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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Comments

I think the Phillies will sign Benson if they can. And they should. Outside of the Mets getting Santana and the Tigers getting Cabrera and Willis, the Phillies have had the most productive offseason in baseball.

I'd rather have Lohse than Benson, but if Benson can be had for a cheap 1 yr deal or preferably for a minor league deal the Phillies should sign him. Having Lohse in the rotation and Benson or Perez (or both) in AAA to be called up in case of an injury to a starter or spot starts would be nice.

Bob: I wouldn't go that far at all. The Phils are stuggling to get back to where they were a season ago in my view. I don't see a clear step forward.

definitley rather have lohse than benson.

Trever Miller has been signed by the D-Rays for a 1 yr deal with an option. Time is running out for the Phillies if they want to bring in outside bullpen help.

Is there much difference between Wolf and Benson, physically? Yet one gets signed quickly, the other doesn't.

Amaro Jr. says that Benson has progressed "a little bit" from the last time they saw him throw. "A little bit" does not equate with the number 5 spot in the rotation. So the only teams who might go after Benson are those willing to stockpile a potential extra starter come mid-season. Depending on the dollars, it might be a reasonable gamble given the near certainty that the ancient Jamie Moyer and the maladroit Adam Eaton will continue to pitch batting practice. Whether the skinflint ownership elect to gamble on Benson, they do have to address the clear-cut need for a 5th starter and Kyle Lohse for 3 years does fit the bill. Imagine how we will all feel if the Mets decide to do it first. Isn't enough enough? The Phil's ownership needs to decide whether we want to compete or not.

Funny how Lohse goes from "no thanks, we can do better" to "we NEED to sign this guy at all costs before the Mets do" in a matter of several weeks.

I'd definitely prefer him over taking what is essentiall a "flier" on Benson, though.

Bob, you may want to start getting your initial argument together to support the assertion "Outside of the Mets getting Santana and the Tigers getting Cabrera and Willis, the Phillies have had the most productive offseason in baseball." You're going to need a strong defense here!!!!

the difference between wolf and benson: anna. mmm...anna...

I'd almost be inclined to go with Benson for the one year deal with incentives. Lohse is far from a sure thing and a 2 or 3 year deal at $8+ a year could take away other options next year or the year after.

JW: Would you rather go into the season with this year's bench or last year's bench? Some folks like to downplay the bench, but I think we are much stronger heading into this campaign than last year's. A strong bench might give us the extra win or two that we need.

I'll take both, please. We'll need Lohse to start the season, and chances are an extra arm halfway through the season would certainly come in handy.

So grab Lohse with a 2 year 22 mil contract, and Benson with the one year incentivized contract.
/morty

williard.. what defense do i need? what has anyone else done? The Yankees and Red Sox haven't even done anything for starters.

MPN- You are worried that a 2-3 year contract at $8 million per year for a starting pitcher would take away other options for 2009? It's amazing how Gillick and Amaro have succeeded in lowering fan expectations. It's reality check time. The Phils are a large market team. It costs money to compete. Think Santana.

HitMan: I have no problem spending money. I just want to spend it wisely. Lohse could easily just as well become an Eaton as he could a league average innings eater. There is a difference.

Bob--The Dodgers got Andruw and Kuroda, plus Loaiza for what HE'S worth.. The Brewers got Kendall, Riske, Salomon Torres,and Gagne

I think the Brewers have had at least as good an off-season as the Phils, if not better

Umm...3rd best offseason basically? Sure if you turn back the clock to 2004 and get that Brad Lidge. Other than that where is the great improvement? Pedro Feliz?

Kendall as in Jason Kendall? That's like throwing away 2 games. That's like signing Pedro Feliz - if he had Wes Helms's glove. Otherwise though, good offseason for Milwaukee. I'd say ours has been a failure. All we've done, essentially, is resign players we already had, replace players who left, or replace players who didn't really have to be replaced. We've done nothing to address the weaknesses of last year's team; all we've done is prevent this year's team from being much worse.

A healthy Benson is a perfect fit in this rotation...the key word being health. That said, he's definately worth a minor league deal with the assumption he'd be ready by May or June. Is Benson still saying he'll be ready for opening day?

