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Friday, December 08, 2006


am I the 1st comment? I haven't been that for a while. I have nothing important to say though...sorry.

The more I look at it, the more it looks like BS on the Rangers' part in pulling Simon out of the Dominican to scare teams from taking a flyer on him. It seems the Phillies have a good beat on his situation.

I always enjoy reading Arbuckle's comments on prospects because he seems honest and direct. This is why I wasn't too thrilled with the prospects they got in the Abreu deal, all except Smith. You could tell Arbuckle was excited by him, and indeed he looks like a keeper. As for the other guys, and the other players netted in the deadline trades, they're longshots, and you can always tell by what Arbuckle has to say.

Arbuckle gets a bad rap in this town. If the Phillies were to make noise this season, he'll be a GM somewhere in 2008.

Do we have any idea as to which, if any, of these guys are actually projected to make the 25 man roster, as opposed to needing to do a bunch more work to keep them? Just curious as to how this may impact the opening day roster (i.e. someone like Bourn starts in AAA due to losing a spot to one of these guys).

you have to wonder about a 26 year old playing at A ball. does hall have a nephew on the team as well? it seems like arbuckle has made some progress in rehabbing the farm system over the past few years, but there's still a way to go. one question though: did gillick bring in any of his own scouts or are all the same people still in place? the rule 5 picks the past two seasons seem a little moe thought out or promising. if he didn't bring his own guys in, maybe the org has always been ok at scouting, but had a GM who didn't listen to them so much. the farm system is by far the biggest problem with the organization. if gavin floyd improves this year...i dont' even want to think about how to finish that sentence.

I hope Bourn does gets some AAA time...I think a full or half season in Ottawa would be more helpful than intermittent pinch-hitting and defensive replacement opportunities with the major league club.

A lot depends on how many pitchers they want to keep. Even if they add another veteran arm via free agency or trade - and I susepct they will - there's still an open spot for one of these guys if they go with 11 pitchers. If 12, the chances increase.

I kind of suspect they'll have three catchers on the 25-man when they break Clearwater, in addition to a left-handed outfielder like Huff or Church. They're looking at Ben Davis, and I don't think that's a bad idea considering the quality of arms they now have in the rotation. You need some more experience back there.

I'm kind of settling on the idea of putting Bourn in AAA to start the season, regardless of whether they go with 11 or 12 pitchers. This is how I see the Phillies lining up next season, as in, what I think they'll do:


Veteran catcher
Left-handed hitting outfielder via trade/FA


FA reliever or trade
Spring training winner/long man possibility

Roberson makes it because they need speed and defense off the bench, especially now with Burrell/Helms, and Roberson is no longer being groomed for anything. Coste makes it as emergency catcher, and because he showed he can hit in the clutch.

If they can add some more bullpen, and a lefty bat outfielder, this is a balanced team.

The ages worry slightly, but I like the potential both acquistions represent. here's what I'd be curious about - I'm guessing Arbuckle will have recognised that work is to be done for both players to give it their best shot come spring training. I'm presuming that he's in contact with them sharpish, telling them what the phillies are looking for out of them come ST time, right? Or does he just leave it until they show up to camp?

I've been down on arbuckle in the past because it frustrated me that we never seemed to have the pieces on the farm which filled in the gaps when we needed them. Last year jason was big on some of the minor -league acquisitions for how they'd help teams in the minors get along, and we did end up with one team making the post-season. Plus we seemed more prepared to bring folk up from the minors last year (or that may just have been desperation after a-gon et al were busts).

Jason we always ask you these questions, but GR raises a good point - can you see evidence for a shift in the relationship between arbuckle/minor leagues and the GM now that gillick has been in charge for a year?

I can't see any of these guys ever playing a day in the majors. Warden's season last year was unbelievable, both because of how good he was and how unlikely it was - prior to '06, he may have been one of the worst players in all of baseball: a 26yo in A ball with a 1.48 WHIP.

I'll defer to the scouts on this one, if somebody has seen him and he has significantly altered his delivery, then he could stick, but are we willing to give him a roster spot, since Cleveland would want him back?

i think rowand and victorino would be switched or should be, if victorino learns to steal bases. i realize he could steal at the bottom at the order and have the pitcher bunting him over to third instead of second, but i am really down on rowand at the plate. rowand and vicotrino in the same OF is not so good. why do we have no good corner OFs in the system?

I like the team you have put together too Jason, but they would be crazy to bat Helms ahead of Burrell.

However, I think they should go with 12 pitchers out of the gate to avoid Manuel taxing Gordon/Geary/Madson early on, especially since the starters won't be stretched out.

The way to do this is by adding a player like Huff or Nixon to platoon with Conine. That way, Vic becomes you 4th outfielder and provides the speed/defense. This makes Roberson expendable. To wit:


3rd Catcher



Gillick is all about scouting, maybe more than any GM in baseball other than Schuerholz. I'm not on the inside, but I suspect Gillick is better in tune with player development than Wade, and a better communicator. Gillick has been all over the place since coming here and even scouted players personally. He didn't bring in many new guys - Welke is probably the highest ranking new guy. Arbuckle is highly thought of in baseball circles, but not in Philadelphia because of the team's history with pitching. It's unfair. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are bone dry farm systems. But I see progress starting to occur in the minors since Gillick came aboard.

