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Monday, December 11, 2006


I liked Marte with the White Sox - the more guys with rings, the better.

Nice analogy, Jason. Again, I'll say that the Phils best move this off-season, may have been many of the non-moves (Burrell included? - stay tuned). If you look not only at the Mets very quiet hot stove season, so far, but at the Phils main WC competition last year, it is difficult to agree with Kurkjian's assertation that the Phillies haven't had a productive off-season. Saint Louis may actually be envious of their same-state counterpart's pitching staff for once. I'd find it hard to find someone who could argue that Houston is in better shape than they were last season. San Francisco is married to that single day that Bonds breaks the HR record, before they can really think about a full-scale upgrade, also.

I'm not naive to think that all of these teams will be substancially worse next season, but after looking at what should have been a WC team, considering record, winning the World Series, "Stand" Pat Gillick may have the correct mindset here.

The Phils will do good to let the price drive up this week then flip Lieber for a RP or 2 and/or another player possibly an OF. They can deal from a position of strength. As for catcher the team is fine they just need another backup. Whoever catches will likely bat 8th anyway. Ruiz/Coste are good game callers with strong defense and strong arms. If they are average at offense (Coste was above average in 2006) then they will be fine. Jaramillo will likely be in AAA next year and maybe a legitimate prospect.

great article. "floatation device" lol!

it's pretty obvious that pittsburgh would just trade lieber at the deadline anyway, so i don't know why they're bothering.

There's a vague framework for a multi-team NL deal here, just in the teams and players discussed in this post. Pieces and teams include:

Atlanta: LaRoche
Pittstburgh: Gonzalez, Marte
Philadelphia: Lieber, Madson
Washington: Church
Milwaukee: Mench, Turnbow

Multi-team trades make sense when dealing with bottom feeders like Washington and Pittsburgh. Any thoughts on how the Phillies could help themselves?

"Ruiz/Coste are good game callers with strong defense and strong arms."

Based on what? I'd love to believe this is true, but neither have caught a full season of ML ball yet.

Gillick would be insane to trade Lieber before Zito signs anywhere. Lieber's value can only go up, especially based on his contract. If Gil Meche/Ted Lilly can get 11M then as you get closer to Spring training you should be able to get exponentially more for Lieber. Quite frankly, to trade Lieber for Marte would be idiotic.

Pittsburgh should be seeking prospects anyway, not LaRoche and Lieber. Michael Bourn would make sense for Pittsburgh. Jarrod Saltamacchia would make sense for Pittsburgh.

But for Marte, a right-handed reliever, and one of their catchers would not be so dumb - I see they even have a C. Maldonado as one of their catchers - that would bring back visions of the Candyman's days in So. Cal.

Maldonado was released recently. Their catchers can't play.

I agree that it may be best to wait until Zito signs and desperation sets in.

We have a seasoned veteran, reliable arm in Lieber, who is cheap. Starting pitching is tough to come by, especially effective starting pitching. Lieber, donut addiction aside, still gives you a ton of quality innings.

What did we give up for a one year rental of Garcia? A top-flight prospect and a former number 1 headcase draft pick?

We should be able to deal Lieber out for grade A prospects, easily.

A guy on another board claims that the Phils have asked Pittsburgh for Marte and Salomon Torres for Lieber. I can't ever really get excited about trading for relievers, but IMO this would represent decent value.

I wish the Phils would sign Huff, pledge him the everyday RF job, move Victorino to CF, and look to move Rowand. Given the insane deals made with inferior CFs this winter, I have to believe Rowand at least could net us a good prospect or two, plus maybe a useful spare part for now, and on the current Phils roster he's both extraneous (since Vic can do the same things, and is younger and cheaper) and something of an obstacle (we can't bring in a guy like Huff because there aren't enough ABs for him right now).

The Garcia deal indicates that the Phils are going for it all in '07 anyway; why not keep rolling the dice?

To give some indication how little Marte is commanding on the open market, from the New York Post:

The Pirates and Yankees have talked about swapping left-hander Damaso Marte and outfielder Kevin Thompson.

The acquisition of Marte would end Ron Villone's stint in New York. The Pirates, though, should be able to do better than Thompson, a 27-year-old fourth or fifth outfielder. They already have decent backups in Nate McLouth and Jody Gerut.

Couldn't agree more dajafi. Why can't we promise Huff the everyday RF spot, and occasionaly filling in for Helms at 3rd?

I disagree with trading Rowand at this point however, unless we get a really good package. Considering Burrell's injury concerns, Rowand's agressive play and the age of Conine, we need a quality 4th outfielder to be a defensive replacement, PH and sub for Burrell once a week. Vic is a solid CF, but he is absolutely fantastic as a 4th OF.

