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Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Good deal for Fat Boy. I'm glad he's gone, personally.

i'll miss seeing his big monster truck at spring training. i won't miss him trying to run a wind sprint.

Remeber when they first signed him, the broadcast crew was sure Lieber could hit a little? He was a terrible hitter. My favorite Lieber-related moment came in '05, a Sunday afternoon game. Pratt and Lieber both reached base and L.A., still doing television, deadpanned something like "And the Phillies get the first two men aboard for Rollins with good speed on the basepaths."

Hahahahahaha! I still laugh at that.

no problem. We can count on Lancaster Barnstormers or York Revolution to supply us with a replacement.

Farewell Donut-Eater...hope to smash the jelly outta in '08!

Hmmmm...Leiber in Chicago, home of stuffed pizzas and everything pork...

Did the Cubs acquire a bunch of replacement bullpen benches,too?

i wouldve thought the next thread wouldve been about the Phanatc being named to the top sports mascot spot. Hes deserving of it for all he does to keep the kids happy and smiling while their team is in the process of blowing the proverbial two-run lead.

Has is been reported how much he will earn for the 1-year contract?
I agree with J - I don't think he will necessarily approach his numbers from his last couple years in Chicago or in his first year on the Phils, nor will he throw for 200 innings, but he could definitely become a solid, low-cost addition to the back-end of the Cubs' rotation...

Just heard, in the same poll that listed the Phanatic as mascot #1, that Mr. Met was ranked #3. But I'm wondering, even as those congressional hearings are going on, doesn't Mr. Met's head look a little, ummm, large? Just curious.

I'm probably forgetting someone but it seems the last 3 major Phils offseason rotation acquisitions were Lieber, Eaton and Garcia. Kind of makes you wonder.

Question: If the Phils were to resign Lohse, does Myers go back in the bullpen?

Jason - I hope not. Lohse does not qualify as a number 2. But it begs the question of what they're planning to do with Eaton.
Kendrick (listed 5 just to break up the lefties)

But this does not float my boat:

Glad to have Leiber out of the equation.

In terms of what to do with Myers should Lohse resign, I would wholeheartedly support that. Myers seemed to get pretty comfortable in the 'pen, and I thought did a serviceable job that should only get better with experience (like Rivera, Eckersly etc. - not that he has their stuff, but you know what I mean) and lidge may be best as a set-up man.

Any update on Lohse reconsidering 3 years?


Clout: Actually, though he ended up pitching out of the bullpen, I believe Ryan Franklin was acquired with the idea that he would be a starter. And let's not forget Ricardo Rodriguez, who also figured in the plans for the Phillies' starting rotation.

Hopefully not. Hopefully Eaton goes Sayonara.

I am going to miss Lieber.

Who was that again?

I can't stand Eaton, but we can't release him...way too much money yet owed to that crap carnival. I truly have no clue what the Phils plans are for Eaton, but they're approaching the season like he doesn't exist.

Swap Eaton for Mora...bad contract for bad contract?

Even if the Phils resign Lohse (which I highly doubt), there is no way Myers gets moved to the bullpen. Starting pitching is just too thin.

As for Lieber, I won't miss seeing him pitch personally. Just a horrendously boring pitcher to watch live.

Lieber though is emblematic of the Phils approach to starting pitching - signing/acquiring a mid-tier starter, advertising him as a frontline starter, and having the move not pan out as planned.

Gillick also muffed with Lieber by not trading him last season. Somehow the Phils have once again not received anything for a departing starting pitcher.

I do think the Phils will miss Lieber though in regards to what they supposedly planning to push out there in the No. 5 spot. Even a league average year from Lieber is likely to be much better than what the Phils are going to get out of Eaton and co.

Even a league average year from Lieber is likely to be much better than what the Phils are going to get out of Eaton and co.

that's probably true, but I (for one) don't think the odds of Lieber being league-average are particularly good. hard to be confident about a 38-year-old with an indifferent training regimen who's been sitting around in his monster truck since June.

ae - Maybe. I have less doubts though about Lieber's ability to be a league average starter than I do his ability to stay healthy enough to make 25-30 starts anymore.

If you look at Liebers' splits the past 3 years, he actually has been a fairly decent pitcher on the road. I think getting out of CBP will only

I am willing to bet that Lieber has gives the Cubs a decent return on their investment with an ERA around 4.50 but only gives the Cubs around 20 starts due to spending some time on the DL.