Kdon: That's not necessarily my lineup, but the one the Phillies will predictably go with. I think Manuel will hit Burrell sixth because that's where he had him at the end of last season. I also believe Manuel likes having Roberson off the bench to run and replace Burrell for defense. And as much as Manuel likes veterans, he likes Victorino more, so I can't see Conine ahead of him on the depth charts.

GR: I don't like Rowand hitting second, either. Come to think of it, I don't like him anywhere in the lineup. But I suspect the Phillies will give it another try with Rowand batting second.

Write this down: Manuel will not hit Utley behind Howard, laying the foundation for next season's sports radio piss party about the manager.

That makes sense to me - Wade was an exec first, and you get the sense that to him, the farm system was only there to develop prospects that were drafted, rather than being a healthy farm system. And as I mentioned in the previous thread he always seemed to value prospects to little unless they had come via drafts - so duckworth was untouchable, but a guy like elizardo was not.

You could argue that both are the same, but I think that if a farm system's teams are run well, you should get more rounded players who are used to playing in a team at any level, rather than knowing their success depends entirely on whether the make the majors or not. If that makes sense.

Someone mentioned Mike Arbuckle gets a bad rap in this town. 14 years of being scouting director/assistant GM and not making the playoffs will do that to you. For the last 5 years, he was Ed Wade's advisor on trades. It'e evident Ed Wade didn't make good trades. Every year the Phils dig up these old veteran relief pitchers becasue no one ever thought of a novel idea of drafting relief pitchers. Show me October baseball, and I talk differently. Not enough prospects and not enough depth to trade from when Arbuckle was running the minors. Arbuckle is too slow in doing things and way too old school conservative. Once I heard Ed Wade talk about a 10-year plan. The 10-year plan was up 3 years ago. Arbuckle still usues phrases that Ed Wade used, like "getting to the finish line", "trying", "that's our goal", and my favorite, "he has a high-ceiling", whatever that means. There's a reason Arbuckle isn't a GM elsewhere, and it's his track record. The best thing the Phillies and Mike Arbuckle can do about winning and proving they want to is not to talk about it, but do it.

take this w/a grain of salt, but the KC Star (via MLB Trade Rumors) reports that Octavio Dotel will sign with the Royals on a one year/$5M contract with potential for $7M with incentives (turning down an offer from the Red Sox).

if that's true - where was Gillick on this? that's a great contract for a guy with Dotel's upside...maybe we couldn't have promised him the closer role, but still - Kansas City?

I really liked Jason's lineup, but I think kdon improved on it until I saw Brito in the bullpen. Gillick gets a grade of D for not getting us a decent bullpen if Brito heads north this spring with the club. In fact, I think one of Gillick's goals should be to trade Brito to someone else.

On Baseball Primer, they released ML projections for all of the Rule 5 selection:

Warden and Simon had the two worst ERAs of all the pitchers and Budde was BY FAR the worst hitter, projected to hit around .186 in the majors.

Best be some damn good scouts.

What bothered me is the Phillies didn't take a flyer on Josh Phelps, a lefty-masher who can also play catcher in a pinch. He was drafted after the Phillies 1st round selection by the Yankees. He would have been a nice PH with power and solved the 3rd catcher problem.

I agree that Arbuckle gets a bad rap. Howard, Utley, Myers, Hamels, and Rollins are the foundation of this team and are all home grown All Star capable players. Burrell has been an good player too. When 3/4 of you infield are All Stars that you drafted you're doing something right.

Compare that with the Mets. Out of that entire team only Reyes and Wright fit that description (home grown All Star caliber).

kdon, Arbuckle said they realize their numbers aren't that impressive but they took a chance on them based on their physical talent alone. Simon has been hitting 98 this winter and Warden hits 93 from the side. I'll try to find the quote I read this morning.

On Dotel, Kansas City seems to be luring some of the players being pursued by better clubs (Gil Meche is one example). They probably can offer more guaranteed playing time than clubs that are trying to tweak their clubs with role players.

A "slashing outfielder"? What does that mean? I've heard of a slashing small forward, but an outfielder?

That sucks, I wanted Dotel. I guess they think a trade for Lieber will get them their BP help.

Who are these guys with Texas that I'm hearing about, do we really have to trade with Texas again?

KC is a great option for Dotel. He gets to close, prove he's healthy, and drive up his value before re-entering FA next year. Plus I imagine I'd a bit less stressful than some other markets.

$7Mill is way too much for Dotel, even in this inflated market.

Rule 5 guys are bonuses to me, so I'm not worried about if any make the majors or if we keep all of them. I'm also expecting one of them to get floated in deals with Lieber to sweeten the pot a bit.

"As for Lieber, Arbuckle said the team has already been contacted by several suitors. The Rangers, Pirates and Brewers are teams that might have interest. Texas is believed to be dangling some combination of Scott Feldman, Ron Mahay and Joaquin Benoit."

Anyone know anything about these guys? i never heard of any of them?!?!?

Sounds to me like someone in the MLB offices had a talking to with David Glass and told him that he needs to spend some of that $$ that comes his way via revenue sharing. Typical smoke and mirrors from the Royals, they need to sell some tix and generate some buzz. Dotel at that price would have fit that setup/potential-closer-if-Gordon-gets-hurt role that everyone seems to agree that we need. I agree that 'pen relief, in general, shouldn't necessarily be handled via Free Agency, but that set-up role is a little different than "innings-eater" and "mop-up time" roles.

