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Friday, December 15, 2006

Comments

another reason to hate bud?

We wuz robbed!

Now I hope that Livingston sucks for the Reds.

Toby Hall's name is now in the Philly Inquirer's Todd Zolecki's article on Livingston. The smell of smoke of the fire burning for Toby Hall to the Phillies is getting stronger.

i hate tampa bay. first, that last game at the vet business against the eagles, now this.

as much as i'd like to have livingston in the system, the way tampa bay did the "deal" was shady. waiver wire is to help teams that suck get better with possible filler players not turn a profit off of it.

Zolecki also mentioned Reitsma - he'd be a better get than Hall.

Hope it works out for Cincy as well as Franklin and Cormier did.

One of the beat guys mentioned that Castro is now considered a candidate for the bullpen. From what I saw of him last year, I think they could do a lot worse. He's got excellent command of his pitches.

As I wrote in the Livingston thread, the Phils and D-Rays are fortunate not to have been fined. Really stupid on the Phils and D-Rays part to make the trade so quickly, particularly for a player with previous ties to Gillick. RSB, Agree with you about Castro as left handed option in the pen this year.

Cole Hamels - "I wasn't blessed with the strong man's syndrome, plus with the injuries I've dealt with, I don't want to ever be in that situation again." "A lot of people are counting on me to succeed, and I know what I have to do this winter to succeed."

i love this man.

Where'd you get that quote Tim?

Far from feeling fleeced by the Reds, I prefer to think we owed them something, in a karmic sense, for having stuck them with Cormier and Franklin and receiving The Beard in return (I would stash him at AAA if nobody else offers him a job).

Billy Mac, I never thought of that -- if the Phils and Rays had simply waited a few months, they would have gotten away with it. Instead they flaunted the loophole. Makes it ultimately a dumb thing to have done. Do I vaguely recall Gillick getting slapped by MLB for something several years back?

RSB, I agree on Castro, but not with making him a bullpen stalwart from training camp. He is VERY young and essentially lost a year of development last season; I would expect them to err on the side of caution.... if they're looking at him as a long-term player or not.

If it were me, I wouldn't want to overwork him in the spring with the carrot of making the team out of spring training, but would groom him for AAA with the idea of making him the June surprise. Of all the in-house options, I think he shows the most promise as this year's 6th-starter call-up, provided they don't see the bullpen as his ceiling or his calling. OTOH, I don't know beans about his mental makeup; maybe we're looking at a potential future closer.

Whatever the case, the Phillies are historically a team that loves big pitchers (think Dallas Green). Fabio is what, 5'-8" ? -- the second coming of Bobby Shantz. Remember what happened to him? Overused for one great year, never as good again.

I expect they see Fabio as a short-term player -- three years, until arb sets in -- and so won't hesitate to burn him out if need be. I'm not sure that would be the best use of him, but I would understand if they go that route.

hey tom - phillies.com. it's 'at home with cole hamels' or something similar.

he's getting married to that playmate on new years eve. what a life!

i do not agree that castro has excellent command. in fact, i think that's exactly why he was being hidden last season. he had a walks problem before he came to philly (albeit small sample size) and the few times i saw him pitch, he left a lot of his fastballs up in the zone. that said, i still think there's a strong case for him in the pen with fultz gone.

gr, fair point about Castro's prior history with walks, although he only allowed six (and just 12 hits) in over 23 innings with the Phils. I still think, as you and Alby suggest, that he isn't likely to do any worse than Fultz did last year as the second (or third) left-handed option out of the bullpen - and frankly, I don't see who is out there that's a candidate to do much better.

I;m not sure the Phillies or D-Rays did anything wrong.

The D-Rays were smart enough to realize that they could claim a commodity. They are given the first claim because they are in need of the most help. If they choose to help themselves by selling the player to the Phillies instead of playing him, then I don't see the harm.

The real stupid team in all of this is Seattle, who should have just sold Livingston to the Phillies in the first place instead of letting him go for nothing. The D-Rays and Phillies obviously valued Livingston more than Seattle, and they shouldn't punished for it. Teams draft and then trade Rule 5 picks all the time.

