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Monday, January 01, 2007

Comments

Wells over Myers? Gotta be kidding. They shouldn't tamper with the starting staff anymore other than a Leiber trade. The team does not need a big hitter. I expect Helms to improve 3B greatly from last years production. Catching should be more consistant the whole year with Barajas/Ruiz/Coste. Last year it was the 2nd half of the season that spot produced. And Burrell should at least find his production somewhere between 2005 and 2006.

A Myers trade for anyone except a Miguel Cabrera or simular top player shouldn't even be entertained. We will liekly see a RP and a lefty OF brought in. Most likely to be traded is Leiber and one of the righty OF probably Rowand

How many starting pitchers past 40 do they need? This is an insane idea.

Myers is an ace. All sorts of teams didn't have a starter that good in '06. If the Phillies want to move him on the character issue, or to get a hitter, there's a case to be made for that, but not as part of a process to acquire a fat 43 year old pitcher.

I agree, tampering with the staff at this point might be over doing it. I have faith in the offense. If they get off to a slow start then you may look at a trade in-season.

Brett Myers has not demonstrated that he is "ace" material. Nice 2 or 3 who could improve to #1 given age and indicators. Iffy business projecting young starting pitchers. More likely would be a couple more decent seasons and fat contract and a waistline to match. Players like Crawford would be easier to project and, as they say, speed never slumps. Young guy, tools, speed, tied up for 2-4 years at reasonable dollars. Not sure Wells would be the answer, but Boomer could be a stopgap. 2008 would then be problematical but you wouldn't be dealing with what could be an unreasonable demand from Myers.

If you could swap Myers for Crawford (and get some relatively cheap pitching for a year) why wouldn't you do that?

bbned: I guess it depends on what your goal is for 2007. If your goal is to field a decent team while rebuilding toward the future, then a Myers-Crawford trade is a steal for the Phillies. If your goal is to win the World Series in 2007, then a Myers-Crawford swap makes no sense.

A rotation of Hamels-Lieber-Moyer-Eaton-Wells would be an accident waiting to happen. A senior citizen accident. Remember, too, there are no mlb-ready starters in Ottawa.

Crawford is similar to Soriano in that he has great speed and power and never takes a walk. He doesn't strike out nearly as much as Soriano, but he doesn't have as much power either. The Rays had him batting 2nd, which seems like the right spot.

This trade won't happen because the Rays are rebuilding and Crawford is not the kind of guy you trade in that situation. The Rays would be more likely to deal one of their promising OF prospects than their best rising star. In any event, I can't see them dealing Crawford for Myers straight up under any circumstances. It would take a lot more.

I'd hate to be the GM that trades away someone like Crawford, who basically fills every seat in Tampa for that team. He's a far better asset than Myers is due to the fact that he is a 5 tool player. Consistent top ten fantasy pick, too.
We rip on Lieber due to his weight, and now Wells? No thanks. He'd never stoop to the level to be seen in a Phils uniform.

Why the Phillies would have interest in an obese knucklehead in his mid-40s is beyond me. You think Jon Lieber has conditioning issues? This guy's a disgrace - he makes John Kruk look svelte, and Brett Myers look like a model citizen. I thought Wells' last season was *last season*. Don't these old pitchers know how to retire with dignity? Pass.

Of course, that's just my opinion. If there's actual basis in this report, and Gillick & Co. do have an interest, it certainly does beg all sorts of questions. I know the Phils were rumored in the previous off-season to have interest in Wells. But why? How could you expect to count on a guy this broken down?

The idea of Myers for Crawford is another issue altogether. All considered, I would do it. Considering the Phillies have a complete starting rotation *without* Myers, and that Crawford would add all kinds of dazzle to the offense, I think it would make the Phillies a better team in '07. I know, I know, Myers is only 26, and that's the *only* argument against such a trade. Considering the serious red flags that have impeded Myers' development, however, I don't think it's reasonable to mandate that he is untouchable. Everyone sees he has the stuff to be a 15-to-20 game winner, but his head relegates him to being a 10-to-15, and likely always will. People want to believe he's going to follow in the path of Schilling, and I just don't see it. He isn't nearly as mentally strong, doesn't prepare, can't focus, and isn't consistently overpowering. In my mind, he's expendable for the right return.

Meanwhile, I disagree that Tampa Bay wouldn't be willing to trade Crawford. the situation down there has become much like the Abreu/Phillies deal: terrific player, part of a stale nucleus, restless fan base, need for new blood. I think they'd be more than willing to trade Crawford for Myers. Then again, those Boston rumors just won't die, will they?

Neither makes sense to me. Trading Myers is risky. He is a solid starter. We should keep him.

Acquiring Wells makes no sense either. He's an old tub waiting to break down. If he was a used car, you'd be afraid to kick the tires.

I'm not sold on Myers as a #1. I'm not sold on a rotation with 2 AARP members either. But if you can get a contract and a player like Crawford for Myers I say do it. But in truth I just can't see Wells coming here. Don't see Tampa giving up Crawford for a pitcher like Myers. He is under contract for another 4 years at an incredibly cheap price. They can call there own shot on him and it would take more the Brett Myers to get him. In 2 years Brett could be making more then Crawfords entire contract.

Word on the street is the Rays are very much intent on trying to build around pitching. Myers is from Florida. Meanwhile, they've done nothing but lose with Crawford. If there was real interest in making such a trade, I think it would get done.