Feldman (23 yo) is apparently another tall sidearm reliever. had TJ surgery immediately after he was drafted in 2003. he has a good sinker and throws a lot of strikes. scouting reports seem to be pretty positive for middle relief/setup duties. he had a pretty good season for the major league team this year - 41 IP, 3.92 ERA, 1.26 WHIP.

Mahay (34 yo) is a journeyman lefty reliever. he had a decent year - 57 IP, 3.95 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, averaged close to a strikeout per inning.

Benoit (28 yo) was converted to a full-time reliever sometime this year or last after several poor seasons starting. he's got a great strikeout rate (85 SO in 79 IP this year), and apparently has a good fastball and slider and does well against lefties. reports seem to indicate that he has control problems, though. his 2006 was also decent - 79 IP, 4.86 ERA, 1.33 WHIP.

tony- that's what arbuckle has improved or what has improved under him. they've gotten good return on the high draft picks, by and large. its the player development and fringe talent ID that still seems pretty lacking, at least compared with most other systems. its as if they can draft one major player a year and that's about it. my outsider's opinion is, it seems the farm system is still too loaded instructors and coaches that are simply there because they are part of the family. mike schmidt as a manager for example. a one-year disaster. bill dancy, a career guy who was given the third base coaching job basically because of that. dallas green -- ugh. these aren't anomolies, they're par for the course. you get the feeling sometiems that some guys are working no-show tony soprano jobs. whatever gillck can do or has done as a GM in improve the org's handling and batering for talent, the org really does need a change agent at the top to cleanse the system of all its entrenched mediocre parts.

i like the idea of moving lieber to pitt for relievers.

None of the Phils Rule 5 picks will go north with the team. Still worth picking though because their original teams may refuse the return. But none of these guys is close to Castro.

I'm sorry to bring this up again but I was just reading the comments on Wade and Abreu from the last Post. I know clout is going to go crazy and start bashing printers with baseball bats. I can already hear Oisin plugging away at a typewriter, coming up with the script about unabashed obsession with Bobby Abreu. However, here it goes.

I am not going to say that Wade was a complete idiot, flailing away with pens and checkbooks, signing only players who were on their last leg. I am only going to comment on something that I just realized. Maybe I'm wrong, but was it not Wade who traded Eaton to SD for Andy Ashby? This seems to be highly relevant because it is indicative of an extreme lack of insight. You had a young promising pitcher and you trade him for a proven but washed up starter. I'm not saying that Eaton blazed any trails in SD but he combined for one heck of a one two punch with Peavy there for a while. THis despite the fact that the Pads were a bad offensive team. I'm not saying that Gillick is Darwins prized species in his ability to adapt to the situation in front of him, but this offseason has been unlike I can remember in the past. (I know THome and Wagner were exciting, but they were stand fillers. I dont think either of them ever had the capability of making this team a champion. Never in the prime of his carreer did Thome ever command the respect that Howard got last year in only his second year, and Wagner is a perennial choker.

Abreu, ah, Bobby Abreu. I think we did the best we could with the deal for Abreu. He was clearly on the decline. I dont care what he did for the yankees after he left Philly. He was never and will never be a guy that can carry any team. He has a shot if he is playing on a team that only needs him to be a producer. For years he was the adopted star of Philly. I was one to get on the boat back then, but before long it was obvious that this team was going nowhere as long as Abreu was the man. I also believe he had some off field problems, that are not in the public that go even more to the reason that the trade looked so bad. Basically we dumped Abreu to get rid of his salary. His value to us was not near as much as to the yankees. We could do as good or better on defense at that position and his RBI's and HR's are no longer there. He can take a pitch and slap a double, but the Bobby Abreu HR/RBI producer is gone. He will continue to wither away and all the Yankees fans will be wondering why they dont have Sheffield anymore. Abreu was not the only source of the Phils problems, but now he is not a problem at all.

If "protection" is such a big thing, why don't we bat Burrell in front of Howard? That way Burrell gets to see 'hittable" pitches in the strike zone. As for speed, so what? Howard follows Burell, and hopefully drives him around the bases. This is also a good RH/LH break in the lineup.


Put Burrell in a demanding spot in the lineup to start the year and see how he responds. If he folds up, then dump him for a burger and fries somewhere. But give him that chance. I think he'll respond, and I'm NOT a Pat Burrell fan normally.

You could also put Utley Burrell Howard as 3-4-5 hitters, with Rowand or Ruiz batting second.

George S - because hitting Burrell third would make way, way too much sense.

(I will concede that it would probably lead to a lot of double plays, but when Jim Rice grounded into 36 DPs, he still drove in 122 runs - more than anyone who wasn't hitting behind Jim Rice that year.)

This rotation- Myers, Hamels, Garcia, Moyer, and Eaton


This lineup-


will pitch plenty of good games and score plenty of runs to give the team a legit shot at contending. now the bullpen is what needs addressed.

Any basis to the rumor that the Phils might be interested in Aubrey Huff? Not sure where I heard this one, I was wondering if anyone definitively saw that somewhere. I think he'd be perfect in the Dellucci role as a LH bat off the bench, as well as to spell Rowand or Helms against tough righties.