The one objection would be that Tampa could do this with everybody on waivers, but the problem is that waiver players have to placed on the 40-man roster, so they couldn't claim everyone without having to release other players.

If anyone wants to read a (very long) discussion of this, check here:

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/discussion/cbs_sportsline_mlb_voids_tampa_bays_waiver_claim/

kdon,

I completely agree. Seattle is the team that screwed up. Maybe Tampa and the Phils should have waited, but who cares. I don't blame them.

Castro and the Phils would be better served if he opened the season in the minors. Castro needs to actually pitch on a regular basis to develop. As for the Phils, they can't afford to potentially have a wasted bullpen spot because they have to protect Castro.

Dominican Winter League

LHP Fabio Castro -- Castro is 1-2 with a 1.73 ERA over 26 innings pitched with Gigantes del Cibao. Opponents are batting just .161 against him.

I do not believe the Phillies plan to go north with Castro. The plan is for him to spend at least half a season in AAA. I am also sure that PG will add another LHP to the pen before Spring Training.

I actually liked the Livingston pickup, as I noted earlier, but he is an 11th or 12th guy on the staff at best, so this is no big deal.

Man I am pissed that the Phils haven't been more proactive about upgrading their bullpen. The Sox just acquired Donnelly in a trade today and signed J.C. Romero to a incentive-laden deal with a $1.6 million base.

Either one of these guys would have been a substantial upgrade to the pen. Phils are just too cheap to spend $2 or $3 million on a player like Romero.

Just goes with our other bullpen addition: J Borowski who signs then fails the physical.

In essence we have zip for the bullpen.

They might have no choice but to take Castro north. There aren't many more left-handed options. Actually, there's aren't many more bullpen options left, period.

Reading your post on non-tendered players - what about Reitsma or Victor Zambrano in the bullpen? Both decent pitchers and Zambrano is certainly capable of being a spot starter.

Tray: Both are coming off injuries. Zambrano, 31, has managed to produce below-league average stats across the board in 683 career innings with a weak K/BB ratio. He is far worse than any Phillies starter and I doubt he would sign as a reliever.

I like Reitsma the better of the two, plus he's 2 years younger. But he's coming back from TJ surgery and sometimes it takes 2 years for a guy to get back to where he was. On the plus side, he has closing experience and has been an effective setup man in the past.

I guess but throwing Castro into the fire to start the season is placing a fairly high burden on him. Maybe I am underestimating Castro to a degree but it just seems rather unfair to him as a player.

I agree with whoever said that Castro lost a year of development just because they didn't want to have him taken back by the other team for not being on the 40-man. By the same token, the Phils obviously thought a lot of him if they were willing to let him be used in very limited roles last season. This points to them looking at him as a long-term solution. PG LOVES young players, and Castro's only 21. I certainly hope they get a long-term deal (5 yrs) done with him so his best years are spent as a Phil.

So, what is the DWL equivalent? AAA? AA? The Venezuelan one is the ne that Soriano wanted to play in, right?

Whatever it is, Fabio is putting up sick numbers, and obviously should move up.

June callup at the latest, and I'd give you a 40% chance that he'll break camp.

Let's hope the Angels or Cards outbid the Mets for Zito. I am alot less intimidated by a Mets team with a starting rotation of Glavine (terrible 2nd half last year), El Duque, John Maine, Oliver Perez, and whatever else the Mets cobble together.

Now this possible answer to our 8th inning problem for our Mariner-obsessed GM from Rosenthal: "Some teams view (Joel) Pineiro as a starter, others as a late-inning reliever. Pineiro, 28, held opponents to a .213 batting average and .290 on-base percentage in 15 relief appearances last season . . ."

I don't disagree the Phillies would rather start Castro back in the minors, but if he's missing bats this spring, and the alternative is nothing, they have to do what's best for the team.

To all: Is anyone else having trouble leaving comments, or being forced to use picture identification. Let me know.

