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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Comments

At least we KNOW what we have in Romero.. for better or worse. I don't have a problem w/ the signing..I expect an ERA in the high 3's to low 4's I'm more concerned with the SP and 3B solutions.. I am NOT comfortable with Dobbs/Helms.. The reason is the DEFENSE.. unless Bruntlett is a Gold Glove replacement

To those who say that $4M per year is too much for Romero, I ask: what would be a better use of $4M? Split up up & sign 2 Geoff Geary type relievers? Use it to sign a No. 5 outfielder like Brad Wilkerson or Cliff Floyd? Use it to sign a horrible value village starting pitcher like Tony Armas or Russ Ortiz?

My point is, if the Phillies overpaid, it wasn't by more than $1M or, let's say, $1.5M per year. If that's enough to prevent us from signing someone else we want to sign, then the fault lies with our stingy owners, not with the Romero signing. If ownership is again intent on a $90M opening day budget, then you can divide up those 90 million $1 bills any way you want & you're still going to end up with a team that is woefully deficient in some key respect. If this is what happens, it won't be the Romero deal which prevented us from being competitive; the blame will lie with ownership, for keeping a constant payroll in a spiraling salary market.

Rob: I think Bruntlett's an excellent fielder, but damn does he suck offensively. In essence, the Phillies let Abraham Nunez walk & they replaced him with a clone. If you loved seeing Abraham Nunez pinch hitting in the 8th inning of tied games last year, then you will love Eric Bruntlett.

BAP: Who's to say Romero isn't a Geoff Geary type reliever?

***

I did see this, via Blogging Baseball, and this could be a positive for the Phillies, and could show Romero may be better in the long run than some of us anticipate:

"In Romero’s case, he had awesome stats; 9-2 with a 1.89 ERA in 81 appearances for the Minnesota Twins in 2002 helping them to reach the ALCS, where they were eliminated by the then Anaheim Angels. After 2003 and 2004 seasons where his stats degraded from their 2002 level, he clashed with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire while struggling in relief during 2005 season. His struggles culminated with something about 2 hit Kansas City Royals’ batsmen in late September, 2005 followed by his storming off the mound as Gardenhire emerged from the dugout to pull him, with an ensuing altercation with the manager and bench coach Steve Liddle followed by his being traded to the Angels. Romero claimed at the time that he was direspected by by Twins management.

In 2006, Romero’s ERA exploded to 6.70 and he was picked up in the off-season by the Red Sox who used him sparingly in the first half of 2007 before releasing him with the Phils picking him shortly thereafter.

Once with the Phillies, Romero seemed to have put the lowlights behind him with his sensational 2nd half, thus enabling the Phillies 3 year deal."

If Romero's emotions are more to blame for his poor play in Minnesota, I can get behind this a bit more. It could be that Romero has gotten past all that.

Malcolm: Romero's stuff is vastly better than Geary's. Geary is, quite simply, incapable of having a year like the one Romero had last year. Plus Romero is left-handed, which carries a significant premium.

I'm sorry, but this is a terrible deal. b_a_p, you may be right that an extra $1.5M on its own isn't going to make or break the team. but overpaying for mediocrities (to be generous) like Romero and Eaton because Gillick is apparently obsessed with getting out ahead of the market eventually adds up. if Mahay and Miller and King and all the other LOOGYs end up getting 3/$12M, then it's merely a bad deal instead of a terrible deal. but if those guys sign for fewer years and less money, Gillick will have misread the market. again.

the other part of the deal that I have a major problem with is that I think Gillick clearly sees Romero as the new setup man, not a situational reliever. that's going to blow up in his face in absolutely no time.

on another subject: file this under unverified rumors, but a brother of a friend of mine works for IMG, Howard's agents. he told me last night that Howard wants a raise to $9M this offseason (and has threatened to get a new agent if he doesn't), and that a multiyear extension is virtually impossible unless he's getting one of the biggest contracts in the league. take this with a grain of salt and so on, of course.

"At least we KNOW what we have in Romero"

I have no idea how you could say this; Romero is one of the streakiest players in baseball over his career. He is absolutely capable of blowing up or being dominant. I don't see how you could have any confidence in predicting how he will perform next year.

This is obviously too much money to pay, but as bap puts it, the actual total amount really isn't that much.

BUT, it does matter; I would rather have 3.5M extra (difference between Romero and Zagurski) to spend on someone like Cordero. In an ideal world, they could just sign both, but we know there is a cap somewhere.

I don't buy the argument that Romero's success was due to emotional factors. I don't care how well adjusted a guy is, he doesn't instantly become able to induce a .158 BABIP. that's a whole other factor, something that we call sheer blind luck.

JC's walk rate is horrendous. And he was a little lucky last year. however, he has a very nice strikeout rate and "moxy" for lack of a better term.

he is 2 walks per 9 innings from being a dominant LHer our of the pen. There is no reason he can't repeat his 2004 season. He is only 31.

however, what is his walk rate vs LHers? thats kind of what really matters. if he gets 2 LHers out while walking a RHer he did his job.

anyone have those stats?

Some of my favorite recent comments:

MG: "Plus it increasingly looks like Romero will go elsewhere because the Phils are under the delusion he will sign for low-dollars."

D. Patrone: "I have not seen any speculation as far as Romero goes, but I'd have to agree with MG that he won't be back. Like I said in the previuos thread, The Bosox re-sign their guys and the Phils don't. They just don't want to pay what the current market structure is. Based on Gillick's comments this morning, once again they're taking the small-market approach."

More D. Patrone: "Today he's says upgrading the pitching staff is gonna be hard. Off course it is. Especially is you're not willing to pay top dollar. Lohse? Gone. Romero? Gone."

Even more D. Patrone: "See this is why I say what I say about this organization. Rowand and Romero are gonna walk away because the Phils don't want to pay salaries that the current market demands. That's why it's gonna be a very poor off-season. AGAIN! Remember where you heard it first. I'm out."

Yes, we heard it there first.

