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Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Mesa is admission of defeat in my eyes.

Mesa was washed up when the Phillies had him the first time. It really is embarrassing that they're resorting to this.

I have no problem with Gillick admitting defeat, but he would have to actually do something: acquire prospects, etc. if we come out of this season with nothing but older players and - maybe - "salary flexibility," 2007 will be just another step in this franchise's glacial decline.

Question for Arbuckle: Why do the Phillies use the same drafting methods every year that has resulted in no playoff appearances in the last 15.

That's a nice, concise way of putting it, ae. I agree.

Well, let's see...2 reliable starters, no reliable relievers, no good options at 3B and LF, no good options off the bench, dumbest manager in the game...sounds like a playoff team to me.

Jose is probably just the ingredient needed to make this bomb perfect.

Oh man. I was gonna make a joke about Mesa being available a couple days ago. They can't be serious.

Arbuckle question: The high minors appear bereft of young, high-ceiling talent. Where will the talent come from in the next few years, specifically shallow positions such as third base, outfield, starting pitching and relief pitching.

Walt - great question!

Question for Arbuckle: As a follow up to Walt's question, with the dearth of young position players who are true prospects in the minor league system (compared to contending teams like the Mets), how is it that the organization has not taken a harder look at the people in charge of player development?

I.e., is it the inability to draft well, or the inability to develop players?

Does this mean that Arthur Rhodes is no longer available?

Maybe we can still bust out Urbina?

Has Gillick checked out St. Mary's Rest Home for other bullpen help? My grandfather says some of his old classmates are there and can throw a mean cutter!

Drafting a talented HS catcher or a "toolsy" HS outfielder is underwhelming and typical. They obviously need to build their minor league system, but this team needs some prospects who can play SOONER not later. I would draft the best pitcher/3b/of available with their first few picks that has the quickest chance of getting to the majors.

Drafting the best player available whether a pitcher or 3B would be a significant departure from what the Phils usually do. They are so in love with drafting "athletes" that they forget that sometimes you should actually draft a baseball player not just a guy who can run and jump.

I totally agree, Paul. I don't know why they are so loathe to draft college players from major programs. Not only do such draftees have a much more measurable track record to go on, but they also have a much quicker path to the majors. I'm all for long-term planning but there is a time value to be considered in making these draft picks. The Phillies hit the jackpot with Cole Hamels, but they were picking at a much higher position in the draft than they are this year. Far more often, they've struck out completely when they've drafted "toolsey" 18-year olds with no track records at all. On the other hand, when they've drafted guys from major college programs -- i.e., Utley, Howard, Burrell -- they've generally done much better.

BAP: "The Phillies hit the jackpot with Cole Hamels, but they were picking at a much higher position in the draft than they are this year."

While the 17th pick is higher than the 19th, I wouldn't exactly say that it was 'much' higher.

I don't pretend to be real familiar with baseball draft prospects, but from what I've read (mostly on Phuture Phillies), Mesoraco is not an underwhelming or typical pick. he's not anything like the Golson-types in our minor league system.

and the other point is that maybe there simply aren't ML-ready or near-ML-ready 3Bs and Ps in the draft. it doesn't make any sense to me to draft an older player just for the sake of drafting an older player.

b_a_p, nice post, but so obvious only the Phils baseball people can fail to see it.

From Bill James' Primer:

"5. Players taken in the June draft coming out of college (or with at least two years of college) perform dramatically better than players drafted out of high school."

I'm beginning to think that Giles, Arbuckle and company either really think they're smarter than everyone else, or, they keep trying to prove that they are despite the evidence to the contrary.

The old HS vs College debate. If you look at the Toronto Blue Jays, they drafted nothing but college players in the top rounds for a while under JP Riccardi, and their farm system isn't that great either.

I thinhk that, looking at the Phillies' typical choices of "toolsy outfielders," one can come to the conclusion that they are very scout-oriented and lacking on the sabermetrics. On the other hand, going back to Toronto, their analysis was almost all statistical and they too yielded poor drafts. The answer is pretty clearly somewhere in the middle, but the Phillies lack the balance. The only way to produce better drafts would be to augment, or totally change, the current front office, but as long as they're more or less in charge of themselves it won't happen.


You're right, there might not be ML ready players available, but I was putting it out there, that if there is, they should go that route.Probably is wishful thinking expecting someone to make an instant impact. They need help now/next year and I don't see them spending huge bucks on free agents.

The big concern about college pitchers is overuse.