If the 5 OF on opening day were Burrell, Vic, Conine, Huff, and Roberson/Bourn, any injury would be devastating.

Agreed that waiting to trade Lieber most likely will yield optimal results, but let's keep in mind that this is an out-of-shape guy in his late 30s, coming off a miserable season. Noboay's going to give up any 'grade-A' prospects for him, no matter what. If the Phillies can actually get two decent relievers for him, they ought to just jump on it before those relievers are offered elsewhere.

As for Burrell - perception of him may have changed because the "market" has changed, but I don't quite understand why this is the case. If Burrell hadn't had a monster game in the last series against Florida, he would have finished with 27 HRs and 90 RBI. 29 and 95 seem just a little more lustrous, a little closer to that magical 30/100 plateau. My opinion on Burrell is that if he plays 150 games and hits homeruns in 30 of them - that's 120 games in which he's contributing next to nothing. Think about it. He's got no other assets as an offensive player. Love those walks? Yep, nothing more valuable than clogging up the bases with the bottom of the order coming up. Truly dangerous hitters like Howard, guys who make adjustments and moreover have such a presence that they force teams to base their entire game plan around him regardless of how he performs in a given at-bat, don't necessarily have to be hitting bombs in order to make an impact. Guys like Burrell do. That's why his power stats have never swayed me into believing he's a good player. If he was able to contribute something when he *wasn't* uppercutting balls into the flower beds - if he provided a formidable defensive asset, quality baserunning, aggressiveness, energy, situational hitting - it'd be one thing. Burrell definitively proves, at least to me, that statistics, at least the ones most commonly and selectively used as a gauge of worthiness, are not always the bottom line in baseball.

Having said *that* - I do realize that since it appears the Phillies have absolutely no replacement in mind for him, that it would be somewhat spiteful to just dump him for Ricardo Rodriguez at this point. But I could not claim that I'm glad to see him coming back.

Lastly, I thought I'd mention that I actually had a dream last night that the Phillies had signed Charlie O'Brien to be their third catcher. I don't know what that means, either, and I'm not sure I want to.

I did a piece today about the remaining free agents and came up with what I think are 4 solid additions- Robert Fick (3rd catcher, 1B, corner OF, and a lefty). Bernie Williams- can switch hit and be 4th/5th outfielder. Darren Oliver- good against lefties, can be a long reliever, or even spot starter. David Riske- still has nice stuff. These are just players as I see as good fits. Sure Nixon and Huff are out there, but they want to start, not something the Phils can offer.

I agree with the above posters.

Sign Huff with the intention of playing 5 games a week in Right and one at third.

That leaves 2 games for Shane in right, one in center and 2 in left.

Nun can focus on starting SS/2B and late D at 3rd.

Conine basically becomes a pinch hitter and spells 1B. Bourn can go to AAA and develope for a half season.

Lieber for Arms and we are set.

Probably can't start Huff and Burrell in the same outfield more than once a week, so it could be tricky.

I have liked riske all along but I'm not crazy about Oliver. Last year was an aberration He has a lifetime 4.98 ERA with a 1.52 WHIP. No reason to think he wouldn't revert to form..I'd rather do Benoit/Feldman for Lieber than ANY Pirate guys not named Grabow and Gonzalez

Huff is a dog who keeps getting worse every year. Sign him? Maybe, Promise him the starting job? Never.

Schu: I have never been a fan of Pat the Bat, but I don't think you can say if he hits 30 hrs he does nothing in the other 120 games, although maybe you are guilty of hyperbole.

I didn't say 'nothing'. I said 'next to nothing', which is only slight hyperbole if that. You tell me what he brings to the team when he's not guessing right and one-handing them out of the yard.

Agreed about sitting on lieber. His Value can only go up. Don't want anything to do with the pirates unless it was Lieber and Helms for Gonzalez, simply because we could say "here's our infield for the next five years, good thing we got that settled finally."

But since that won't happen, to hell with dealing with pittsburgh. What will the twins give us?

"but let's keep in mind that this is an out-of-shape guy in his late 30s, coming off a miserable season."

I'm not necessarily disagreeing here, however, maybe my work ethic is different, but if I'm in the same point in my career that Lieber is, I'm on the Roger Clemens off-season workout program this year (minus the "vitamin S" depending on who you believe). Who's to say that he doesn't show up to Spring Training down 25 lbs. and in good shape? Again, I'm not saying he will, but self-control would be a good thing for him at this point.