AH Hah!

last three years BB/K:

LH: 37/61
RH: 70/60

there you go

Romero walked a lefty every 6.64 PA. he walked a RH batter once every 5.54 PA. those walk rates are actually worse than his career marks.

By the way, my thoughts on the Romero signing:

In one sense, it's too much. I'm not sure the market for this kind of a reliever is $4M per year. He is better as a LOOGY than he is as a pure set up man. I just don't think any of us are under an illusion that he can repeat last year's success.

However, even if he backs up some, he will still be one of the most effective relievers on our current staff.

However, if we overpay, I prefer this kind of overpayment to the one we gave Eaton last year. At least, in a sense, it can be seen as rewarding a player who was essential to our division crown run.

In the end, if the extra million or so doesn't affect our pursuit of other players, I won't have much to complain about. We'll see how this off-season progresses.

Ae, the scary part about that BABIP is that even with that, his peripheral ERA (the ERA you would expect from his other numbers was) 3.98.

So, if you assume his ERA will return to around his peripheral ERA (which it always does) and Romero's BABIP returns to a normal level) which it will, we are talking about a 5.00 ERA +.

If it was in his head, than you would assumer that his peripheral stats would change, but aside from hits allowed (explained by his BABIP) nothing has really changed from his '05 and '06 days...except he has gone from having poor control to almost no control.

ae: As I said the other day, I try not to get bogged down with labels like "setup man," "LOOGY," or "back-of-the-bullpen reliever." The Phillies need about 5 or 6 good arms in their bullpen and at least one of them has to be left-handed. Period.

Unless the move has some obvious downstream consequences, or unless it requires a massive expenditure of money that will clearly limit the team in other areas, I think each move needs to be evaluated on its individual merits. A lot of people on this board (not you, but others) like to evaluate moves based on nothing more than a theory about what Gillick might or might not plan to do next. Gillick could trade Eric Bruntlett for Albert Pujols & there would be posters out there who would write, "Terrible move. Gillick would never take on this much salary unless he had a secret plan to trade Rollins and Utley."

On its individual merits, I think the Romero move needed to get done. I also think they still need one more top reliever. If they don't add any more relievers, I will blame Gillick for not doing so, but I won't blame him for resigning Romero.

CJ- "AHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH DIDJA SEE THAT JERK!? AHHHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH"- h.simpson

Top to bottom those guys really know the ins and outs of the organization.

I also think people get too caught up in overpaying. It's not so much the gross dollars that bother me, but that fact that his contract *ensures* he will be on this team for three years, even if he does revert to his '06 and early '07 days.

As we see with Eaton, Helms, Barajas, Alfonseca, Mesa and Nunez, when you sign veterans, you end up sticking with them simply because they are veterans, even if they suck.

The biggest problem is that Romero, who by all indications, is a mediocre pitcher at best with serious control problems, is now virtually garunteed a spot in the pen for three years.

b_a_p: I agree that as a GM, Gillick should not get preoccupied with specific roles. but my concern is that Manuel will get married to the idea of Romero as a setup guy and keep sending him out there for the 8th, regardless of the results.

dajafi's comment here on TGP comparing this to the Cormier signing is, I think, spot on.

Individually, it's too much money for Romero. It just is. Even if Gillick read the market correctly and other LOOGYs get $4M+, it's too much money.

But I do take a look at what else has to be done, other factors, etc., because everything has to do with everything. Giving Romero $4M changes what else we can spend on additional relief/outfield/third base/starting pitching. I don't know how much money we have left — only the boys upstairs know that — but by paying Romero $4M and not $2.2M or whatever, it affects things.

If they go out and grab another back-end reliever, outfield help and a either another bat or a back-line starter, okay, I'll put the foot in my mouth. But with this $4M, I can't see them making all those other moves.

More importantly, the argument for Romero is that "at least we have the arm, and it's a lefty, and it's proven." Please. Romero is based on a small sample set. Locking up a guy who was on waivers, with that sample set, to a three year deal (with a four-year option), is overthinking. Heck, if it was $4M a year for two years, I'd probably say this wasn't a bad deal.

But we know about Romero's control. We know about his see-saw career. $4M a year after a waiver wire claim doesn't make sense.

AE - you beat me to it. I immediately thought of Cormier's contract and performance.

I think you guys are reading way too much into what the ramifications of the amount Romero signed for will mean as far as future moves.

Gillick and co. obviously concluded that if J.C. walked they would have a hard time replacing him (based on what is available)- and perhaps have to give up a draft pick if they went the FA route. So they did what they had to do to get to the finish line with Romero.

If you are Romero in this market would you sign before hitting the open market for anything less than 3 years? No Chance.

The other factor in my view that is very real is that Gillick knows he still has to make a move for at least one more Bullpen arm and possibly even another SP. That is going to be VERY difficult to do with our farm system and what is out there via FA ... if you lose Romero all of a sudden that shopping list is 2 Bullpen arms, one Left handed at least and a SP.

That becomes almost an impossibility given we most likely need another OF piece as Rowand is going to walk ....

Bottom line. We had to do what we did to get Romero back here - and Gillick signed him. Good for Pat.

I rather would have him and complain about overpaying then continue searching for a LH reliever with no track record in Philly.

He might be the next Mitch Williams but we could also be forced to sign the next Arthur Rhodes.

Someone commented that the "overpaying" is overrated. Is Romero's track record of inconsistency also overrated? That's well over half the middle relievers in baseball. The one point about relief pitching echoed most here is the up and down nature of it ...

I think that's the point Jason. It's not just Romero (although I think he has a higher possibility of collapsing than other relievers), but 3/12 is just stupid for almost *any* bullpen arm.

Beneath the fluxuations in things like ERA, he has been a pretty average pitcher for the last four years.

I hate this deal.

By all means, the team should overpay for any elite reliever who has a consistent track record and clean bill of health. Romero's healthy, but he's far from consistent, and his 2007 was Cormier's 2003 or 2006--a year in which he pitched well, and was also astoundingly lucky. That he'll pitch as well again is reasonably likely; that he'll pitch in as good fortune is almost impossible to imagine.

