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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Comments

Naturally, one would ask "are Joe Bisenius, JA Happ, and Justin Germano ready for big league hitters?"

Got another one...


"If the Phillies were interested in having Bisenius pitch in the bigs in '07, why did they send him to both the Arizona Fall league and winter ball?"

This isn't a question for BA, but does anybody know when Opening Day tickets will go on sale?

season tix are dues back soon, no general adminission until we've divied up the good seats :-)

Q for BA - Jason Jaramillo didn't make your top 10 prospects list. The Phillies seem to be high on his future. How do you project him ?

No worries here, I can't afford the good seats anyway. But damn I'm excited. The Eagles are great and all, but there's just something about baseball.

Another Q for BA -- What does the future hold for Zach Segovia ? Do you see him as a starter or reliever at the ML level ?

Q for BA -- I am losing faith in Greg Golson. Why should he still be considered a top 10 prospect and what progression does he need to make this year to remain a prospect ?

In their opinion who might be the Phillies best kept secret (or one could use a "sleeper" as used in football draft jargon) that could be on the team in the next five years.

Great first question! I'll miss the chat, but I would be interested in knowing why BA puts so much weight on very good sucess at A ball rather than simply good success at AA and AAA.

I would bet that between Carrasco, Drabek, Maloney and Garcia, at least two won't even be on the top ten next year, similar to what happened with our position players last year.

Also, a comment on COstanzo would be nice, if scouts knew why he had such drastic improvement in Clearwater after two terrible months?

Oh, and if they could find out what compromising photos Karim Garcia has of Gillick, that would be much appreciated!

1. Did we learn anything more about Kyle Drabek in his limited duty last yr?

2. In baseball circles what is the Phillies' reputation in relation to their draft philosophy?

I'm still trying to find out if Drabek is a head case or just excitable...

I'm about to close the deal for a week down in Clearwater with the girlfriend the 3rd week in March (17th-24th). It's a lot cheaper than I thought it would be. Anyone else ever go down for ST? Any insights/recommendations would be greatly aprreciated.

Martin's question about the Abreu prospects was answered.

Chris Kline: Look to the two Venezuelans for the highest ceiling among those four. Monasterios throws a very heavy fastball that was topping out at 95 for Pastora in the Venezuelan Winter League this winter, but still needs a lot of polish with his secondary stuff. Very raw. Same thing goes for Sanchez, who has plus tools defensively, but is short on power and is inconsistent with his approach. But love the athleticism from both. Smith is what he is--a lefty specialist; and Henry is OK, but is more projection than performance at this point. The tools are there, but they have yet to translate. He's expected to return to Clearwater this year and faces a move to third base, which was inevitable anyway. Hopefully that move will help him because there's a lot to like in the tools and the body.

BA and scouts not so high on Jaramillo AT ALL! From Billy Mac's question on why he's not in the top 10:

Chris Kline: No he didn't, Billy Mac. Like the bat, not so much on the defense. Scouts ran him under the bus defensively in the Arizona Fall League. He's a below-average receiver with an average arm.

Tom G's question answered:

Bisenius and Happ have better stuff, but all three can get MLB hitters out, yes.

On Bisenius:

Bisenius: fastball up to 94-95 mph with a hammer curveball (which he calls a slider). And the hammer is plus.

J. Weitzel's question answered:

J. Weitzel from Reading, Pa. asks:
Q: Speaking of Scott Mathieson, you've got him penciled in at closer for 2010.

A: Chris Kline: He's got the mentality and the fastballslider mix. I think if you turn that guy loose over a short stint where he can just be super-aggressive, the sky's the limit.

Another one bites the dust.

According to espn.com, The New York Mets are on the verge of signing free-agent pitcher Scott Schoeneweis to a three-year deal.

