2007! By the way the diamonbacks will be very good next year...just remember you heard it hear first by THe Dude!

Bring on Helms and the rest of the gang!!! YEAH this signing will get us to 95 wins most definetly...but other things being said specifically pitching and soriano, i have the following suggestions.

Ok most people are 50/50 on soriano...some think he'll be great protection in the lineup while others think he's on the downside and too expensive and pitching is more important at this point. I think gillick has made some comments through the year which might help us all figure out what he's trying to do...all year (specifically on some rain delay nite on radio) he continued to answer questions about free agent pitchers by saying he doesn't like to give big $ to FA pitchers whom he hasn't had the opportunity to determine when they might break down. And believes FA hitters are a much safer option. He also consistently said that pitching most likely would need to be addressed from within.

THis leads me to my idea - the phillies will go hard after a right handed or switch hitting outfielder like soriano or Lee. And try like hell to get Burrell off the team. I don't think keeping him will prevent the signing of another OF though since either or a combination of Vic/Bourne/Rowand could and will be used to try to get some younger prospects or bench help. But the pitching solutions with the exception of an experienced setup man with closer capabilities will need to be from our organization and I wouldn't be surprised to see JA Happ and Segovia make this team out of spring training as pen help or 5th starter much like Silva did a few years back. Just look at the Tigers and how they have built their staff with younger flame throwers and sprinkle in some veterans for some depth.

Now the phils don't have any studs throwing 100mph in the minors but from what i read it looks like there is some quality there. So I would much rather have our young pitching prospects than some old farts.

Dude: And which of these Phillies prospects has the ability to step into the rotation next season and be successful? Helllooo?

Well once we get either Wolf back or Eaton our rotation will be full.


It's not that bad of a rotation and got us one of the best records in the second half of last season.

RSB, still on the Roberson kick, eh? The dude is 27 and has 150 (unproductive) ABs above AA in his life.

You can say of literaly any player that we don't know what they could do over two weeks, but that isn't a compelling argument to find out. The guy looks nice in a baseball uniform and has some tools, but he can;t hit!

I also have to say that Bourn is nowhere near the class of Utley and Howard (or even Vic or Coste) as minor league hitters (and this is addressed to you, Jason, so we are clear :-)

2004 AA: 1033 OPS
2004 AAA: 966
2005 AAA: 1157

2003 AAA: 907
2004 AAA: 880

2005 AAA: 905

2005 AAA: 817

2004 AA: 712
2005 AA: 715
2005 AAA: 796

OK, so anyone who thought Howard or Utley couldn't hit ML pitching was an idiot. You just don't put up those kinds of numbers at AAA if you can't hit. Similarly, Vic had an MVP season at AAA the year of his callup so it would have been absurd to completely dismiss him. Coste is the only player close to Bourn, and tellingly, he is probably the most unlikely player to continue hitting. Bourn may indeed develop skills, but saying he can't hit (which, incidentally, I don;t think anyone has said, the Phils just happen to have a lot of outfielders) cannot be compared to Howard, Utley or Vic.

Oh, and I'll do my normal addendum thing here. The one telling stat that is absent in my chart is age. Bourn reached AAA (and the majors) faster than the other four, so there is definately time for him to develop, but he still needs AAA ABs (he only has 152, which again, is waaay less than the other four). I actually like Bourn, but I think he would develop better as a regular at AAA than as the 4-5 OF in Philly.


Connecting dots between a 23-year-old centerfielder and a 34-year-old AAA veteran, using OPS, isn't telling. It's a sweeping generalization with many holes I'm delighted to share.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say a few months with Davey Lopes spent learning the job of a small man in a big-man's game will render some of those numbers obsolete regarding Bourn, specifically that 2005 season under Steve Swisher.

We remember it well here in Reading. Who can forget the time Swisher melted down in the clubhouse and went AWOL during the middle of the season? Ah, Swish. Those were good times. Under Swish, Reading had one of the most undisciplined teams in franchise history. Bourn struck out 123 times, Roberson 112 times, Richardson 109 times. The season even featured multiple steroid offenses by Randy Ruiz! Right on!

Management didn't think too much of Swisher, so they said goodbye to him after the season. I guess they figured only a true moron allows a 21-year-old kid with leadoff-hitter potential to fan 123 times. Bourn, who had been on the fast track, had suddenly hit a brick wall.