Conditioning aside, I don't think we need to move Lieber just because we have 6 pitchers who have historically been starters at the MLB level. Let's face it, this staff isn't exactly known for their durability (due to past injury concerns and/or age) and having Madson in that emergency starter role isn't very comforting, especially since he needs to "know his role." Spring Training could determine a lot and moves can always be made as needs change. If Lieber has to go, I think we need a Darren Oliver-type (not necessarily him, though) who can step in and start when need be.

I have read that the Cubs may be forced to trade for a CF.. Brady Clark and Rowand were mentioned.. Makes SOME sense since Jacque Jones doesnt seem to be in their 2007 plans(he may have asked to be traded) and Murton is in left and Soriano will play RF. They were outbid for Lofton by Texas. So, how about Rowand for Howry- plus a catching prospect? Then Lieber can be traded for a big bat ?

Adding an outfielder with prove power (like Huff) will give us a lot of flexibility. Using Shane as a 4th outfielder makes all the sense in the world.

Here is a hypothetical week if we add an outfielder.


I guess I just don’t see the harm in offering Huff a full time gig. Nunez spot starts up the middle and Bourn or Robertson are late inning defensive replacements, sending whichever will benefit more down to AAA. Seems like enough Abs to go around for me. Please poke holes in my logic (as I am sure there are many).

Sorry for formatting - hard to do...

That whole 1-8 thing makes no sense CY...

Also for CY:
"Nun can focus on starting SS/2B and late D at 3rd."

So you'd start Nunez at SS over J-Roll and at 2B over Utley?

Why don't we just trade Nunez to a team desperate for a third baseman? He won't serve us much purpose.

i'd take howry in a heartbeat, if the cubs are foolish enough to deal him. he's one of the best setup guys in the majors, isn't he?

Can clout or someone else tell me what they know of cub C prospect Geovany Soto? He'd be a nice part of that pkg for Rowan... or maybe ask for Howry and Eyre.

gr.. the cubs have been acting QUITE foolish recently :)

Im sure CY wasnt saying the Nunez should start over Rollins and Utley. Don't be foolish.

He might just be used to spell JR/CA if they either ask for a game off or get injured. Speaks to his value, really.

But I don't think Manuel has any other plan for him but to be the defensive 3b.

HOT STOVE UPDATE: Darren Oliver signed with the Angels today. He gets a 1-yr, $3.5 mil contract.

Ace -

The 1-8 is the batting order for a typical week. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that. And no where in that batting order did you see AN (Abraham Nunez). Obviously he would just be a spot start, which is his role right now anyway. Who else is going to spell J Roll and Utley?

The main argument I was trying to make is that using Victorino to give relief to Burrell, Rowand, and a 3rd outfileder, possibly Huff, would make a lot of sense, and I obviously was not the first to suggest so. And that giving Huff a full time gig is not out of the question. I just wanted to give an example of what our lineup would look like facing 5 Right handers and 2 lefties in a hypothetical week of play.

I don't think the lineup looked bad at all, but that is up for debate.

Damn, that's *dirt cheap* for Oliver.

joe.. Oliver is 36, he had a career ERA over 5 before last yr which will now inflate by crossing leagues,and wasnt in majors at ALL in 2005. This is a pig in a poke for the Angels-- not a cheap sign

Oliver is one of the worst players in MLB.

verdeforce: Marte is a lefthanded reliever.

Oliver will be like the new guy in prison when he gets to the AL -- hit hard and often.

When it comes to Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu, RSB can always be counted on to make irrational, emotional statements that have no factual basis. I thought we were going to get a reprise of his "an out is better than a walk" lecture from last summer.

Despite your emotional feelings, RSB, numbers are numbers. Burrell's numbers, last season and over his career, (and the most important number on offense is OPS) speak for themselves. But you are entitled to your fantasies.

kdon, once again I agree with you. I'm not a huge fan of Huff but we definitely need a LH bat to add to the OF mix. I like the idea of using him in RF against tough RHPs. We can play mix and match between CF and RF with Victorino and Rowand and have one of them sit for Conine vs. LHP.

clout.. i think verdeforce was proposing a deal with Marte AND a right handed reliever (and catcher)for Lieber

Clout, if numbers are so important to you I think from here on our you need to post in binary. Otherwise, you're just selling out.

maverick: Funny comment from a guy who cited stats to me, um, just yesterday!

rob: I can't find Soto on any prospect list, but his offensive stats look decent, although he doesn't have a lick of power. The fact the Cubs had him up a couple times last season makes me think his defense must be passable at least. My guess is that the Cubs are grooming him to be a backup catcher.