Here are the particular of the Lieber deal according to the Tribune:

"The Cubs signed right-handed pitcher Jon Lieber to a one-year, $3.5 million deal on Wednesday with around $4 million in incentives based on games started and innings pitched."

"Lieber will compete with Ryan Dempster for the No. 5 spot, with Sean Gallagher and Sean Marshall also on the periphery, assuming neither gets traded."

This is what smart organizations do and is what the Phils attempted to do last season (which I do give them credit for even though it didn't exactly panned out for the Phils as planned). Even though I am no big Lieber fan I would rather have the Phils spend money on an incentive-laden deal for him than pissing away money on Feliz.

The Phils are going into the season with no starting pitching depth and likely a guy who is damaged goods slated as the No. 5 starter (Eaton). This is why I still classify this off season primarily as disappointing.

I hear that Chicago is noted for their doughnuts.

I still say Eaton's worth a try in the bullpen. I know . . . I know. A guy who gets blasted in the first inning is a lousy candidate for the bullpen. But my theory is that, if he only had to pitch 20 to 30 pitches, he'd be at liberty to throw harder & maybe that extra velocity would make his first inning problems go away.

I can't honestly say that I think Eaton in the bullpen would work out. But our bullpen stinks & we're on the hook for Eaton's salary no matter what, so why not give it a try in spring training? What's the downside?

If the Phils resign Lohse and bring in another LOOGY like Miller, then I will be satisfied with this offseason. Don't exactly think that is setting the bar that high.

If the Phils sign Lohse, could they package Gordon, Madson, some cash and some prospects for a #3 starter and send Myers to the BP. Romero/Lidge setting up for Brett, I like a lot.

FYI, Pat the bat's got his live chat on at 5:15 today

Lohse for 3 yrs./$25 million, if true, would be a relative bargain. Nate Robertson just signed with Detroit for 3 yrs./$21.25 million, and the first two years buy out his arbitration years. Robertson's stats since coming to Detroit from Florida: 42-54 with a 4.53 ERA in 136 games.

Truth be told, I would like to see it for another small, bonus reason -- if/when Gordon goes down, Myers isn't the only bullpen option. Theoretically, Lohse could take over as set-up man.

BAP: In his 8 year career, Eaton has relieved exactly 2 times. Putting him in the pen would be a nice solution, but I'm guessing it's just not doable either because he can't do it or (like Lieber last season) won't do it and thus would perform badly if forced.

Alby: What makes you think that Lohse would be a good setup man?

I'm worried that signing Lohse would create a logjam of expensive mediocrity in our rotation come 2009. Our rotation would theoretically include Hamels, Myers, Lohse, Kendrick, and Eaton at a time when Carrasco, Outman, Savery, Carpenter, and even Drabek could be ready to challenge for a rotation spot. While all the prospects won't turn out and Myers could be moved to the bullpen after Lidge leaves, we would still have Hamels, Kendrick, Eaton, and Lohse in the rotation and they won't be cheap.

Lekh - I see your point about having a two potentially expensive mediocre talents (Eaton and Lohse) in the rotation come 2009. Still, I would take the opposite perspective and state that this team desperately needs another in 2008 and frankly I would be surprised if even one of the Phillies starting prospects really pans out in 2009.

Plus, Eaton's contract will be up after '09 and Lohse would only have one year remaining. Eaton's contract really has hurt this team but the one redeeming grace is that it was only for 3 years with no buyout option.

Clout: I think Eaton would go along with it because: (1) it's either that or Triple A; and (2) he's got to recognize that, after last year, he doesn't have a lot of leverage to be telling managers how to use him. Whether he could succeed in the bullpen is a different question. But, assuming the Phillies add a 5th starter before opening day, that leaves Eaton as the odd man out. Since they're paying him $8.5M anyhow, they might as well try to see if they can find a role for him where he can actually help the team. The answer is probably no, but it's not totally out of the question & there's no harm in trying.

Please stop talking about Brett Myers in the bullpen. Even a good closer is not worth a good #3 starter. Don't forget Innings Pitched when looking at stats.