Can't really complain about the Rule 5 picks, more or less a shot in the dark anyway. A guy throwing 98 mph has a high upside, compared to the low risk of losing $25,000.

A guy I like who I believe hasn't been picked up yet is Dustin Hermanson. He had a very good year closing for Chicago in 2005 for most of the year.

Pat the Bat has had a mighty fine offseason when it comes to the Beerleraguer comment section. He goes from losing his job in a Wild Card race to hitting third for next year's team!

Isn't the rule 5 posting fee $50,000 per player now? I keep seeing $25,000. Maybe this was something that changed in the new CBA.

Huff isn't going to sign anywhere unless he starts. offering him 250 AB isn't going to get it done.

that said, I fully support signing him as our starting RF and trading Rowand.

Besides DPs and being unable to score from second on a single, one of the other problems with batting Burrell high in the lineup (eg 3rd) is that he is often replaced defensively or for a pinch runner in 7th or 8th inning. I don't want Chris Roberson up in a critical 9th inning spot with 2 outs and Howard on deck.

Jayson Stark said Huff's numbers over the last 5 years are much better than DL Drew's. If so how come I haven't heard about him getting a huge deal like Drew or Matthews Jr.? His lefty/righty split over his career is pretty decent .276/.288. And he can play 4 positions. What's not to like about this guy?

Plus we would lead the league in cool first names. Chase, Aubrey, Fabio, Cole, etc...

That's because the memories of yesterday's ABs are replaced by hopes and dreams for the new season.

Parker, even as I am loath to jump to Ed Wade's defense, your hindsight is purely 20/20 on the trades you mentioned. I don't think you would have found a person in the tri-state area who wasn't totally supportive and excited about the acquisitions of Ashby, Thome, or Wagner. At the time of the Ashby trade, the Phillies hadn't even attempted to acquire a front-line starting pitcher since...since who, even? John Denny? Dick Ruthven? The Phillies were crying out for a bold move of that nature. No one could have predicted how terribly that deal would backfire.

I can't bring myself to defend Arbuckle, however; I stand in agreement with the comments made by Walter and gr. There is no more depth to this system than there was the day he took over in 1993. It's the one constant in this organization, the one thing that stays the same no matter who the GM, advisors, manager, or personnel is. Yes, they've been able to groom some front-line players - and lo and behold, they even came up with a couple of pitchers. That an a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee will get you a string of 85-win seasons. Depth is the hallmark of success, not a few pedigrees. Without a stockpile of talent, your team is going to suffer when inevitably there are injuries, and there is no one adequate to step in. Year after year after year this is the case. Paul Abbott? Adam Bernero? Brian Powell? Danny Sandoval? Excuse me - *my ass*. That's a joke.

A lack of depth, obviously, will also hamstring the team from being able to acquire players from other organizations to fulfill the needs of its major-league roster. In the Phillies' case, and in fact to their credit, they have been willing to trade the very few commodities in their minor-league system in order to help the parent club get to the top. While that approach is in many ways admirable and counter to the typically conservative approach the Phillies took prior to '03, it has completely decimated the farm system. There is nothing left down there at all. That's scary, folks. No wonder they've got their hands all over that Rule 5. So, if it's not Arbuckle, then something or someone responsible for the overseeing of player personnel is doing something wrong. Rome might not have been built in a day, but after fourteen frickin' years, you'd think they had a few columns up at least.

Clay Davenport pretty much tore apart all three Phillies Rule 5 selections.

Alfredo Simon: Whatever this guy throws, opponents hit it. Hard. And often. There is nothing here to make me believe he can be a useful major leaguer.

Jim Ed Warden: Already 27, sidearm conversion has at least gotten his translated walks below six. Woo-hoo.

Ryan Budde: Like Adam Donachie, except for the part about being good defensively. For those who refer to the last man taken in a draft as Mr. Irrelevant, I couldn't agree more.

That's a job I want. Getting paid to take cracks at Rule 5 picks. Based on what? Nothing. Running numbers from Class-A Kinston? Ryan Budde? Stop. They took him because they need a Triple-A catcher and nobody wants to play in Ottawa, not because he's the next Joe Mauer.

Baseball America is widely considered the leading resource for the minor leagues. Even those guys don't know anything about these players. Listen to Will Lingo's podcast. They said as much. They hate writing the Rule 5. It's a total crapshoot based on catching lightning in a bottle.

I was checking out the Pirates system, just to see if they have anything in the way of arms we can use to restock in exchange for Lieber, and it is U G L Y.

So, at least we're not the only ones.

Ugh, it's like every college pitcher they drafted got to High A and just hit a wall. It's sad, really.

I read in September the Twins may move reliever Juan Rincon (arb eligible) because they have Pat Neshek coming in. Rincon looks to me like a nice target for a Gillick deal. The Twins recently were sniffing around Jason Jennings for a starter, so they might be interested in a 1 year rental in Lieber and then collect the draft picks, something they always covet.

Dustin Hermanson
Jay Payton

That's about all that's left of my free-agent shopping list.

Parker: There are 3 utterly unsubstantiated statements in your post.
1. "It was obvious that this team was going nowhere as long as Abreu was the man."
Really? Isn't that just you're half-baked opinion? Are you saying the Phila couldn't win next season if they had Abreu in RF instead of Rowand/Conine?

