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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

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Anyone see the ESPN review of the top 100 free agents? They killed Rowand saying

"Rowand is among a number of 2007 free agents who posted unusually good numbers in their walk seasons. He hit 25 home runs in 2005 and 2006 combined, then hit a career-high 27 in 2007. Rowand has an all-out swing and gets his head off the ball very early; he's looking for something in the zone he can drive, preferably a fastball, and he'll chase high-hard stuff and breaking balls down and in or down and away. It's hard to see this approach leading to more than the occasional .300 average. In center field, he has average range (broken noses aside) and an average arm, but he tries to play outside his skills, making the difficult play but not the easy one, overthrowing the cutoff man as if his arm was plus, and so on.

Unless we believe Rowand's big performance spike is real, he's a good fourth outfielder who's about to be paid like an above-average starter. Worthy of a two-year deal, he'll almost certainly get four or five years -- think Gary Matthews Jr., both in terms of contract and results."

I agree A-Row has some weaknesses, but a 4th outfielder? Seems a bit harsh.

Yeah JT, discussed in the last thread, or one before that. A little harsh!

Has the united front against ownership ever been this strong? Usually, you have one or two people like the manager, GM or a player like Burrell or Abreu to displace blame, but right now there's only one boogyman: Monty and his silent partners. Third-largest crowd in team history, a team that is a step away from being a legitimate WS contender, yet payroll stays the same and ticket prices rise. They are slapping each and every fan in the face.

Yes they are, I can't believe the names Wolf, Colon, and Lieber are even being talked about. This will be the 2008 season not 2004. Management must go!!!

I thought the overpay for 1 year of Pettite idea sounded good.

"Dave X, since this has been explained on this site before, this is for you and the rest of the sloooooooow people:

It is the fans money. Ownership gets it from the fans through ticket sales, advertising and merchandise sales.

If people who spend money on tickets, etc. (and many here are on that list) then they've purchased the right to gripe about ownership not spending either wisely or enough.

Get it?"

No, AWH. free will and the constitution give you the right to gripe about whatever you want to gripe about. And the world wide web has given you the ability to gripe on a scale that you could have only dreamed about twenty years ago.

It still doesn't make it your money. they are your tickets, your merchandise ect. You forfeited the money to the ownership when you purchased said items.

And if what the ownership does with their money pisses you off as much as you purport it to, I would advise you to stop giving money to them. Fly to some far away island where they've never even heard of the Philadelphia Phillies and take up a less commercialized sport like badminton or botchy ball. I swear you will live longer.

Plus in badminton, the ball is called a shuttlecock, and that is very funny.

With respect, Jason, where do you see the "united front against ownership"? I completely acknowledge that the potential for it is there, and for that matter I hope it happens. But it's all theoretical, and for that matter I could see Amaro, Gillick, Montgomery et al in front of a bank of microphones saying, "We just added $6.5 million or so in payroll obligation through the Lidge trade. We're going to get another starter. What exactly do you guys want?"

I'm entirely sympathetic to the view that the team should boost the payroll. And, of course, I detest these owners and it's my dearest wish that they go away and leave our team in the hands of people who aren't proven idiots.

But the free agent market is a trap. Rowand won't be worth what he pulls down. Neither will Lohse. Nor will just about anyone else whose name is prominent in speculation right now. I was pleased to read that they're thinking about upside plays like Wolf, Colon, Livan Hernandez and others who might not have starred last year but will get paid for a team's guess at their underlying ability, rather than what they did in 2007.

Finally, it's worth noting that there are other avenues and means to spend money. A big free-agent signing now could reduce the possibility of adding payroll in a major midseason trade next June or July. It might mean less resources available for international signings or going above-slot in the draft.

I want them to spend the money, but what I want even more is to see them do it in an intelligent and proactive way rather than as a reaction to columnists or bloggers looking for quick gratification.

From last thread
"I agree with your sentiment AWH, but it WAS the fans money. They/we pay for the service that the Phils mgmt provides. Like it was said all last season, the only way to send a message to ownership is for the fans not to buy tickets and Phillies gear."

That said, if owners are screwing the fans most, Eaton and his remaining contract are a close second. This was a crippling miscalculation from Gillick, and I'm positive they would not have signed him had Gillick known Freddy Garcia would become available. Eaton's contract appears to be holding them back just enough from getting serious about Rowand, Hunter, and it may even prevent them from getting the next tier, guys like Colon and Wolf.