I like the idea of the Phillies trading Myers instead of Lieber. It would mean that Gillick has higher ambitions in constructing this team and is willing to gamble.

I can buy into the logic of a Myers/Crawford trade, but there is no way I see the wisdom of bringing in Wells. He was only able to muster 16 starts in '06 and he will be another year further away from 40 in '07, so getting 30 is highly unlikely.


I really don't think the Phils have interest in Wells, I think that is just something that finds its way into a newspaper somehow, emerging from the ether.

RSB: How much have you read about what's going on in TB? Your post is more clueless than usual.

No, that's accurate. D-Rays are reportedly looking for young pitching in return for young outfield. For example, a Google search on this subject brings up a FoxSports Ken Rosenthal article from 46 days ago.

Devil Rays could move young outfielders
NAPLES -- Judging from their aggressiveness in trade talks, the Devil Rays appear increasingly willing to trade one of their young outfielders — most likely Rocco Baldelli — for premium young pitching.

Possible targets for the Rays if they move Baldelli or left fielder Carl Crawford: Angels right-hander Ervin Santana, Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley or one of the Marlins' young starters.

A previous item that said the Rays had floated the idea of Baldelli for Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels was incorrect, according to a major-league source. The Rays have not brought up Hamels' name in discussions.

... top headline on the Devil Rays website today:

Pitching on to-do list for 2007
Young club searching for missing pieces in rotation, bullpen

While stated as incorrect in the above article, if it would take Cole Hamels to land a Rocco Baldelli, how in the world could you get Carl Crawford, a far more accomplished, healthier player, and as high if not a higher ceiling than Baldelli, for Brett Myers?

Plus, Tampa has a history of shooting for the moon in trade offers - I can't imagine Myers straight-up gets Crawford.

Clout, would you mind leaving in a self-righteous huff again? I should have enjoyed that while it lasted.

Man, the thought of Wells in a Phillies uni is kind of scary. Although it would lead to some fun jokes about him an Lieber's weight and the combined ages of Wells and Moyer could also be fun fodder.

I'm not convinced trading Myers is wise move, but it's definitely something to kick around and see if you could get a dream deal or something in return.

I can't believe that PG would seriously consider Wells. This sounds like a Boston reporter's rumor! He makes donut boy Lieber look like skin and bone. And his back is a major liability.

However, I would do a Myers for Crawford trade. Anytime you have a crack at a talent like Crawford's you gotta give it a shot. It's an everyday player that runs like hell for a every 5th day starter.

Granted, it's a gamble, but one well worth doing in my opinion.

Gillick trades Brett Myers- horrible move! Well, maybe not. I still think Myers will improve over the next 3 seasons and become that ace, but if we could get the ultimate-athlete Carl Crawford in the lineup...watch out! Myers straight up for Crawford doesn't seem right though, I'd want a prospect or something to go along with him. Also, depending on Boomer is risky, but to WIN sometimes risks need to be taken.

From MLB.com- "15. How about Texas vs. Philadelphia in the next Fall Classic?
Hey, it could happen and it doesn't matter what you've done before. The AL West is more wide-open this year. The hiring of Washington, the former A's coach, as manager in Texas was seen as a coup by many. The Rangers have grown up, and they have postseason staple Lofton as their leadoff man and Gagne as their closer. In Philly, there's a bona fide starting rotation, and a tough offense built around reigning NL MVP Ryan Howard. They are two clubs that haven't joined the playoff party in the 2000s. So right away the odds are with them as big wheel keep on turnin' and the average preseason predictions are pretty much worthless."

I could handle that!

The only reason that they could afford a Myers for Crwaford trade is because their minor league pitchers are really good. A few could be ready by mid season namely Sergovia and Happ with even more by next season. Some of these guys have really good potential too. I would be tempted to keep 6 pitchers and have Wells/Lieber/Eaton all battle for the last 2 spots on the rotation with the other in the pen and insurance considering thier track record for injuries and inconsistancies.

Crawford would be an excellent pick up and make sense for Tampa with the prospects that they have waiting in the wings. That would also make Rowand or less likely Burrell available in a trade for RP.

Its a gutsy move I like it

From mlb.com via Rotoworld:
While the Rays are reportedly open to moving Rocco Baldelli, they will not trade Carl Crawford, according to MLB.com.

After reading a rumor that Crawford was up for grabs, the Brewers called the Rays to check on his availability. Rays officials told the Brewers, "Absolutely not."

Regarding Crawford, three points:
1. Anyone can be traded in the right deal.

2. I can't imagine anyone associated with the Rays thinking that Myers is equal value to Crawford.

3. To say, "the situation down there has become much like the Abreu/Phillies deal" is beyond absurd. Abreu was the salary dump of a 32-year-old established star with a fat contract. Crawford is a great bargain and a 25-year-old emerging superstar.

clout, I guess that puts this Crawford for Myers trade talk to rest.

Agreed it would take more than Myers to get Crawford, quite a bit more probably. Since they're all about young pitching, they would be asked to pony up someone like Happ and maybe more.

Jason - good fodder for discussion but the Wells inquiry could only make sense in a LH relief pitcher role as the Phils are doing some due diligence for plans for the bullpen.

It would be good for the cheesesteak shops however but he is not worth the money at that age in that shape.