2. "I also believe he had some off field problems, that are not in the public that go even more to the reason that the trade looked so bad."
Can you provide even a bit of evidence for this fantasy?

3. "I think we did the best we could with the deal for Abreu."
Given what the Tigers gave up for Sheffield what proof do you have of this statement?

Look, I can understand not liking Abreu. So just say that: I don't like him and I'm glad he's gone. But idiots who make stuff up to try to justify their opinion or spin reality are just that: Idiots.

That's a stinger clout.

I personally didn't like Jason Michaels. I'm glad the Phils got rid of him. I'm not gonna make stuff up about WHY I didn't like him, I just didn't like him. Plain and simple.

But don't be so hard on parker. He gave his opinion and he's entitled to it.

Clout - the more I read your comments the more you sound like you are describing yourself in the above thread.

The smoke coming out of your ears must interfere with your thinking because what you think you are reading and what is actually posted does not always match.

YOU appear to be a tad bit angry, maybe your shirt is getting a little too tight.

Hey Scrooge, I mean Clout, lighten up bud. It's Christmas.

Bix: I'm not angry. I just think this is a fairly intelligent board compared to most. I hate to see it ruined by idiots who don't know their facts.

Clout - point well taken. But facts and opinions sometimes get misconstrued. You have passion which I respect and I know some of things I posted got twisted a bit. Agreed that this is a great board and stays that way. PEACE!

Have to admit it but I agree with RSB on Arbuckle. He has had 14 YEARS with this team to shape the minor league system. That is an eternity in pro sports to shape a franchise.

If you look at it by end results (playoffs, championships), than Arbuckle has been a failure.

Arbuckle took over scouting development in Oct. 1992. Let's recap Arbuckle's drafts results 1993:

1993: Rolen & Gomes (Grade: B)
1994: Loewer, Beech, and Magee (Grade: D)
1995: M. Anderson highlighted by Taylor and Coggin (Grade: F)
1996: Rollins & Eaton (Grade: C+)
1997: Drew, Wolf, Turnbow, & Estrada (Grade: A-)
1998: Burrell, Madson, Geary, Michaels, Punto, & Valent (Grade: A-)
1999: Myers & Byrd (Grade: C+)
2000: Utley & Buchholz (Grade: B+)
2001: Howard, Floyd, & Roberson (Grade: A)
2002: Hamels, Mathieson, & Segovia (Grade: Incomplete)
2003: Bourn, Moss, & Kendrick (Grade: Incomplete)
2004: Jamarillo, Happ, Bisenius & Golson (Grade: Incomplete)
2005: Constanzo & Maloney (Grade: Incomplete)
2006: Drabek, Cardenas, etc. (Grade: Incomplete)

I would generally agree that Arbuckle has hit some drafted some good players (Burrell, Rollins, Myers, Utley, Howard, Hamels) who care the core of this team currently but his drafts have been miserable at turning out a large number of player who make an impact in MLB.

With exception of 1997 & 1998, there haven't been more than 2 or 3 players from the draft even make the MLB. This points a combination of inadequate drafting although with weak player development.

What is really killing this team right now is the weak looking drafts from 2002-present. This team just doesn't have a bunch of prospects like the Dodgers, Tigers, or Marlins. I think we are going to look back at the end of the decade and see the drafts from 2002-06 as generally very weak and mediocre.

petitte to the yankees.

any wvu alumni out there? coach rodriguez isn't leaving for alabama?

think if i do some sort of funny dance/ sell a vital organ we can get someone like adam wainwright for lieber? (the correct answer is: "if tampa can get scott kazmir for victor zambrano, anything can happen. although wayne jocketty is no steve phillips.")

I was under the impression that the young arms in the low minors are pretty good in the Phils system right now. Position players? that's a different story. Didn't Lakewood win their league championship this past year? They must of had some studs.

I agree Tim, although Walt Jocketty is no Steve Phillips either.

(Sorry. Couldn't resist).

By the way, did anyone else see Steve Phillips running after Bonds in the lobby during the Winter Meetings? Whoever handed that man the helm of a ML franchise should have their head examined.

wayne, walt - either way he's no fool!

i'd look to washington if they had anyone. ditto houston, seattle, texas, san fran. teams that really need to round out a rotation. (pardon the pun on round!)

I'd look to anyone who has someone.

All but one team (the ChiSox) are looking for SP. Hopefully, all of them are looking for a spare tire as well.

MG: Great assessment of Phils draft picks. Don't agree 100% but great work in providing the list!

Another point to keep in mind: The lack of international signings, particularly from the DR. The only recent productive international player that comes to mind is Silva, and fringe pitchers like Tejeda, Brito, Elizardo Ramirez and E. Astacio. I'm sure there are others, but overall the front office has been reluctant to provide many resources to tap the rest of the world.

In response to the person who asked what's not to like about Huff, there's a ton, like how his hitting has declined rapidly the past two seasons (for much of last year, he was struggling to hit .200) and how he can't field. At all. Three years ago though, probably one of the more underrated players in baseball.