I wish the owners would pony up the cash and increase payroll, but do so in moderation- no need to spend like the NY teams or Beantown. We have a solid nucleus of players, but they need some supporting staff- namely 1 more startin pitcher, some relievers, platoon outfielder, and 3rd baseman. Sure, most of us would love to have A-Rod, but I'd settle for Hank Blalock because he's still an upgrade. I'd love to outbid the Yanks for Rivera, but I'm pleased with the addition of Lidge. Re-signing Rowand or snatching up Hunter would be ideal, but I'd settle for Vic moving to CF with Jenkins in RF with Werth or even Brad Wilkerson for that matter. Signing Linebrink, Mahay, and Gagne to round out the bullpen would be great, but adding some guys like Matt Herges or LaTroy Hawkins would still be an improvement. Bottom line, the team should be looking to improve this offseason. Myers to the rotation improved the rotation, Lidge added to the 'pen improved the 'pen, Bruntlett is better than Nunez. However, losing Rowand's offensive production is huge, and we need to account for that and still do some minor tinkering.

All fans in all towns hate the team's ownership, except in years when team wins it all. Gripe, gripe, gripe! It's not just a Philly phenomenon, it's worldwide!

the Yankees are offering Rivera 3/$45M - there is quite literally no way that we can outbid them for his services.

Talk about taking the wind out of your sails. The dreamy discussions about A-Rod, Santana, Cabrera, even Lowell seem far, far away right now. Grey thoughts on a grey day.

Like the trades thus far, but it sounds on the face of it like they plan to stand more or less pat from here on other than tinkering around the fringes.

We'll have to see if the activity going forward matches the dreary rhetoric or whether there are a few tricks yet up Gillick's sleeve. Hopefully they are trying not to create unrealistic expectations in a tough and expensive market, and playing their cards close to the vest. But, as a Phils fan, plan for the worst, hope (but never too hard) for the best.

the news that the Mets are offering Torrealba 3/$15M makes me unbelievably happy.

I'm sure this has been addressed in previous threads, but is there some significance to the fact that nearly all of the recent commentary has come directly from Amaro rather than Gillick? Are we essentially seeing his first season as the actual GM, with Pat serving as a protective cover against abuse? It seems pretty obvious that Amaro was the major player in the first big deal this offseason (playing nice with old boss Wade). Should we expect to see him at the helm on the next deals as well?

dajafi: The Phillies are setting a cap that's too tight for their needs right now, at a time when they're close, but not close enough. That's my problem. And we're following a near record-setting year at the gates. Offseason free agency isn't the only way to use payroll. They could acquire a high price-tag player mid-season or trade for one now, extend their own players, etc. But as of now, it sounds like they have $8 million to play with. That's unconscionable.

Torrealba: Wow. Speaks volumes about how the post-season changes everything. If he was on the 2006 Texas Rangers, he would be Rod Barajas.

I the last thread I agreed that Rolen was a cry baby. I wasn't talking about him crying about the pain of his injury, I'm talking about his crying that got him traded off the Phillies for a handful of magic beans and now he's crying that he can't get along with LaRussa. 50 years from now people will still remember LaRussa's name and they wonder "Who played third 50 years ago? I don't remember!"

Lake: There's an element of truth to what you're saying. Fans do like to complain about their team's owners & management. But still, I'd have to say that the Phillies' ownership is over-the-top when it comes to cheapness. While salaries have been soaring for the last 5 years, the Phillies' payroll has stayed constant. I refrained from criticizing them until now, because I don't think it's realistic to expect that your team will boost payroll in literally every season. But they're coming off a year of record attendance, plus the added revenues from making the post-season. On top of that, each major league team just got a $30M dividend from the raging success of MLB.com. And now the Phillies have the audacity to go & raise ticket prices. All this while telling us that they don't have the money to resign Aaron Rowand (or an equivalent player) or go after a front-line starter.

On top of all this, they are misleading the fans by talking about how payroll was $100M last year. That $100M payroll was for the ENTIRE SEASON. Their opening day budget was the same as it had been for the 4 previous years (slightly less, actually) &, from the sound of things, it will be the same again this year. They are taking their full-season payroll & comparing it to other team's opening day payrolls & trying to make the case that their payroll is actually higher than it really is.

I believe I posted this a few days ago, but I'll do it again. I crunched some numbers earlier this week & determined that, during the 2007 season, the RedSox made $56M more than the Phillies in ticket revenues. But they spent $106M more in player acquisitions during the preceding off-season. That's 50M extra bucks that the RedSox are pumping back into the team, & which Monty and company are putting in their pockets.