It is astonishing to me that Gillick didn't try to make a move for Romero or Donnelly, two cheap bullpen arms that would help this team (and perhaps allow the flexibility to flip Lieber for other parts). These are the kind of low-risk, high-reward moves that can make all the difference down the stretch (and if they don't, you're out a million or so - chump change these days). It's really frustrating that BOROWSKI was considered but they weren't.

I've been on the fence about Gillick for a while, but his seeming inability to think just a little bit outside the box is wearing on me (i.e. Borowski is a viable setup option because of his closer mythos, never mind the bum shoulder).

Some interesting stuff in the morning papers:

The Barry Zito sweepstakes has narrowed to two teams when the Angels announced they are no longer interested in pursuing the free agent left-hander. The remaining teams are the Mets and the Rangers. The Mets are really laying on the charm in trying to lure Zito to Queens. Here is hoping that Texas grabs him.

There is a lot of speculation concerning the future of Pirate’s reliever Mike Gonzalez. NY Newsday reports that “…the Yankees have discussed a three-way trade with Pittsburgh and Atlanta, the basics of which would send Melky Cabrera to the Braves, bring Pirates closer Mike Gonzalez to the Bronx and give Atlanta first baseman Adam LaRoche to the Pirates.” It sounds like this trade has some legs. The Red Sox are interested as well, of course. Obviously, the Phillies did not have what it took to get the deal done because the Pirates aren’t looking for pitching. This leads me to ask why PG could not have been creative and struck a three-way trade with an outfielder to get Gonzalez instead of offering Lieber straight up. Outfield is one of the few areas where the Phillies have depth. Is the bullpen just not important to him? Does he think he can audition a number of people and hope they perform well enough in ST to come north?

The latest nonsense to come out of Wrigleyville…"Hendry said 'we're done looking at pitching,' but the team is looking at former Thornwood High School star Cliff Floyd's medical status while considering the free-agent outfielder." I think Hendry should be checked into a psych ward.

mav, I agree. Phils lack of interest in any reliever aside from Borowski is just bizarre, considering how few internal options we have. I'm hoping our rumored interest in Foulke (who had surprisingly good #s last year) or Dotel (is he still available? I can't recall) is legitimate, because we're really running out of options.

IP - I don't really see any outfield depth unless the Phils sign a free agent OF like Nixon - they only have 4 proven major league OFers at this point and they will need everything they can get out of Burrell, Rowand, Victorino, and Conine, considering past health issues. I would be surprised that the Yanks would give up Cabrera for Gonzalez, but if that is the only way to keep him away from the BoSox. How come know one has signed Foulke yet - is he useless?

Mav: I agree they should have signed Donnelly, but am still reserving judgment until we see how this off season ends up. There are still a couple of good FA relief arms out there and maybe trading Lieber for a 4th/5th OF or catcher upgrade will be the ultimate result.

To clarify my useless comment - I meant is it futile since Foulke said he wants to get closer to his family in Texas, i.e. Rangers or Astros, I presume.

the donnelly trade saddened me also. he is a very good player.

Evidently, the only further additions to this Phillies team are going to come through a Jon Lieber trade. Hope for the best. You'd have to think that if he had wanted any of the FA relievers or OFers, he would have moved by now on them.

('He' meaning Gillick.)

Well, at least we can put all those wild and crazy Vernon Wells rumors to rest...

Iron Pig "Outfield is one of the few areas where the Phillies have depth."

That's a joke, right?

I, like maverick & verdeforce, am a bit puzzled about Gillick's bullpen strategy. I think they are OK from the right side, but they clearly need another lefty and, ideally, one who can be a setup man.

That said, Romero has been awful for 2 straight years and has always had a shaky K/BB. Donnelly is a righty and at age 35, it's hard to know what he has left. It's not like he ever had electric stuff.

I can only guess that PG already has a deal on the table involving Lieber for bullpen help and he's just waiting to see if he can get a better offer, maybe even one that includes a part-time lefty OF. If he gets a lefty for the pen and a lefty OF to platoon in RF, then he will have filled every gap in my opinion.

I have to believe the Phils have interest in lots of relievers; they have just done a good job keeping it out of the media. The Garcia deal for instance came out of nowhere. Clout, agree about lefty reliever and lefty OF. I would also like to see a veteran catcher.

