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Thursday, January 03, 2008

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Wasn't Rodrigo Lopez the guy the Phils were trying to trade Burrell for before he exercised his FNTC?

i think it is worth taking a chance w/ at least one of those names on that list. i am tired of seeing nmaes like that going to other teams and having success, and us sitting back come september and saying "hey we could of had him." very frustrating these ownership is.

The Cardinals and free agent Matt Clement have reportedly agreed to a major league deal.

The Pirates, Indians, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Rockies were some other teams mentioned in connection with Clement, who will be ready to compete for a rotation spot after missing last season following shoulder surgery.

Yes, Rodrigo Lopez, then of the Baltimore Orioles and AL leader in losses in '06 was the guy we almost traded Burrell for...thank goodness we didn't. And by the way, Lopez won't be "healthy" until mid-season by most estimates.

Elmer Dessens would have been interesting, but we already signed Chad Durbin for that role.

I wonder what Jeff Weaver would command for a 1 year deal...would his sinker work at the Brick Cit House?

I've liked Rudy Saenez for a few seasons now and wish he was in Phils pinstripes.

Trevor Miller could be a useful 2nd lefty out of the 'pen.

Clement will probably get bigger money then the Phils are willing to risk, same goes for Colon.

Clement to Cardinals per MLBTR. Scratch him off the list.

They're paying the price for Adam Eaton. He's owed a lot of money, he's here through 2009, and he can't pitch in the bullpen. Going after a guy like Clement was going to be tough with Eaton bogging them down.

Nick Swisher traded to whitesox from A's

Swisher, signed by Chicago through the 2011 season with a club option for 2012, was traded by Oakland for pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Fautino De Los Santos and outfielder Ryan Sweeney.

Wow. Gio moves on. Oakland may have struck gold here.

Holy cow.."the Brick Cit House". That is golden.

Very few of those names hold any real promise to help, but there are a few relievers I'm surprised have gone unclaimed. Affeldt's a serviceable lefty, as is Seanez. Dotel's always an injury risk, but wasn't Alfonseca?

Even with the imposed budgetary cap, Gillick must have a little bit of room to work with. There isn't much excuse for not taking chances on at least two names from that list between now and March.

Arthur Rhodes?!? Not unless his surgery was for a bionic arm.

I really wonder how bright a star Gio Gonzalez can be if he's already been traded 3 times before any real time in the majors.

Amen, RSB, not much excuse. Nothing there to get real excited about, but this team cannot afford another slow start, and even some improvements at the margins will help.

CJ: If you look at the quality of players the trading teams got in return, I'd say pretty bright.

CJ - In re: Gio
If Oakland wants to trade him a fourth time, there are a buncha guys I'd send them for him.

In re: Jason's list above
I bet there may not be any 1s, 2s or 3s but there are several options better than Eaton, Youman, and Blackley at 5. And someone on the list is better than Condrey. And, hey, look, there are even some LH RPs up there.

But I'm beginning to think that the Roberson sale was the last "little splash" of the post-season. Yikes, it's gonna be tough next year.

Since the Phils are "locked in" to Eaton, it seems the only 5th starter options they would be interested in would be swingman types like Chad Durbin who can also pitch in relief. I don't see one name above that fits that description and is good enough to improve the club. I still contend that Lieber will outpitch Eaton this season; unfortunately it looks like it won't be in Philly.

I thought RSB got Traded? I wanted to keep him but he has declined in his posts ever since he stopped spelling his name out and just going with initials.

If Eaton was likely to be healthy coming out of spring training, I would be "ok" with him as the 5th starter. Phils could even live with league average or slightly worse than league average numbers out of him (ERA of 4.50-5.00). The total lack of news about him from the Phils leads me to believe that Eaton will almost inevitably begin and spend a sufficient portion of next year on the DL.

Reminds me exactly of the way they treated Gordon last year. Very quiet about Gordon last offseason and said "everything was fine" during spring training. That obviously turned out to be a big, fat lie and the Phils knew it.

