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Thursday, October 25, 2007

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Who knew the Phillies were even in the market for a director of Scouting? At least it indicates that the organization is willing to go with people from different (albeit in this case, even worse) organizations, and that it might just be something of a priority to actually improve the bottom-up quality of the franchise. When I first saw the name 'LaMar' I almost barfed, but after considering some of the talent he has come up with, I'm willing to go along with this.

Although not if he ever becomes a candidate for GM. I agree totally with Anderson: LaMar should never be considered for a GM post again. Anywhere. Ever.

I would rather roll the dice with Amaro. *Gasp*

Re: Moyer Post. I remember last spring, when you couldn't get a comment about the off-season out of Utley and Ryno was complaining about all the commitments, Moyer was THE one who said it's impossible just to "flip the switch." I'm sure our boys took it to mean he was old but now maybe they'll take it to heart. And I am all for bringing him back.

RSB, feel free to vomit; LaMar is a disaster. He fits right in line with the Phils "toolsy" philosophy and seems to have missed the revolution in talent evaluation over the past decade.

And that talent? Well, if you are picking in the top 5 *every* year, you are going to get a few good players.

If you want an idea of LaMar's ability, consider that of the 847 players in the Majors last year, only 22 were drafted by the D-Rays. That puts them at #26 in the league despite always drafting at the top.

Conversely, teams like Oakland and Toronto, who favor a a stat-based approach to the draft are number 1 and 2.

Maybe this can get the Baldelli talks going.

kdon: That's an excellent point. Terrific post. LaMar's star shines brightest on the pages of Baseball America. Elsewhere - not as much.

Does anyone else remember when the Phils were supposed to perhaps get Andy Pettite at the trade deadline from the Yankees, but the deal was contingent on New York and Tampa striking another deal and LaMar failed to call the Yankees back and it killed the Phillies' deal? Maybe 2001? I can't remember it for sure, but something sticks in my mind. Or I'm just losing it.

I'm missing something here. Was someone let go? (Or quit?) Or is this a "new" position "developed" for Lamar? The Phils now have Directors of Scouting, Professional Scouting and Major League Scouting. Is that normal? I guess I don't know enough about normal organizational set ups.

Incidently, kdon, thanks for making my depression deeper. (Which means kudos on excellent thinking. Yeah, a blind squirrel could draft first and do some damage.) He does not sound like an improvement.

kdon - Great post. Thanks for the numbers.

Biggest story of the short offseason so far. It will probably be generally overlooked on the Philly sports scene but this is the kind of move that fundamentally shapes an organization for several years. Plus, since the Phils are unlikely going to be willing to devote considerable resources on signing bonuses in the draft, it will be up to LeMar to find the best talent for the best dollar.

I have to give this a "double-thumbs down." From what I read, the new Devil Rays recognized they had an incompetent organization almost front-to-bottom when they bought the organization. Basically like a contractor coming in and realizing they have a ton of dry rot. Maybe I am wrong but not thrilled at all with this move.

MG: You and kdon are making excellent points. Have to agree - this isn't the direction scouting should be headed. For once, can't the Phillies tap an organization that has their act together, like Boston?

LaMar made some awful mistakes and fell in love with total crap. Travis Lee comes to mind - and didn't Lee get invited to Washington this spring?

BENTZ: was that Pettite trade the one we were hung up on because we didn't want to trade Reggie Taylor? Oops.

kdon does have a good point about the best players signed under LaMar (can we call him Heddy?) coming in top-tier, early-round drafts, although then again there's nothing to stop teams from signing the Jeff Jacksons of the world when given that opportunity.

Another point in disfavor of the new boss/old boss paradigm is something I've been meaning to mention as I watch the Red Sox mash through the post-season. The reason why their offense has been so explosive is that their one/two hitters, Pedroia and Youkilis, have been all over the bases in front of Ramirez, Ortiz, and Lowell. And I naturally wondered whether there was a chance in hell that the Phillies ever would have seen anything in either of those guys, at least as top-of-the-order hitters. Clearly, the answer is no.