Should we save Ryan Howard on the bench until the last two innings so we can pinch hit him with runners on against a right-hander when we really need it? No, you give him as many ABs as you can and let the chips fall where they may. We need Brett to give us 200 innings, not 85.

Consider the Rockies sweep. How much did Brett help out waiting in the pen for a lead to protect? Very little. It may seem to hurt more giving up runs in the ninth inning than it does in the first or fifth, but in the end a loss is a loss. You need to get all 27 outs to win, not just the last 3.

About Lieber -- we have enough contenders for the 4th and 5th spot in the rotation and Lieber wasn't going to be happy here no matter what.

About Lohse -- he's not the #3 we desperately need, but he would be a favorite to win the #4 or #5 starters job. Too bad he wants to be paid like a #3.

About Eaton -- please stop talking about his salary. He'd make the same money on the bench as he would on the mound, so the only issue is how well he performs. He might just bounce back and have a great season, but it won't be because of his paycheck.

MG: I couldn't agree more. We do need another starter, I just don't know if Lohse is the guy for the job. While I think Lohse could be counted on for 30 starts and a 4.70ish era, and could do better, I could just as easily see him having an Eaton-esque season, though not quite as bad. I would be on the Lohse bandwagon in a second if it wasn't for Eaton. It's just that if we're gonna add a starter this year, we defiantely won't be adding another for a long time. I'd just rather it be on more of a sure thing than Lohse.

BAP: Eaton can't be sent to AAA. If a player has 5 years of major-league service, he can't be sent down without his consent. The team must either keep him on the roster or release him. If they release him, the team is on the hook for his salary less the major league minimum, which his new team would pay.

xfactor: Who are these many contenders for the #4 and #5 spots in the Phils rotation?

xfactor: Your point about innings pitched makes too much sense for some posters around here, who insist that Myers be kept in the bullpen.

Lekh - Agreed about the uncertainty of Lohse and I would be more inclined to slate Eaton as the No. 5 starter if he had a clean bill of health.

The problem is that I highly doubt Eaton will be healthy/effective this year and the current alternatives for the No. 5 spot (Durbins, Happ, Blackley) are unlikely to even give the Phils even average or slightly below performance.

This was the same case in 2006 when the Phils primarily didn't make the playoffs because of the horrendous staring pitching they received from the back end of the rotation for almost the entire season. The games that Madson and Floyd started and lost in April/May contributed in large part to this team missing the playoffs.

I see the same problem this season potentially and I don't know if the offense will be good enough to overcome it again like last year.

I don't the see the O's(who have even more budget restrictions than the phils) swapping Mora for Eaton.

A scenario i could live with is a decent prospect for Mora plus Guthrie. No need to sign Lohse(and if we don't find another option, i think we have to sign lohse).

I think the smart move would be to sign a younger pitcher who has some stuff, isn't great, but is a serviceable back of the rotation pitcher with some options and let him duke it out with Eaton in Spring Training.

Should Eaton actually give us our money's worth, then you stash the extra pitcher with options down in AAA, if not, then the Kid Starts and Eaton cleans the clubhouse toilets for 8 million.

"As for Lieber, I won't miss seeing him pitch personally. Just a horrendously boring pitcher to watch live."

MG, you're crazy!

Unless he got bombed, Lieber was good for a 2:30 minute game easily. He was a fast worker and kept the ball in the zone.

If there is one thing I liked about him, it was that I looked forward to his starts because the ball would be in play all the time.

Just wanted to say that, someday, all those guys you list could be major league starters. The individual odds are against any of them being a major league starter at the beginning of 2009. (Consider the level they are currently at, for instance, and move them up one level a year.) That being said, many of them are good enough that they may skip a level; and it is reasonable to assume at least one will be ready by 2009. In that event, however, there are ways to eat $8 MM contracts in order to have a $380 K pitcher on the mound.

And, who knows, if Eaton manages to pull his ERA under 5.00, someone might give us dreck in a trade to take him off our hands. (Likewise, someone might want Lohse.) Yep, there will be room for Drabek, Carrasco and The Out Man.

Clout -

About the contenders for #4 and #5: Moyer, Kendrick, Eaton, Chad or JD Durbin, Blackley, the Spring Training invitees, anyone on the 40 man roster--in short, any pitcher with a pulse who steps up his game. I include Moyer because of his age (though I'm a big fan), Kendrick because of inexperience (loved his 2007), Eaton because of last season (fingers crossed).