J. - The more I read about it the more idiotic the Torrealba deal sounds. I just don't get it either.

Not only is this year's payroll limit unconscionable, it's worrisome down the road. I get the impression the front office has for a couple of years been approaching its payroll the way pro basketball GMs do -- there's a slot for the $15M player, one for the $10M, one for the $5Ms and so on. The problem with this is that there's no provision for spending your way out of injuries and/or mistakes. In basketball, of course, the rules limit spending; nothing in baseball prevents it except cheepniz.

the craziest thing, to me, about the Torrealba contract is that he's one of the worst guys in all of baseball at throwing runners out. he threw out 15 of 76 guys; only Kendall and Estrada were worse last year.

so naturally, you hand him a huge contract and bring him to the division where your main rival just fielded the best base-stealing team, percentagewise, in baseball history. (and Florida isn't bad on the basepaths either.)

as much static as the Romero signing got, I really think this would be much worse (for the Mets, not for us).

Jason: You're 100% right on the Eaton deal and it's worth mentioning the $14-15 million from last season and next that the Phils will have tied up in Thome. Seen in that context, just what did the Phillies get from the trade of Jim Thome? Two years (one good) of Rowand and handcuffs that prevent signing a good FA reliever?

Good points on the "dead money." Imagine how upset everyone would be if Romero wasn't an option because we were still paying part/most of Burrell's salary in one of the 100 million trade scenarios bandied about where the Phils would have to pay part of the contract. Sometimes, the best answer is not to deal.

Speaking of Torrealba, I still haven't gotten over the fact that we intentionally walked him with a 3-1 count & 2 outs in that fateful 4th inning of Game 2 . . .

At the risk of stealing AWH's phrase, let's not discount the possibility that this 3-year, $15M deal is just a reflection of baseball's new economy. Each major league team earned $30M of additional revenue from MLB.com this year. If you hand out $30M to all 30 major league teams, I think it's fair to assume that it will translate to some wild inflation when the FA market comes around. Except in the case of the Phillies, for whom it translates to $30M extra in the team's bank account.

I still don't get what Melvin was doing batting a TTO guy leadoff. But he's got to be a beter manager than Manuel.

BAP, I wasn't forgiving the Phillies Mgmt. Rather I was responding to those who think we're too negative about mgmt. Essentially, I was trying to say that all fans complain. We are not being negative any more than any other cities fans.

I have lived in New Orleans for over 25 years and fans complain about the Saints not spending enough money. It turned out that the Saints were spending at the cap level with everyone else. What the Saints were doing was not spending their money wisely.

I think that's the "nut" about the Phillies spending. $8 MM a year on Eaton is not wise spending, nor was the $10 MM spent on Garcia last year. I think that has Gillick scared, perhaps, rightly, about over-spending for a Rowand, Lohse, etc. People on BL are accusing him of just that on Romero! You can't please them all, especially on Beerleaguer!

BAP: "Speaking of Torrealba, I still haven't gotten over the fact that we intentionally walked him with a 3-1 count & 2 outs in that fateful 4th inning of Game 2 . . ."

That alone should've precluded Manuel from winning MOY.

Bartolo Colon.. 5 ft 11 245lbs.. what's wrong with THAT picture? 34 yrs old was out July 24- Sep 9 last yr with a sore elbow.I'm sure our medical experts (who work for the Angels) have given him a clean bill of health

I totally agree with JW. It is diservice to their paying fans that this team knows that they have a product that will sell so they can raise ticket raise quite heftily the last two seasons (8-10% on the average ticket price) without increasing payroll or spending money on draft picks/player development.

This skewed statement says it all:

"Amaro says payroll over $100 million last season: Yesterday on Comcast Daily News Live, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said team payroll topped $100 million in 2007 and he reiterated that the budget will stay the same or go just a little north of that in 2008."

The Phils probably spent $100 million in salary BUT THAT WAS FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON. It is now clear that when Monty said $105 million in player salaries he meant for the entire for the entire 2008 season.

So basically, the Phils have increased their budget for player salaries by a negigible amount (1-2% max) yet increased their average ticket price by 8-10%.

How more clearly can you say FU to your paying customers than this?

SHHHHHHHHHHH Don't say anything bad Torrealba until AFTER he signs that deal with the Mets. Mets fans read this blog...

It's the raise in ticket prices without putting money back into the team that burns me the most. 2 years ago Standing Room tix were $10, than they got rid of standing room (unless a game sells out) and you had to pay for the $12 cheap seats. Now this past year those cheap seat prices went up to $16. Factor in that beer prices have also gone up (they were $5.75 once, now $6.25) and it comes to a major increase in revenue and profit for management and the team. Since the Phils haven't spent anymore money (not by a mildly significant amount) on players or on trying to improve the team and therefore the quality of baseball that we are now paying more to see, I assume that the only reason for the increase was because of increased interest in the Phils. By this I mean that ownership realized that tix are selling better and saw an opportunity to make more money. The fact that this raise in price has not gone back to improving the team that we have renewed interest in is just plain greedy... but I guess thats probably how they got the money to own a baseball team to begin with.