Although it's not the first time I've seen it suggested, it's interesting to consider that Mathieson could project as a late-inning relief pitcher. It makes sense. Hopefully he can recover and get some training under his belt in this area before 2008. Also, I'm encouraged by the report on Bisenius. With these two and Castro, perhaps there is a glimmer of hope for the 'pen not too far down the road.

Hey, I'm a new reader and love the site. Is there any chance of getting the complete chat and prospect scripts posted for those of us without BA subscriptions?

I am surprised by the Jaramillo comments. I have seen him play, and though no scout, thought he looked good. I realize he had some problems in the AFL, errors, and he got run on, BUT...here are some quotes from BA from one year ago. Strenghs--"best defensive catcher in SAL...his agility helps him block balls well, and his above average arm helped him throw out 34% of basestralers." Weaknesses--"his defense should make up for what he lacks offensively." Come on BA, is this the same guy?

I love when anyone bashes any Met:
From espn.go.com - "John Thomson was surprisingly candid Wednesday about one of the reasons he chose the Toronto Blue Jays over the Mets: He didn't want to pitch to New York catcher Paul Lo Duca...."As far as just looking at Paul Lo Duca across the field, I'm not really into how he acts behind the plate," Thomson said on a conference call.

Verdeforce - It sounds like John Thomson lowered his dukes on Lo Duca. Loved it! Thanks for sharing.

Interesting tidbits on the BA call. Lake Nostrodamus predicts Jason will be writing a killer header on this to start the next thread.

I don't understand the non-interest on the Phils part on Schoenweiss. It is not like they have extra lefties in the pen. Now Howard and Utley will be seeing a lot of this LOOGY for sure.

2007 Mets bullpen -- Wagner, Sanchez, Heilman, Schoenweiss (locks)

With Padilla, Felicano, Williams in the mix along with Vargas, Burgos waiting in the wings.

This looks to be a good bullpen.

That Dude -


I'm sure that the Phillies reputation around draft time is to take very "toolsy" players -- in other words, high risk, high reward. As a matter of fact, I've heard Arbuckle use that very phrase.

By the way, thanks Jason for relaying all of this.

The Mets' bullpen is light-years ahead of the Phils' bullpen at this point. Maybe Wagner breaks down this year but I am more willing to bet that Gordon does instead. Also, Mets have to hope that Sanchez can pick up where he let off last year before his accident.

I bet that the Mets bullpen will get ground down by August but it will still help to carry this team to a good start in April and May.

yes, but the mets starting rotation, ugh!

I'll relay highlights of BA's chat tomorrow.

joe - I agree. It is going to be interesting to which team's weakness (Phils' bullpen) vs (Mets' starters) turns out to be the bigger Achilles heel.

Bummer about Schoenweiss, not because I wanted him on the Phils at $3.6M per year, but because Howard and Utley will have to face him at least 10-15 time this year in crucial situations.

It sucks that the Mets are able to make stupid signings like this without really affecting other moves. If Gillick had a unlimited payroll, I would like Schoenweiss, but considering that $90M seems to be close to the limit, $3.6M would be a big waste of money.

Bad Mets starters + bad Phillies reliever = a lot of heartbreaking come from behind wins by the Mets, boo!

Tom G: Exactly right. The problem with going the toolsy route is you have to be very sharp projectors of talent. The Braves have the very same philosophy and it built them a dynasty. The Phils track record with toolsy position players is dreadful.

Their top players, Utley, Howard etc. were polished college players with solid stats. Rollins was drafted out of HS, but you can't call a 5-7/150 lb. kid "toolsy." He was a scrappy kid with good baseball skills.

Here are the Phils top toolsy draft picks going back 10 years: 1996: Kevin Burford; 1997: Bev Shomari; 1998: Jorge Padilla; 1999: Jason Cooper; 2000: Danny Gonzalez; 2001: Terry Jones; 2002: Kiel Fisher; 2003: none (maybe they learned something, all the top picks were either pitchers or college-level position players like Michael Bourn); 2004: Greg Golson; 2005: Mike Durant.