The reason the Red Sox developed the philosophy they have implemented was John Henry, at the very top of the ladder. All developments that transformed the perennial also-ran Sox into a World Series team started with him.

The Phillies, meanwhile, are still stuck in "Follow Us!" mode. Giles nearly asphyxiated himself in drool at the prospect of having Juan Samuel and Jeff Stone blaze the Phillies' trails into a shining, astroturfed future. Somehow or other, I'm inclined to believe that mindset hasn't changed a bit over the years despite the retro-fitted ballpark. The Phillies are determined above all else to have an "exciting" team, for purposes that do not strike me as being entirely related to success on the baseball field; they still really have no idea how to integrate a worthwhile philosophy and create a successful organization. They (and many others, including myself) equated Pat Gillick with the kind of man it takes to solidify an organization. But while Gilllick helped build Toronto from the ground up, he had significantly less to do with whatever success was achieved during his terms in Baltimore and Seattle. He was hired here on a short-term basis not to oversee organizational development, but to patch and fill the needs of the major league roster - an area which has never been his strength as an executive.

In any case, the questions for here and now are, who hired LaMar, who is becoming marginalized, and why?

Just to add to the depression, can anyone think of a pitcher the D-Rays developed? Kazmir was a (great) trade, but the best I can come up with is Seth McClung, or maybe Dan Wheeler, though Dave Bush was also drafted by LaMar. I mean *ten* years drafting at the top of every round, and not one decent starter.

The Phillies get killed for *only* producing Wolf, Hamels, and Myers in the past decade, but try to think of D-Rays starters (without laughing that is).

And if you really want to be depressed, think two words: Dewon Brazleton (that could have also been Josh Hamilton prior to '07).

I'm making light of this now, but this sucks.

Kdon: James Shields, but I see what you mean. Dan Wheeler was aquired in a trade from Houston this season.

Jiminez: Es Filthy.

The Mighty Red Sox look kinda meek against Ubaldo. Well, if he can keep it in the zone. He is working on a mini implosion in this inning (3rd).

Forgot about Shields, but Wheeler was drafted by Tampa Bay. 34th round in 1996.

Leave it to the Phillies to try to improve themselves by hiring somebody from Tampa Bay (other than Gary Hunsicker, who I wanted to be the Phillies GM a couple of years ago rather than Gillick). God, what a thoroughly mediocre and depressing personnel move . . . just another reason not to have confidence in this organization.

In that vein, I haven't been on Beerleaguer for awhile and am getting caught up tonite, and I saw the item from 10/16 about the supposed serious bid by an outsider to buy the Phillies (a rumor shot down by the organization). Man, if only it were true.

I love the Phillies team; I hate the Phillies ownership and upper management.

Horribly annoying broadcasting trend: "live" interviews with coaches and managers during the games. Why do these producers believe viewers would rather see closeups of these ugly, gnarled faces giving canned answers to canned questions instead of the actual play by play?

I love the AP's deadpan description of LaMar: "He was Tampa Bay's GM from the franchise's inception through the 2005 season, leading the Devil Rays to last-place finishes in seven of eight years." way to go, Phillies!

kdon, that was my first thought: PITCHING.

The Phils baseball operation, despite the few bright spots like Hamels, Wolf, Myers, Madson, Geary (for 2 years, anyway), has been absolutely horrible in providing quality arms to the MLB club to get the overall team performance out of the bottom half of the league.

You've seen me post these tired stats before:

In the last 21 season - never higher than 6th in team ERA, 3 seasons in the top half, 18, yes, 18 seasons in the bottom half of the league (and MLB) in team ERA.

They needed someone who could evaluate pitchers.........and do a good job of it. they already have enough scouts who don't do a good enough job.

And to think....thay could have put the money for his salary into Latin American scouting and development.


Maybe this was a 'buddy hire'.