I'm hearing that the YES network has reported that A-Rod ditched Boras and went direct to the Yankees. Further, they have reached an agreement of $275 million for 10 years. Anyone hearing this?

Hey fellas, I've been reading but not posting lately. I always come her for my up-to-the-minute fix of our favorite ball club. Thanks for keeping it going year-round.

I couldn't agree more with you BAP. The management, which I complained about all season, loves to sell us snake oil season after season. First of all, with this being Burrell's last year, why do the Phillies look at ONLY this season? They save that money on his contract next year, so look beyond this season and make a move knowing that payroll will decrease next season.

Also, the 13'th highest payroll? I know that they aren't the 13'th smallest market. The fact that the payroll is where it's at is because of poor decisions they've made. Guess who suffers the most?

What they don't get is, if the team was much improved and actually showed a real, not veiled, commitment to winning, the casual fan would become the guy who goes to more than one or two games a year. The real fans support them through thick and thin, but the casual guy is more likely to hop onto that winning bandwagon.

While I'm at it, I heard golden boy Ruben interviewed by Jody MacDonald last night. He is the ultimate company line-towing, management-ass-kissing, don't-tell-them anything, say-nothing-while-my-mouth-is-moving, walk-the-straight-line, I-can't-beleive-I-got-a-job-in-a-professional-baseball-front-office, empty suit, since George Costanza was running the Yankees!!

He mentioned that if ARow didn't come back, the outfield would consist of LF Burrell, CF Victorino, RF Werth...that really has me juiced up. Some old story.


Lake Fred and Dalafi - You bring up valid points about overspending in this FA market but the point is that the additional revenues are going into the owners' pockets and not this franchise.

I would love Amaro to take some questions on team spending by area and annual profits. He would never do this because the Phils would take an incredibly negative PR hit for weeks.

I almost despise Monty and Giles as much as I did Braman. Sadly, they aren't going to be selling this team any time soon. Not as long as it continues to churn out nice annual profits.

Maybe at the end of this decade when this team might not be as competitive and having such high attendance figures since the current core of this team will age a bit/become or too expensive to keep together.

This team could make even more in annual profits if they got to the World Series or won a championship through better TV ratings on Comcast and better advertising deals. Monty and Giles are just too risk-averse and small-minded to think big like that.

I repeatedly say this but any company would drive off such a CEO who is not focused on increasing growth rates and profits.

the phillies can be the best team in the n.l. if they want to. they just don't want to. it's unbelievable.

Richie, I did read that the Yanks won't negotiate with Boras, but do want to talk to A-Rod. I haven't seen that anything more than that request has been made. I'd have to assume that Buster Olney would be crapping his pants to get it posted on ESPN.com if there was even a shred of truth to it.

Then again, maybe ARod is a little less loyal to his money grubbing agent than we would have thought: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3109894

Slugdog - Nice post. So basically, over the past 2 years this team has gotten rid off standing room only seats (except for sellouts) and driven up the cost of the cheapest seats 60%.

Plus, the cost of a beer has increased $1.25 in 5 years since CBP opened from $5 to $6.25.

I guess having a few more stupid promotional nights makes up for it.

ESPN is miserable with breaking baseball news evidenced by bringing the Game of Shadows author on the payroll....

yes, a-rod met with the steinbrenners today sans boras...looks like a 10 year/275 will get done, but ya never know...yanks said they would only talk without boras and that a rod reached out to them

looks like boras got this one wrong...there would be absolutely no takers at 300 mill and the yanks can still give him the most money

YES Network sticking with the A-Rod news. With Cabrera leaning towards the Dodgers, Rolen wanting our of St. Louis, Lowell still out there...the off season being about center fielders is quickly becoming more about 3rd sackers.

if they bring in another starter and OF on the cheap, is there still a chance to sign Lowell?? they desperately need a right handed bat to replace rowands production

Peter Gammons is reporting that the Phils are pushing hard for Lowell by back loading the salary to take advantage of cash that is freed-up when Pat Burrell leaves.

Not if you believe what PG and PG Jr. have been saying. If Rowand goes, Lowell fits the bill. But I bet the Bosox get very agressive and sign him now the Yanks get A-Rod back. We could see a set of dominoes falling over the next two days.

Dan - now that's thinking outside the box. They better move fast because Boston hates to be upstaged by the Yanks.