I still consider the #3 spot unfilled. To win a world series you need a Big Three, if for no other reason than to protect against injury. This is BY FAR the Phillies biggest problem and it's not even close (ie, lefty reliever or 3B).

Depending on depth, I think its fine to approach the #5 starter spot as an open audition, but to do it for both #4 and #5 is asking for a world of trouble.

Wouldn't Lohse NOT be able to pitch for us until 15 May because we did not offer him arbitration? Isn't this the same scenario as Iguchi or am I wrong?

"xfactor: Who are these many contenders for the #4 and #5 spots in the Phils rotation?"

Being deliberatively obtuse? I'm thinking (and xfactor, please correct me if I'm wrong) that he was referring to all those many AAAA, AAA, and AA pitchers the Phils have indicated will "compete" in ST - Blackley, Youman, Mazone, (C.) Durbin, etc. (Probably including your favorite Deal - the Real one.).

Well, clout, sorry, I didn't let him answer. But, he did clarify.

Again, other than Moyer and Kendrick, the others are going to "compete" for a 5th spot with a heavy emphasis on the quotation marks.

xfactor -
I agree wholeheartedly to the need for a big three if a team is serious about the post-season. I do not believe that the Phil's are having an open audition for 4 and 5, however. They actually have a #4 in Kyle Kendrick and lots of #5s. They will pretend that Kyle is a 3 and Moyer is a four and hold an open audition for a 5 from people who are 5s, 6s and 7s. Adding Lohse simply gets them another 4, with the idea that a 1,2,4,4,5 rotation is good enough when your line-up alternates between raking and mashing.

It is, of course, not good enough in the post season.

It pays to be conservative with expectations and Kendrick still has a lot left to prove. His stuff isn't exactly top shelf, though he does have guts and good approach. I'd say Moyer was #4, but at some point you have to acknowledge his age as a serious concern.

Compounding the problem is that to expect 200 innings from Hamels and Myers might be a stretch. All the more reason the Phillies need a top shelf starter to slot in behind them.

Worrying about 3B is like repairing a hole in your sail when the hull is breached.

xfactor, Andy: Those are the names I was afraid you'd mention. In other words, the contenders for the last 2 spots in the rotation (beyond incumbents Moyer & Eaton) are a bunch of fringe players, longshots, never will bes and washouts. That's why I wish they'd go out and get another SP, even if it's a back-ender like Lohse.

Too much is made of the this is a 'No. 3 vs. No. 5' starting pitcher. Not really that much of a difference on most staffs between starting pitchers at the back end of the rotation.

What is critical though if you want to be a playoff contender is to have at least two capable starters at the back end of your rotation. I just don't see the Phils having that right now. Hamels/Myers are a nice 1-2 but they are not dominant enough to win enough games to compensate for a guy like Durbin in the No. 5 spot.

Maybe if the Phils offense produces at the same level as last year and they will be able to overcome crappy starting pitching from the back end of their rotation but that is presuming an awful lot. Plus, you still have a bullpen that has a ton of question marks and can't be counted on to be a source of strength.

Said it all offseason but if this team picks up another capable starter (like Lohse) and another bullpen arm, then they will be set to contend again for the NL East.

I don't see a pitcher worth crap on the FA list (cept Lohse) If we don't re-sign him, then maybe the key is fugghedaboutit and go sign 2 relievers (i.e. Trever Miller and Shawn Chacon) and call it a day.. also< any update on Feliz? just haven't heard the latest (if there is any).

Interesting comments from Burrell in the chat summary on

Is that the whole thing, or is there a more expanded version somewhere?

Also, I just read on that John Kruk is going to be cartoonized on Cartoon Network's popular Aqua Teen Hunger Force show... (along with the insanely beautiful singer Neko Case.) It is fun to know that of all the ex-baseball players out there, it is a Philly icon getting cell shaded.

Simply put he's one of those pitchers you love to hate because he will tease you to death one game then get shelled the next. I and my old buddy THe Dude always argued on whether Lieber would be best served in late inning relief roles. THe Dude contended that his splits indicate that he gets hit hard after 45 pitches or 3 innings whichever came first. He believed that he could be a good 6th & 7th inning bridge to the set up man. I couldn't really argue with him because the Phils really did not ever give him a chance to succeed in the pen last year. Oh well now we've lost 2 Lieby's in a 2 year span! How random is that?