Clout, First I dont dislike Abreu. Far from it. For years he was one of the only players on this team that you could talk proudly about to a fan of another team. He was our best player for years. Second, winning is a matter of perspective. Could they win more games than they lose with Abreu? Sure. No doubt about that. And I based all of my comments before on the fact that Abreu is not who he used to be. If he was still hitting high 20's HR and driving in 110RBI, then there would be no doubt that he would be an integral piece of the team. Last year, he was not that guy and has not been since he won the HR derby. THird, I did not mention specifics about off the field problems for a reason. My understanding of the situation, based not on whimsical fantasy, but on statements of persons with knowledge, are not my business to disclose. I could, and it probably would never matter, but I am not the type of person to speak of things disclosed to me in confidence. Finally, Bobby Abreu is not and never will be Gary Sheffield. Whether that is becasue Sheff is or was on roids is up for speculation. Abreu was healthy last season and hit 13 home runs. Dellucci was a carrer backup fastball hitter and hit more than that in half a season, with limited playing time. So your telling me that Abreu would demand as much on the market as Sheffield? I think not. If anything it would be closer to Trot Nixon. Pat Gillick is no idiot. If there was more there for Abreu he would have taken it. You cant tell me that there were not teams looking for a RF last year at the deadline. I know his salary was high but that is not the point, the Phils were going to eat some of it anyway. That is even more evidence that he had minimal value. If a team gives up a player who is supposedly as great as Abreu for minor league prospects and eats salary, there are 3 usual things gong on alternatively: 1.) something is wrong with the guy (Hurt or otherwise) 2.) He has lost some skill, 3.) He is a problem. Abreu was not a problem in the clubhouse as far as anyone can tell, so take our pick as to the other two. Or you can choose to think we got jobbed becasue Pat Gilick is a bumbling Idiot who better suited to be sipping a frosty beverage somewhere in a warmer climate. I believe that it was one of the former 3 options. But hey, thats just my opinion, and I respect yours despite your seeming defense mechanism of peppering insults on to otherwise bland commentary.

Parker you missed the most obvious reason why Abreu was traded. It was a salary dump pure and simple.

I'm in agreement with Walt, gr, and RSB about the farm system. Ed Wade used to talk about how Paul Owens said you needed to provide 2-3 players to the majors each year, and Ed said they were doing that. Unfortunately, the 2nd and 3rd players were usually marginal at best, and it's hard to recall getting more than that in a year. Also, the modern contract environment really requires having more than 2-3 ready in order to acquire other team's veterans or balance minor league position gaps. And the minor leaguers who made it to the bigs were less than popular with the brass until they couldn't be overlooked. (Silva, Howard, Utley, Punto, with Ruiz on deck.)

Go thru the prospective 2007 lineup, and list the Phils' minor leaguer who is the logical replacement in case of injury or contract expiration.

But the other reason I have here is this list which ties into the Voice of Reason comment:

John Russell
Rod Nichols
Sal Rende (born Blue Island, IL)
Greg Gross
P.J. Forbes
Tom Filer
Dave Huppert
Steve Schrenk
Brad Komminsk
Steve Roadcap
Kevin Jordan
Ed Hodge
Greg Legg
Ken Dominguez
Troy Hoffert
Bill Dancy
Gorman Heimueller
Don Long
Jerry Martin
Dave Owen
(list based on available names from news releases)

¿Quién es más anglo?????

I don't personally know any of these Phillies minor league coaches, but if 25% of major leaguers are latino (MLB as source), and a high percentage of Latino prospects wash out, wouldn't it be possible that there are qualified Latino coaches who might have some other insights on how to get more quality kids thru the system? This wouldn't be just a list of company men, would it? (Fun Fact: a recent study indicates 29% of MLB coaches are African-American or Latino.)

And to wrap up VoR's point, it's hard to tap resources when you're not familiar with them...

Building a team takes free agents, trades, and minor leaguers, and when you're short in one area, there's a price to pay to make it up in the other two. Wouldn't it be nice to have options of, say, a power hitting minor league OF or a reliable 3B or a proven stud relief pitcher instead of two levels of recycled AAA and AA free agent position players?

What I don't see is any real accountability or change for this minor league system.

i wasn't going to comment on the ed wade thing because it's worthless, but s97 makes me want to say this:

the most frustrating thing about the wade era phil's was their reluctance to bring up minor league guys that said "aren't ready" or can't play defense (chase utley). it made (makes) me want to put a spoon in my eye.

I'm not an expert on any of this minor league development stuff, so I can't comment on Arbuckle. On Ed Wade, the thing that really hurt his long term contracts were the "no trade" clauses.

I believe a lot of deals are based on hope, like "I hope he plays like he did two years ago." I see the Eaton deal based on hope. The same goes for Helms. If Burrell did not have a "no trade" clause, then we could find that team that would say, "I hope he'll play like he did a few years ago." If we keep Pat the Bat, we'll all be thinking the same thing. I hope....

To answer the question about the Rule 5 draft and the money involved, I said 25,000 because that's the net loss of taking a guy in the draft and not being able to keep him. It costs $50,000 to draft a player, but if they're not on the roster they are offered back to the original team for 25,000, resulting in a loss of just 25,000, compared to the long shot chance of a major league contributor.

My recollection of the draft picks is that up until a couple of years ago the minor leagues were getting pretty well stocked up with prospects under Arbuckle, then Ed Wade trading a lot of them away? Now its back where it was 5 years ago

MG I thought that I got that in there somewhere, but I could be mistaken. I dont recommend combing back through it to find out though.