In fairness, MOST phillies picks have been college-level players and they've had a decent track record with pitchers. But as the names above indicate, drafting high risk/high ceiling position players has not been a strength.

On Spring Training. There is a restaurant right around the corner from the stadium called Lenny's, they carry scrapple, but get there early because there is always a wait. For entertainment go to Clearwater Beach. Good times to be had, also after the game hang out at the Tiki Bar because players will be there. There are good strip clubs if you can get to them. All other memories are blurry. Good times though.

martin: nice pull. i thought the same thing when i write that. i have always heard jaramillo's D get praised over his O, this is the first time i've heard the opposite. might just be some momentary dislexia.

Amazingly, as much criticism as the Gillick has gotten on the bullpen I still think the Phils' pen is better than the Marlins.

Marlins are so desperate for bullpen arms they are supposedly seriously interested in Alfonseca as a closer.

that was good stuff - especially after an extra long day.

BTW, Bonds has failed an amphetamine drug test and had the nerve to put the blame on Mark Sweeney.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2727325

The Giants haven't officially signed him for this year yet. I say let him rot.

Barry Bonds using illegal substances?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

If you read the entire story, on the surface it looks like the story was leaked by the Sweeney camp in retribution for Bonds either falsely accusing Sweeney, or dropping a dime on a teammate wich is a huge violation of "The Code".

Either way it doesn't make BB lokk good.

Great player, TOTAL CREEP.

Clout - that's an interesting summary. I had always (perhaps mistakenly) assumed that part of the reason we never had those polished, MLB ready replacement parts from the minors (like the braves always seem to have) was because of picking too many toolsy players. Looking at what we've taken in the last couple of years, though, I now wonder whether the focus on pitchers has cost us? I would've thought tho that selecting more well-rounded college players than obvious toolsy folk would mean we'd have better spare parts in the minors .

I'm guessing that the team the player plays for doesn't get told about the amphetamine violation either? Why would SF re-sign him if they knew that? And if they would have anyway, you would've thought that that little piece of information would have let them bargain the price down below $16 million.

It's interesting that the top story on Phillies.com following yesterday's scathing report on Jaramillo is a random, glossy look at the catching prospects, all positive spin.

phillies.com is just spin.

That report was posted on Tuesday at 10AM.

It's still a little too coincidental for me. Plus all the positive spin? Tell me they didn't know what was coming.

Last post on Schoeneweis. While I agree that 3 yrs / 10.8M seems crazy, this is the market. And this is what you need to spend to compete. He's a lefty and also gives you the flexibility to start if needed. I know we are 3 months from opening day, but it seems Gillick is content with cobbling the remaining bullpen pieces with Rule 5 guys, minor league free agents, and/or Quad A types like Brito. If so, I see another poor start to the season along with another year not in the playoffs.

How about Thomson for one-year, $500,000 to Toronto? Always thought Thomson was a decent enough pitcher. That's half of what Franklin got from St. Louis.

The difference is that Franklin is never hurt, while Thompson is probably about even money to spend a good portion of the year on the DL One thing teams are paying a lot for this year is durability, Lilly, Meche, Marquis, Suppan, Soriano, Lee, Zito - these are all guys who almost never land on the DL. Big exception to this would be our own Adam Eaton - Gillick as ever the gambler.

Will, I don't see how the Phillies could have pre-emptive spin for a RESPONSE to a question during a chat.

Villone is a lefty and still available (which probably means he won't be on the 2007 Phillies)...

I can't imagine Villone is any better than Smith. He was terrible last year and projects to an ERA over 5 this year. Pass.

Right on, kdon.

What's a Reverend doing in Clearwater knowing whether strip clubs are good or not?

For a guy with 20 mlb innings under his belt I'm amazed at how much confidence posters on this board have in Matt Smith. Be interesting to see what these posters say once the season unfolds.

Yes, clout, I am "confident" Smith can put up an ERA around 5.00. So?