Or you can look at the A's, don't they go after college players year after year? It's a crapshoot. Good scouting does prevail.

Questions for Mike Arbuckle:

1. What the hell are you guys doing?
2. Does Montgomery really care?
3. Do you see the Abreu dump as working out well?
4. Has anyone in the front office ever looked into stat-based analysis for drafting, signing, or trading players? Ever? Or, do you just like high school outfielders who can run fast and can't hit?
4. If you don't fold for this season, and you get Mesa and other hasbeens, how do you see next year's team taking shape once Garcia leaves and the team is still ruing Myers career?

Dave X, is it a fair comparison to evaluate Riccardi, who has only been on the job for 5 years, the same way you evaluate Giles/Arbuckle,, who have been on the job for much longer?

Arbuckle is in his 16th year. Giles and the rest of the you want to be reminded?

I've just been going through some posts on Phuture Phillies (btw, definitely recommended if, like me, you don't really know much about the draft), and I've noticed one other potential pitfall to drafting college players. it seems that a lot of blue chip college prospects are Boras clients, which means very large signing bonuses and guaranteed major league contracts. for some guys, maybe that's worth it, but it's another point to consider. (and I don't mean to start a debate about the cheapness of Phils management, because you'd be preaching to the choir there.)

Well, as much as he's despised in Philly, a Boras client, J.D. Drew, has been on FIVE playoff teams in the previous nine years of his career, and is on another one this year. Yeah he's been injured...yadah yadah yadah...but his teams win.

What's the track record of other Boras' clients who are high draft picks out of college?

Anyone know?

StJoe: My mistake. I thought Hamels was taken with a top 5 pick; I must have been confusing him with Gavin Floyd. Nonetheless, my basic point remains the same. I have no problem with drafting the occasional high school player, even in the high rounds. But the Phillies do it excessively. As AWH points out, college draftees have, as a group, have had much greater major league success than high school draftees.

This whole draft is nothing more than one big crap-shoot. The teams that fare best are the ones that acknowledge this fact & do everything they can to turn the odds as much in their favor as possible. The teams that fare worst are the ones who arrogantly hew to the belief that they can out-smart the other GMs and scouts when it comes to discerning talent among a group of thousands of high school players who have no meaningful track record upon which they can be judged.

The Phillies should not exclude anyone b/c of their being a client of Boras. I hate the guy, but that's another mistake. The Phillies are the ones who drafted Drew, despite knowing that he didn't want to play here/wanted tons of $ they weren't going to pay, which led to them drafting Pat the Bat the next year.

my point was not that being a client of Boras should automatically disqualify a potential draft pick from consideration, but that handing out a oversized, guaranteed contract to a player represented by Boras who maybe doesn't project as well as someone else isn't necessarily the best course of action.

I think another issue here is that there are different kinds of HS draft picks. there's the guys who are "toosly," "raw," "athletic," etc., who are 18 now and won't make it to the majors until they're 24, 25, or older - if they do at all. then there's 18, 19 year olds who aren't that far from the majors - like Hanley Ramirez, who debuted at 22 and was drafted at 18, or Hamels (22 and 19), or Joe Mauer (21 and 18). to the extent that anyone can tell these things right now, Burgess appears to be the former while Mesoraco is closer to the latter.

Question #1 - Mike, aside from the standard company lines, what are three things you could do better to get this team into the playoffs not only this year, but in years to come?

Question #2 - How would you assess your job performance over the past 16 years, especially given that the Phillies have only made the playoffs one time during your tenure?

As mentioned above, I also would like to know why the Phillies don't go after more college level players from major programs.

Drafting is obviously a major part of building your system, but development is also a key. I don't see any development in the Phils system. Toolsy/athletic types are fine, if you have good teachers. The Phils don't seem to have them. Can't let the teachers get off easy.

Drafting is obviously a major part of building your system, but development is also a key. I don't see any development in the Phils system. Toolsy/athletic types are fine, if you have good teachers. The Phils don't seem to have them. Can't let the teachers get off easy.

Questions. The draft becomes less significant every year, as the number of foreign players grow. Mike, exactly where and how are the Phils spending $$ to identify and sign future big leaguers? Are we succeeding in signing top prospects? How many have been signed in each of the past 5 years, and how does that compare to other teams? Would we/have we ever seriously considered signing a Japanese player?