I would take Romero's 2005 over Franklin, Cormier, White, and half the assorted drek that soaked up BP innings for us this season. There's been some speculation that his 2006 performance was due, at least in part, to his participation in the WBC. Not to pimp him too hard, but I think he's as good a bet to have a "surprise" 2007 as any pitcher.

mav, Romero's 2005 was not actually that good - a 1.56 WHIP is worse than Franklin, Cormier, and White did (and I'm obviously not arguing that any of those guys was Mariano Rivera in 2006), and he was giving up more than 6 walks per 9 IP. I'm wondering if maybe he let a lot of inherited runners score or was bailed out of some tough spots, because generally peripherals that poor will get you an ERA worse than 3.47.

anyway, I still would have taken Romero for next year, but I would not have expected him to perform anywhere *near* his best years, and another season like 2006 wouldn't have been a total shock to me. I don't know that a guy with his serious control problems and spotty track record is not really a good bet to pitch well next year though.

Maverick: "I would take Romero's 2005 over Franklin, Cormier, White. . ."

Unless there was a rift in the time/space continuum, last season was 2006. Would you take his 2006 season over Cormier? How about his 2003 or 2004?

Clout - are you really this stupid, or did you take lessons?

ae, thanks for actually engaging with the substance of my post. You're right - the 3.47 ERA masked a lot of warts. Still, he HR allowed was about half that of Franklin's in 2006, which I guess only says that Franklin was really really bad.

Either way, I think most of us agree that taking a chance on low-cost bullpen arms is a better strategy than sinking millions into aged vets with creaky shoulders.

Maverick: Oh my, aren't we thin-skinned! I'm just struggling to understand your point. Romero has had one season in the past 4 that was better than Cormier's. So, your point is....?

You're boring. My point was obvious.

maverick: Really? Here's what you wrote: "I would take Romero's 2005 over Franklin, Cormier, White, and half the assorted drek that soaked up BP innings for us this season."

Now a normal English-speaking person would take that to mean you think Romero is better than those guys. After I called you out, you claimed your point was "most of us agree that taking a chance on low-cost bullpen arms is a better strategy than sinking millions into aged vets."

I certainly agree with that, but if that was your original point you never would've written what you did because White & Franklin WERE low-cost risks. Romero just signed for $1.6M.

I was simply disagreeing that Romero has been better than Cormier. You can't defend your original statement so you claimed it meant something else. No problem. But I do agree with you on one of those guys: I'd rather have Romero than Franklin.

Here is my very obvious point: a pitcher who posted a line of 3.47 ERA in 57 IP could have helped our bullpen in 2006, even with s****y peripherals, and would have been better than much of what we had. That's all I was trying to say. It is perfectly obvious that's all I was trying to say.

"I was simply disagreeing that Romero has been better than Cormier." This was not my original point - I mentioned Cormier, along with a bunch of other names, but I never definitively set the two against each other. But you like to get your rocks off yapping at people over the Internet, so you have to pretend that you valiantly forced me to back off my indefensible position. Well, hey. Anything to help a fellow Phillies fan keep their insecurities at bay.

Bad language. Personal attacks. We can all agree there's no room for it here. If you feel you're being antagonized, don't take the bait and move on.

Romero did spot some terrible numbers last year and his WHIP was pretty high in 2005 and 06. That said - Romero still has been very tough on lefties and the Phils desperately need someone to fill that role.

Just wish the tightwad Phils would be willing to spend $1.5 million and take a risk here. Worst came to worst, Romero struggles in April & May and the Phils would look for an alternative by June.

I agree with RSB that any real bullpen help at this point will come via a trade only. Almost nothing left worthwhile on the FA market and anybody the Phils pick up on waivers will be a back-end guy in the pen.

If we don't pick up any lefty bp help, I think that we may be seeing Mr. Castro in Bloodstripes. Seriously, the man is missing some bats.

Villone and Foulke are both out there. Gillick needs to go bring at least one of them into the fold. Ideally, both would be brought on-board. I doubt were are going to get two decent pieces for Lieber. Be glad if you can get one difference maker for him. Our bullpen is pretty weak in it's current state.