"Hey Monty, my buddy Chuck LaMar needs a gig - his mortgage is due. Can we find a place for him?"

"Sure, Pat, no problem, anything for one of the old boys. Say, didn't he used to be a GM?"

"Yeah."

"Well, we're going to need to replace you in a year. Let's bring him in. It will give us more time to take a look at him...you know...see if he fits in with OUR way of thinking."


Yech.

BTW, I thought it was spelled "lech tizdayen"?

I'm with kdon on this one. Can anyone remember even one starter that LaMar drafted who turned out to be pretty good? And as kdon correctly notes, these are all high-in-the-round picks.

BENTZ, i think it was 1998.

Not that we really need to make it worse, but I am assuming that LaMar's title means he is in charge of scouting *major league" talent, not amateurs.

From what I've read, his only success was in the toolsy high school department, but major league players?

Are we looking for the next incarnation of Greg Vaughn, Vinny Castilla, and Jose Canseco. He got Kazmir, but that was more Rick Peterson's infatuation with Zambrano than anything else.

This is just unconscionable.

kdon, let me explain.....

sorry, I can't. There isn't a rational explanation.

This hire makes me want to stab myself in the throat with a fork!

Here's Rotoworld's take on the LaMar hiring:

"Doing the opposite of what LaMar recommends in every instance might finally get the Phillies over the hump."

As I keep thinking about this, I get more depressed. It's right in keeping with the last 25 years:

The Bill Giles Phillies - Two Steps Backward and One Step Forward!

Management really are tonedeaf to the fans. They kept Ed Wade around until it cost them money, lots of it, because they didn't listen to the fans earlier, who weren't exactly geniuses, but were able to see that there obviously needed to be a change.


This is Beer Leaguer, the place where the most knowledgeable fans (the "dopes" listen to Eskin on WIP) come to analyze, pontificate, gripe, cheer, scream, praise, dispute, and otherwise share info and opinions on our favorite baseball team, it's management and players - both major and minor leagues.

You might even say many posters on this site are ahead of the curve on the baseball issues, and certainly way ahead of some of the talking heads, "opinion makers" and journalists in town when it come to knowing who's coming up in the system.

Now, in the space of an evening, a discussion has followed Jason's post about "The New Hire". Much information about his background and track record has been shared, and it does not impress us.

The consensus opinion is that the Phillies could have done better, correction - that they made a bad hire. And, once again, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see it.


MG had this Halloween Season's scariest comment about LaMar's hiring:

"It will probably be generally overlooked on the Philly sports scene but this is the kind of move that fundamentally shapes an organization for several years."


But, we're mere fans, the "useful idiots" to this franchise who pay for tickets and concessions, increase TV ratings, and buy team merchandise.

They really don't respect our, or any fan's, opinion(s) about baseball issues, even if they do read this site. They have a LOSING record as owners and managers, yet obviously consider themselves experts, much moreso than anyone here.

Shame. As a group I doubt we could have run the franchise any worse than they have the last 25 years.

Clout - Great line by Rotoworld. Mabye LaMar was brought in as a kind of 'Bizarro' Director of Scouting. The Phils next GM will just do the exact opposite of what LaMar recommends.

Zolecki answered my question about what LaMar since his firing as the Devil Rays GM -

"LaMar, 51, worked last season with the Washington Nationals as the special assistant to the general manager and national crosschecker."

Andy had a great point:

"I'm missing something here. Was someone let go? (Or quit?) Or is this a "new" position "developed" for Lamar? The Phils now have Directors of Scouting, Professional Scouting and Major League Scouting. Is that normal? I guess I don't know enough about normal organizational set ups."

This is a great point. What role exactly does a "Dir. of Professional Scouting" do in an organization? I would guess helps evaluate MLB talent in some capacity but I am not exactly sure. Plus, I am positive the Phils won't share any real insights into why LaMar was really hired.