I am willing to bet the Phils already know Eaton is damaged goods but will go into spring training with the charade that he will be the 5th starter even though they know it is a longshot that he contributes in any substantial way next season.

Considering that it is pretty likely that either Kendrick or Moyer will struggle or be ineffective next year, the Phils need another starter in bad way. That is why I have been convinced that another starter is even more critical than even the bullpen at this point.

The problem is starting pitchers (even complete reclamation projects like Clement) command more than the Phils' willingness to pay near league veteran minimum. That is why they signed Durbin. Almost impossible to get a veteran MLB pitcher who can start at a cheaper price.

If the Phils want to go the discount route special, they should at least sign 1 or 2 vets for the pen. I am willing to bet though it will a true "Value Village" type deal like last year with Alfonseca. They will bring in 1 or 2 vets on minor league deals before the start of spring training.

I would bet that likelihood of even getting a guy like Miller as a LOOGY is pretty distant unless the Phils can sign him to the veteran league minimum or a minor league deal.

Considering that it is pretty likely that either Kendrick or Moyer will struggle or be ineffective next year, the Phils need another starter.

Billy Mac - I agree. I do think the Donut Eater will be more effective than Eaton next year. Also think he will likely contribute in a meaningful way to a team by actually staying in the rotation too.

Ideally, I would love to see this team make two bullpen moves. Sign Miller and Seanz to 1-yr, $1 M deals. Miller would lock down the LOOGY spot and 50 innings from Seanz in middle relief would be a big upgrade over the likely holdover options.

The funny part is that the Phils will likely bring in 2 or 3 pitchers off the scrap heap/waiver wire to give them 40-50 innings and it will cost the Phils more than it would to sign Seanez to a 1-yr deal at $1.25-$1.5 M.

Am I the only one who recalls the great Trever Miller's first stint in Philly? Remember 2000? 14 G, 14 IP, 13 ER? That was a baseball lifetime ago, but still... Hey, how about that Vic Darensbourg!

how about cliff politte? he didnt pitch in 07 and had a rough 06 but had great numbers in 05. up to 05 he had a good track record and has fared well against A.L. teams.

After researching Clement I was going to do a post on him advocating the Phillies signing him, assuming he passed a physical (read: MRI).

I found in checking his splits that he has pretty good numbers against the Mets and Braves, the two teams the Phils will need to beat head on in order to win the division.

The one positive about him signing with the Cards is that Omar Minaya didn't decide to sign him. He also has pretty good splits against the Phils, and has dominated them on occasion.

I was at a game in '03 against the Cubs that Sammy Sosa won by homering on the first pitch against Turk Wendell in the top of the 9th. Clement walked a few but only gave up one hit in 7 IP.

Seeing what the Cards were able to sign him for in guaranteed money leads me to three speculative conclusions:

One, MG is correct above:
"The problem is starting pitchers (even complete reclamation projects like Clement) command more than the Phils' willingness to pay near league veteran minimum."

Two, because they are unwilling to guarantee someone a spot in the rotation in the event Eaton is able to pitch, the likelyhood of them signing anyone like Clement (someone who is looking to rebuild his value) is very slim.

Three, they took a look at the medical reports and didn't think Clement was a good risk at any price.

Well, if #1 is correct, shame on this group for risking a season because of what Clement is guaranteed.

If #2 is correct the shame on them for risking the season on Eaton's shoulder (I happen to think MG is also correct about Eaton's shoulder and the Phils' knowledge of it's condition).

If #3 is correct they only get a partial pass, because their medical people have screwed up in the past.

Clout: I guess what I'm saying is that if I had a Hall of Fame ballot, Gossage would be on it, Smith wouldn't. That's based on all the things I delineated previously, plus my observation of the two players. It doesn't mean I'd never vote for Smith, but in my mind Gossage has to go in first; if Gossage isn't good enough, Smith certainly isn't either. And Smith has many more years left on the ballot than Gossage does. (BTW, I felt Goose should have gone in before Sutter, too.)