Did anyone here Bob From the North East on 610 yesterday predict that the 5th starter spot will be either Outman or Carrasco and that Golson will make the team as the 6th OF/defensive replacement & pinch runner role? I really do not like the idea of having Golson up here wasting a season and losing the opportunity to get the much needed AB's he needs to be be fully evaluated to determine if he's a true prospect. I would have to guess that Bob is way off base on this prediction.

Would appreciate other's opinions on this subject. Would you rather have young "prospects" over mediocre established veterans?

Interesting quote from Burrell's online chat on

mlhty: What's the best part of playing in Philly, in your opinion?

Burrell: I'd have to say the ballpark and the fans. The whole last series down the stretch, when we were fighting and the Mets were choking, the city was just awesome and rallied around us. It was exciting to be a part of.

I really doubt that Eaton would make a good reliever. The guy's a mental mess. I don't see a place for him in late innings. Lohse, however, probably could. We used him down the stretch in relief a few times, and if I recall correctly for the most part he was pretty effective.

Eaton & Durbin are basically the same great stuff, no location, butt-pucker-upper pitcher.

Except one makes $7,630,000 and the other makes $380,000.

Both of them in the bullpen could be agonizing plus Eaton might get worse with the fans so close in his ear being in the bullpen at CBP.

In writing the preview for the Hardball Times, the phrase I found myself writing most was "chain reaction" to describe what would happen should certain positions fail. Definitely think the biggie is Lidge. Even an injury to Gordon could mean big changes, including Myers back in the bullpen. I would not be so set on Myers in the rotation. If they were to sign Lohse, which is just an outside chance at this point, I believe they would move Myers back to the bullpen, soon, if not immediately. In their mind, Hamels, Kendrick, Eaton, Moyer, Lohse, Durbin, Outman would be enough, and Lidge, Myers, Romero, Madson would balance it.

I'm not too worried about the loss of Leiber. Phils made the playoffs for the first time in 14 years essentially without him contributing anything significant last year.

The moments that stick out in my mind with Leiber are marked with extreme inconsistency. My favorite memory is from two years ago, when he came back from injury and went a complete game against the Mets. The worst is the previously mentioned, opening day, bushwacking at the hands of the Cards. If the Grateful Dead were to write a song about Lieber's career as a Phillie it would probably be "One Doughnut over the line." Or maybe that should be Leiber's biography?

clout - in re: SP and Lohse

JB - but Eaton has "better" highlights.

Tank - After 173 Ks and less than 30 BBs, Golson is not even making AAA out of the gate. If he gets more Ks than hits at AA, the real argument will be over whether to even put him on the 40-man at the end of the season.

The argument will go like this:

FO guy 1: "He strikes out all the time and will never make the big leagues and we can't even trade him."

FO guy 2: "Yeah, but we still have a 40-man roster full of AAAA guys, has beens and never weres. We can DFA one of them."

FO guy 1 - "Good point. Maybe if we change his name to "John Wayne" Golson."

Hamels, Kendrick, Eaton, Moyer, Lohse, Durbin, Outman would be enough...

man. that's a really bad rotation. I think there's a pretty strong chance that none of those guys--save Hamels obvs--posts an ERA under 5 next year.

(Jason, I know you're presenting the FO perspective, not necessarily your own.)

DeRosa says he's concerned about playing time if the Roberts to Chicago trade goes thru.

xfactor: You summed up perfectly the reason NOT to put Myers back in the 'pen when you wrote: "Should we save Ryan Howard on the bench until the last two innings so we can pinch hit him with runners on against a right-hander when we really need it?" A great analogy. Your logic of Brett Myers being saved in the playoffs to protect leads that never materialized was right on the mark. Let Brad Lidge and Flash Gordon waste away in the bullpen.

On Houston radio this morning, they were discussing the possibility that the US Government might prevent Miquel Tejada from entering the country from the Dominican Republic due to his illegal activities connected with the steroid hearings. Wade lassos dog poop!

On Lieber becoming a Cub, good for him if he does anything of worth there. I wasn't expecting much out of him if he stayed in Philly. The Cubs are cursed and they just took on the dreaded Doughnut Curse.