Myers is still probably the most dominating proven pitcher on the staff although arguements can be made for Garcia (adjustment to NL plus more miles) and Hamels (1st full season & injury-prone).

I think we are getting a little greedy as we have some depth in pitching for the first time in decades and now we want to move one of our best, makes no sense to me.

Unfortunately it will not happen but with Moyer's make-up, experience & competitiveness I think he would be great in the LH set-up role but I know that would never happen.

Dayn Perry writes in FoxSports gushing praises over the Mets GM Omar Minaya for his minimalist moves in the offseason. Then he writes about their starting pitching and free agents that are available. He writes about Mark Mulder stating: "On the market, the best option might be Mulder. He likely won't be ready for opening day, but the Mets figure to have room to breathe in the NL East. In other words, they can give him time to convalesce without getting buried in the standings."

From that quote, you can see there is no respect for the Phillies as the Mets "figure to have room to breathe in the NL East. In other words, they can give him time to convalesce without getting buried in the standings." What crap!

LF: I'm with you! I stand by my prediction that the Mets won't even win 90 games this year.

I'd stay far away from Wells. If it was 5 years ago, maybe. He's old and a cancer.

I would entertain trading Myers for Crawford. It'll take more than Myers, but why not? Instead of Wells, why not go after Mulder? Might not be ready until after Opening Day, but he's got talent.

The Phillies scored plenty of runs last year. They don't need hitting, and not all of that staff is going to stay intact for the entire season. Trading Myers would not be a good move IMO.

But I've been wrong before.

The only way a Crawford for Myers trade would make any sense is if it was done in tandom with a Freddy Garcia contract extension. Otherwise the Phillies would be risking a rotation next year of Hamels, Eaton, Moyer, and two open slots. As for whether Myers alone would be enough, I think that such a deal would only make sense if it was a straight up trade. Quality starting pitching is more valuable than a gifted position player. As for Wells, I don't see the value added over Lieber. But if we did land Crawford then perhaps we could use Victorino and some other pieces to go after one of Florida's young starters.

I was reading an article in the Washington Post and at the end they had a box where you could add comments. The Washington Post had rules for comments. This was the first sentence of the rules: "Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site." It made me think of some of the recent turmoil on this site.

These rumors are nothing and would be insane on the Phils part, especially to MPN's point of not having Garcia locked up. YOu dont ever trade a 26 yr old pitcher, who is cheap and at minimum can give you 12-15 wins.

i don't like the idea of trading myers for anything until it's established that his long term contract price is undoable. the best homegrown pitcher since schilling is not someone to be dealt away because we don't like our outfield.

replacing his spot in the rotation with david wells is terrible. the guys is a good pitcher when healthy with wonderful bb/k rates and keeps the ball in the park. but since walking off the mound in the playoffs he's had his third highest era season as a starter the next year and pitched 13 games last year (with a whip the second highest in his career). he'd also be the third lefty in the rotation, an idea previously debated.

no thanks on wells and 99% no thanks on trading myers right now.

if we are a big market team, we should absolutly be thinking about an incentive laden contract for mulder. at least get a look at his medicals.

I'll take a pass on trading Myers unless I'm completely blown away. This organiation baffles me. The #1 reason why this team has missed out on the playoffs the last 5 years is pitching, now once we have a group of decent starters they're considering trading away one of the best (best in the league not just on the Phillies) for another hitter??? I hope this is just a rumor.

Wells is garbage. The guy would have a shuttle running from Philly to Atlantic City after every game where he could drink and gamble his contract away every night. No thanks.

Fred--- I read the same article on Minaya... Dayn Perry praises Minaya for standing pat.. yet states a paragraph or two later that the Mets have a fair to poor rotation.. (Orlando Hernandez's injury concerns, no Pedro till July,Heilman a questionable starter).If Mulder is the best they can do this off-season,I am one happy Phillies fan.

Not at all interested. Wells is an injury waiting to happen. Myers is a talented young pitcher that's just entering his prime. Myers will contribute more to the success of this team than a combo of Wells & Crawford or whoever.

Clout: fair enough, this time. I didn't realize Crawford was that young. I'll agree that it's not a valid comparison.

This Wells rumor sounds like some bs. The Phils may be interested in Wells but the more revelant point is whether Wells would ever want to play in Philly.

Wells is from Southern CA and I can't imagine him playing another season unless it is with SD, LA (Dodgers), or mabye Arizona.

Tony, I read your comments about Wells taking "a shuttle running from Philly to Atlantic City after every game where he could drink and gamble his contract away every night." To some players, that may be a plus. Do you think Gillick offers this option to prospective free agents as a reason to play in Philly? LOL.

these rumors on paper don't make any sense. Although I guess if you reall look into them they could. Phillies hate going to arbitration with its players and Myers is eligible in '08. If the guy has another 15 win season this year he definetly could get over $12-14 mil per season in arbitration and expect a multi year contact in the $75 million range if he ever hits the FA market. That being said, the phils won't keep him so now might be the time to look into trading him.

Well's is way over the hill and broken down and probably only can be relied on to pitch 10-15 games and give you less than 100 innings. Him in the rotation makes no sense at all but Gillick did draft him and has ties and we all no PG loves his "guys".