BedBeard:
Torrealba OPS last season: .699
Lo Duca OPS last season: .689

Plus Torrealba is the better defensive catcher, by far. Be careful what you wish for.

easy Richie....it will probably hinge on the number of years...reports are that boston is offering him 3...if they kick in a 4th, im sure he'll resign...if not, i think its realistic the phils overpay for him

Overpay? You know what? Let's over pay and win 98 games. We over paid Abreu and Burrell but at the time it was thought to be genius. Lowell has the attitude the other two don't have...plus he has rings. Go get him and put more butts in the seats and we'll be playing in October.

Clout, Torrealba sucks.

His mediocre stats are bolstered by playing 1/2 his games in Denver. Look at his away splits.

.212 .292 .326


All in all I think Charlie did a great job this year and was worthy of coming in 2nd place in the voting.

Not to jump on the bitch fest, but this is really bad news.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, player salaries as a percentage of revenue is significantly down, from 56% to 41% since 2001.

Clout and others have mentioned the explosion in revenues, but I don't think the salaries will keep pace. Not saying this is Collusion Part II, but if there were an unspoken agreement among owners to keep salaries down, we know what side the Partnership would be on.

Torrealba stinks. They'll be giving him $5mil to be a platoone

yikes, I don't know if I like the idea of a backloaded contract on Lowell. guy's not getting any younger, and committing to something like $18-20M for his age 36 or 37 season doesn't sound like a good gamble.

ae - I agree if you are only looking at the dollars. It is fiscal insanity. But with him and few other pieces we could be playing in October the next couple of years.

How does Gammons get a scoop like that, while Lowell's name hasn't been mentioned by a Philly writer since the World Series?

If it's true, it'd shut us all up.

My main concern is the organization's (seeming) lack of interest in signing a third baseman who can both catch and hit, although I'll settle for one who will play everyday and hit. If they lose Rowand, which seems likely, they have his offense to account for and they cannot have four holes in the lineup after PB.

I like Werth but can he play a whole season in right? I think Victorino will be fine in center and PB will do what he does. As much as they need more pitching, they need to finish off what could be the best infield in baseball, and give their pitchers a fighting chance with a third baseman that can actually catch and throw.

clout - how can you drop Yorvit's OPS without mention of his home/away splits?

"Peter Gammons is reporting that the Phils are pushing hard for Lowell by back loading the salary to take advantage of cash that is freed-up when Pat Burrell leaves."

That sounds like a smart move.

That would be one interesting way to get something done within a budget, and if you're not a fan of any of the free agent pitching - and I don't think anyone is - than this Lowell thing might be one way to go.

Lowell isn't going to look good in a few years, and he might not even look good next year. There's very few FAs worth signing and Lowell probably isn't one of them if it means four years at 12+ million. Phillies would be better served going after BP upgrades / investing money in scouting.

Seems there is a "win now" and "be careful what you wish for as far as free agents go" subdebate going on in the comments so far, this offseason. If the Phils were to go "all out" as in: signing another middle reliever, Lowell and Kuroda and win the WS this year, how much will you care that Lowell is a shell of himself 3 years from now?

Let's get a little bold. Being cautious has not worked out for us, has it? Meanwhile the teams that take a chance have more success than us. (See Borowski and Cleve.) If there's a chance to get Lowell, even for 4 years, and make it fit the budget plus leave some $$ for piching help...why the Hell not?

of course if it means getting a World Series berth, I'll support just about any move. what concerns me about Lowell is that (as usual, for the Phils) we're chasing last season's statistics and risking an entirely predictable return to career norms.

if Lowell turns in an average as opposed to career-best season - .280/.344/.468 is his career line - we're only getting slightly above average production from 3B. and as myself and others have pointed out, we could have gotten that kind of production from a strict Dobbs/Helms platoon last year.

the other factor is defense, of course. Lowell has been a very good defensive player throughout his career, although his defensive metrics were pretty pedestrian this year (15 E, only average range factor & zone rating). likely that he'll bounce back, but his age could be slowing him down.

I don't necessarily have a problem with a backloaded contract as a power move for the 2008 season. but I think Lowell for a few reasons is a particularly bad fit for that strategy.

also worth noting that there are FA options in 2009 like Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez, CC Sabathia, Johan Santana, Ben Sheets, Jon Garland, Joe Nathan, and Francisco Rodriguez (among others). and we'll have to replace Burrell in left too; not going to get any help from the minors there.

I'm sure the response will be that the Phillies are either unwilling or unable to sign any big-name pitchers. but one way to make absolutely sure that we'll never be able to do that is to tie the team down with a contract to Lowell that balloons after 2008.

ae - With Lowell it is all about the defense. Really, an average Lowell offensive year with our line up is fine if you're also getting creditible play on the field. No need for defensive replacements means that after the seventh, you get that .812 OPS (your figure) instead of whatever Bruntlett would bring.