Politte signed a minor league deal with the Cards.

The Cardinals signing Clement and giving a 2-yr deal last season to Piniero is to me more a sign of the Cardinals desperation at finding any starting pitching.

The injuries to Carpenter and Mulder screwed the Cardinals last season and will likely make them in also ran in the Central again this season too. If Rolen doesn't rebound and the Cardinals don't get strong unexpected seasons again from some of their bullpen guys, I would be surprised if they finish above .500.

Even the Phils have a clear advantage in starting pitching with Hamels and Myers at the front of the rotation than the Cards (only Wainwright can be called a "sure starter" for the Cards)

There are very few exciting names on that list. Some of which are humorous.

That being said, we do clearly need to strengthen the club.

What is Terry Mulholland doing these days?

Also thought some of you guys may find this interesting: from Keith Law on ESPN INSIDER..

In exchange, Oakland gets two players who are just about major league ready plus a high-upside pitching prospect. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez has racked up impressive strikeout totals in his minor-league career, but it's not clear that his stuff and approach will carry over well to the majors. He works heavily off his offspeed pitches, a plus 73-75 mph curveball with a sharp two-plane break and a straight 78-81 mph changeup with good arm speed, but his fastball can be short -- I've seen him as low as 84-86 mph, touching 89 in that outing -- and he doesn't command it well. I have also seen a pattern where he has trouble dealing with on-field adversity, struggling after he makes a mistake or something goes wrong behind him. He does benefit from the move away from a hitters' park (Chicago) to a pitchers' park (Oakland), which is key for him because he's had problems with the longball in the past and projects to be homer-prone in the big leagues.

I am surprised Beane traded Swisher who is arguably the most popular A's player among fans. Almost guaranteed that the A's will have one of the worst attendance figures next year in MLB.

Didn't realize that the A's attendance was so bad last year. Only had 1.9 M for a fairly decent team. Left them at 26th Almost guaranteed the A's finish next to dead to last in attendance. The only reason they won't is because the Marlins might not even attract 1 M fans next year.

If the Marlins totally bottom out from an attendance standpoint and only attract 500-600k, you almost have to wonder if MLB will seriously consider moving them by 2010.

MG, we agree on the Cardinals desperation. We also agree on Eaton's health (your Gordon analogy was excellent), and that the Phils' aren't being forthcoming. That's why, at 1.5MM, IMO Clement would have been a good signing.

I don't expect Eaton to start the season, much less finish it.

I guess the reason the Phils aren't being honest about Eaton's health is that honesty won't sell tickets.

It's either that, or they don't want to lose leverage in negotiating with any remaining FAs.

Actually, a third possibility exists: they feel some of the prospects will be ready to contribute if (when, actually) an injury occurs on the pitching staff.

Appears Josh Towers is going to sign with the Rox...they sure are stocking their staff with a lot of swingmen (Wells, Redman, and now Towers).

I still can't believe Clement only got 1.25 garaunteed...I thought he'd get more.

Carson - Clement is a risk, so the g'tee is low, but the upside is fairly significant. I have to admit I was a little surprised as well, especially that he went to St Louie, which is not exactly a pitchers park in which to rebuild value.

Sam Donellen finally wrote a good column about the Phillies this morning. Some quotes:

"The Phillies added no big free agent, unless Geoff Jenkins does it for you. They, in fact, lost a few: Rowand signing with the Giants; Lohse currently flirting with the Mets; invaluable replace-a-second-baseman Iguchi off to San Diego. They've moved Brett Myers back into the rotation; acquired a closer, Brad Lidge, who was removed from that role for a time last year; and are banking heavily that Kyle Kendrick was not a one-hit wonder in his rookie debut."


He also asked a few good questions:

"Traded to obtain Lidge, will Bourn's base-running and defensive skills be missed?"

Will losing the righthanded Rowand and adding the lefthanded-hitting Jenkins make the Phillies even more vulnerable to lefties?