That said, if he's used primarily as a LOOGY it might not be a disaster. My biggest issue with Romero is the walks; I think he tends to walk righty hitters whom he can't overwhelm with stuff. Hopefully Madson, Bisenius, Mathieson or someone else emerges as the 8th-inning guy as soon as next year, and Manuel can pick his spots with JC. If that happens, he might be a slightly above-average arm for the life of the deal, in which case we'll just have overpaid--an unpleasant but survivable mistake.

This is a cover your ass moment for Gillick, who has taken a lot of well deserved heat for failing to deal with the Phils' bullpen last season. So it's not surprising that he was quick to pull the trigger on the Brad Lidge deal and highly motivated to lock up Romero, even if it required overpaying him. I expect one more bullpen move by Gillick, who will then feel he can face the Philly media and claim that he has fixed the bullpen mess (that he made) and strengthened the rotation by adding Myers.
Count me skeptical about doing much more than that to bolster the rotation. How many players can you sign for $8-12 million? So, I expect little more than another Gillick adventure in bottom fishing,meaning a fungible Steve Trachsel or David Wells type who will serve two roles: (1)to "compete" with the worst starting pitcher in the NL during spring training, and (2) to fill in when an injury to a starter occurs. Maybe Gillick feels that Eaton just needs motivation. We do recall his comment last year to the effect that he wasn't being paid to pitch well in spring training. Of course, the "competition" between David Wells and Eaton would look like one of those cagefighting bouts in which two fat,tattoed ex-felons (with 10-10 records) sit on top of one another for three rounds. At the end of the bout, Eaton is proclaimed the winner and gets his spot back in the rotation. Cholly will then let it be known that Rich Dubee has worked with Eaton to fix this or that problem,therefore, we will be expected to believe that he doesn't stink any more, and that the Phils rotation is just as good as the Mets (even though they have added Santana or Kazmir).

I just don't get some posters on this site. Did the Phils have to overpay for Romero? Yes, but the generally follows with any asset where you don't have another viable option.

Baseball is awash in money and it makes sense that pitching (which is at a premium in MLB) commands a high price. Either the Phils setup to the demands of the market or they don't.

The only thing I don't like about the Romero signing are length of the deal (3 years vs 2 years). Additionally, I am worried about the possibility that this may mean the Phils looking to Romero as a setup guy and are now done with the bullpen which still has not been entirely addressed.

If the Phils didn't resign Romero, there are any really 2 other LHP relievers options in this market (Mahay and Miller). I am not counting King because his numbers are trending upward in a poor direction the past 2 seasons and I am very worried about a pitcher who is in horrendous shape in his mid-30s.

Mahay is a legit option but there several teams that are interested in acquiring in him. So it would have been tough to sign him even if the Phils had offered him the most money. Additionally, he is a Class B Free Agent so the Phils would have had to compensate the Rangers with some picks. Miller is a decent option but I bet he will get a lot of interest too in the market.

Frankly, the more interesting ramifications on the Romero signing is the prescient it will set for other FA relievers. If a guy like Romero is worth $4M/year, a guy like Riske is worth at least $5M/year.

List of FA relievers on the market:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/features/freeagents?positionId=0

It would be nice if the Phils would bring in an additional 2 arms for the bullpen but a luxury this team probably can't afford.

Still, I would like to see them bring in a hard-throwing RHP (because I don't think Gordon can be counted next season). Riske doesn't throw as hard as he did with the Indians but I wouldn't mind seeing him a Phils' uniform.

Hawkins would fit the bill but a guy like Seanez might be ideal if the Phils can sign him to a one-year deal at $1.5M. Risk he may flame out but the cost/length of contract wouldn't be that much of a bear.

Time to take stock, our current pitching staff looks like: SPs Hamels, Myers, Moyer, Kendrick, Eaton (?); RPs Lidge (CL), Romero/Madson (SU), Gordon (7th), Zagurski/Smith (LOOGY?), Mathieson (?), Matteo (?), Durbin (Long man). The bullpen might not be as horrendous as some claim, but we definitely need another starter.

As for comparing Cormier and JC, at least we didn't forfeit a 1st round pick and allow the Red Sox to get a sandwich pick by re-signing Romero.

"The acquisition of Brad Lidge, along with the Romero extension, shows a commitment to sealing the cracks with better talent while the foundation players are in their prime."

That's the bottom line. The issue is not whether there was technically an 'overpayment' or that Romero is a career mediocrity. The Phillies had an advantage with Romero that that would not have had with any other left-handed reliever on the market - he had played with them and wanted to stay - and they *had* to get this done, and they did. There was no guarantee that they would have been able to find a lefty on the market anywhere near Romero's caliber.

CJ, even though I am not implicated in your cut-and-paste ridiculing, the 'I-told-you-so' crap is a bit ridiculous. At the outset of the off-season, it was made known that the Phillies and Romero were "far apart" in contract talks, which did not at all bode well and could justifiably be interpreted as business as usual. It's obvious that the Phils were the ones who bent here, but that isn't something we as fans have any right to expect. It *did* look like they were going to lose Romero.

As I opined at the time - everyone knows relief pitchers are highly unpredictable, and that the Phillies have been burned by expecting guys like Cormier and Rhodes to adhere to their 'track records'. It's a given. However, that doesn't mean you avoid the market altogether by using skepticism as an excuse. If the Phils get burned by Romero, then they get burned, but if they felt this was what they had to do in order to retain him, then it's *not* a bad deal. Early on, we've seen a commitment and determination from the front office not to repeat the lax approach towards the bullpen which was demonstrated last winter.

My other point would be, even though it's of course unlikely Romero will repeat the dominant numbers he put up in the second half of '07, I do not at all agree with the assertion that he was simply 'lucky'. If you watched the games, you know that it was more than luck that enabled Romero to get out of a lot of late-inning jams. When a guy makes his pitches and does what he has to do time after time after time, that's not luck, it's good pitching.