Happy Hanukkah!

According to pieces from Buster Olney's blog and other articles, it sounds like Alex Rios is now available.... as is maybe Josh Beckett from the Sox. Too bad the Phillies have nothing to really trade though... Can you imagine a Lieber + Madson trade for Rios? Ha.

i would have zero interest in rios. all those K's, little power, doesn't walk.

i've probably seen 10 blue jays games in 2 years though, so i'm no expert.

Wow, how the hell did JC Romero get 1.6M! He is simply terrible.

Not to restart an earlier argument, but I would not take his numbers from 2005 over any of the guys we had in the pen. Players don't bring ERAs, they bring the talent to prevent players from getting on base, and Romero simply doesn't posess this talent.

He is exactly the kind of player the Phils need to avoid.

kdon: Same thing I was saying, which caused maverick to go berserko. Romero is no bargain. ERA is a good stat in gauging starters, but sometimes unreliable on relievers. They often allow runs to score that wind up dinging the previous pitcher's ERA. As ae pointed out, outside of ERA, Romero's 2005 stats were pretty weak.

Tim: Rios' SLG jumped nicely last season suggesting more upside at age 25. He really does have power. But I agree with you, I don't want him. He's righthanded, which is not what we need, and the price would be far higher than the Phillies could afford.

Clout, your smug, know-it-all attitude was what ticked me off, not the substance of your argument. Did you see how ae and kdon made the same point without being obnoxious? How hard is that?

I've seen you do the same thing with RSB and others and its gotten to the point that your comments keep me from enjoying these threads. So I'll get my Phillies fix elsewhere.

My feelings exactly. Like the substance and respect the difference of opinion. The condescending attitude needs to go even though I think it is just the passion coming through.

I haven't checked the dialogue lately but I assume Zito's decision with the RANGERS in tow vs METS will have a major impact on the Phils chances this year which is double-sworded.

If Mets get Zito then Lieber becomes the Rangers next option and matches up well with Phils needs for relievers but strengthens the division rivals.

If Rangers get him that is good for Phils in that the METS are weaker but then probably lose more in the Lieber trade value.

On the subject of the Phillies' attempts to trade Jon Lieber, this interesting item from today's Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Joe Christensen, who was discussing the Twins' need for more starting pitching. The link for Christensen's columnn is:

http://www.startribune.com/509/story/879454.html

"Lieber Another No-Go
Don't look for the Twins to trade for Jon Lieber, either.

The Phillies aren't asking as much for the 36-year-old righthander. They want an eighth-inning specialist, which the Twins have in reserve with Juan Rincon, Jesse Crain and Pat Neshek.

But with each passing week, as the market continues to explode, the Twins are convincing themselves they'd be better off keeping their young pitching talent for themselves."

This information likely comes straight from Twins' management.

Unfortunately, I think that Gillick is almost back to square one with Lieber. Just doesn't seem that there is much interest in a 36-old starter coming off an injury-plagued season.

I can't believe that the Wells signing (7 yrs, $126 million) hasn't gotten alot more attention on this blog. Indirectly, this signing, along with Soriano (8 yrs, $136 million) will have a huge impact on the Phils in the next 1 year or so.

Utley isn't a free agent until after 2009 but I can't believe that Arn Tellum is going to sit around and let the Phils pay Utley way below market value. Maybe the market changes in the year or two but I am willing to bet that Tellum insists upon a similiar contract to Wells or Soriano (6-8 years, $100-$140).

Maverick, if you're still out there: my feelings exactly, also.

I will also say that clout's frequent obnoxious comments are what keep me from reading this blog and posting more often. not that it affects what appears to be a robust readership of this blog, but still.

To clarify, that reminder posted above was intended for all, not just Maverick, who posted above me. I have no choice but to be tough on bad language due to my obligation to Reading Eagle Company, and in general, it hurts the quality of these discussions. The antagonism was getting out of hand again, so it was time to send out a reminder at this particular time. Lately, I haven't had the time for a lot of the administrative duties, and I'm dealing with some technical issues at home, so everyone's cooperation is appreciated.