Question for Turnbuckle:
how can teams like the Marlins win 2 World Series' in 10 years time and again be in the early stages of building another WS team and the Phils cant put a team in the playoffs in over 14 years?
Same with the Diamondbacks.
How do they manage to continually get good young players and make a push every 5 years or so? Phils just linger year in and year out.
Wagner said it best when he chose the Mets over the Phillies. Mets win. Phils want to win.

Mr Arbuckle: Is this organization really in it to win?

Is anyone else starting to lose interest in the "old-timer" matchup between Moyer and Glavine? It doesn't make for the most exciting action.

I look for the Mets to tattoo Moyer, although he should handle Reyes & Wright.

Billy Mac - How about a question that Arbuckle might actually answer:

"What is the Phils' current organizational strategy on developing/acquiring talent from Asia and what resources (e.g., scouts, cash) have the Phils devoted to this issues?


I like your question. This team seems to be prepared on the right side of the infield (and short stop) for the next few years with Ruiz at catcher. We can assume that Shane will either be in right or center field and that Cole will be in the rotation and Myers somewhere in there through '09. What else is there? Now that Bourn and Ruiz have left AAA, who's next? How can we expect to compete in '08 without spending more money in free agency or trading knowing that the cupboard is bare?

Jon, Arbuckle's first year as Scouting Director was 1993, the year they made the playoffs. He arguably had no impact on that year.

The modified question should be:

How would you assess your job performance over the past 16 years, especially given that the Phillies have NOT made the playoffs one time with players you've drafted?

Fair enough, AWH. Perhaps it will be asked. I was just going on the 16 number that was mentioned earlier.

At least we don't have to watch Trachsel anymore.. man, that guy was brutal to watch. Are we there yet?

I would ask him something like: Why do players in our farm system not seem to be fundamentally sound or Why do you go after "toolsy"/athletic players you're not committed to developing correcting.

Question: Do you care about winning? *then add, "C'mon, be honest".

Jason, any chance you could remove that post from dead head. I'm all for an open forum, but that kind of speech is uncalled for.

On the draft, Arbuckle should get some kind of break because of all the draft picks the Phils gave away because of dumb FA signings. This team has produced a pretty solid crop of front liners (Howard, Utley, J-Roll, Burrell, Ruiz, Hamels, Myers, Bourn(?)) but it has been the depth that is lacking - in part, that is due to the lack of picks the Phils have had.

However, the last three #1 picks are all question marks right now, and that has to fall squarely on Arbuckle.

AWW, again, it is tough to blame Arbuckle exclusively for the Phillies playoff failures...he hasn't exactly been awful. Here is a starting team (off the top of my head) I think any GM would be proud of over a 16 year stretch:

C - Ruiz/Lieberthal
1B- Howard
2B- Utley
SS- Rollins
3B- Rolen
LF- Burrell
CF- Bourn
RF- Michaels

LHP- Hamels
RHP- Myers

That is at least 6 all-star caliber players that have been drafted and developed by the Phils in the past 15 years. There are certainly teams with better track records over this time (Oakland, Minnesota, Atlanta, etc.), but the Phils are far from the bottom.

Let's look at the last 7 drafts, Phillies vs. Braves, top 2 picks, rounds in parens. Keep in mind that the Braves picks were always AFTER the Phils in the rounds when both had picks.

2000: Phils-Chase Utley (1); Keith Bucktrot (3)
Braves-Scott Thorman (1); Adam Wainwright (1)

2001: Phils-Gavin Floyd (1); Terry Jones (4)
Braves-Macay McBride (1); Josh Burrus (1)

2002: Phils-Cole Hamels (1); Zack Segovia (2)
Braves-Dan Meyer (1); Jeff Francoeur (1)

2003: Phils-Tim Moss (3); Michael Bourn (4)
Braves-Luis Atilano (1); Jason Saltalamachia (1)

2004: Phils-Greg Golson (1); Jason Jaramillo (2)
Braves-Eric Campbell (2); John Holt (3)

2005: Phils-Mike Costanzo (2); Matt Maloney (3)
Braves-Beau Jones (1); Joey Devine (1)

2006: Phils-Kyle Drabek (1); Adrian Cardenas (1)
Braves-Cory Rasmus (1); Steve Evarts (1).

Summary: Phils had 6 1st round picks, Braves had 12, due to free agents signed and lost. The 2 best players on the list are Hamels and Utley, who were top 5 picks. Six Braves have made the majors, 3 Phillies. Except for Bourn the '03 and '04 drafts are looking like poor ones.