The iffy part, actually, is that Lowell is as streaky as Burrell. If one is on when the other is not, it helps out. If they're both off, it's a problem (especially against lefties). If they're both on, it's all good.

If the Phils sign Lowell, I'd say: go with Werth, and use anything (if there is anything) left on pitching.

I'm pretty squarely on the "be careful what you wish for" side. Think about how, say, a backloaded four-year, $54 million deal for Lowell will be sitting with you in November 2010:

...the Phillies have just won 87 games on the strength of a great second half and finished in second place in Milt Thompson's first year managing, but just missed the playoffs because Milwaukee didn't lose throughout September and nipped them for the wild card. They need one more pitcher to add to the Hamels-Savery-Outman troika, and the Twins are looking to deal Cy Young winner Francisco Liriano.

The Phils have the prospects (this part of the prophesy is blurry...), but unfortunately, the payroll is already at $121 million and 36 year old Mike Lowell is owed $16 million coming off a .277/.333/.418 season in which he missed 60 games with a back problem. Even more infuriating, Travis Mattair hit .340 in two months at Reading and looks ready to compete for RoY honors--but there's nowhere to play him unless you're willing to make Lowell a $16 million reserve.

Is this really that hard to imagine?

ae - ah, but the tied down thing, is, actually, a good point.

Of course, on that list of stud pitchers, given the current philosophy of management, who do you think they would consider even if they had an extra, say, $12-14MM?

dajafi - where are Carpenter and Carrasco? Or do we only keep lefties in 2010?

Oh, and dajafi, if Moose Mattair hits .340, it won't be in 2010. He's a high school kid with major holes in his swing. Look for him later in that decade.

I have not posted in a while. I want to comment on Phillies management, which I have been bashing on this web site (earlier in the year) and in conversations all season. Jason W. and SlugDog are right. I am still convinced that the management of this team is more concerned with gate receipts than the number of games in the win column. If what I am saying is true, then we will be stuck with a team that will continue to be competitive, but not make it to the next level. The Phillies ownership owes the loyal Phillies fans a commitment to spend more money to help get this team to the next level. I think we have earned it.

I think the main thing with Lowell and a back-ended contract, is making sure you don't also give him a full no trade clause, like has been done in the past with other players. (Who shall remain nameless.) Because someone will always be looking for a 3B who can field - even an older one with a bad back or a concussion problem.

dajafi - would your scenario be all that important if the Phils are coming off back to back World Series appearances? I firmly understand the dollar argument. But the guy doesn't strike out much, is a winner, and spreads that attitude among his teammates. Plus, as Andy point out, we don't need a late inning replacement for him. We must get pitching this off-season, if getting Lowell precludes that, then I'm signing another tune. Get both and we win 93-98 games.

eh, I think the FNTC thing is overrated. once you're paying someone $15M+, you're going to end up paying a big chunk of their contract anyway, whether there's an FNTC or not.

if Burrell didn't have an FNTC and we were able to dump him, we'd have been nearly as screwed for the last several years, what with paying Baltimore or whoever $5-7M or more a year and sending, I don't know, Jacque Jones or some other mediocrity out to left every day.

RichieofAshburn - the problem is that YOU CANNOT GUARANTEE A WORLD SERIES APPEARANCE. you're wagering all the peak years of Rollins, Utley, and Howard for literally one slightly above average shot at the playoffs. that's not a good gamble.

While Lowell would be an upgrade, I think ae and others are right to point out that offensively it wouldn't be much of an upgrade.

It would be nice to think that his '07 was a result of the park (Fenway being much better for a RH pull hitter than Dolphins/Joe Robbie Stadium) and that this would carry over in CBP, but his BA/BIP figure last year (.337) is a major red flag.

He is no longer a premier hitter, and the last 2-3 years of the contract could be a complete disaster.

Lowell has never had much plate discipline, and his abnormally high OBP last year was driven by BA (and hence, the BA/BIP).

He had never hit above .293 before last year, so it's almost a certainty that a great deal of his season was luck.

I'm thinking something like .280/.340/.470 which would only be okay for CBP and not even close to worth 12-15M per.

Billy Mac: You are correct. But that wasn't my point. Last year, Lo Duca sucked worse.

I share Ae's concerns that, while Lowell will be paid based on his 2007 numbers, his performance is a lot more likely to look like his numbers of 2001 through 2006 (excluding his 2005 off year). Of course, it's not my money & I'd be happy to have him on the Phillies. In the near term, he'd definitely be an upgrade over what we have now (though, at 34, he does have some downside risk).