01! 01101010101

Actually, I think there was a Star Trek episode about people who spoke in binary.

Actually, I'm a huge dork.

I actually agree with RSB about Burrell's OBP going to waste when the bottom of the order comes up (at least, that's what I assume he meant by "clogging up the bases"). which is why I would assume that RSB would second my & others' suggestion to hit Burrell third ahead of Howard and watch him and his "empty" .380-.390 OBP score loads of runs.

Jerry Crasnick at ESPN notes that the Jays have two giant gaping holes to fill in their rotation and would like to do that without surrending Wells. Since their bullpen is atrocious (outside of League and Ryan, they reall have nothing) that means trading prospects.

I'd kick the tires on this guy:

I mentioned it previously, and I dont think it is even on the radar or even under any consideration, but it seems to me like Valverde and Julio are redundant in Arizona. I dont think that there would be any way to do this, even if it was an option. Arizona does need a power bat at corner outfield (THat would mean Burrell), but I dont know if I would give up Burrell for anything less than Brandon Lyons and either Julio or Valverde. (If I would even do it then). They have three centerfielders, so no need for Rowand or Vic. Lieber would not be an option there, they are set in the rotation and it seems their starters have a general aversion to doughnuts. (although Julio looks like he knows a thing or two about them). Maybe we could just trade them Kurt Schilling. (Wait flashback, oh the Horror, the Horror!)

clout - Marte is not a catcher either - the suggestion in the above post is that we could get 2 relievers and a catcher for Lieber from the Pirates as rob correctly opined. I only included C. Maldonado as said prospect, because it was fun watching his rotund namesake hit back in the day. By the way Maverick, my wife thinks we are all huge dorks for blogging about baseball in the winter.

If you hold onto Lieber for a while his value will certainly go up. But the problem you face when you do that is the lack of remaining trade partners (people who are willing to give up what you are seeking, in this case relievers). The teams with the pieces you want might very well have already made their deals and traded those pieces to other teams.
You are then left with a player with value but no good matches in the trade market. So unless you plan on re-signing him, you end up trading him for prospects or spare parts that may or may not help you very much.
If what you need is out there now, then get it now. The grass is always greener...

I had suggested Burrell batting third in an earlier comment. His OBP gives Howard more RBI opportunities, it breaks up the lineup with LH/RH/LH, and also gives Burrell 'protection' (good pitches to hit..if he feels like swinging). Burrell would also have some good RBI opportunities of his own with Rollins/Utley in front of him.
If the Phillies keep Rowand, then simply sign a guy like Trot Nixon and leave the OF alone. I have to laugh when anyone says that mediocre players like Huff are 'demanding' a starting job. Aubrey, if you're that good, how could your old team afford to let you go?? Of course, there are GMs out there that will take him seriously. I hope PG is not one of them.

As for relievers, the Phillies need to add a couple of decent arms in the pen. But I'm not real clear on what the special qualifications are for a 'setup' man, and how does a pitcher become one? Why are the Phillies looking for one? Why can't Geary do that job? And if the team has decided that Madson should permanently remain in the bullpen (a wise move, I think), then shouldn't they be trying to groom him as Gordon's replacement as closer? That's where his real value would be if he has anything at all to offer longer term. If he doesn't have the stuff to close, what's his future with this team?

verdeforce: Sorry, I read "But for Marte, a right-handed reliever, and one of their catchers would not be so dumb" as common English usage.

Oliver got $3.5 million from the Angels? That is an awful signing.

It is amazing how Lieber's value has been kind of inflated on this blog since the Phils acquired Garcia. If Lieber gets the Phils a solid young arm for the bullpen, I am satisifed with that trade.

I just don't see you a guy coming off a terrible year and with injury/conditioning issues gets you a bullpen arm and a prospect.

Will the ill-informed statements about Pat Burrell never end? Among the "next to nothing" stats Burrell brought to the table were 51 runs scored other than his home runs, so his "clogging the bases" couldn't have been as big a problem as some people make it out to be. Really, the argument some of you are insisting on amounts to, "Stats don't mean that much because I've decided that Pat Burrell sucks, and the stats refuse to back me up." So rather than amend your indefensible position, you just decide the facts are the problem. ROFL.

"verdeforce: Sorry, I read "But for Marte, a right-handed reliever, and one of their catchers would not be so dumb" as common English usage."

I love grammar! :-) That definitely makes me more of a dork than blogging about baseball during winter or discussing uses of binary on Star Trek TNG.

Correct usage would have been: "But for Marte, a right-handed reliever and one of their catchers would not be so dumb."

When the comma closed the "a right-handed reliever" it became a clause that described "Marte".


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