I am even more down on this move that I was earlier. This move reeks of an "Old Boy" network hire that fits directly in the Phils' style and has nothing to do with merit.

It is hard to believe but there is now a worse possible scenario when Gillick leaves as a GM (LaMar being promoted to the GM in '09). Say what you will about Amaro but you can't really know how he will perform as a GM. LaMar had his shot and was pretty incompetent even if he wasn't in an ideal situtation in Tampa Bay.

I get tired of listening to Eskin harp on the Phils' ownership but he is right. They consistently provide new evidence to their detractors that they are a bunch of bumblers who don't know how to assemble a championship organization.

What disturbs me most about the LaMar hiring is that it perpetuates this organization's culture of losing. I mean, really, how can anyone possibly put this guy in a talent evaluation role? I have such little faith in Montgomery, Giles, etc. that I fear they'll seriously consider this guy as Gillick's replacement.

What a way to start the offseason.

From Verducci on CNNSI:

"Okay, fine. But look at that Colorado lineup. The 8-9-1-2 hitters are batting .040: 1-for-25. What that means is the opposing pitcher gets every third inning off. Leadoff man Willy Tavares is close to an automatic out with one hit in his past 20 at-bats. He has no business getting an extra plate appearance each game by hitting at the top of the lineup. Manager Clint Hurdle should go back to his NLDS order with Kaz Matsui and Troy Tulowitzki at the top."

Still frustrates me that the Phils got beat the Rockies' weakest hitters. Looks like the clock has struck midnight and Matsui, Yorvit, and Spilborghs are turning back into the mediocre baseball players they have always been.

At this point the Series is over, the Rockies are just playing for a bit of respect. Rockies had one of the greatest late seasons runs in history but I easily could see them being a .500 again next year.

i am not excited about this move at all, but i thing we should look closer at kdons observation concerning the number of players in the bigs drafted by each organization. tampa bay is at a disadvantage for two reasons. they have not lost the top flight free agents that oakland has and thus have fewer picks (but one could argue that oakland had to develope talent to lose it and recieve the picks). also they haven't been around nearly as long. it sounds silly but look at the toronto active draft list. jose mesa, woody williams, david wells, shawn green, carlos delgado, chris carpenter, and jeff kent were all drafted prior to the existence of the d-rays and the revolution in talent evaluation. still i wouldn't hire the d-ray's hot dog vendor if i were the phills.

When things finally change, they somehow remain the same...

In today's Inquirer:

"Romero signed a one-year, $1.6 million contract with the Boston Red Sox before the 2007 season, but he seems in line for a considerable raise with more guaranteed years.

Other potential free-agent lefthanded relievers include Colorado's Jeremy Affeldt (4-3, 3.51 ERA in 75 appearances) and Washington's Ray King (1-1, 4.76 in 67 appearances). Last season, relief pitchers such as righthander Justin Speier (four years, $18 million) and lefthander Jamie Walker (three years, $12 million) received considerable contracts. Those could be good indicators when thinking about what Romero could be seeking."

Romero isn't as good as either Speier or Walker or have their track record of consistency. I would be willing to bet the bigger kicker for the Phils if offering Romero 3 or more years.

I would think 2 yrs/$7 million would be adequate but I guess Romero might want the guaranteed years (say 3 yrs/$10 million).

I really can't see offering Romero more than two years. he did a great job for us this past year and all, but he's just not that good.

I really wonder why anyone focuses on year to year statistics on any relievers that are not top of the line. The middle of the road guys stats fluctuate so much from year to year that you might as well never get too high or low on them. Romero had a good year (great for us), but he may well revert back to what he was doing before. It would seem to go along with other middle relief pitchers: have a good year or two, sign big contract, revert back to sucking again, repeat.

I should note that when I say top of the line, I mean guys like Rivera, Papelbon, Hoffman (In his dominant years). Those guys get it done almost every year if they are not hurt.