Are they asking for arm trouble in again moving Myers back into a starting role?

And finally, have the Phillies, like the White Sox before them, underestimated all the intangibles Rowand provided in his two seasons here?"


I'll answer them in order, and would appreciate others doing so.

Bourne will be missed, but they did replace SOME of his defense and baserunning.

No, not if Charlie platoons them properly, and Coste makes the team and can come off the bench with his bat.

If Myers is healthy gong into the season he should be fine, as he's handled a starting role before. Actually, I'd like to see a healthy competition emerge between him and Hamels.

On the field they should be fine, but Rowand will be missed in the clubhouse. My biggest fear is that the other leaders on the team didn't learn enough from him while he was here.

AWH... I agree that it was an unusually poignant article from Donnellon, but the following seemed way off the mark to me:

"In another year, in another winter, shipping Chris Roberson to the Orioles for cash the other day would have induced all kinds of snickers about cheapness and lack of commitment."

I think the move might have been applauded in any case as a sign that we are hopefully moving beyond an era where we hold onto poorly evaluated talent.

AWH: It will be interesting to find the answers to these out as the season unfolds. They ARE good questions.

FWIW, my take/swag is:

-The loss of Bourne will be more than made up by the addition of Lidge. Lidge could make a real difference in many games, whereas I only remember Bourn really impacting a few games in a meaningful way. The stat guys might clobber me on this, but that was my perception of Bourne.

Platooning will help but I am worried about the loss of Rowand's right hand bat on a day to day basis. That being said, and as a real Rowand fan who hated to see him leave, I suspect SF will be underwhelmed over the long term at what they have bought into over five years at the price they paid.

Great point about Hamels and Myers. Myers started the opener last year, and if he rises to the occasion this season it could, in a curious way, take a little pressure off Hamels, and at the same time push him to be even better than he is. I have some friends who swear Hamels would be a 20 game winner as a 2 pitcher, but will eternally struggle in the role of the staff ace. Myers seemed to be acquiring the look of an ace two years ago (and might have thrived with more support), and if things fall into place, this could be a very pleasant upside. On the other hand he is and probably always will be a bit of a wild card...Maybe Moyer needs to make working with Hamels and Myers on overall maturity a side project.

I think Rowand's leadership will be missed. But I think Utley, J-Roll and Howard form a good leadership nucleus and have learned from A-Row's example. They're "young" vets, have been through tough times in a tough city, have gotten a taste of winning here and want more, and have their heads screwed on right. They all bring slightly different intangibles to the table (J-Roll-swagger, Utley-tough, uncompromising gamer, and Howard- Stargell/Big Papi type figure). I'm thinking Jenkins will also help here.

Very interesting.

In all seriousness...why the hell hasn't Patty G signed Rudy Saenez yet?!

AWH, MG: I'm confused about your seemingly contradictory views on why the Phils didn't go after the relatively cheap Clement.

You say you are convinced that Eaton is hurt, but Clement was too expensive for the Phils. Clement is only guaranteed $1.5M. That's only 600K more than they signed Chad Durbin for. They're gonna leave a hole in the rotation just over 600K?

The only logical explanation is that they believe Eaton is healthy and, while Clement might be a better #5, they refuse to eat Eaton's salary. If they thought Eaton was hurt, they'd have to sign another SP, no?

"If they thought Eaton was hurt, they'd have to sign another SP, no?"

It's also possible that they believe that they already have the SP (in the minors, as a FA signing, via rule 5, whatever).

Colorado is close to signing Towers. They seem a little too sure of themselves with a rotation that looks awfully suspect to me. As a fan of a defending NL Champ, I would be disappointed in their off-season plan. Why aren't they one of the teams in the running for Bedard, for example?

"In all seriousness...why the hell hasn't Patty G signed Rudy Saenez yet?!"

For the same reason Matt Wise is a Met.