I am a reverend because it only takes a few minutes online. Plus I hold service during Sunday home games under the huge Phillies sign across the street from the Holiday Inn. We don't have wine but we have plenty of beer. I am the Funnest Reverend you'll hang out with.

I agree with Billy Mac - it is looking like the lack of interest on the Schoeneweis front is the result of a lack of funds. Perhaps Montgomery, et. al. are worrying a little too much about future payouts to Utley, Howard, and Hamels. The only LH guy with any end game experience still available is Everyday Eddie Guardado and he won't be able to pitch until next August because of Tommy John surgery, but at this point, they should sign him just as a fall back plan in case Gordon goes down in the late summer or another set-up man is not acquired via trade.

Villone's splits against lefties - last year and throughout his career are good. I think he could help us in a LOOGY role. Matt Smith may be able to match or beat this, but there's no track record. I agree with Clout that this board seems very confident in Phils pitchers without any sustained success at the ML level (Castro, Smith) and to a lesser extent (Geary and Madson).

Screw Madson!

He has been streaky at best and his ego needs a zip code. I know we need relievers but, if our pen is settled, can we move him mid-season? It seems to me like he would dig it, and his trade value is, at least for me, probably well-inflated.

I agree, Valjean, that both Madson and the Phillies would best suited if he were traded. I can understand why they feel a need to keep him for now, in lieu of there being very few other bullpen options, but I will be incredibly surprised if he turns out to be the solid seventh-inning pitcher the Phillies are desperately hoping he will return to being.

just a side note to Schoenweiss--- Why wouldnt the Mets have kept Bradford? The money wasnt that much different and Bradford is clearly the better pitcher.

actually, Bradford got 300,000 less from Orioles.. Mets screwed up here.. makes me smile

Rob, I think the key reason for Schoenweiss over Bradford is there was money available since they didn't sign Zito. Plus Bradford is older than Schoenweiss with a history of back problems -- making a 3 year deal riskier. Add Schoenweiss is a lefty and could possibly spot start, so he is more versatile.
Since Bradford was a Type A free agent, the Mets will get a sandwich pick and another pick from the Orioles as compenstation. That's not bad for Bradford.

kdon says, "Yes, clout, I am "confident" Smith can put up an ERA around 5.00. So?"

My point exactly! Seriously, though, I don't think Villone would be a bad signing. The Phils need two lefties and at least one should be a veteran in case Smith tanks.

Speaking of relievers with ERAs over 5.00, I'm underwhelmed by the Mets signing Schoeneweis. He is an extreme LOOGY: righties have a lifetime .821 OPS off him which means you can only use him vs. one batter or two if there's 2 lefties in a row (i.e. Utley & Howard). Mets did need a second lefty behind Feliciano after Oliver left.

Loved the quote on Henry: "there's a lot to like in the tools and the body." Unfortunately, not so much in the bat and the glove.

Interesting comments on Madson here. I've never heard of an ego problem before -- what is that based on?

I don't think Madson has much of an ego. Otherwise he wouldn't have stopped by Williamsport for a dinky minor-league banquet.

rob,

On metsblog they're asking the same Schoenweiss/Bradford question.

Hey BillMac & clout -

I tink you misinterpret what the rest of us bullpen "confident" folks are saying, so let me put it all together from my perspective.

Ownership has a self-imposed salary cap. Therefore, dollars cannot (or will not) be spent indiscriminately. What we are simply saying when we question whether the team ought to sign certain free agent relief pitchers, is not that we have supreme confidence in Smith and Castro, it's that we don't necessarily think Villone at what he will cost is a significant UPGRADE.

The same could be said for other FA RPs that have been available.

And yes, the reality is that Utley and Howard are going to cost A LOT of money in the near future, and this penny pinching ownership group is probably cringing at what it will cost to retain them. They're probably so puckered right now at the prospect of the commitment it's going to take you couldn't get a pin up their collective 'you know what's' with a pile driver.