As an aside, how refreshing is it that we're discussing the hot stove possibilities of a reigning division champion, while the other major team in our city puts up the stinker week after week?

B_A_P:
in re: Bruntlett
The one different dimension from Nunez is that he's a little faster. He might be able to steal a base (you know after he gets hit by a pitch or on by catcher's interference), and has not grounded into DPs as often as No-Hit. So, in that respect, we've gained a little. The other good side is that he's much better than Nunez at the middle infield positions, particularly SS. He, realistically could give Jimmy a break.

Although I would have rather seen them ink Romero in the $10MM range, I certainly won't mind seeing him trot out from center field in the 7th as opposed to Mesa/Condrey/Davis/Geary (who I actually didn't mind that much). Unless he decides to prove otherwise...

there was a mention of twins officials being upset with Gillick for saying santana will be traded. this made me think that maybe he was trying to keep santana from being traded (to the mets) by putting pressure on the twins in the media. perhaps i'm overthinking this but why would he make such a statement if there wasn't a reason (and the reason has NOTHING to do with the phillies getting santana)

Andy: Yeah, Bruntlett does have some speed. And you win line of the day award for your comment about his stealing bases after he reaches first on catcher's interference.

Suffice it to say, I'm not too excited about the Bruntlett acquisition. Since the backup shortstop's main job will be to pinch hit, I was hoping the Phillies would find someone for this role who can actually hit a little bit.

I wonder how many of the Romero walks to right handers are intentional or the "pitch-around intentional" type so that he can face a left-hander.

Also, it would be nice to know his inherited runner stats.

Romero let 6 of 26 inherited runners score for the Phillies.

Last thread was great, Clout never addressed the "Kuroda (Or whatever) is better than Myers as a starter" comment except to come across as something of vocabulary teacher, barking about context clues.

All hillarious failures to address simple, unmistakable points aside, I think that the insinuation that Gillick is going to get Lidge, sign Romero, and move Myers to the rotation and stop is equally hillarious.

I guess Gillick has worked his six days of creation and now it is time for a day of rest? This point boggles the mind, and seems to be nothing more than an ill fated conversation piece, destined to end as awkawrdly as it began. If this is what Gillick does, I will be the first to accuse him of being a bumbling idiot. The fact that it is early November and the Phillies have made arguably the biggest moves in baseball to this point forces me to refrain from such knee-jerkery, less I point the bumling idiot accusatory finger in my own direction.

BAP - Bruntlett is actually more useful than Nunez just for the fact that he is an adequate SS and has some speed. Plus, he still can play 2B, 3B, or even the outfield if needed.

A Chone Figgins-type of bench player - No but still more useful than Abraham O. Nunez (one of the worst Phils' positional players in the last 20 years).

"the insinuation that Gillick is going to"

It's not insinuation. It's fear based on past history.

RSB - Feel the same. Plus, CJ was kind of being an a$$. Eskin and the media reported the Phils were looking at a 2 yr deal for Romero initially at $5-$6M. When two sides are initially apart by over 200% in a contract negotiation, that is a pretty substantial difference.

Gillick realized that a left-handed reliever was something he couldn't let go unattended again this offseason even if he did have to give a 3rd year to Romero and really pony up some significant money.

Excerpt from a Q&A with new Pirates GM Neal Huntington... can we hire this guy when Gillick leaves?

The Pirates upper management has widely ignored OBP (on base percentage) in the past. How important will OBP be in player evaluation under your leadership?
-- Eric S., Pennsboro, W.Va

We are going to utilize several objective measures of player performance to evaluate and develop players. We'll rely on the more traditional objective evaluations: OPS (on base percentage plus slugging percentage) , WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched), Runs Created, ERC (Component ERA), GB/FB (ground ball to fly ball ratio), K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings), K/BB (strikeouts to walks ratio), BB%, etc., but we'll also look to rely on some of the more recent variations: VORP (value over replacement player), Relative Performance, EqAve (equivalent average), EqOBP (equivalent on base percentage), EqSLG (equivalent slugging percentage), BIP% (balls put into play percentage), wOBA (weighted on base average), Range Factor, PMR (probabilistic model of range) and Zone Rating.

Gillick probably has never heard of two thirds of those stats.

Another aside, as I was reading SI's Q&A with Erin Andrews (was hoping for the question, "Would you marry Malcolm?), I saw this tidbit:

SI.com: You appeared on the Who's Now series that was ripped to shreds by most people. What did you think about that?

Andrews: It did get ripped. But let me tell you, athletes watched. I actually had Charlie Manuel say something to me about it when I did a Phillies game. He said to me, "E.A., you'd rather go to Shaq's party than LeBron's?"

Haha. Just found it hilarious that Charlie Manuel knows the difference between Shaq and LeBron's parties, and even knows who Shaq and LeBron are.

But, Tray, Patty G knows those other two valuable stats:
DSOAVP and PRVwSTH

.

.

(Dollars saved over actually viable player
and
Public Relations Value with Season Ticket Holders)

Malcolm:
Charlie Manuel is always getting down at LeBron's.

BAP:
in re: Bruntlett

Bruntlett, has the same average, but his Ground out/fly out ratio is much much different. My point is that the phils have a much better chance of getting a sac fly out of Bruntlett than Nunez. Watching Nunez help strand a guy on third with one out was the most frustrating thing about him.

Very few teams have the luxury to expect a key base hit from their utility infielder. Bruntlett's a fine addition and a clear upgrade over Nunez, provided he is used in the correct role (read: the Phils acquire a real 3B).

Hey Free Agency hasn't even started yet and the Phillies have made two moves already.

What other team in MLB can say the same thing? (None, I think.)

Let's see what the Phils do in Free Agency and then talk about it.

Most people know the holes left to fill, so it's up to Gillick to go and fill them.

If the Phillies acquire a real third baseman, Bruntlett would not be a guy I'd want on my final roster. Spelling Rollins isn't at the top of my list of concerns; he seemed to do just fine last year without needing any time off. There are plenty of utility infielders out there who can hit a little bit.