AWH, two very thoughtful and insightful opinion pieces on the state of the Phillies. I think the acquisition of Brad Lidge is the gorilla in the room. The loss of Rowand is the jaguar who left the room. I, too, believe that SF overpaid for Rowand, but he will be missed and I think our outfield will be less than it was last year. I hope that having a 1-2 starting combination of Myers and Hamels makes up for our diminished outfield.

I have the feeling that we need to break out the prayer books and appeal for supernatural help for Adam Eaton, because I fear he will be in our season opening rotation, partly due to PG's inaction on this front.

Maybe I'm missing something...

Why does Gordon HAVE to be the set up man? J.C. all the way if Tommy runs into trouble.
What is so hard to understand about this?

LF
I'm not sure how diminished the OF will be. I liked Rowand and didn't want him to leave. However, I feel Vic may actually play a better CF, and the Werth/Jenkins thing should work pretty well, except it's another platoon for cholly to manage. Add in Taguchi if Vic gets hurt, and we should be OK out there.

Based on what I believe to be unreasonable contract demands, both in terms on money and years, not re-signing Rowand was the right decision. Yes he will be missed, but I am pleased with what Gillick has done to fill the void. He didn't blow a ton of money on the outfield are wrap them up for a long time which could end up handicapping the team (i.e. Adam Eaton). Gooch2 and Jenkins are solid additions to the team and our outfield should be nearly as good in '08 as it was in '07, and I still say Werth/Jenkins will put up #'s close to if not better than Fence-Face's in '08.

Clout - Because I think Clement is totally cooked. The Red Sox were really hoping that they would get something out of Clement last season. Instead, he suffered setback after setback. He wasn't able to even give them any effective minor league starts. Red Sox basically had zero interest in him this offseason even at a bargain dollar rate.

Maybe Clement rebounds but I would be shocked if he gives the Cards move than 10-15 starts/50-75 innings. I am also willing to bet that Duncan as the pitching coach played a role in Clement deciding to sign with the Cardinals. Duncan has a great track record of reviving floundering starting pitchers careers.

If the Phils absolutely refuse to spend any additional money, I would rather have the money on signing a guy like Seanez. 40-50 of Seanez is likely to be a big improvement over the likes of Rosario, Condrey, Durbin, etc.

I am finally glad that one of the Philly beat writers decided to call out the Phils. I generally agree with Donellen's article except for a few points (Phils didn't need to add a huge free agent to improve and I think they will miss Geary more than Bourn this year because of the weak options to fill out middle relief).

Basically, this team arguably is not improved and potentially weaker than last year's version. Other teams in the NL (including the Dodgers and Diamondbacks) have substantially improved and make the likelihood of the Phils winning the wildcard pretty remote at best.

The only redeeming grace of this offseason has been that the Mets and Braves really haven't improved at all either. The Phils still have a shot to win the NL East again because even 88 wins might take the NL East again. Phils just need a few breaks this year including players staying healthy this year.

Basically, Phils will be a fun and competitive team to watch but will need a few breaks to win the NL East to reach the playoffs. It just makes me grind my teeth when I have to listen to Amaro make comments about the Phils being a legit World Series contender.

Just say, "we have a number of dynamic, talented players including last year's MVP and the previous year's MVP. we think we are well poised to contend for the NL East title and return to the playoffs again this season." Phils need to hire a PR person who can coach their management to not say incompetent/foolish statements.

Geary was, is toast. That is why he was called "Gas Can" Geary.

I like the Reitsma idea, and wouldn't mind taking a shot on Jorge Julio as well--to bowdlerize Robert Wuhl from "Bull Durham," he's got some serious stuff.

this isn't very philly fan-like.. but I would be more upset about the offseason if other teams were doing something. we were all warned ahead of time that the free-agent pickings were slim. now some seem surprised. the only team in the whole league that has done anything major is detroit. the braves big moves involved losing andruw jones and edgar renteria. what have the yankees done? mets? red sox?

Bob - Disagree. The Dodgers and Dbacks both improved this offseason and I would be shocked if the NL wildcard doesn't come out of the NL West next year.

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