I am not going to recount the last 20+ years of their stewardship of this franchise. Everyone who reads and posts here is well aware of it. Not only have they not grown fan interest and, therefore, the size of their market, I'd wager to say that there is a lower percentage of people in the Phila metro area who would identify themselves as Phillies fans than there were when they bought the franchise.

While other big market teams (and, yes, the Philles are one) like the Yankees and Red Sox try to grow their following internationally by signing top players from Japan, the Phils are content to tread water. It inevitably catches up with them time and again. In short, rather than focusing on growing their following (and merchandising and TV right dollars) outside of Metro Philly, they stand still. And it's a shame, because in Ryan Howard they have someone who could significantly increase their revenues.

Instead, they are so marketing and PR savvy they trot out Bill Giles to comment on Brett Myers hitting his wife in Boston last year. Colossal idiots.

Now that I've gotten the rant and the root of the problem out of the way, please understand that we ain't disagreein' with you that the bullpen still needs improvement. We (I) just feel that given the budget constaints (which we all wish didn't exist) PG is placed under, signing a Villone may not be the best move to make.


I have a question for everyone:

Assunimg thinking at CBP doesn't change, can this team be competitive 5-7 yrs from now with a 90MM budget?

Please don't pry open the ownership issue too wide, AWH. It's all too helplessly maddening.

But you're right. A "self-imposed salary cap" is the only way to make sense of what's gone on in the past two off-seasons, when the Phillies are so close from being a playoff team and yet the moves to get them over the hump simply are not made.

RSB, it is, indeed, maddening, Well put.

I wonder how much more money a team makes if they make the playoffs. TV rights, merchandising, at least 2 games worth of ticket sales, incalculable good will....

As close as this team has been the last two years, I wonder if a slightly higher expenditure through a signing or deadline trade would have pushed them into the playoffs.

Would making the playoffs have paid for the expenditure?

Somehow, I feel the Bucks, Middletons and the rest of ownership are laughing at us.

As for Ron Villone - no thanks. He is basically a one-trick money at this point who gets pounded by vs. right-handed batters. This is one guy who would not upgrade the Phils pen.

There does remain that the salary cap of the last two years is there to acquire someone of use out of next years FA crop. This year we had a nasty conflation of a big increase in income on behalf of the owners and very few worthwhile FAs. Most commented that there would be more players who constituted better value for money next year (provided teams don't re-sign them to deals this next season). That would be consistent with gillicks thoughts last season about not being competitive till 2008.

Me, I think it's foolish, because you can add maybe 10 mill onto the wages bill for this year in short one and two year deals for FA bullpen guys. It's a gamble, but I think that's what gillick does constantly - gamble. Last year it was gambling that floyd and madson could round out the rotation. This year its relying on young bullpen arms and gaining a decent year from at least one rule 5 guy.

RSB - you've said several times that gillick maddens you because you can't predict or see any consistency to his moves. I think his two governing principles in nearly all his moves are based on his own extensive scouting of the minor leagues for (alluded to by jason several times) and his propensity for high risk-high reward. He goes with the latter because he is confident of his own assessment of players talents. Last year's signings all screamed this - it wasn't necessarily that they were old, it was that they were familiar.

The bargain basement ethic is never going to sit well with phillies phans because it feels like saving money, not looking for bargains. I don't think this is the case with gillick - I think he's all about filling out the team with the latter, but it fits well with the ownership folk.

Different perpective, Oisin, but I'm not sure I agree. It could very well be he feels constrained by ownership, but would never say so publicly.

The last point goes back to one of my previuos posts on this site. A great deal of the problem is that this organization have been lousy at communicating with the hardcore fans, such as those who read and post here. The footbal team is in hte middle of a "magical" playoff run and I care more about the Phils' hot stove moves.

If what you say is true, then why not say so. Tell the Phan base the philosophy. A's fans know what Bean's is. Again, bad PR.