Two things - first up, yankees signed pettite, so add the astros as another suitor to the Lieber engagement party.

Secondly, VOR and s97 raise the point about Latin American players. The phils famously decided to shut down their latin-american scouting system during the 80s, and only started it up relatively recently. As I understand it (and jason will probably correct me) its currently run by Mr. Amaro Jr. Which doesn't fill you with a lot of hope for the future GM of the phillies.

s97 also makes a point about the lack of latin american coaches within the system. I had hoped that when gillick came in, there would be more of a shakeup of minor-league personnel. Dancy being sent straight back to the minors suggests its business as usual. Again, I'm waiting for the weitzel correction.

Finally, how you use fringe plaeyrs to fill in the gaps from the minors isn't necessarily a reflection on the players in the minors - it can be the major league team. Tim makes the point that wade was loath to move players until they were just ready. This year, on the other hand, we did at least have coste put up good numbers in the minors, be asked to come to spring training and then make the team. It may indicate a shift in philosophy. If, as jason notes, gillick is all about scouting, he probably has a better fix on the minors than wade ever had - in terms of a players mental as well as phsyical makeup, and whether they're good to slot in as a small part of the major league team. It will be interesting to see if that happens this year.

what they are doing to that houston team is just tragic.

they are definately one of the teams that may find themselves desperate for a starter.

Speaking of SP-desperation, the Cubbies just handed Jason Marquis 3/28. I expect the same level of Eaton-esque condemnation for this deal from the national media. Unless there's some sort of inherent bias at work ...

Seriously - do the Cubs think signing Jason Marquis and Ted lilly is going to make them even a .500 team? Seriously. That's brutal.

i don't think those signings are too terrible; really bad, but not pathetic. they are lieber deals with some inflation added to them.

I think the Tribune company wants to get as many assets in place to jack up the bid of Colangelo or whichever sucker eventually buys the team.

But from a baseball perspective, I can't see how you could look at these signings as anything but terrible.

Maverick, I agree totally. Many of the moves that other teams have made and the money they have doled out have me scratching my head. That's part of the reason for the Gillick love/hate going on here. He's actually sitting back and letting other teams either handcuff themselves with bad contracts or firesale away their current rosters. Cohesion may actually be a big check mark in the Phillies' column next year, simply by not knee-jerking in this absurb market. I'm still flabbergasted by the Meche signing.

I know. It's like half the GMs in baseball have been replaced by Cylons.

if you were a cubs fan would you rather have marquise/ lilly or two two real bums who aren't even established mlb quality pitchers? i don't blame the cubs for doing what they are doing, but i'm also thankful the phil's aren't in a position to have to make the same kind of moves.

If I were a Cubs fan I'd be pissed when my team can't re-sign Zambrano because of the money owed to Lilly, Marquis, A-Ram's ill-timed raise, Soriano, etc. etc.

Also, I'm pretty sure the Cubs have plenty of guys in their system who could equal Marquis 75/96 BB/K and 6.02 ERA last year. For substantially cheaper.

From the baseless internet rumor department…

The Phils are closing in on a three team deal, including the Dodgers, Phils, and Blue Jays. It has Brad Penny, Jason Repko and John Lieber and going to the Jays, Pat Burrell, Davis Romero and Aaron Hill going to LA and Yhency Brazoban, Vernon Wells, and Brandon League going to the Phillies.

Any thoughts...

I'm generally inclined to disbelieve any rumor that has Wells coming to the Phils (although of course I would jump for joy if it every happened). But I don't think it makes much sense for the Jays to trade one of the best CF in baseball and replace him with Jason Repko, he of the sub-.400 SPC.

If that deal happens that pretty much covers everything that we came into the offseason listing as needs. Filled out our starting rotation, someone to bat behind Howard, getting bullpen help, and trading Burrell. So I'm really hoping that this rumor has some truth behind it, cause I would really like to see the Phillies actually have a productive offseason where they get everything done.

Iron Pig,

Where'd you pick up that rumor?

Here are the relievers rumored to be in the deal...

Yhency Brazoban (LAD) – Twenty-six year old right-handed relief pitcher who underwent TJ surgery on 4/14/06. Over his career he has appeared in 110 games. He has a record of ten wins against twelve losses. ERA is 4.49 with a WHIP of 1.37. BAA is .252.

Brandon Laegue (TBJ) – Twenty-three year old right-handed relief pitcher. Called up from AAA Syracuse on July 8, 2006. Appeared in 33 games last year pitching 42 2/3 innings. Struck out 29 and walked 9. ERA was 2.53. WHIP was 1.01. BAA was .214.

Here is the link to where I saw the rumor:

mav - i have no idea why we're arguing about this. but zambrano hasn't left yet, so i don't know how a hypothetical cubs fan would be mad about him leaving when he hasn't left yet. i don't want to talk about the cubs anymore. they stink.

this trade would really be great us and the jays but the dodgers probably aren't getting enough for penny, so i doubt it'll happen.

Iron Pig: Gauging the validity a 3-team rumor like that is easy. You simply look at what each team is giving up and what it is getting. If the imbalance is ridiculous, then you know it won't happen.

In this case we can resolve it simply by looking at the Blue Jays. They are giving up Vernon Wells, a top young star who will be a FA after '07, Brandon League, a 23-year-old stud who will soon be one of the best setup men in baseball, and Aaron Hill, 24, their everyday secondbaseman who hit .291 last season.