Crawford is a young and very good player durign a time when the type of game he plays (little man ball) is basically lost and overloooked. The art of a SB and good baserunning is lost for the quick fix of a HR. If the phils were to pick him up i don't see how he helps this lineup at all. With Howard and Burrell in the middle of the lineup we live and die with the extra base hit and do not steal bases. This team has played more of a american league style for years and with Gillick that did not change last year just look at all his signiings they're all AL players.

The opposite side of the argument would say that if the phils do look for a prototypical leadoff guy like Crawford then you can push Rollins down in the order to 5-6 and it can help balance things out past Howard.

In my opinion, PG needs to let the lineup alone and try to get more relief help. I'm not sure how this can be done and might need to be done using internal players. I'm still saying that i'd be disappointed if guys like Segovia/Happ are not given a full opportunity in spring training to make this team and give us some pen help.

Dude: I agree with everything you wrote except the part about Crawford being a leadoff guy. His lifetime OB is .326. The Rays bat him 2nd, which is a good spot since he's a good contact hitter.

The Rays use him in LF, because he doesn't have the arm for CF, but I think he could play CF in a small park like here.

you're right he's not a leadoff hitter so how could this help us? We already have the same type of player in rollins (someone who can steal bases but doesn't get on base enough). I don't see how this rumor helps the lineup at all.

If there is one thing i've learned so far...it is to never believe a FA or Trade rumor. Most often the players never go to the teams most talked about.

OBP can be overrated as a leadoff guy. The goal is to SCORE RUNS. J-Roll doesnt have a good OBP, but he scored 115+ runs.

That Dude

There are too many dudes on this site. Jason could rename this site the "Dude Ranch". Arrghh!

Rollins is slightly miscast as a leadoff hitter but the Phils do worse. The only thing that drives me nuts about Rollins is that he is really streaky. When Rollins is hot, the Phils score a ton of runs. If Rollins is hitting .200, this team struggles to score runs.

I have a bad feeling that the Phils offense is going to struggle considerably at times next year with Rollins and Victorino in the 1/2 spots. Utley and Howard are going to come up with alot of empty bases.

That Dude: Please explain how to score runs without getting on base.

More food for thoughts on Rollins:

1. Rollins is a significantly better hitter at CBP than on the road. Here are his splits from 2004-06 (Home - AVG .300 OBP .359 SLG .487 OPS .846 vs. Road - AVG .272 OBP .322 SLG .425 OPS .747)

2. Rollins is an awful hitter in April and May but really heats up come June. From 2004-06 his OPS in April is .651 and May is .683. Compare Rollins' OPS from June on: June - .825, July - .782, August - .815, September - .929.


3. Rollins is equally effective against LHP and RHP. His OPS. is .794 against LHP and .795 against RHP from 2004-06.

Jimmy Rollins scored 127 runs last year and stole 36 out of 40 attempts. He is not as selective at the plate as we'd like, but I don't understand the miscast label. How many better leadoff hitters are there ?

The Inquirers Todd Zolecki asked Bill James about JRoll OBP:

"Q: Jimmy Rollins is criticized in Philadelphia as a leadoff hitter because some think his on-base percentage isn't high enough. What do you think?

A: He's probably among the top half-dozen leadoff hitters in baseball. What's he scored the last two seasons? I think around 115 to 120 runs. There aren't many guys who score that many runs. I don't know that his speed outweighs his on-base percentage when you put it in those terms, but you don't get to design a perfect player and work with that. You have to work with the real players you have."

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/sports/baseball/16256018.htm?source=rss&channel=philly_baseball

Clout, would you rather have a leadoff hitter with a .334 OBP that scored 127 runs or a guy with a .360 OBP that scored 115 runs?

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=6419

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=5484

OBP isn't everything.

Tony:
Scoring runs is a product of the hitters hitting behind you. OB% simply puts you in a position to score. If you play in a bandbox with a solid middle of the order behind you (i.e. Utley-Howard) you will score lots of runs even with a weak OB. And you'll score even more runs with a high OB.

P.S. Rollins scored 5.87 runs per plate appearance; Damon scored 5.73 runs PPA. Factor in the ballpark factor and the only difference is that Rollins made more outs than Damon.

Boy I messed that up. Rollins scored 1 run per 5.87 PAs and Damon 1 run per 5.73 PAs

Any way you slice it with runs or OBP, Rollins was a major strength to the lineup last season, just in what he produced himself. Look at that SLG - .478. That's excellent for your shortstop. We're also talking 83 RBI, about 30 more than last season, with Abe Nunez, poor hitting pitchers and Sal Fasano ahead of him. For too long, he's been measured for his success and failure as a leadoff hitter instead of the complete package. I got wrapped up in that, too, and it's the result of that OB stat. If you want to attach a proper stat to Rollins, let it be games. Let it be runs. He's as complete as they come. If this guy goes down, you can forget about it, folks. Season over. Hopefully with Abreu gone, that leadoff issue is dead as a doornail.

It would be great to add Crawford. Anytime you can add an All-Star for someone who wishes they were an All-Star (and will want to be paid like an All-Star), do it. Plus, Gillick is on record about not wanting to give out long-term pitching contracts (something I am sure Myers will want for his first big payday). I would make this deal, however I highly doubt we could do it straight up.

If the deal is made, someone other than Wells need to be pursued. Mark Mulder, and even Jeff Weaver, are better options than the rapidly aging Boomer. Garcia would also have to be signed to some type of an extension.

First things first though. We need to fill out the remainder of our bullpen. It's not looking too stellar at this point, especially with Charlie's idiotic tendencies.