I'm in two minds as to what constitutes good PR in the offseason, and especially in philly. Had the phillies definitively said 'we're after soriano' from the get go, the level of debate amongst the hardocre would have been the same, and the phillies would feel they had lost out when they their offer was busted open by the cubs. Likewise, if they come out and say 'we're saving for the FA class of 2007' and then the players in question all get taken by long term deals, they're going to look pretty damn thick.

If on the other hand you say 'we're going with rollins, utley et al, and we're looking for component parts' it doesn't sound too exciting. And the phillies want rear ends on seats.

Beane is not necessarily a good example - how apparent was his philosophy in the first two years of his tenure? And now that the methods he adopted are considered a part of baseball today, to what degree does he come out and say or do new stuff? It might even serve beane to have everyone think they know what Beane's philosophy is - he's a smart thinker and he's always moving on to new stuff, so if people assume he's doing one thing, he can remain unpredictable.

Going back to Gillick (or indeed any GM), I have no problem with working out their approach through their actions rather than their words. Ultimately, as a fan, I'm watching regardless. Prolonged mediocrity in performance may drive me away, but new and hard to understand approaches won't. Show me the fan who says 'I'm not going to the ballpark because our team relies to heavily on high-school pitching prospects in their draft.'

I'm not disagreeing on the principle that the phillies are bad at PR, because they are. I just don't think a GM giving a roadmap is always good PR. On the otherhand, having a team line and avoiding gaffs like 'we don't think howard is a priority' is essential. Because that DOES convince fans you don't give a damn. It screams slopiness, like you don't care abou the team you're running. That'll keep folk away.

of course he feels constrained by ownership!! He's a GM, all he wants to do is spend money! I feel constrained by my paycheck but I don't tell people on the street about it!

Ownership has a certain amount of income and a certain profit margin that they want to maintain. They believe they can keep that profit margain by keeping a 90million payroll. Now a lot of people on here assume that the phils ownership could afford to decrease that margain. That's a fair opinion, so far as one admits they have no evidence one way or the other.

Oisin's correct, the phils suck at PR, which is their main problem.

Oisin/Will - total agree the Phils PR is terrible and are still disconnected to the fans.

The only bright spot is that it appears Gillick is a little more candid about the reality of things, almost to an extreme but does not try to put lipstick on a corpse like the previous regime.

I have been a Gillick supporter but with the recent moves my faith is wavering somewhat and hoping the whole is more than the sum of the parts.

However they must make a few moves barring injuries with 6 starters and I read Milwaukee has an overload of OFs so this might be back on again. Or as I mentioned previously Bernie Williams might be available but obviously the RP needs are more pressing.

How can the self-imposed salary cap stay at 90 million the last 3 years yet my season ticket prices per seat have been raised by 2 dollars each of the last two years?

The Phillies management sucks. They are born losers. They stepped in dog crap with Howard and they'll ride him the next 5 years until he realizes this organization is run by idiots who have never won a damn thing in their life (not talking about Gillick), and surround their stars with guys like Sal Fasano, Alex Gonzalez, Abe Nunez, Jason Werthless, Ryan Franklin, and Karim Garcia. When Howard becomes a FA he'll sign with St. Louis or Arizona or Boston and win a WS the same way Rolen and Schilling have.

13 years with no playoffs in a market like this is an absolute freakin disgrace. Probably the worst run franchise in baseball given the resources at their disposal. Minnesota, Oakland, and Florida win with horsecrap stadiums and half of our salary. We have a 350 million dollar state of the art stadium (which they managed to build so FA pitchers would never come here) and a 90 million dollar payroll and we win 2nd place in the wildcard every year. It's a joke. And all signs are pointing to another 85 win/no playoff year. What we gained in SP we lost in hitting, so this off-season is a wash.