Beerleaguer's greatest trait is the integrity and understanding of its readers to maintain an active, intelligent discussion on baseball. It's your forum as much as mine. Rather than get into IP banning at this time, I'll trust you'll keep it civil.

Sorry for getting dramatic, but I do appreciate the support. Looks like I flopped at my attempt to stay away.

So. This is what addiction feels like?

Geez, I knew I shouldn't have brought it up.

It's interesting that while clout did add the uneccesary "space-time continuum" line (which I thought was a pretty funny way to express the curious selection of Romero's '05 season) he did address the point.

Romero's '05 ERA was an illusion and clout correctly pointed out that his other recent season have been bad. Before this post, I had always thought of Romero as being a servicable reliever, and thanks to clout and ae, I have changed my opinion. I chuckle at the name calling, but it shouldn't rise to the level of quitting the board!

I'll take posters with a bit of an edge over polite fools any day.

Gee, I guess I didn't realize that reaching all the way back to 2005 was a "curious" manuever, worthy of ridicule. Thanks for enlightening me.

I too learned that Romero's 2005 ERA masked some bad numbers. Whopee. I also learned that I have a limit for the number of snide, condescending remarks I can absorb. You may find it hilarious, which is great for you. But if I overreacted, it's only because I take this stuff too seriously.

Which is just another way of saying I want to be in the cool "posters with an edge" club.

clout has been an unpleasant fellow to all of us.... Back to the point of this blog:

Luckily, Toby is no longer an option - http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp
?ymd=20061217&content_id=1763109&vkey=hotstove
2006&fext=.jsp

Your post lays out your viewpoint perfectly Mav, you barely paid attention to the content of the discussion and instead got flustered by someone making a (slight) joke at your expense, immediately taking the low road of insults instead of actually engaging in the argument.

It's not that you take this "stuff" too seriously (if you did you wouldn't say 'whopee' after learning something you didn't know), you take yourself too seriously.

Rios would be a wet dream to acquire. His breakout year stats are really marred by that staph infection. 26 RH 5 tool player who could play CF or RF. The walks and K's aren't ideal but Rollins Utley Rios Howard Cole Brett would be a great young core to lock up.

Despite all the testimonials, I still think Alby is the straw that stirs the drink.

I realize some folks are more thin-skinned than others, but frankly I think Jason is right when he says what makes this site successful is "an active, intelligent discussion on baseball."

The key word for me is "intelligent." This is the only Phillies site I've found that meets that criteria.

I realize that "dumbing down" is probably inevitable as the site gains popularity. But I hope the immature kiddies and the dummies never outnumber the MGs, kdons, Albys, Jasons, ae's, Dudes, LFs, oisins (and yes, you too RSB, when you aren't letting your emotions about Burrell & Abreu get the best of you) etc. who make this site worth reading.

davthom: Have not seen a post from you in many weeks. I am curious about your thoughts on the mixed signals being sent thru the writers about whether or not the Phillies are looking for catching help (beyond a backup to stash in AAA). Allegedly they were interested in Piazza before he signed with the Padres. As you know, I was very skeptical about Coste and remain so, but the fact is, Coste and Ruiz deserve the first crack at the job based on their performances last year.

Alex Rios is talented, young, and cheap (and 4 years away from FA). He's better than Baldelli. Since Jays are looking for starting pitching, it would take Brett Myers to get him. I wouldn't do it though.

I read the article about Toby Hall signing with the ChiSox. It quotes Sox GM Ken Williams as saying "I had a great conversation with Toby to explain how we view his role, and he expressed how difficult a decision it was for him. He had a chance to go to other clubs that may have offered more playing time, but he chose the White Sox and we are a better team for it."

"His desire to play on a winning team and in his words, 'Wear a Sox jersey,' ultimately won out."

Toby Hall must be stupid. The deals the Sox have done so far indicates that they are Sellers, in the process of rebuilding, not retooling from their 2005 WS title. He would have been a good pick up for the Phils. It'll be interesting to see which team does better in 2007, the Phils or the Sox.