I agree Kdon. Arbuckle should get some attention of course, but it's the developers of talent I really question. I don't think they know how to get the most out of a player, but think they do.

Clout, I count 5 Phils that have made the majors. I know we would probably like to best forget Segovia's one start and the Floyd starts, but they did happen.

Hamels was not a top 5 pick. #17.

In order, I would rank the players who have made the majors as follows (counting both what they have done, and what I think they will do):


Your list pretty much corroborates the standard opinion...Phils get high-end guys, but little else.

kdon: I agree with you that lack of depth has been a killer for this team but I disagree that draft picks have anything to do with it. They've had 6 1st rounders in the last 7 drafts, so it's not like they've been devoid of 1st round picks. The problem isn't the draft, it's trades and personnel decisions. Look around the league and see how many ex-Phillies play for other teams and then see how many players acquired in exchange for them are no longer in baseball.

I had tickets behind the plate to tonight's game at Shea - gave them to a Mets fan.
I am not going to waste the time and valuable gas money on this mediocre franchise.
I'll watch from home and turn it off when they're down by 5 runs in the 6th again.

Oh, and Utley was the 15th pick in the draft, not top 5.

All in all, I think you could argue that Arbuckle et al did a better job in these drafts, especially when you consider where they drafted;

Phils picks: 1st- 6, 2nd- 3, 3rd- 3, 4th- 2
Brave picks: 1st- 12, 2nd- 1, 3rd- 1

Would anyone here trade the Phils 14 players for the Braves'?

Again, this shows how much Ed Wade cost the team by FA signings.

Umm, clout, look at your own list:

2000: No 2nd Rd pick
2001: No 2nd or 3rd Rd pick
2003: No 1st or 2nd Rd pick!
2005: No 1st Rd pick

If you want to talk about organizational depth, 2-3 rd picks are crucial. Almost no one makes the ML from the 4th round on. I bet if you gave Arbuckle back those 6 picks above, one or two would be a ML contributor by now, or at least a good fill-in.

Oh, and I certainly agree the team has killed itself in trades (the three most onerous being Rolen, Schilling, and Abreu). I was just trying to defend Arbuckle a bit. I would put Wade, Gillick and Amaro Jr. ahead of Arbuckle as the men most responsible for the Phils failing to make the playoffs in 13 years.

Gillick's been here what, a year and a half?

And let's not forget the wasted the 2nd overall pick on a guy who told them not to draft him and they didn't intend on paying.

kdon -

i don't understand why everyone is so damn down on zegovia. maybe i was watching a different game, but his spot start was spoiled by the defense, and not his pitching.

i'm wouldn't be upset if we needed to reach into the minors and came up with zegovia again for a spot start or two.

kdon, agreed - it's not all Arbuckle's responsibility. I was merely trying to phrase a question to put the guy on the spot. He would either have to criticize other members of management (watch out, The Puppet will call you in for a verbal spanking), or obfuscate, the latter being much more likely.

The point is simply this: This team is not good enough to win anything, and management needs to hear that fans aren't so stupid as to hold Chollie exclusively responsible.

From scouting to player development, all the way up the management ladder to The Puppet and Walking Sphincter's offices, this organization defines mediocrity.

The only conclusion one can really come to is that Giles and Montgomery are mediocre talent themselves. So much so that they can't even identify truly talented people they would hire. Either that or they're afraid to actually give up control to anyone with any real baseball talent.

kdon - You have a point to a degree about the missing draft picks (especially in 2003) but you miss the point.

The overall drafts from 2002-04 have been incredibly poor and go a long way to explaining the current weak state of the Phils farm system.

2002: Hamels and Mathieson but nothing else; no depth
2003: Bourn and a couple of other marginal prospects; again no depth and a very poor draft
2004: Mabye one of prospects breaks through but looks like another poor draft; again no depth

Every team has a poor draft every now and then. It happens but the Phils basically had poor overall drafts from 2002-2004 and no major league team can afford to have 3 or 4 years of poor draft results without it affecting the big league club in a major league.

Sadly, I think that Phils' fan are going to look back in 5 years at this time period (2006-08) and think what might have if Gillick had made better moves and if the Phils had drafted better in 2002-05.

kdon: Again, the Phils had 6 1st rounders in 7 years, that's not the reason they've fallen short. I absolutely agree that Arbuckle has done a good job with his 1st rounders, overall. If you think 2nd and 3rd rounders are the difference go back and look at what the Phillies have picked in the past in those rounds. The difference is the lack of talent they've acquired in trades. Like I said before, go down the list of ex-Phillies on other teams and then look up what we got in return: Players no longer in the big leagues.

clout, maybe you need to be specific and ask him who we got for Abreu, Padilla, White, Michaels, Rolen, Schilling....