Dave Montgomery should be put in jail for stealing baseball from the fans of the Phillies. And these morons (Monty's posse and the faceless owners) are too stupid to realize how great of a baseball town this is, that we're all waiting to jump on the bandwagon of a playoff team, but they're too inept to make the right decisions.

Screw 85 win seasons, srew "being competitive", screw HR Derby winners, screw the nice stadium, put a damn winner on the field for more than once in my lifetime (I'm 27).

Sorry, had to get that off my chest.

AWH: Thanks for your clarification. I think it's pretty clear that the bullpen is a weak spot and that you can't count on Castro and Smith to play key roles (and maybe shouldn't count on Madson and Geary, whose roles become more important now.) Gordon is a question mark and there's no proven fallback option.

Madson is young enough to have a good year and has the stuff to be a setup man, but until he does it, we don't know for sure. I don't think Geary has the stuff to be a setup man, but he proved to be a workhorse last year and can probably do a good job pitching the 7th. But who are the other 3 guys?

Matt and Fabio have proved nothing. I think Matt can be a situational lefty this season but I am certain the Phils will want to see Castro get some AAA time at least. Remember he's pitched only a few innings above A ball.

My support for Villone isn't because I think he'll be great. It's because I think he'll be cheap. This team cannot enter the season without adding 2 proven arms to the bullpen. Hoping, wishing and praying that one of the minor leaguers will step up or that Clay Condrey will miraculously emerge with quality stuff and control is a waste of time. If something isn't done, when these suspects and youngsters begin to fail early in the season -- or God forbid Gordon breaks down -- PG's options are going to be considerably smaller than they are now.

clout, I think it's a forgone conclusion Gordon will get hurt next season. It's just a matter of when and how long. But don't worry, Jim Ed Warden and that other Rule 5 guy will save the day. If they don't Gillick always has that "I think we wont be competitive until 2008" to fall back on.

First, I enjoy the different perspectives on this site.

I have two thoughts to throw in with the recent post.

Gillick to me seems like an investor. Buy low - sell high, buy something that will pay a dividend for years, or bring back an old investment that he is familiar with for quick buck or stopgap.

Does Madson have value as the 11th or 12th arm, and just not the 7th or 8th? He is Meyers close friend and that could help keep Brett here. All those in favor?

I have been lurking for the past few weeks, not interjecting my two cents, just trying to gauge the pulse of fellow Phans. However, whenever the discussion turns to Montgomery and ownership, I can't help myself but to comment (as many previous posts have shown).

This off-season only supports my contention that the Philadelphia Phillies ownership group is essentially the Wal*Mart of baseball. While other competitors continue to pay out the nose and drive change in the market, the Phils hold steadfast in an antiquated business model. No real change to the budget, even though there is an influx of revenue (via the aforementioned ticket prices, Utley/Howard memorabilia, etc.).

The Phils continue to support this philosophy by insinuating that their competition is overpaying and will fall flat on their face as a result. Financially speaking, maybe that's true. I'm sure those in the Cubs front office are feeling a pinch as they figure out how to pay for Soriano (then again, maybe that's why the talk of selling is prevalent). However, Cubs fans have a reason to be optimistic about next year.

I'm all for the financial analysis, weighing the relative "value" of any player, etc., however every once in a while, you need to spend money to make money. Philadelphia, indeed, is a large market franchise. The penny pinching ways to fatten wallets of investors has to change before this team will be consistently competitive. With the current philosophy, they may catch lightning in a bottle (see Howard's surprise superstardom), but they'll never be competitive year in/year out. As much as everyone hates them, the Yankees realized that a long time ago. When one of the first post-season quotes out of CBP relates to where the payroll will fall next year, you have to get frustrated as a fan. This surely doesn't support the notion that winning baseball games is paramount.

WP:

I take offense at being called the Wal*mart of baseball teams: that belongs solely to the KC Royals.