Jason: No argument here. Rollins is one of the best shortstops in baseball, offensively and defensively. But he'd be more effective further down in the order batting behind people that actually get on base. He bats leadoff because the Phils have no one else suitable.

Rollins' value as a leadoff hitter cannot be measured by OBP alone; his speed absolutely compensates for an average OBP. A player with average OBP who can score handily from second base on singles, from first base on doubles, etc., is worth *at least* as much as a player with an above-average OBP who has no speed. The total of runs scored confirms this measure of success. Rollins gets on base *enough*, considering his ability to get *around* the bases, to be considered a very good leadoff man.

"That Dude: Please explain how to score runs without getting on base."

Thats really parsing Clout. What I said was that OBP is an overrated stat. The ultimate stat is RUNS. J-Roll had 191 HITS last year. He had 79 singles and 57 BB's. He stoled 36 bases, so of the times he was on first base he put himself in a better position to score 26%of the time. That's pretty damn good. Also take into account his ability to score from first.

As to the Too many dudes, I can only respond with a very mature "I was here first!"

I think all the argument over whether a Myers-Crawford deal would be wise is a little... frivolous, because he's nothing more than a name J. (sorry, I forget your name) threw out there. There are any number of hitters who we could really be interested in trading Myers for, and moreover, a Wells signing doesn't necessarily indicate that we're interested in trading Myers; it could simply mean we want a cheap sixth starter, assuming Lieber gets dealt.

It is funny but Rollins either seems to get alot of praise or criticism and not much in between. Rollins is incredibly valuable to the Phils but he is a good, not great shortshop.

That said, Rollins is clearly the best option the Phils have at the leadoff spot. Pencil him in for 150-155 games and .260-.280 AVG, 15-20 HRs, 30+ SBs, and 100+ runs.


Shortshops that are better or as good as Rollins:

American League - Jeter, Tejada, Young, Guillen

National League - Reyes, Furcal, Renteria, Ramirez (maybe)

Good names thrown out there MG. Jeter, Tejada, Young, Guillen, and Reyes are better than Rollins. I would however take Rollins over Furcal, Renteria, and Ramirez, although it's closer than you think with Ramirez. Let's see what he does this year before he is viewed as higher than Rollins. Also, Jimmy's defense also wins him some points where his offensive numbers may lack.

Back to the bullpen. David Riske just signed with KC, and Foulke is in Cleveland to take a physical. Both of these two could have helped the Phillies this season.

J-Roll's as good of a leadoff hitter as there is in the game. Take him out and the Phils lose almost 200 hits a season, and almost 15% of their runs scored. When you score 865 runs in a season, you're doing something right. When you score 865 runs in a season and still lose 77 games, something isn't right. Obviously it's not the offense, and it's not J-Roll's fault for not getting on base. He scores 15% of the team's runs. That leaves one thing it could be: pitching. We've done our best to shore up the staff. But what have we done to shore up the pen? Not much in my book.

Jason: I like Rollins a lot. He is one heck of a defensive shortstop and brings a lot to the team. Next to Reyes, he is the best SS in the division. I would not mind, though, seeing him be a little more selective at the plate and not swing for the fences. I would gladly sacrifice some points from his slugging percentage if he were a little more selective at the plate and was willing to shorten up his swing with two strikes. They need Rollins to get on and be a pest on the base paths.

BTW…I have been advocating that the Phillies spend some money on FA relievers. However, I really do not see them doing anything into they get out from under the cloud of arbitration. There are a lot of players on that team that need have earned pay raises. The Phillies need to offer the long term deals that are going to keep Howard, Utley, and Myers in Phillies pin stripes for years to come. The way they handle negotiating deals for their young talent is going to say a lot about this team, its ownership, and its future.

No one seemed to notice that while Rollins significantly increased his power last year, he was *not* swinging for the fences, particularly in the second half. Note also that his strikeouts have decreased to a very respectable level. He may not ever be as 'selective' as people prefer, but that's fine with me. I like the aggressiveness he brings to the offense. No one on the Phillies can do as many things well as Rollins can. He may not be "great", but in my book, he's definitely a notch above "good".

Also: is there actually a better defensive SS in baseball than Rollins? There may be some who are close, or as good. But better? I'm not sure.

The IP is correct. I would place the emphasis on what these negotiations will say about ownership.

Do we have realistic owners who understand payrolls will rise from here, and that long-term deals today for Utley, Howard et al. could look like bargains 5 years from now.

Or do we have ownership that have set an arbitrary ceiling on what they are willing to pay a team as a whole or any individual player?

They are in the fifth or sixth largest market in MLB. Will they try to grow their fan base or are they content to just hold on to what they have?

They don't seem like risk takers. Even a little risk. Also, the first fifteen years they owned the team they squandered and frittered away much of the good will between the team and the fan base that had been built up during the glory years.

When Mike Schmidt was given the largest contract in baseball history by this franchise it was under previous ownership. Will current ownership have the foresight to do the same?

Do they recognize that in Ryan Howard they have a unique talent who can expand their fan base? Do they recognize he can help grow their market beyond the Philly metro area. Do they recognize they draw he is and can/will become? Do they want to grow or maintain the status quo?

Last season I saw more blacks at games than at any time in the previous 20 years. They need to recognize that he, locked into a long-term deal is as much a business partner as an adversary at the negotiating table.