Jason... Ask how comparable e is the money we spend on scouting compared, say, to the A's or Dodgers. (in pctge of total budget). You can bet we come in on the cheap end of THAT score

It's incredible that people would try to defend Arbuckle. The man took over a decade and a half ago and the farm system is no better off, and neither is the present or future of this organization. Perhaps there's a few years in there where you could say, okay, they traded this one and signed that one and reneged on this draft pick, but - sixteen years!! If you really want to make a Phillies/Braves comparison, make a list of all the pitchers the Braves were able to pull out of their farm system and serviceably use over that period of time - and add position players to that list, while you're at it. Maybe some of these players don't end up lasting very long, but for years the Braves were able to patch holes in their roster from within. This hasn't been the case with the Phillies as long as I have watched them, dating back to John Felske. If there's an injury, they have to go dredging up the Don Robinsons, Dave Leipers, and Brian Powells of the world. Many people felt that eight years was more than enough of a chance for Ed Wade to have turned the Phillies' fortunes around, but Arbuckle gives us SIXTEEN years of unproductive drought and somehow it's okay? What, because he gets interviewed for some bottom-feeder's GM job every three years or so, the Phillies need to hold onto him like he's some precious commodity? Look, people: the Phillies don't win not because the owners don't want them to, not because of a jinx or a curse or because Charlie Manuel's a flunky; they don't win because:

The Farm System Never. Ever. Gets Any Better.

No farm system, no ability to improve your team, no ability to trade from a position of strength. Mediocre free agents file in and out. Wade might not have had to sign all those damn FAs if there was something ready and waiting in the first place.

And now they're whispering about Jose Mesa? Are you sh*tting me? I mean, are you completely serious? That's a goddamned outrage, and a hideous insult to the fans of this team. They can't consider Cormier, but somehow they believe Mesa can help this team? Blind as bats.

I kept saying sixteen years, but fine, fifteen. Still a hell of a long time.

As Eskin "found out", this team is purely run for a profit margin. Winning, building, and the fans be dammned. The game w/ 15 runners stranded vs. SF encapsulated my experience as a fan for the last 27 yrs...('93 was fun, but a mirage) Frustrated with a team that is chock full of strikeout holes w/ very little clutch performance. Mgmt spend 95 million.. too bad they don't know HOW to spend it. In earlier threads I have warned about Eaton and have said that Madson has no upside..actually has regressed.. This is another 82-80 type team and we'll all hail Jimy Williams as the "new" face of leadership.. That's when I follow the Devil Rays.. They're more fun.

Clout: You don't think 2nd-round picks are important? Here's who the Phillies drafted in the 2nd round since Arbuckle got here:

1992: No pick
1993: Scott Rolen
1994: Ryan Nye
1995: Marlon Anderson
1996: Jimmy Rollins
1997: Randy Wolf
1998: Brad Baisley
1999: Jason Cooper (did not sign)

Interesting to note that until 1998, the GM was Lee Thomas. All his #2 picks, if I'm not mistaken, made the majors (Nye for just a cup of coffee).
Ed Wade took over in '98. Baisley was a good prospect, was in the low minors with Myers and Madson, but his arm blew out. Cooper eventually signed with Cleveland, where he's a bust at AAA. And after that, no second-round picks.

So is it more Arbuckle's fault, or Ed Wade's, that the system has been so unproductive since the late '90s? And do you really believe a lack of 2nd-round picks has nothing to do with a lack of organizational depth?

Rounds 1,2,3 are very important, but there's decent prospects/MLers found later in the draft too.

/While we sit around thinking "what did we get for Abreu?", the Yankees fans may be thinking "why did we get Abreu?"

If it's not too late, here are a few more questions. You could also ask him:

1 - Over the years, what do you do different with regard to the drafting process, or is it pretty much the same set up it has always been?

2 - How far in advance do you really start to prepare for the draft? And what are those early days like?

3 - Since you have been with the organization for a while now, what to you think of the people in your profession who view the Phillies organization as a joke? Is their some legitimacy to their perception? Why do teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers not come across like that? What can you do to make your team more like the four teams mentioned earlier?

4 - What is the turnover rate for the scouts in the Phillies orgarnization? Is there ever any accountability if they fail to land quality prospects?

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