WP - I could not disagree more strongly. This was emphatically NOT the year to be spending money unless one of the athletes on offer was a perfect fit for your team. Are the cubs going to fall flat on their faces financially? Probably not, but they're are a team in desperate need of a makeover. And they are faced with tough problems and a tight budget with their best SP (Zambrano) probably walking away to payday elsewhere next year.

It's been five years since the last big blowout of wages, and coming on the heels of an offseason when all the talk was of sensible budgets and careful spending (leastways, that's all I remember), the jump in wages seems like a some kind of crazy paradigm shift. Remember that very few of the contracts followed the supposed trend set by the ramirez and a-rod deals. Zito and Soriano got lucky - they were FA's the year that GMs had loads of cash and little choice.

And I disagree that throwing large wads of cash at a player is driving change in the market. One less team. That's change in market. A glut of seasoned MLB-ready players from Japan - that's change in the market. Billy Beane's drafting philosophy? that drove change in the market, by acknowledging that certain undervalued skills were useful and should be paid for.

A lot of you guys are missing the point. The ownership has every right to maximize their profits. The Phillies aren't a non-profit organization.

What the ownership is missing is that the way to increase the profits is not to hire the gritty guys but to win baseball games. Making the playoffs will make the Phillies a lot of money. Spending $95M is fine but when spending $95M will get you 86 wins with no playoffs and spending $105M will get you 91 wins and the playoffs, you're bound to make well more than the $10M you lost. It's about not realizing the gains from spending money.

On the other hand, I don't think there were any free agents worth the price and draft picks this winter. I loved the Helms signing, but would have signed Huff and not Eaton. With the lack of a market for Lieber, I think that spending on Eaton was silly. Eaton is worse than Lieber with a longer commitment.

Tony - Costs go up. When costs go up, revenue must increase. My rent went up last year, but I'm not complaining that they didn't put in a new pool.

MattS - I agree that winning is the best way to increase profits. But they need to win something. Sliding into the playoffs and getting swept in the first round won't produce $10million in profits. That's one more home game. Winning the division, or even the first series might justify that investment.

To the person who said the Phillies should sign Ron Villone: you know the Phillies would forfeit their first round draft pick to the Yanks, right?

walter: You mean they might miss out on the next Greg Golson? Yipes!

clout - if I knew beforehand the Phils wouls draft a player recommended by Texas scout Steve Cohen... yes. I really dislike that scout.

On the bullpen, Lake Nostradamus tells me about a disturbing recurring vision that he has been experiencing. He sees "Ugly Beard" Rick White back in a Phillies uniform for the 2007 Phillies.

Will - The Phillies drew 2,701,815 last year with an avg ticket price of about 27.00. That's $72,949,005. My tickets for 07 went up 10%. Say they draw the same in 2007 = 80,243,906.

That's a difference of $7,294,901 (which is about what they're paying Jim Thome to play for the Chicago White Sox this year). If costs went up 7.2 million at CBP this year how do I get a job as the peanut/beer guy?

And did your rent go up 10%?

I think the general consensus is mainly disdain and disappointment from the OWNERSHIP & FRONT OFFICE.

But I do feel the roster right now is better overall than opening day 2006. A solid, proven rotation will be the difference maker over last year bar none.

LieberLikesDonuts, Myers, Lidle, Madsen, & Floyd VERSUS Garcia, Hamels, Myers, Moyer, Eaton, & LieberLikesDonuts.

I honestly feel the bullpen is also a slight bit better than last year.

Gordon (clsr), Rhodes (8th), Franklin (7th) , Cormier, Geary, & Julio Santana, VERSUS Gordon, Geary, M.Smith, Madsen, Castro?, Sanches, Brito, Warden and/or some other retreads.

Depth & back-up closer deficiencies but they were there last year.

Arguements can be made for both sides but with our current rotation & very strong nucleus of offense & defense plus decent bullpen I am happy with the current team but not totally satisfied.

I think 1 of 2 question marks will be addressed before opening day like the Delucci trade last year.

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EST. 2005

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