We only have room for 5 bench players on our roster. It's more important to find guys who can hit than it is to have a backup to a guy who isn't likely to miss more than a game or two all year.

and a small market gm trotting out the latest buzz words in baseball bean counting isn't PR?

BAP: Please. Don't be crazy. You MUST have people on the bench who can substitute at SS, CF and C. If they hit, great, but they MUST be able to cover those positions in case of injury. The Phillies have no such player at AAA to cover SS, so they must carry on at the major-league level. This is GMing 101.

Dajafi nails it on Romero: The bulk of his walks were due to his pitching around right-handed hitters. If other bullpen problems are addressed, this won't be a major concern. As for the money, I refuse to buy into the bullsh*t "limit" management puts on payroll. If they won't pay for a winner, I won't pay for tickets. Pretty simple.

Re the Howard rumors: If tossing him into the deal with Hamels gets us Santana from Minnesota, back up the truck and haul him away. He's the most expendable part of the current core.

I would not trade hamels and howard for santana. santana's era was 3.33 last year, an increase over previous years. he's a fine arm, but he'll be overpaid.

i really do not think the phils should offer howard a long-term deal. He has 4 years until free agency, and I am not optimistic that he'll be super productive beyond that span. I say offer him a 4 yr. deal similar to what we estimate he'd get in arbitration (just as a sign of good faith). if he rejects, take him to court each year and trade him before the 4th.

you guys can't wait for howard to fail. sad in a way. i say be smart and see how next year goes give him and us a chance to see who he really is as a player, but lets not pretend he is easily replaced. the idea of hammels and howard for FREE AGENT TO BE santana is crazy. santana can win 4 more games than hammels a year tops. if santana was steve carlton winning 25 games a year sure, but you wanna trade a cheap ace and 45 cheap homers for a slightly better but more pricey ace? i understand that seeing howard every day lets us see his flaws up close. same with cole. but the fact is howard changes this lineup and changes the way the games are played. i hate jonny marzano but "sometimes you gotta watch the games". meanwhile, santana is out in fly over country and all we see is the patchwork of greener grass.

CJ~

I'm glad to see I made your favorite comments list. At least someone's listening, even when I happen to be wrong. Gillick hasn't really given me much to optimistic about since he's been the GM. I mis-read the Phils in regards to J.C. Frmnkly I'm glad he's back. LH relief pitchers are a hot commodity and come with premium price tags. But I don't think I'm wrong in regards to Lohse abd Rowand, though I Hope they both return. If Boras wants to start @ 40 million for Lohse who is under .500for his career, then I say adios amigo. In Rowand's case 4/52 seems like a bit much but that's probably what he'll get on the open market. Maybe too rich for the Phils blood.

I have no problem with Vic in center, however, if Rowand does go and 3B and RF aren't upgraded, that's where I have a problem.

Anyway, while I don't rebuff anyone's comments, I do enjoy reading them. Like I said, thanks for listening. All of us can't be right all of the time.

Mike, I should have made clear that I'd trade for Santana only if we could sign him long-term. The commissioner's office often gives teams a 72-hour window to negotiate with a player in such cases; if he turns down the long-term contract, then no deal and no harm done.

Santana isn't a slight upgrade over Hamels; he's a major upgrade, and far more durable besides. In short, I do see him as a Carlton-level talent, and I'd rather see him here than in New York.

Replacing Howard might be tough, but I'm already tired of the lousy defense, and I don't see it improving. Add in the lousy performance vs. LHP, and the apparent inability to see a breaking pitch out of the pitcher's hand, and I foresee diminishing returns over the next few years.

Bay-area - You are sure putting down this Bruntlett - hes gonna be a spot starter, pinch hitter and late inning replacement at third. If he was as good as you want him to be he would be starting somewhere for other teams. Hes quite adequate replacement player and we should be happy Nunez is not on team anymore.

johan hasn't been hurt much, but cole is way better than santana was at age 23. i know santana doesn't hit over in the AL but i don't see him driving in 130 runs anytime soon so howard and hamels for santana doesn't add up.

Howard and Hamels for Santana? Hands down one of the 5 stupidest things ever posted on this blog.

MG, at least you admit it from the outset. That trade idea is ridiculous on any number of levels.

So tomorrow, teams can start to bid for players right?

Parker - I don't mind pondering trades but not flat out ridiculous ones.

fljerry says: "If [Bruntlett] was as good as [I] want him to be he would be starting somewhere for other teams."

Hardly. I don't expect my backup infielder to be Hanley Ramirez. But I don't think it's asking too much that he can hit .260 and occasionally get an extra base hit. There are plenty of those guys around. They may not fit the mold of the slick fielding shortstop but how often do you think Bruntlett is going to be asked to play shortstop over the course of the 2008 season? If it's more than 5 games, I'd be astonished & if it's more than 10 games, the season is a lost cause.

The number of games that we will lose because we have Eric Bruntlett pinch hitting in a critical situation will very likely exceed the number of games that we would lose by having some backup third baseman (i.e., Geoff Blum, Corey Koskie) fill in at shortstop for an inning or two, in the event that Rollins goes down with an injury. And, based on his history, the odds of losing Rollins for an extensive period of time are slim and none. In the unlikely event that it happens, we can either trade for a replacement or bring up Jason Donald. Donald hasn't played above Single A yet but I'd still venture to guess he'd probably be a better major league hitter right now than Eric Bruntlett is.

Frankly, I'm puzzled by all the love that Eric Bruntlett is getting on this board. Everyone has railed against Abraham Nunez for the last 2 seasons & Bruntlett is almost the exact same player -- maybe with a marginally better OBP, but even less power.

I've waited until now to comment about Romero's new contract.

It is in line with what I expected any moderately successful LHRP to receive, especially when compared to what other relievers got last offseason.

There is that much money chasing that little talent.

It also tells me he might have gotten more money on the open market, but he has said since he arrived in Philly that he liked it here and wanted to stay. You can't fault him for that.