Now, with those facts in mind, and considering the steady improvement he made this season in AAA, and also that Bourn and the other players on your list are very different players, and also that an entry-level outfield position primarily requires bunting, running and fielding, is it possible that minor league OPS might not be the best indicator to demonstrate where Bourn's career is headed?

Bourn still might develop into a decent OF but you do really want him to take away ABs from more productive options next season?

Not me - Especially if the Phils are competitive are most of think they will be.

Over Conine for a backup job? In a heartbeat. I have no use for Conine at this point. Conine is here because he was supposed to supply the Phillies with critical pinch hits in the World Series, but he stalled midway through the Washington series. So it's time to move forward and give the best-rated position prospect a spot on the roster.

Alby: It's probably true that those of us who get to see the prospects play, or even just read about them in our daily paper, tend to overrate them. For example, many of us believed Marlon Byrd was going to be a superstar, and we know how that turned out.

still holding out for the magical lowry deal . . . now the A's are considering Bonds.

On a more serious note, it seems almost definite now that either san diego or san fran are going to be short one left-fielder. Gillick's comments a bit back about waiting for the outfield trade market to mature are starting to look spot on. I wonder if pat gambles on that trade market holding by going for soriano in the knowledge that he can trade Burrell for good returns.

If the Red Sox sign Drew, they are going to have an OF available to trade. Either Crisp, Manny or Pena would be a solution for one of those above-mentioned teams looking for a LF. And if they were talking to Bonds, then a salary like Manny's would not necessarily scare them off, especially if they could get the Red Sox to eat some of it.
Burrell would still be the odd man out probably. In any case, trading Burrell is a problem for a very simple reason: he is not worth the price tag.

In fact, I would rather keep Burrell and take the chance that he has a good year than move him for $0.50 on the dollar.

Another option would be to make a strong effort to re-sign Wolf and then package Burrell with Lieber to get the bullpen and/or 3B help we need. Lieber's value will never be higher and linking them might get a taker for Burrell. A starting pitcher with a pulse will get you more value in trade right now than Burrell will.

If the Phillies sign Soriano, I see one nice side benefit: The Mets will grossly overpay someone in order to 'respond' to that offensive upgrade by their closest division rival.

George, I'm sticking resolutely to my guns on this. I realise the NTC is a problem at our end (not the buyer), but the way the market pans out currently looks to make burrell's contract less expensive than last year and his numbers don't compare unfavourably per dollar. Even his foot can't be an issue because he managed to produce top 4 leftfield numbers whilst recovering from the bone spur operation.

I didn't think of the outfield issue with the red sox however. There is talk of sox being prepared to eat a small bit of manny's salary in offering him for a trade, but again you're still looking at 40 mill for two years, so unless they're going to take a chunk of that (13mill), burrell's offering reasonable value.

Agreed on Lieber - I'd be very happy to move him, re-sign wolf, and get younger pitcher in any trade. It's a gamble on wolf's control returning, but MLB trade rumours did a breakdown on the numbers of second tier FA pitchers, and wolf's control is the only issue.

I was surprised to see recently that Lieber still has great numbers on walks allowed - fewest of all qualified starters in the NL this year. Someone's going to like the sound of that, and discount problems with homeruns on the basis that he was pitching at CBP (and yes, I know the park factor has significantly improved this year, but that fact doesn't seem to have percolated through the majority of front offices or indeed player's minds yet).

I agree with Jason on Bourn. He is a NOT Roberson or a Sandoval. Give the kid a shot.
MG: What are the more productive options in the OF? Dellucci isn't coming back. The Phillies starting OF at this moment is Burrell-Rowand-Victorino. At age 24, Bourn has upside, he can steal bases (unlike Vic) and his BB/K ratio improved nicely last year. If the Phils don't upgrade in the OF, then Bourn should be given a full shot to beat out either Rowand or Vic in spring training. If he flops, send him to AAA and if he improves yet again (which I think he will) bring him up mid-season.
I DO think the posters on this board overrate the Phils minor leaguers, but Bourn, at the very least, looks like a major league 4th outfielder to me.

ZachT: And if a season were 81 games, you'd be on to something!

I would take Manny at 3/42 over Soriano at 6/98 in a heartbeat. I know Gillick said he "doesn't want the headache", but ManRam would look nice hitting behind #6.

hell yes i'd take manny too tony!

so what's the next move gillick makes?

my guess- trades rowand to white sox for something half-way useful.

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