They are getting Brad Penny, a mid-rotation innings eater whose ERA has climbed each of the past 3 years, Jon Lieber, you know what he is, and Jason Repko, a good glove, weak bat 4th outfielder.

As you can see, the imbalance is beyond ridiculous. The chances of this happening are equal to the chances of Charlie Manuel starting in RF next season.

um... penny was the all start games starter way back in 2006...

Clout – I am neither advocating the trade nor am I questioning the validity of the rumor. I am merely reporting what I am reading elsewhere. I enjoy this time of year simply because of the fact that rumors like this spawn what I hope is healthy and interesting debate on boards such as this.

Tim: And your point is....? Check his stats.

my point is that you may be under rating penny some. although you call him an inning eater - a guy who's only throw 200 innings once shouldn't be called an innings eater. his era climbed from a 3.15 - thats bound to happen. for a team like the blue jays who are probably realizing very quickly they have no shot at retaining wells, i don't think the value they're getting is "beyond ridiculous." maybe "not enough" but not "beyond ridiculous".

please proceed in calling me every name you possibly can and dismissing me as useless.

I'd say Penny is a bit underrated at this point. According to Bill James he was the only NL starter to consistently throw over 95 last season. He's always had great stuff, mitigated by durability questions (and now, feuds with Dodgers management). He's signed to a very reasonable deal for the next three years. If it weren't for the current rotation logjam, I'd love for the Phillies to take a chance on him (depending on the price, of course).

Tim: No need to call you names. The facts speak for themselves.

Penny threw 189 IP last year, gave up more than a hit per inning and had an ERA of 4.33 while pitching in one of the best pitcher's parks in the bigs.

When healthy he absolutely is an innings eater, but you're right, his health hasn't been so hot over the past few years.

But let's say Penny just had an off year and is a solid #1 next season. I'd love to hear you explain why J.P. Ricciardi should jump at that ridiculous package just so he can help the Phillies.

"The chances of this happening are equal to the chances of Charlie Manuel starting in RF next season."

So, in other words, it could happen. :P

Yeah, that trade would be great. "Would" being the operative word. That's like saying the Phils are gonna trade Cole Hamels and Pat Burrell to the Yanks for Jose Tabata and Phil Hughes.

I just made that up, but I consider myself a reliable source.

Let's hope it spreads like wildfire.

i didn't say he's a number one starter - a useless term i hate. you're the one throwing out terms like "best set up man in baseball" not me.

i didn't say he should jump at the package to help the phils. getting a pitcher like penny, who is signed, for wells, with one year left, plus everything else in the deal, plus potentially more in prospects from a loaded dodgers farm system, isn't "beyond ridiculous". that's all i'm saying.

i forget that in your world of absolutes the idea of the dodgers throwing in a prospect from their farm system in this deal is impossible.

it makes no difference and it's not worth talking about it unless it happens. just imagine for a second that some executives in baseball have a higher opinion of penny then you do. it is possible.

If this Phils added Victorino to that deal, would it be rediculous? I know the rumor that was posted is just a rumor, but I don't think it's that off the wall. I just think the Jays would want another topish prospect in there. Penny & Lieber gives them pitching, but I don't think that highly of Lieber and I imagine the Jays wouldn't think of him as a major difference maker. Add someone else to the scenario and that might give them some incentive to take on Lieber.

maybe I'm crazy, but I think that would make it a very poor trade for the Phils.

basically, we would be hoping that one year of Wells > Victorino + Burrell, and Brazoban + League > Lieber. I don't think I buy either of those propositions. the pitchers side, maybe, but even though League looks like the real deal, Brazoban's pro numbers are not that great and I see control issues in his minor league career. as good as Wells is, I don't think he's worth 2/3 of a pretty strong outfield.

I know a lot of posters are high on Wells, but his 04/05 seasons are pretty Rowandesque offensively, and I do not like one-year rentals as a general rule.

Not to bring up something that was a while back on the thread, but I think clout was right to call out parker, especially on BS personal stuff about Abreu.

For the people that complained, insinuating that Abreu had "off field" issues is an accusation, not an opinion. Oh, and all clout was doing was giving his opinion too!

You don't spread rumors unless you know something, and if you do, you say it or shut up. This "I could tell if I wanted to" is p*ssy BS and parker deserved the full wrath of clout for posting it.

Victorino should not be added to that deal - Burrell is going to fetch a bit in return on his own due to the current RH slugger market.

Clout, your theory that trades need to make sense from a talent equality basis was a good paradigm to work from 20 years ago. Now it seems to be far more about time and money still owed to individuals. How else do you explain either the Abreu or Moyer trades last year - equal talent was in no way involved. This trade doesn't look exactly right, more because the Blue Jays would not need Lieber under the inherent scenario since if they are getting rid of Wells they are giving up on next season (which they should anyways considering the Yankees are going to win the division and the WC will probably come from the central), but Penny is someone they and most inside baseball people covet. I was going to assume you were ghost-writing for Ed Wade until that last comment - now I just hope all of your comments are some sort of juvenile game of devil's advocate.

Saw that Kline and MacDougal signed. The market for relievers is getting slim. Get whatever helps for the pen comes from a trade.

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EST. 2005

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