Time will tell if they've developed the foresight. So far they've not exhibited a great deal of it.

I still think Utley should lead off with Rollins second and Howard 3rd. It helps breaking up the lefties with the switch-hitter in between and Utley's OBP is much higher.

MG - Excellent call on J Roll being steaky, great info.

I would trade Myers, but only for the right deal. He's got a lot of talent and he's young, but he's reportedly (by John Marzano) not that well liked in the clubhouse and has attitude problems. I like a little "tude", but we saw what kind of attitude he has in Beantown. Never say he's untouchable.

AWH, that's a terrific post. There's a school of thought which opines that the contract extensions of Utley and Howard aren't really pressing because their free agency is so many years away. But it *does* matter, greatly, and particularly where Howard is concerned, for the reasons you mention. This is a ROY who followed with an MVP. It's not even really a risk. It is the opportunity of a *lifetime* to build relations with black fans which have been tarnished from day one. Why would you put that off? Hopefully whichever agent Howard's recruits will force the issue for them; I have to believe that's largely the reason behind Howard's thinking.

It may be true that we never know what Gillick is thinking from his statements, but the "Maybe it'll happen. Maybe it won't." stance is just crap. To a Phillies fan vested in the future of the franchise, it sounds downright appalling. I can only imagine how it sounds to the players themselves. I agree that the foresight has not been exhibited, and that nothing this organization does indicates that it's safe to believe in its long-term fortunes. I seriously have to wonder if any of the very valid questions asked in the above post have been seriously considered by the so-called braintrust of the Phillies, which is hopelessly and rigidly locked into its little box of standard policy. I mean, it's great that the Phillies are finally spending money and presenting a more discernible commitment to winning, but they still make me sick sometimes. The way they handled the Myers situation brought to light just how miserably incompetent they are, and this vague and noncommital attitude towards its young stars riles me all over again. They traded their highest-paid player for fringe minor-leaguers and though they briefly attempted, they did not and will not replace his contract with anything comparable. There's just no damn excuse here. A good organization treats its players right, period. Maybe the Phillies will break down and eventually give Utley and Howard the show of faith they have earned. But in the meantime, the way they have handled the issue - *externally*, at least - is demonstrably shameful. What better way to show the baseball world and all its constituents that it's business as usual in Philadelphia.

Well said RSB

Got to agree with RSB there. One additional point is that it makes good business sense to sign Howard and Utley sooner rather than later. Look directly at the Cleveland Indians for an exceptional example of securing young talent on the cheap.

Travis Hafner has got to be one of the most overlooked elite hitters. His 1.049 OPS since 2005 grossly outweighs his 3Y / 7M contract with a 2008 club option for an unbelievably cheap 4.35M. He was secured through his likely peak after his first season with 500 PA.

Victor Martinez, same deal. A great hitting (if not a great catching) catcher, secured through his age-30 season with a 5Y / 15.5M deal with, again, a trailing team option for 7M dollars in 2010. He too was signed after his first 500 PA season.

And then there's the best deal. Grady Sizemore, the team's 23 year-old fan favorite center fielder, will make under 4M a year through 2011. And there's that trailing team option again, this one for 8.5M dollars in 2012. And yep - Sizemore was signed after his first 500 PA season.

It must be in the Cleveland handbook, and it's working out wonderfully for them.

2006 was Ryan Howard's first 500 PA season, so the time seems about right for him. If anything, his MVP award should impel the Phillies to speed up that process as much as they can.

Utley has already played two full seasons, so he is at least as overdue for a raise as Howard.

I fear it's too late to get that really good Cleveland-style deal on Utley or Howard. Last year, both went and established themselelves as among the best players in baseball at their respective positions. IMHO, the Phils are already a year behind.

Isn’t it interesting how short everyone’s memories are? Turn back the clock and remember the Phillies signing their great young nucleus to long-term deals (Abreu, Burrell, Lieberthal, Wolf, Rollins…) Every time one turned around, Ed Wade had locked up another budding star for a dynasty in the making.

Fast forward a couple of seasons, and everyone was condemning the Phillies and Ed Wade for being locked in to big contracts with no flexibility when these stars failed to bring home the hardware. The Phillies are in fact still trying to dig out from under Burrell’s deal after finally clearing Abreu’s for virtually nothing in return.

It’s great to use 20-20 hindsight to now say that Burrell and Lieberthal weren’t that good, but at the time the arguments for giving the longterm deals were the same as I am seeing here for Utley, Howard and Myers.

I think they deserve raises, big raises. But I do not sign Myers to longterm deal. I trade him. On the other hand, Ryan Howard has been ROY and an MVP, so he has earned a longterm contract (5 yrs max). Chase Utley is an all-star and also deserves a longer-term deal (5 yrs max). Plus, as has been pointed out, both are very popular with the fans. Only Jimmy Rollins of the earlier group really connected with fans, and he is still here and earning his money.

I just want to point out that there is a good reason why PG might be against signing a lot of longterm deals with his superstars. He just finished cleaning up most of Ed Wade's mess.

Howard and Utley? Yes. Myers? No way.

The only reason I see Myers being moved is because there are young players that will be making a ton of money in the next few years. Trading Myers or a Rios would make more sense. Myers is going to make alot of money and so are Utley and Howard. If you want to keep both of them Myers will have to go. Rios won't make a ton of money into after utley and Howard get theres. It makes perfect sense money wise.