I saw quite a number of fellow posters use the term "overpay" when discussing Romero's contract. As I've been typing consistently on this site for a while, his contract reflects the new reality of the MLB salary structure. In short, it might have been "overpaying" five years ago, but not today.

Refusal to recognize this reality is either living in the past, wishful thinking or abject denial.


With starting pitchers now expected to go only 6-7 innings, relievers are becoming more valuable, as we see reflected in the Romero contract, and will see reflected in other relievers' contracts.


Earl Weaver, the retired HOF manager, has an interesting insight as to why starting pitchers don't complete nearly as many games as they used to:

"I guess the biggest difference in the game is we have six-inning pitchers now instead of guys that go the distance. Three-year contracts had a lot to do with that, multi-year contracts. When a pitcher had to go to the general manager the next year and present his stats to get his raise -- you know, complete games, number of innings pitched, wins and losses, ERA -- it was tough to get the ball out of a pitcher's hand at that time in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning. Now, it's going to be six and everybody's satisfied. Back then, they were pitching for the next year's contract."

link here:

http://www.star-telegram.com/284/story/297437.html

Fron Sunday's Boston Globe:Nick Cafardo Notes:
"Best we can gather from talk around the GM meetings, the Mariners, Dodgers, and Phillies will be big players for righthander Hiroki Kuroda, 32, of the Hiroshima Carp. He has already filed for free agency and doesn't have to be posted, and given the scarcity of starting pitchers in the free agent market, Kuroda is going to have a few teams bidding. Because of his age, some officials estimate that he could get a four-year deal, with final figures possibly getting up to $10 million-$12 million per year. Teams will try to stay in the $8 million-per-year range, but that might not get it done. It appears he'd like to stay on the West Coast; the scouting word is that he doesn't like to pitch in cold weather. A top baseball man familiar with Japanese baseball said, "You have to find the right fit for him." Kuroda is a sinkerball pitcher who has pitched well in small ballparks."

Kells - Thanks. If the money is the same for Kuroda, I would be shocked if he comes to Philly over LA or Seattle (both cities on the West Coast with a much notable Asian presence).

BAP - Bruntlett is a better player than Nunez. Neither is an offensive superstar by any means but Bruntlett brings some pluses that Nunez didn't. Bruntlett can steal a base, he is more likely to draw a walk, supposedly can exactly lay down a sacrifice, and is a capable defensive player at multiple positions (2B, 3B, SS, and outfield). Bruntlett will be fine as the 25th man on the roster.

Besides the whole issue of performance enhancing drugs, the biggest issue in regards to baseball's competitiveness is teams like the Pirates that have a stadium that is primary financed by taxpayers, receive a large financial transfer every season from the luxury payroll tax, and yet refuse to spend any kind of money.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/pirates/s_537437.html

If anything, I would hope that Selig would enact some kind of MLB spending floor on teams but this will happen. Instead, you get franchise owners who cry about the supposed inequities of baseball yet stuff their pockets with cash.

Just to put into context who stupid a Hamels and Howard trade for Santana is:

From NY Post yesterday:

"In return for Santana, the Twins likely will ask for a package centered on second baseman Robinson Cano, a person familiar with Minnesota's operations said yesterday."

"A Yankees package of Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes and a prospect might not get it done for Santana, agreed a second major-league official. The Twins already have a plethora of young pitching, so their focus is on offense"

So basically the Twins might trade Santana to the Yanks for a package of Cano, Phil Hughes, and a prospect. A huge price tag for the Yanks but let's not even compare Cano to Howard or Hughes to Hamels.

Having Iguchi play for the Phillies for a few months last year was a huge impact in Japan in terms of the Phillies name recognition. The Japan barrier has been broken in Philly.

Also I'm sure Kuroda would talk to Iguchi about his experiences in Philly and assuming he gets a good report (I don't know of any problems Iguchi had), then why wouldn't he sign in Philly? Geographically we can't compete with being "only" 7 hours to Japan from the West Coast, but the key is going to be making the best overall offer.

Gillick has the experience of signing Ichiro and other Japanese players (Sasaki, etc) during his time in Seattle, so I'm somewhat confident he can do a good job going after Kuroda if he's the guy the front office determines it wants.

(Full disclosure: I live in Japan but don't really follow Japanese baseball.)

MG: I don't care who they trade specifically for Santana. My point is trade whoever it takes -- anyone but Utley -- and pay whatever it takes to get him long-term. The alternative is we spend the next umpteen years debating guys like Romero and Bruntlett.

MG: oops, I incorrectly attributed the Howard trade comment to you. I should have realized that the comment sounded a little odd coming from you, but alas it did not. My appologies for associating you with such a bogus comment.

Alby, I have to say I am in a state of shock that you would advocate trading Howard for Santana. An MVP caliber position player for a pitcher. I just think Howard has the potential to impact many more games than a starting pitcher. Don't get me wrong, we need more pitching, but trading Howard is not the answer. Utley, Howard, Rollins, and Hamels are the untouchables, IMO.

Alby, why the sudden shift on Howard. I know that you said that you did not specifically advocate trading Howard for Santana, but to do whatever it would take to get it done. Normally I don't have significant disagreement with you on a lot of topics. This would be the exception. Howard should go nowhere, fast and for a long time.

Relief pitching is a crapshoot like many of us have said over the years. I'm glad to have Romero back, think the deal is too pricey, but still happy he's a Phillie. As long as Patty G continues to search for some hidden gems for our other relief vacancies, and a 3rd base option, and another outfielder to platoon with Werth than I'm fine. I doubt we upgrade our rotation anymore...Eaton is too expensive to push out of the picture. My guess is we sign a minor league free agent or two or 500, to pitch in Allentown and call upon them if/when we need a starter or extra reliever.

BAP: You're pretty sharp, but this is one of the more bizarre statements I've seen in awhile: "Donald hasn't played above Single A yet but I'd still venture to guess he'd probably be a better major league hitter right now than Eric Bruntlett is."