"If you want an idea of LaMar's ability, consider that of the 847 players in the Majors last year, only 22 were drafted by the D-Rays. That puts them at #26 in the league despite always drafting at the top."

I'm not sure if that's a fair comparison, since the D-Rays have only been drafting since 1996. For example, at a quick count, it looked like 18 of the 43 players listed for Toronto were drafted before 1996.

I'd be more curious to see the same list for players drafted (or signed as amateur free agents) from 1996 on. I'd imagine that it would give a better picture (although based on what I was seeing, it's still bad considering where they were drafting for most of those years).

Man, all the posters who've been bragging on the Rockies and pumping how good they were have sure disappeared from this board. We get dead silence now.

clout - they were good enough to do in the Phils. That's all I cared about.

If the Red Sox end up sweeping Colorado in 4, out of a potential maximum of 28 games and a minimum of 16 games, there would only be 17 World Series games played over the last 4 years. That's not good for baseball.

I suppose Nutter & Stjoe have a point about Tampa's draft record. It's not surprising that so few of their draftees are in the majors, since they haven't been drafting nearly as long. But it's hard to find any way to rationalize 7 last place finishes in 8 seasons.

When I first saw this hire, my immediate thought was the same as Andy's. What exactly is a director of pro scouting? Isn'that what Arbuckle does? I fear there's some larger agenda that is behind this hire. Usually you hire someone to fill a vacancy. The Phillies created a vacancy to fill a hire. It makes no sense, unless there's something else going on behind the scenes that we don't know about. Maybe Lamar & Gillick are old friends & Lamar is being brought in as Gillick's hand-picked successor.

Actually Lamar does have a history of helping the Phillies. He was the rocket scientist who traded us Bobby Abreu for Kevin Stocker.

In at least partial rebuttal to Nutter & StJoe's point . . . Arizona came into the league at the same time as Tampa & has managed to draft 33 players currently in the majors, which puts them 5th on the list.

Oops - Didn't even notice that Nutter posted the same thing I did.

"What a way to start the offseason."

The offseason got started with a 3 year contract for Cholly. This hire is quite consistent.

just an FYI, todd zolecki is reporting that the phils and JC Romero are far apart in negotiations....and the thought is he will test the open market...i mean, it can't take all that much to sign this guy and if hes gone, they have ZERO left handed options...unless youre counting on zagurski...

yes, it could take a lot to sign Romero (at least right now), and the Phils would actually be smart not to overpay him. I have no problem with them letting him walk if he's asking for 3/$10 or something.

if somebody else wants to pay that, good for him; otherwise he's welcome back when he's ready to accept a reasonable contract.

Which hire is worse....

Ed Wade to the Astros or LaMar to the Phillies? Two guys who have lost throughout their careers yet are hired into positions that directly affects the teams winning/losing.

"Man, all the posters who've been bragging on the Rockies and pumping how good they were have sure disappeared from this board. We get dead silence now."

Heck, what happened to the poster who was fearing the Dodgers in Sept?

curt: He's still here, along with the poster who said the Abreu trade was a good one and that Burrell was washed up. :-)

Nutter and Stj,

Good point on the fact that Tampa Bay hasn't drafted as long and that they don't acquire as many draft picks through loss of Free Agency. I didn't think of that until after the post.

However, you have to balance that against the fact that over those ten years, they have probably had higher draft picks than any other team.

It may not be a complete wash, but the numbers still demonstrate a below average record of talent evaluation.

Also, one reason they had so few middle round draft picks (2-5) is because of the terrible free agent signings, and LaMar's role with the Phillies will be in scouting major league players.

Comparing the D-Rays to a well run organization like Arizona may be unfair, but you have to ask, why are the Phillies not tapping Arizona, or Oakland, or Cleveland for talent?

Hopefully, LaMar's role will be mostly advisory. I think this a bad move more for the logic behind it than for any actual decisions LaMar will be able to make.

ae - Is the Phils let Romero walk, who possibly takes his spot?

And I definitely don't think the WS is over.

