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Sunday, January 27, 2008

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They do seem to be rebuilding the depth, especially among pitching prospects, catchers and middle-infield types.

What I don't see is a lot of potential stars. Everyone knew that Hamels and Howard, among others, had super-high ceilings. The best prospects in the system right now look like #2-3 starters (Carrasco, Savery) at best, or above-average regulars (Cardenas). The Phillies have a lot of high-round picks in the 2008 draft; going above-slot for those, and targeting one or two foreign talents, could quickly restore the system to a spot among the top half of those in the game.

Of the three: Gillick, Amaro and Arbuckle, Arbuckle is definitely the most forthcoming. I'm not exactly what you'd call a familiar face in the media scene, and he opened up with honest answers.

dalafi - I bet this stems from the fact that the Phils have largely stopped handing out large signing bonuses and more been content to draft players who are likely to sign for their slotted value. Part of this stems from wanting to look good with MLB but that is just cover.

Just a way for the Phils' owners to to save some additional bucks in the short-time but it is really short-sighted. Other teams like the Tigers, Yanks, and Red Sox have realized the past 3-4 years that it is more economical to spend in the draft and are handing out large amounts of cash to sign players.

Agree that Arbuckle is forthright particularly when it comes to player development. I think this is because this is his area of responsibility as Assistant General Manager, Scouting and Player Development. When asked his opinions on other matters like trades, free agent signings, and roster moves, he will speak the company line. I think Arbuckle is a good baseball man and he is obviously respected throughout the league for his knowledge, but he is also politically smart. There is a reason he's been in the Phils front office since 1992 even though it has not been a successful 15 years (only 2 playoff berths). He outlasted 3 GMs and will probably work for his fourth next year because he is above all else a company man.

Billy Mac, I'm not sure that his political smarts are the thing that's kept him around- I'd say the players that have developed through the farm system is. On the current team you have the starting C, 1B, 2B, SS and LF all products of Arbuckle's farm system. Additionally, Hamels, Myers, Kendrick and Madson have come through the system. Seems to me that is a decent amount of players to have made it through your minor league affiliates, especially when it includes a RoY and MVP, an All-Star and MVP caliber player, and another MVP and two pitchers who stand decent chances at posting 15-20 wins each season.

This is the most honest thing he said: "we didn’t do as good a job on our middle round picks as I would have liked to see us do."

What he didn't say is that a lot of that is because of their refusal to pay above slot.

If anyone lives half way between Allentown and Reading, the R-Phils seems like a slam dunk as the place to go see the prospects: Golson, Donald, Harman, Marson, Outman, Carrasco, Carpenter. Just about every pitching prospect at AAA, Segovia, Mathieson, Happ, Bisenius will be rehabing in some fashion from last season's DL. Seems like Jaramillo will be the only postion prospect again at AAA.

phila fan in dc, The bottom line is the Phils have been to 1 world series over Arbuckle's 15 years. He should get credit, but also blame. Most front office administrators haven't lasted this long with one team with such poor results. So although I will give Arbuckle and his scouts credit for Utley, are the Phils scouts and Arbuckle free of blame for Adam Eaton, and other poor talent evaluation decisions (Mesa, Fasano, Barajas, ...) ? This team didn't go 13 years without a playoff berth by accident.

Yeah, but remember Lee Thomas and Ed Wade between them made some fairly bone headed signings of free agents (Danny Tartabull and Gregg Jefferies, David Bell, Pat Burrell, who is overpaid for what he puts up). Arbuckle's job is to find talent. It's the GM's decision on what to do with that talent, sign it or not, how much, and whether to trade it or not.

Gillick has made some boneheaded moves (Garcia), but he also, I think has done a very good job strengthening the bench. And while he screwed up with the bullpen last offseason, he also did a good job trolling for available pickups (Romero was one, and Alfonseca, while ineffective for some parts of the season, was also effective for others; they used him as a closer during June remember). We won't know about Gillick's drafting until after he leaves, but he seems to have at least laid a foundation in the farm system from the ruins left by Ed Wade.

Nice work, looks like you got Arbuckle to actually answer some questions.

Hopefully he is right, I want to see some decent talent come through the Iron Pigs (wow it still pains me to type their name). He has always been respected and was considered for a bunch of GM positions in the past. I think he's done a good job evaluating young position players, but not such a hot job evaluating pitchers. I doubt he has much to do with many of the free agent pickups and major trades, honestly. I will give him credit for Utley, Howard, Rollins, even Burrell, and don't forget guys like Johnny Estrada too.

However it is also his fault that the Phils are so pitching poor. Until Hamels, there was a BIG gap in the farm system for decent starters. All you had was Myers for a good stretch, Wolf didn't ever materialize, and that's about it.

Pat Burrell is "overpaid" because his contract was back-end-loaded. Let's see what he makes after this season before we start tossing that particularly dumb epithet around.

Before we slag any GM for his free agent decisions, remember that the owners, not the GM, decided to sign Jefferies instead of Larry Walker because Walker was a quiet loner and Jefferies was considered more "marketable." That one goes directly on Bill Giles, not Lee Thomas.

Someone in a previous thread projected Happ into the '09 rotation. Let's see if he goes through this season healthy before assuming so much. When someone has a bum elbow and hides it from management for a whole season, I'm not penciling him in for anything but a year-long stay on the DL after Tommy John surgery.

"Wolf didn't ever materialize." Uh, he won 48 games, mostly for a losing team, in his first four seasons. In the last three of those he ranked among the top pitchers in MLB in "pitcher abuse points," so the only surprise about his injuries were that they took so long to manifest. Even with the injuries, his career OPS+ is 102, or an eyelash above league average, which makes him a #3 starter. We'll be damn lucky if any of our current prospects "fails to materialize" in a similar manner.

Did you see ESPN's top 100 prospects, the Phillies only have 1, Carlos Carrasco on this list. You can't blame draft position, the Yankees have a couple on there and they sign FAs all the time. Carrasco is in the bottom of the list. We have to start drafting better.
DUH!

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