Why in the world would you think that?

Parker, et al: Maybe I have gone crazy, but I think this team has gone as far as it can as currently constituted. I'll post more later.

For anyone all that upset about the money is forgetting to add in the ZenTax. What is ZenTax you might ask? Well it simply the tax the Phillies have to pay for pitchers willing to pitch at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Simply take whatever you think the value of a pitcher is on the open market and then add 1.5 to 2 million + 1 year that could be an option year tax for pitching at the Zen. If the Phillies go over that then they over paid. Otherwise they are just making it worth a players time to pitch here when they could put up better numbers somewhere else.

Of course this tax only really applies to pitchers that have options and aren’t waiver wire fodder.

This notion of relief pitching being a crapshoot stems from the measuring of relief pitchers on stats like ERA, WHIP etc. If starters pitched 40-50 IP a year, they'd be a crapshoot too. Small samples yield wide fluctuations. If you want to judge a relief pitcher on the traditional metrics like ERA, take his career in 3-year chunks.

Looked at in that context, Romero is an above average reliever (3.90 ERA, .240 Opp avg.) who has control problems (121/107 K/BB) but is very, very good vs. lefties (.202 avg., .601 OPS) and very, very bad vs. righties (.279, .845).

In sum, he's a damn fine LOOGY and was incredibly lucky to have the stats he did (albeit in an incredibly small sample) as a setup guy last year. If he used properly he'll fill an important need for the Phillies, which they cannot fill internally regardless of how much kdon likes Zagurski, Matt Smith & Fabio Castro.

In terms of money, I strongly second AWH's comment: "Refusal to recognize this reality [today's MLB salaries] is either living in the past, wishful thinking or abject denial."

I posted this (from the Wilmington News Journal) on last thread just before the Romero news broke, so it didn't get any comment, but on any other day I suspect it would've been a lead item:

"I'm upset, not with the Phillies, because I understand the situation," Myers said. "I'm upset because I think I really found myself and my role this year as a closer. I know, because I've been told that I'm best suited to be a closer."

And, how about this from today's Daily News:
"We're still keeping an eye on Aaron, but I'm not sure he's a realistic piece for us right now," assistant GM Ruben Amaro said. "If we're not in a position to bring back Aaron or someone of that ilk, we'll be looking for a fourth or fifth outfielder."

A 4th or 5th outfielder? Does that mean Werth starts every day in RF even though his lifetime numbers vs. RHP are horrible? Or does he have a plan to upgrade 3B (despite Gillick saying they wouldn't) so that a Dobbs/Werth platoon (which would be adequate) can handle RF?

If the thinking is Werth plays every day and 3B stays as is, then we are looking at a major drop in offense.

Clout-- has PG or Amaro EVER told the truth re: player personnel? That's not necessarily an indictment. It just means that everything you read needs to be taken with a bucket of salt. EX: "Myers is our closer", "we won't be a contender till 2008" etc.. I actually think they're FINALLY "getting it" in the front office.. Keep the thoughts close to the vest.They don't HAVE to tell us their next moves. Telling us tells EVERYONE. I will give them until March to get the pieces we need When and if they don't, I'll call them the Bullsh**tters they deserve to be called

The real question is.. How long will it take Cholly to overuse JC and ruin his arm?All you Geary bashers can say what you want...Cholly ruined any chance he had by over using him. Let's hope he doesn't do the same with JC.

I'd like to see the Phils swing a trade for Hank Blalock (don't think he'll cost much talent-wise, possibly JA Happ and another "prospect) then let Blalock start regularly at 3rd with Helms giving him a breather against lefties. This then allows Dobbs to platoon with Werth in RF which will be fine statistically as Clout suggestest. Blalock wouldn't have to be a 1 year rental either, he has a reasonable option for '09.

If we lose out on some other options at third..how about maybe a one or two year deal to Morgan Ensberg...You could probably get him for something like 2 years- 4-8 million dollars.
The market on him is just non exsistant.

McSnooge o' rama:
I assume this also means that Rowand will sign for less to stay in Philly than he'll want from someone else.

Clout: Ok, maybe my statement about Donald was a slight leap of faith. The talent gap between Single A & Double A is probably larger than between any other 2 levels of the minors, and we haven't yet seen how Donald can do at Double A. But I don't think it's all that far-fetched to imagine that Donald could hit better than .250 with 0 homeruns in the majors. After all, he's had 4 years experience at a Pac 10 program & he hit .300 at 2 separate levels of minor league ball last year, with a total of 12 homeruns.

I don't mean to imply that Eric Bruntlett is somehow at the epicenter of the Phillies' problems. As a utility infielder, he's certainly no worse than a lot of guys and I suppose he is a marginally better hitter than Nunez, thanks mainly to his ability to draw a walk. If the Phillies are really going to go with a platoon of Helms & Dobbs, then you do need someone available as a late inning defensive replacement. But if they're going to upgrade third base -- as they should -- then Bruntlett is superfluous and I'd rather give his roster spot to someone who can hit. A guy who can play all 4 infield positions but can't hit a lick is a guy who should be stashed at Triple A, not kept on the major league roster.

Clout~

You're correct. We are looking at a major drop in offense. Unless Gillick is not tipping his hand. He's good at that.

You know I get blasted here about being a pessimist and then we read comments like what Amaro said. I saw that too. If the Phils think that they can get by with what they currently have at 3B and RF, they're sadly mistaken.

I'm wondering if they'll make a play for Lowell since to my knowledge he still has not re-signed with the Bosox yet. I believe they can uprgade both 3B and RF because all it takes is money, but I guess that's just wishful thinking on my part.

All in all, I'm happier with where the Phils are now than a week ago. Also on the plus side is that they haven't made a huge dent in their spending cash for next year. Two decent acquisitions (or signing Rowand and one good pitching acquisition) could really round out this team.