I wonder if the Phillies hadn't signed Lieber and kept their 1st round draft pick if they had Clay Buchholz on their draft radar? After all, the Phils are heavily selecting scout Steve "The Man With X-Ray Eyes" Cohen's recomendations in central/southern Texas.

Clout: Doh! You're right about not being able to demote Eaton to the minors. Still, I won't easily give up my idea of Eaton in the bullpen.

Speaking of Eaton, I was looking at his game-by-game logs throughout his career. Something that really caught my eye was that Eaton has thrown exactly one 9-inning complete game in his entire career. It came 7 years ago. True, CGs are pretty rare these days & it's not all that meaningful a statistic. But I still found that to be shocking.

A couple of points: Lohse and Eaton are not equal. Lohse is about as average as a starter can be; Eaton has consistenly been below average, and last season was the worst in baseball (the worst to keep a job, at least).

Lekh's concern, that our "expensive mediocrities" would block the progress of Carrasco, Outman, Savery, Carpenter, and even Drabek, is wildly misplaced. Eaton is a sunk cost; he has to be simply written off. He won't block anybody's path. In the unlikely event more than one of the youngsters is truly ready for Opening Day 2009, Lohse would have some value in trade (unless his career goes seriously awry).

Clout: Because he has pitched out of the bullpen before, has good stuff and IMHO could do the job -- he fits the mold of average starter who becomes well above average in the bullpen. As you're well aware, I believe in more creative use of pitching staff than is common; I wouldn't worry about our FO taking such a chance.

Any new news on Lohse. I'm very interested in what the ripple effect would be to the rest of the team if he were signed- most noteably Eaton's status.

Alby: you summed up more eloquently what I was thinking. Lohse as a simply league average starter will have at least some trade value with a short-term deal, if room needs to be made for the youngsters.

I meant to add as compared to Eaton, whose value is bupkiss.

The Theory - nice catch regarding John Kruk on ATHF. This show is way weird and extremely funny and I can't wait to see what happens with the Krukker in this episode. The link is below. This episode runs on Adult Swim January 27 at 11:45 (Eastern and Pacific)

On Eaton -

Unfortunately, there is exactly ZERO chance the Phils treat Eaton as a sunk cost. That is just not the way the Phils do business. As long as Eaton is healthy enough to pitch in spring training/start the season, I guarantee that he will be given the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

The only way that Eaton isn't the No. 5 starter coming out of spring training is if he is on the DL.

I would be pretty shocked if Lohse resigns here. If the Phils need to trade Helms salary ($2.9 M) before signing a guy like Feliz ($5-$6 M), then I just don't see how they are going to be willing to commit $8-$10 M a year to Lohse.

Cash trumps all -

Supposedly Selig just got a 3-yr extension as the MLB commissioner from the owners today. The huge revenue growth figures and increase in team valuations trumps all.

Alby: You're right that they should treat Eaton like a sunk cost but even if they DL him this year until another starter gets hurt, they can't just DL him for the remainder of his contract. Thus at some point he will have to pitch. I'm less concernced that signing Lohse will block prospects than I am that it will keep us from signing or trading for an elite player in the relatively near future. Committing 16 million to Eaton and Lohse is almost a 5th of the budget. I just feel that signing Lohse this year will keep us in the Lohse/Jenkins/Eaton market next year and the year after, as opposed to signing or trading for a real impact player...not that they would even if they could.

MG, all I can say is what an effin' disgrace it is that Selig was extended! It shows that baseball's ownership just doesn't give a sh*t about what has happened in the past or what happens in the future...

baseball owners care very very much about what happened in the past and what will happen in the future. that's why they've renewed the contract of a guy who's put millions and millions of dollars in their pockets over the past ten years.

maybe this will come as a shock to you, but 99.99% of professional sports team owners don't care about steroids or the integrity of the game or anything like that aside from how it affects the status of their investment.

Just read a great article titled "All-Juice team" or the like. Great read on all-star team consisting of players suspected of PED use.

Too bad they are illegal. What other business profits from such ilicit drugs? Any other business would have run Selig out a long time ago. There are others who could have led baseball to higher profits without disgracing the game.

yes, it's a shame baseball isn't run in complete accordance with every moral and legal statue, like all other businesses.