I would make the Rockies the favorite to win Saturday; having watched Dice-K all year, I don't see him doing very well. He has been a better pitcher on the road, but I don't think he has the stuff to go more than 5 innings, and may get rocked.

And I wouldn't be so down on the Rockies yet; they are clearly a very good team and people who thought they were a more difficult matchup than San Diego have been completely vindicated.

They just happened to have faced two of the best post-season pitchers (and bullpen) of all time.

The series so far has demonstrated Boston's greatness more than the Rockies' flaws.

According to phillies.com "LaMar will work with director of Major League scouting Gordon Lakey, and provide input on trades for GM Pat Gillick." So this seems to be an advisory position. Who knows -- perhaps this signals the end for Dallas Green. Wolever is in charge of the amateur scouts and runs the draft. There does not seem to be overlap here. If the Phils were going to add another front office job, how about "Director of International Scouting" ?

MG: Like some of us were talking about earlier, the Phillies need to start looking at failed lefty starters like Joe Kennedy, whose careers are shifting toward the bullpen. Maybe someone like a Mark Hendrickson would help them. Outman and Happ are both left-handers, and Happ is 25. Time to see what he's got.

MG - why not some other Value Village acquisition, which is exactly what Romero was? I don't see the reason to pay big money for a guy who's been mediocre his entire career and got lucky over a few months.

looking over the FA lists, I see Ray King, Ron Mahay, and Trever Miller as lefty relievers who would almost certainly be cheaper than Romero and have - in my opinion - about the same chance as Romero of contributing quality bullpen innings next year.

ae: Agreed. All the players you mention work about as well for me as Romero.

Jason's strategy is good too. it's just foolish to try and go after expensive relievers to pitch the 6-8 innings because there's way too much variability from RPs. everyone likes Colorado's bullpen so much - how many of their guys are in the middle of 3/$10 contracts?

heh, a lot of agreeing going on there...

This has got to be one of the worst Phillies moves ever. This guy's a disaster. Looks a lot like a Mike Arbuckle hire. LISTEN UP PEOPLE: Mike Arbuckle is poisoning this franchise's drafts and does not know how to win! And neither does Marti Wolever.

"I don't think this leads to questioning the direction of the club. I think to a man, everybody is not only pleased but excited about the direction of the club." - Chuck LaMar, Devil Ray's GM, May 2002

"The only thing that keeps this organization from being recognized as one of the finest in baseball is wins and losses at the major league level." - Chuck LaMar, Devil Rays GM, 2004

by the way, I don't know if anyone reads Baseball Think Factory, but they've started posted 2007 ZiPS projections, including the Phillies' - here.

of course it's not an exact science, but there's some interesting stuff there. a word of warning: don't look at the pitching projections if you have a weak constitution.

Question- did we ever get a player from the Cardinals for Russell Branyan? I can't find this anywhere. My guess is we only got cash condsiderations, but I was hoping for the almight "player to be named later" and end up with a gem by chance for the bullpen or utility infielder of the future. If you know the answer to this, either email me @ weshouldbegms@hotmail.com or drop a comment on my blog because I won't be around for the weekend to check back on BeerLeaguer.

Ron Mahay actually seems like a better option than Romero because of JC's contron issues. I like Romero and would like to have him back, but lets not forget the dude is erratic at times.

kdon: What does your crystal ball show about how San Diego would've done in tghe post-season? Does it also show Holliday touching home plate?

Carson: Excellent question. I don't recall the PTBN ever being named. I wonder if they substituted cash?

per phillies.com: " 8/31/07 - Traded IF/OF Russell Branyan to the Cardinals for cash"

from MLB.com's transaction page:

Philadelphia Phillies
Traded IF/OF Russell Branyan to the Cardinals for cash;

St. Louis Cardinals
Acquired INF/OF Russell Branyan from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for a player-to-be-named later.

It's all so clear now...

Im betting on the cash

clout -
Norm or Dave?

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