I am willing to bet that there weren't alot of teams beating down Hall's door. He is a marginal backup at this point in his career.

agreed - i'm over toby hall. i'd rather be in chicago than ottawa too.

i wouldn't classify the sox as sellers though. they're going into 06 with a top tier rotation, konerko, dye and thome. they'll be in the hunt all year. they just traded a guy they weren't resigning anyway.

From Buster Olney's blog:

The Phillies could be interested in catcher Toby Hall, who isn't doing himself any favors with what he's been saying over the last few months. His most recent gem came when asked about the minor league contract that his former team, the Devil Rays, had offered. "That was funny," Hall told the St. Petersburg Times. "I guess it would be a minor league contract because they're a minor league team."

Talked with two GMs who said they weren't interested in Hall partly because of his reputation for being difficult and outspoken.

The Sox moves this off-season have been hard to read. Here's a partial list.

1. Trade Freddy Garcia for Gio Gonzalez and Gavin Floyd. Weakens team for this season, helps long-term.

2. Trade Ross Gload for Andrew Sisco. May or may not help team for this year. Sisco, 23, has had one OK year and one horrible year as a reliever for the Royals. Gload is a veteran backup who had a nice year. Helps long-term.

3. Signed Toby Hall as backup catcher. Improves team for this year (he replaces Chris Widger).

4. Trade Neal Cotts to Cubs for David Aardsma and Carlos Vasquez. Looks neutral to me. That dealt a lefty reliever for a righty reliever. Cotts is the better propsect.

5. Allowed Dustin Hermanson and David Riske to become free agents. Hurts team short term. Hermanson has had injury issues but not re-signing Riske is a bit puzzling. Could still happen, but they have some bullpen holes.

I wouldn't call this rebuilding, but it's also not anything that makes up ground on the Tigers and Twins.

the only thing that surprises me about the chisox is that they haven't addressed center field yet. other than that they are ready to compete for the division, no question. there was no move they could have made that would make them the odds on favorite anyway. mathews, drew, lofton - none of those guys would have settled the argument.

I dont think there is any way to get Rios without giving up something that we dont want to give up. That being said, if we could he would be enough to make this linup the best in the NL if not the MLB without question. A lot of people would probably like to ship Brett Myers off for this guy, which I dont know if that would even do it, but I would rather not go even that far. THis team scored the most runs in the NL last year and if there is anything that the Phils can ill afford to do is get rid of our best pitcher (I think he is, at least until Cole can reproduce last year). If we can just pitch a little better this year this team will win more games. I think our lineup is already improved with Helms and the pitching is improved as well. I think the bullpen is the most presing issue. If we could get Rios for somebody that wouldt be too detriimental, then great, but he would be just icing on the cake of our offense. We will score runs, it is the giving up of the same that I am worried about.

Clout, thanks for the rundown of the Veek book, I couldnt find it at the local Borders store, so I invested in "Moneyball," which I have not read. I am going to read it and maybe see if I can get the Veek book off of Amazon.

Clout: Actually I have posted on a few threads over the past couple of weeks, but I read this board every day.

IMO, Rule 5 pickup Ryan Budde *was* the closest thing to being the "catching help" (to which Gillick was alluding)that we're going to see before the end of Spring Training, if even then. When asked about the Phillies' catching situation at the recently-concluded Orlando Winter Meetings, Gillick said that as far as he was concerned, the Phillies catching was in the hands of Ruiz and Coste "at this point." Budde would have to be classified as AAA depth, and not much else, although with Tim Gradoville and Dusty Wathan, the Phillies would seem to be covered at AAA catcher -- let along if Jaramillo has an ST picking up where his hot Arizona Instructional League performance left off, and gets made to AAA, something I don't think is likely. I think Jaramillo goes to Reading, at least for most of the year.

Adding an "established veteran catcher", as many hoped the Phillies would do this winter, proved to be a lot tougher to pull off than most people understood. The free agent catcher pickings were slim indeed, and with the Phillies' set-up and closer pitching needs being paramount to supplanting Coste/Ruiz, IMO, it would be unwise for the team to part with substantial trade value for a catcher at this stage.

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EST. 2005

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