I do, however, have a problem with the notion that signing Lowell must be tied to letting Burrell walk after 2008. For all of Burrell's maddening streakiness (not to mention his ineptitude in the outfield), there just aren't that many outfielders around with his combination of power and OBP. If the plan is to essentially swap Burrell for Lowell, starting in 2009, then I think the Phillies will eventually come to the unfortunate realization that it's a bad swap. Lowell is 2 years older than Burrell & has neither his power nor his OBP.

Tying the Lowell signing to Burrell's eventual departure would give us a one-year window to win it all. Come 2009, Burrell will be gone & his would-be salary will already be spoken for. That means ownership will cry poverty & will refuse to spend the money to replace Burrell's offensive production. What would our OF be at that point? Victorino, Werth & Golson?

The Phillies have more than enough money to pay Lowell and Burrell (or someone like him). If they want to sign Lowell, they should do it unconditionally. They don't need to tie it to letting Burrell walk after 2008.

dajafi: Except for the part about Travis Mattair, it's not hard at all to imagine.

ae- there are no gurantees. My argument is to go for it now. Peak years in a few years, unfortuantely, also cannot be guranteed. There's injuries et al. My point is this, if you have a chance to assemble a World Series caliber team by adding a few players, go for it. Take a chance. Be bold.

Again, for your consideration:

Career:
Koskie vs. RHP: 870 OPS
Lowell vs. RHP: 803

Helms vs. LHP: 835
Lowell vs. LHP: 838

kdon: I've been mentioning Koskie for awhile on here and think he'd be a smart addition, assuming he's healthy. But first they need to fix the pitching and they're a ways off.

If they would bring in Lowell, don't underestimate this team's desire to trade Burrell.

89 wins last year. Winnable division. Winnable league. And with the eminent loss of Rowand, they will be taking a step backward if nothing else is accomplished this winter. That's how I look at it.

Phils are the defending division champs with three MVP candidates on the roster. I might be tempted to say I don't care a whole lot about Travis Mattair and 2010. In other words, now would not be the time I'd play it conservatively. That's not necessarily an endorsement of Lowell (everyone's making good points against it). But they still have holes to fix and need to fix them.

Clout, no question that pitching is the way to go. That's why I would rather spend my 12M on Cordero + Koskie.

Then sign a cheap LH bat to platoon with Werth, give Colon an incentive laden contract, and I think your set to defend the NL East, and probably have the best team in the NL

Make something happen now...it doesn't necessarily have to be Lowell. But I don't give a rat's behind about 2010. I will eventually, and probably would today if we sucked. But we have the chance to win the NL. It's there right in front of us. Make the moves, spend the money, and bolster the support around those 3 MVPs and don't forget that Cy Young candidate.

kdon: Cordero and Koskie is a nice proposal if Koskie's okay. Not sure they have money budgeted for much more.

A little late in the evening, but here is my (practical) dream roster, which would come in around 110-115, which is only a few stinking bucks over the limit and which I think would make the Phils the NL favorites:

Lineup:

1 – Rollins
2- Utley
3- Burrell
4- Howard
5- Koskie/Helms
6 - Vic
7 – Werth/Nixon
8- Ruiz

Rotation:
1 – Hamels
2 – Myers
3 – Colon
4 – Kendrick
5 – Moyer

Pen:
Cordero
Lidge
Gordon
Romero
Madson
Mateo
Eaton

Bench:
Dobbs
Helms
Nixon
Coste
Bruntlett

A dream may be hoping Colon can get back to his old self, but I like Lidge/Cordero.

And yes, Koskie's health really is the key.

If he can't play, then they are really short for 3B options. Lamb has been mentioned as a platoon partner, but he is terrible defensively and isn't actually any more effective against RHP.

Feliz can't hit, A-Rod isn't comming here, etc.

Dobbs/Helms isn't bad as a platoon, but there are three problems:

1) As mentioned, it doesn't solve the defensive problem, which means Bruntlett could end up getting the Moyer starts and late inning roles.

2) Considering that most teams start RHP, the team would lose its best PH (Dobbs) on most days.

3) This is Greg Dobbs we are talking about starting the majority of our games at 3B, the same guy who couldn't hold down a regular job until age 28 and even in his *career* year, had an OPS+ of 96.

Jason, I think that Gillick would like nothing more than getting rid of Burrell. But if Burrell wasn't willing to be moved and we finally reached the playoffs, why should the fans think he'll get traded this season?

"The assistant GM maintains that pitching remains a priority and indicated they may not have enough to meet the demands of Aaron Rowand."