Rocky Phil,

I don't think anybody has a short memory. I just think they recognize the difference between an Abreu/Burrell and an Utley/Howard. And, yes, any long-term deal could backfire.

Let's review the deals you mention:

Wolf - deal looks bad because he got hurt, not because he turned into Rick Ankiel or Gavin Floyd.

Abreu - monetarily this deal (#years/dollars) isn't terrible either, based on the player's production. Who knew they would have pitching issues for the remainder of his tenure, an issue they thought they had partially solved with the Wolf deal.

Lieberthal - this seems to have been a reward for his loyalty to the franchise. It was unwise and criticized by many at the time. A team giving a long-term deal to a 30-year old catcher coming of a major knee injury - well, it didn't take a genius to read a little Bill James to determine that production declines dramatically for catchers over 30(the get beat up), much less one who had been hurt. That info was available at the time, but obviously went unnoticed (ignored?) by mgmt.

Burrell - this is the one that scares the Phils away from giving anything long-term to Utley and Howard. It was also viewed by some as being excessive at the time. PB has been hurt (wrist, foot) which has apparently affected his production. What also seems to have affected his production is his mentality, his seeming lack of ability to or resistance to change, whether it be his plate stance/swing or approach at the plate. His production has been up and down. If he could consistently do what he did in 2005 this deal wouldn't look so bad either.

Not to start a separate topic here, but a closer exam of his '06 stats reveal that he was fairly consistent in terms OBP/SLG from '05 to '06. His K/AB was almost identical also. It's his BABIP that went down. Bad luck? Or, did the injuries affect him that much that he didn't drive the ball as hard, and therefore, more were caught?

One of the things that impresses me about Howard is his coachability. I love the story about how Manuel, when working in the minors, turned him towards right field, a change he embraced. This seems to be dramatically difference from Burrell's attitude.

On the negative side, on of the things that worries me about a long-term deal for Howard is his weight. He seems to be carrying a modest tire around the middle. Will it grow if he gets financially secure/comfortable? Will that affect his knees? Lead to more injuries in the future?

So, these micro issues aside for a second, let's look at the macro point I was making, which is the vision/foresight of ownership. My point was simply that so far in their tenure, the team has been to the playoffs once (I throw out '83 because previous ownership was responsible for that team's core). That is an appalling record for a team in a market this size. It's an abysmal record at maintaining fan loyalty, much less growing their fan base.

"Fandom" perceives this and they have been roundly criticised for their record. They are viewed much the same way Norman Braman was viewed - not really interested in winning, just interested in the financial benefits of ownership.

Have they learned from their mistakes? There are signs that point to this. They've FINALLY tried to rebuild, with some success, the minor league system (which they fired Woody Woodward for criticizing) to provide a steady stream of young talent. There are some problems there(missed in evaluating Howard's potential, for one), but no organization is perfect. And, yes, they've tried to lock up their best talent long-term, though some of the conracts (as previously mentioned) were ill-advised at the time.

Scott Palmer was brought in to help change fan perception. What they seem to miss, though, is that fan perception of them had a basis in reality - lousy stewardship.

They finally bit the bullet and got rid of Ed Wade, who despite his role in helping rebuild the minors and trying to lock up the talent(he did do some things right, people), became a lightning rod for fan criticism to the point it was affecting ticket sales.

Their involvement with Wade really gives one insight into some of the problems with current ownership. Even the fans could see Wade lacked the subtle vision required to produce a championship, hence the criticism, but they stubbornly stuck with EW and cost themselves and the fans more time.

This begs the question - was this because of misplaced loyalty to EW, lack of guts to make a change, or because they really thought he was capable? If it was the latter then we may be in for a long, long stretch of having our hearts broken.

A bright spot is that they FINALLY brought in a proven winner in Gillick. Is this a change in their actual thinking, or a bow to fan pressure? Again, if it's the latter it's causes some concern. What happens in the post-Gillick era (he ain't no spring chicken). Are we going to get another EW, or worse yet, Bill Giles as GM?

These are some of the concerns when you evaluate this ownership group and their vision (or lack thereof) for the future.

Last (water under the bridge) question:

How popular would this team and ownership group be if they had continued to produce a consistent winner with several more playoff appearances the last 25 years?


Sorry, I meant George S.

Great thread! Lots of excellent points about management. RSB I also congratulate you for the first criticism I've ever seen you make of the Abreu trade. You've finally seen the light.

The Phillies are indeed in the nation's 5th largest market. Will they enter the season with the 5th largest payroll?

I also commend Casey for his post about the Indians. They've got a philosophy that works for a smaller market team and they've been following it since the mid 1990s: Invest your money in the farm system; trade vets for legitimate prospects; sign the prospects who become stars to long-term contracts as soon as possible. The result is 6 playoff appearances in the past 12 years.

What's the Phillies strategy on building a winner? Is there a coherent philosophy? Can someone here tell me what it is?

Clout, you can't equate market size with payroll.

Are the Phillies the fifth highest in net profit? Are they even the fifth highest in attendance (percentage or gross)? Are they the fifth highest in total merchandise sales? Are they the fifth in anything besides market size?

Besides all that, the three largest markets, NYC, Chicago and LA have two teams apiece. Meaning by your logic, the phillies would be at best the 7th largest payroll.