Clout, thanks for reposting the item on Myers being upset. I think many of us would agree that it's not a done deal that Myers is back in the rotation, but I wonder if the front office did themselves a real disservice by making this announcement so early. What if they sign or trade for another starter? Do they call Myers and tell him to regrow his closer facial hair? I'm happy that Gillick is being aggressive, but something doesn't seem to be well thought out here.

Just a thought.. The Cubs are ready to announce a Jacque Jones for Omar Infante deal w/ the Tigers... Could we trade for Mark DeRosa since they have Infante, A-Ram ,and Theriot already? Unless Infante wasn't dealt for as a starter at 2B.. The Cubs have a glut of IF now (Cedeno,Fontenot) I don't know what the Cubs are looking for. Maybe a catcher?? any thoughts?

I'm still very troubled by Gillick's comment, made after the Lidge trade, that they had $8 to $12M left to spend (which would now be $4 to $8M). That comment can't be reconciled with the $105M opening day budget that we were all hoping for but which Monty never promised (he spoke of a $105M payroll but he didn't say "opening day" payroll).

If I were optimistic, I would interpret Gillick's statement to mean that the Phillies had $8 to $12M to spend ON A STARTING PITCHER, but still more money to spend on other stuff. But I didn't get the impression he meant that.

If the Phillies are really down to their last $4 to $8M, you can forget about signing Kuroda or Cordero or Mike Lowell or Livan Hernandez. Instead, prepare yourselves for them to add a marginal outfielder like Brad Wilkerson, invite Sidney Ponson to spring training on a minor league contract, sign a couple more Rule 5 relievers like they did last year, and call it a day.

I don't see a match there, Rob. DeRosa is a lot like Helms, and with the addition of Bruntlett, I don't see much of a point.

come to think of it.. I just checked DeRosa's stats.. He isn't going anywhere soon

JW.. Helms has no track record of DeRosas Production.. Helms is STILL livin off one year He is absolutely horrible.. One of the worst FA signs in years IMO Bruntlett couldnt hit 293 (DeRosa's avg) in triple A

DaRosa career: .278 .341 .408 .749
Helms career: .265 .326 .435 .761

Righty hitters, DeRosa is a year older. Practically interchangeable careers until last season. Phils looked into both last winter. Where would DeRosa play?

Andy,

I’m pretty sure you were being sarcastic right? Either way I’ll indulge myself a little.

There’s no chance in taking less then market value to play at the Zen since he is going for “The Contract”. This is Rowand’s best shot at signing the deal that will set him up for the rest of his life. He’s going to take the fattest longest contract he can get his hands on, especially when you consider his all or nothing style of play. He’s already got what he needed from the Zen.

If your look for the advantage of having a hitters park like this I think you are looking for shorter contracts: older players, players that had recently saw their value go down or maybe people looking at hitting major mile stones though that might be a stretch.

Think Andruw Jones here. If he can’t get at least a 5 year dear for crazy money I could see playing in Philadelphia for one at most two seasons at slightly below market value being a possibility. Then he could reestablish his market value using the Zen’s nice shoret fences and then bolting for the huge contract elsewhere.

I could also see this helping them if they were interested in A-Rod because he could hit those crazy career milestones a few years earlier, but that isn’t happing either way. Maybe a situation with a player who is a borderline HoFer looking for a few more good to great years.

What the Phillies need to do is recognize this potential for rebuilding the team. If Rowand leaves and they get the two draft picks that they should those picks use on young pitching.

Internal pitching is the cheapest why to get good pitching. If you’ll notice the Phillies big pitching acquisitions over the last few years have all been trades, or by “over paying” by the rest of the markets standards. That will be costly over the long run so draft picks will become huge.

If they can sign Jones and players like him that are Type B free agents or better yet, not ever type B who had down years and then let them walk after they reestablish themselves as Type A free agents they could start stocking the farm system with piece that will be useful fro cheap help down the road or for trades in the future. Of course the other side of trying that is players that might be undervalued for very good reason, like they really do suck.

Maybe I’m over thinking all of this, so take it with a grain of salt.

dobbs/werth platoon might be okay offensively, but envisioning dobbs defensively in RF 4 games a week is a little scary. every fly ball seemed like an adventure when he was in the OF last season.

I keep reading that Jason Bay is available. He had a bum knee in 07 and is owed about $13.5 million over the next two years. Do we have the prospects to get him? Plug him into right field. A betting man might say he will outshine Rowand offensively next season. I like two years of Bay more than many of the options available in free agency ...

JW.. I defer.. I just thought DeRosa was a more consistent hitter.... In a perfect world, we'd have a legit starting 3B to put Dobbs on the bench and Helms would be released/bought out/traded I really feel Dobbs has NO position. That's why people are having trouble who to platoon him with ( i.e.Werth, Helms) He can't play any position with better than avg skill.

Bay would be a nice catch.. He had a down yr (for him)Unfortunately Pirates always go younger in trades.. Who knows what they'd want?

Heard they made a 4/40 mill offer for Rowand. We'll see how much he wants to stay.

Mike Timlin would have been a better signing for less dollars.

Sure, I can give the front office the benefit of the doubt and wait until March to grade the offseason like some have said here. But I also have to listen to my gut. It just really seems right now like they will leave 3b alone, let Rowand walk, and fill the gap in right field with Werth and some fourth outfielder from the Rule 5. I understand pitching needs to be the prioirty and I like what they've done so far, but if you improve your pitching but let your offense take a dive, you didn't really improve your club all that much. What about doing everything to keep the offensive numbers where they were last year AND improving the pitching? It's that extra step that we are all waiting for and we'll find out by March if this is the year they actually take it.

The Pirates have odd priorities. You would think they'd want prospects but this is the team that just traded away a Michael Bourn type of prospect (Rajai Davis) for Matt Morris, an overpriced 1-year rental on the downside of his career. Still, I'd have to think they'd want a package of prospects for Bay. That sort of limits the Phillies' options. How about Drabek & Cardenas for Bay?

"Heard they made a 4/40 mill offer for Rowand. We'll see how much he wants to stay."

Patrone: Where did you hear that?

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