Lekh: My concern is that none of those pitching prospects will end up contributing anything major before 2010, if then. Assuming the core of the offense stays healthy and productive, any young pitchers coming up in the next several years will be asked to step into a regular role in a contender's rotation. This is more easily said than done. Look at the disaster of the Floyd/Madson experiment; even Hamels, as highly touted as he was, hit a few bumps. Even if, say, Carrasco winds up a No. 2 starter down the road, he won't be that good right away.

Sorry, that was me.

Something to get you all riled up: Rob Neyer says if he were choosing a second baseman for the next five years, he'd take Robinson Cano over Chase Utley. Cano's a really nice young player but I feel that's sort of like saying you'd take Ryan Zimmerman over A-Rod.

Alby: I share your concern. We do need another starter badly and it is likely that none of those prospects will be having an impact until 2010, but what worries me is being stuck with the dead weight of Eaton and Lohse and not be able to get rid of them. I just don't think that Lohse is the answer...but I also don't think the phillies are creative enough to do anything better, thus leaving Lohse as the only option in their minds.

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies crossed two potential salary-arbitration hearings off their list on Thursday afternoon, agreeing to one-year contracts with right-handed pitchers Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson.

A day before exchanging salary figures, Philadelphia agreed to pay Lidge $6.35 million in 2008, a raise of $1 million. ...

Where do those contracts leave the committed payroll? And how much of the stated $105M is left for Howard, Bruntlett, and the RP and SP we need?

HSE, I don't know that they ever really committed to a $105MM payroll. Montgomery said they could go "higher" than last year, but I'm not sure he ever committed to a set number.

According to Cots, these are the ’08 salaries in million$:

Burrell 14
Gordon 5.5
Helms 2.15
Myers 8.5
Eaton 7.635
Utley 7.5
Rollins 7
Jenkins 6.5
Moyer 5.5
Lidge 6.35
Madson 1.4
Romero 4
Werth 1.7
Taguchi 1.05
CDurbin .9
Snelling .45

which totals to 80.135.

Arb eligible:
Howard 7 est
Bruntlett .7 est

JDurbin 4 total for all of them (est)?

And the money owed the White Sox for Thome: 7.

This totals up to approximately $98.835MM committed for 2008.

Lohse at 8MM would put them over $105MM, never mind bringing in a 3B like Feliz.

They will wind up spending more than 105m. They have offers on the table to both Loshe and Feliz. If Feliz comes in, Helms and his salary will be moved.

Sometimes I wonder why someone like Sam Katz doesn't buy the team, spend our way to a championship, and then run for mayor on a platform of, "if I could get the Phillies to win a World Series, imagine what I could do for the crime rate." He'd be a lock to win.

Tray, you spelled "Pat Croce" wrong.

I never liked Croce, thought he was a goofball, and in any case, he didn't run the Sixers terribly well. The plan seems to have been to surround Iverson with a bunch of hustler/rebounder types who couldn't score and hope for the best. Better than Billy King's plan to surround him with a bunch of overpaid over-the-hill scorers who were never that great in the first place, but still. Actually though, I think Billy made an amazing pick with Thad Young.

I wanted to point this out before ESPN corrected it:

Phillies sign reliever Downs to three-year deal worth $10 million news services
Updated: January 18, 2008, 12:33 AM ET
Left-hander Scott Downs agreed Thursday to a $10 million, three-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays after a breakout season in which he had a 2.17 ERA.

Glad Lidge and Madson didn't have to head to arbitration hearing, those things get ugly.

If the circumstance(s) is/are right, I think Gillick would be allowed to exceed the 105 payroll mark by about 5 million or so.

Carson, I've said numerous times before on this blog...for you, me and the rest of the fans the payroll is just an arbitrary number. I really don't care how much they spend.

All I care about is that they put a team on the field that is good enough to compete for a WS title.

If they can do it on $50MM, or if it takes $150MM for them to do it, I don't care.

The one caveat I will offer is that this ownership/management group does not have the kind of track record that leads one to believe they can put a team on the field for less than $90MM and have a chance to win. They've just not been good enough at drafting and developing to have enough of a supply of young, cheap talent to do it.

So the Jays signed Downs, not the Phils?

DPatrone: So moving Helms at his full salary will be that easy? Really?

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