While its obvious to everyone that this team needs to upgrade its pitching, these hints from management that the Phils will ONLY pursue pitching and not really try to keep Rowand or replace his production are very worrisome. As Garcia and Eaton reminded us last year, acquiring new pitchers is really risky and really unpredictable. This team went to the playoffs because its incredible offense made up for all the pitching mistakes. If this year's offseason pitching gambles go similarly awry, a team missing Rowand's production is going to be unable to carry the load. Seeing as we have little reason to trust Gillick's evaluation of pitching talent so far, this team could take a giant step back next year if they fail to upgrade the bats as well.

People, the winter meetings haven't even happened yet. Again: the winter meetings haven't happened yet. Who here is unsatisfied that Joe Table and Alfonso are not in the current bullpen mix? Who doesn't think that Lidge is an upgrade over someone like, say, Joe Borowski? We all need to take a few deep breaths and have some patience until at least 1 January.

So, I guess, the tough question is, assuming that you have 10-12 to play with do you sign Cordero (if he would even come here) or Lowell.

Considering all that, I would say that if Koskie isn't an option I would...(gulp) seriously overpay for Lowell, simply to keep 3B from being the joke that it was last year.

(And yes, I realize that is a complete about face in 40 minutes.)

I chuckle every time I hear the argument "We the fans, deserve a payroll increase." Get real. No, you don't. That's like saying "I deserve a tax cut" or "I deserve health care insurance." Do you really think you "deserve" something because you're a nice guy, spend $200 a year on the Phillies and you bleed Philly red?!?

post on MLBTR says the Yankees are going after Lowell to play first. seriously. also says a Boston TV station reported that Lowell's received offers from ATL, ANA, STL, and NYY.

the post also includes the ridiculous salaries for the potential lineup:

C - Jorge Posada - $13.1MM
1B - Mike Lowell - $14MM
2B - Robinson Cano - $0.5MM
SS - Derek Jeter - $20MM
3B - Alex Rodriguez - $28MM
LF - Hideki Matsui - $13MM/Johnny Damon - $13MM
CF - Melky Cabrera - $0.5MM
RF - Bobby Abreu - $16MM
DH - Jason Giambi - $21MM

yeah, that's ludicrous.

Here's a question for everyone-
Does anyone actually think that Aaron Rowand will receive the ~12 mil a year that he's looking for? I mean, one of the teams (White Sox) that he has played for previously and it had been reported that he has interest in going there, has been recently linked to rumors that they are attempting to sign Torii Hunter... I have no idea who is going to pony up the 11-12+ mil a year he is looking for...
A 2nd part of the question, however, is say it's January or February and he has yet to be signed by anyone. Do you think there is any chance the Phils will offer up a contract along the lines of 3/30 mil or 4/40 mil in an attempt to keep him here??

correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't a backloaded contract for Lowell still cost us at least 8-10 million for this year, thus ending our spending (no rhyme intended). I'd much rather see all the money go to pitching, be it Kuroda or whoever than to signing Lowell. That said, I understand the logic of spending on Lowell if there are no reasonable pitching options. But in that case, why don't we just sign Rowand. Between Lowell and Rowand (who will recieve similar contracts, though Rowand might get an extra year of two), who is more likely to perform better throughout the life of the contract?

The reason I brought the stuff about Rowand to the forefront is that it is somewhat bothersome that Gillick and Amaro have pretty much publicly shot down any possibility of re-signing the guy. Of course they haven't officially said they don't want to re-sign him but you can see right through their quotes and off-season moves that have happened and are expected to come.

With all this talk on Rowand having a career year it should be noted that he had a higher ops (905) in 2004.

MPN - Yeah but if the Phils only have $8 million or so to spend then they are pretty much done this offseason besides bringing an additional 2 or 3 role players.

I will wait and see but the chances of a guy like Lowell coming here or Rowand being resigned are pretty thin indeed.

According to MLBTradeRumors.com Mets are looking at Dan Haren and would only have to give up John Maine, Aaron Heilman, and Lastings Milledge.

As others, notably ae and bay_area_phan, have noted, getting Lowell doesn't necessarily do all that much to boost the team's chances in 2008-2009. If you're getting the 2007 Lowell, that's one thing, and he's worth $12-14 million. But the BABIP isn't replicable, and he's at an age where down is a lot more likely than up.

For that, you're talking about the opportunity cost of other moves, now or--my preference--later. Maybe a better scenario than my 2010 Liriano idea (and I never should have mentioned Mattair) is that a guy we need comes on the trade market next July and we have a match with his team, but lack the payroll flexibility because the team is already at $107 million and Lowell is costing us $10 million in the "cheap" year of his backloaded deal.

If that deal for Haren is true, the Mets would be crazy to pass. Haren is really hitting his prime and is locked up long-term for cheap dollars.

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