Dittos to clout's remarks about this thread. Jason can post an opening heading commentary topic about signing a goat to play shortstop at Lakewood, and the Beerleaguers will eventually get the discussion rolling on some completely different topic of great insight and interest.

For this thread it it obvious that we don't want Wells. As for the goat, he gets to the ball quick and is a great baserunner, stealing a lot of bases because fielders fear his horns. His throwing and batting skills are weak, however, he keeps the infield grass trimmed nicely.

AWH

I’m not against the Phillies securing their best players. There are certain benefits to longer term contracts, obviously:

You can secure a great young player probably saving money in the process down the road.
You keep your foundation talent to build around.
You can better market fan favorites.
Management has certainty in a good portion of their payroll costs going forward, which allows them to plan better.
The player himself is happy.

Of course, there are risks, including injury, the player getting complacent, or simply failing to deliver. And when that happens, you’re stuck with him. You lose a lot of flexibility, and not just financially. Look at the problem the Phillies faced when Ryan Howard appeared and Jim Thome was locked in at 1B.

Of the 3 Phillies we’re talking about here, I think the risks are mostly with Myers, first, Howard second, and Utley last. I would feel most comfortable giving Utley a long term deal. Howard might have physical problems at some point, but his attitude is so good that it’s worth the risk in my view. Myers is the highest risk, too high in my opinion. He has weight concerns, personality concerns, and he’s a pitcher, who are carry a high risk of injury with long term deals. I would pass.

And as the GM you have to ask yourself this question: are these players going to get better, or have they already peaked? Am I signing them to a long-term deal as a reward, or as an investment? The jury is out on all 3 of these guys in that regard, but I would again go Utley-Howard-Myers.

As for being in the 5th largest market, I agree. The payroll should reflect that. I don’t really care about merchandise sales, profit margin or revenue stream: in a market this size, in a sports-crazed city starving for a winner, if they can’t make ends meet then they have such poor management and marketing skills that they deserve to get thrown out. (Let’s start with Sixers management first!)

However, although the Phillies haven’t been to the playoffs, the past 5-6 years I would say they had a pretty competitive team, a team that most fans thought could win it coming out of spring training. A combination of bad luck, injuries, and some bad decision-making during the season cost the team the post-season. Let’s hope the next 5-6 years will even those things out.

As I read a lot of these longer posts, I do not know who wrote it until I'm nearly finished as I scroll down the screen. As I read them, I form an opinion about them without being influenced that I am reading Carson, clout, Alby, kdon, RSB, Willard or MG. In the past few days, I've read such posts that I like and find the same author...George S. Good job.

I agree with most of what George S. wrote above, except for his last paragraph. I am not as forgiving of the team's piss poor performances coming out of spring training as of late.

I'm sure the thread is past this point by now, but I always thought Wells would have been a great fit on the '93 Phillies-that would've been fun.

George S.'s post above is a good one. The Phillies have had a winning team 4 years in a row-how may times has that ahppened in their history? Maybe nver, if you exclude the mid 70's-early 80's.

And good analysis on deals. Myers is a lousy risk for a long-yerm deal. Utley got established late, so he's a medium risk. Howard's weight makes him a medium risk as well. If I were Gillick, though, I'd sign Chase and Ryan if the money's at all reasonable. But the number five market SHOULD have the number 5 payroll, roughly.

You can only enhance revenue by enhancing the tea.

The Phillies led the league in runs last year, and lost no one who contributed anything to that stat.

They need PITCHING, not more offense.

I know they've lacked a true leadoff hitter for many years, but getting rid of Myers (their best starter, hands down) for anyone short of an A-Rod caliber player is a terrible idea.

I think we all agree that we want to see money spent wisely, as well as with some equivalence to the franchise's ability based on the market size, because we believe that's what it's going to take to win in the future. And we can reasonably disagree on who it is wise to spend it on.

My worry is they don't see a big enough picture to grow their business and following (and therefore have the $$$ to compete). Do you really think this ownership group would pay a posting fee for a good Japanese player? (BTW, I read Dice-K is already doing ads in Japan in his Red Sox uniform. Not that they ever would spend THAT kind of money, but they didn't even THINK about a trying to get the player, much less place a bid.)(I know, I know, they signed the 2 Korean busts a few years ago, but did they give up after that? And does every domestic draft pick they spend money on work out?). Do they think globally (cliche, I know) and think about marketing this team beyond Metro Philadelphia? Ted Turner created a national following for the Braves with a little vision.

Remember, this is an ownership group that had the foresight to shut down their Latin American scouting operation.

The points made above about mid-season decision making/moves is valid, but don't hang it on injuries or bad luck. Every team has them. The reason Abreu is a Yankee is because they addressed an injury problem. Big contract an issue? What about the Dodgers trade for Marlon (used to be a Phillie) Anderson last year? They probably wouldn't have made the playoffs without that move, and they gave up - 'omigosh' - Johnny Nunez?

I will give Gillick credit for pulling some moves last season, but how often has that happened? Previously, this ownership has trotted out Paul Abbott (and a prayer) in the middle of a playoff push.

So...I worry. Will I get the pleasure of seeing Ryan Howard and Chase Utley at CBP in the future in a Phillies uniform, or that of some other team?


And on a completely unrelated subject, you'll note on ESPN.com an article about how Justin Morneau changed his off field habits and improved his performance to MVP levels.

I wonder if Pat Burrell is taking notes.

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