I think this could be the scenario the phillies are looking for: Benson goes to extended spring training and pitches a few Reading games before being called up to replace Adam Eaton in early May, after Eaton bombed out in his first six starts or so before going on the DL with a sore vagina.

Lohse ain't Roy Oswalt, but I doubt that he could just as easily become another Adam Eaton. There isn't another Adam Eaton. Moreover, in pure probability terms, the odds that Kyle Lohse will become the worst starting pitcher in the National League has to be regarded as being pretty remote. He is your prototypic .500 pitcher plus or minus 3-4 wins per year. This makes him two standard deviations better than the horrific Adam Eaton.

I like what you have to say about Rosario. He might get hot for about six weeks. Charlie will ride him until he breaks down and/or turns cold again.

Hitman: You're going to have to show me the math on that one. Lohse is fairly inconsistent. And hasn't had a winning record since 2003. Last year was the first time he broke 190 innings since 2004.

Baxter: This was from your last post on the previous thread and it's such an amazing statement I couldn't resist re-posting it here:

"Feliz never misses a game, plays much better defense and has just as much power [as] Chipper Jones."

Savor that for a moment. Roll that around in your mouth and your mind. Pedro Feliz has just as much power as Chipper Jones. Let that sink in for a few moments.

Eric Gagne stinks.

MPN: You're right, but fact is, last year might've been a breakthrough year for Lohse. He pitched pretty well and may have taken his game up a notch. At age 28, that's not at all unusual. He won't ever be an ace, but he could be a solid innings eater with 13-15 win potential. I think he's about as good at this stage as Jeff Suppan, who wound up winning 16 games twice.

You are seriously suggesting that Lohse and Eaton are comparable in ability? You ARE joking, right? Last year, Eaton had an ERA of 6.29 and a BAA of .301 compared with 4.62 and .279 for Lohse. As I said before, Lohse isn't Roy Oswalt, but he isn't Adam Eaton either. Lohse is an OK pitcher, nothing more. Eaton on the other hand is repulsive.

Here's why you don't sign Lohse to a multiyear contract: Sabathia et al.

No, I'm not saying we'll specifically get C.C. The point is that the free agent pitchers available next year far and away outclass EVERYONE who was available this year. Lackey, Sabathia, Smoltz, Penny, Sheets, Burnett, even Pedro Martinex, all will be free agents assuming their teams don't sign them.

And that's the top tier, there are many more (I'm too lazy to check at the moment). Why sign a 4/5 starter to a multiyear contract when you can use that money next year to land someone better? Someone actually worth the 8-10mil it'll take to get Lohse?

THAT'S why Benson makes more sense. All he wants is 1 year with incentives. If we want to use the money next year to get someone better (and conversely move Myers back to the bullpen) we'll be able to do that.

This team operates on a budget. I don't care if the next 50 posters all say "The Phillies can and should spend like the big market team they are, and bump the payroll to 150 million or more." They won't because they've set the budget at around 100 million. It might go to 110-115 million next year, but that's it. That's the way they operate. If you operate on a budget, it makes little sense to sign Lohse and remove a substantial portion of your available funds for 2009 when someone better WILL be available. From the financial standpoint, Benson makes more sense.

Also, the Brewers got Mike Cameron, which I don't believe was mentioned before.

Bob- Good luck defending that assertion dude. First off, you're wrong, as many other posters have pointed out; most of us would take the Dodgers', Angels', Brewers' offseasons to name a couple. The A's did well for what they were trying to do, which was rebuild. The Diamondbacks got Haren. So yeah, there's a few for you.

Baxter: What you wrote on the last thread is just awful. Feliz and Chipper contributing the same amount? Wow. I've defended Feliz on this board, but that's an insane statement. Chipper was one of the top 10 players in the NL last year. Feliz, uh, was not.

No, I'm claiming that Lohse isn't worth more than a 1 year deal unless it vests on performance. I'd rather roll the dice with Benson on a 1 year deal.

HitMan: Who is your post directed to? I can't see any post on this thread that suggests Lohse is about the same as Eaton. Did I miss something?

Clout: You may be right on the projections. But I'm just unsure on the gamble involved.

Godfather: I happen to agree with you on Benson, but why in the world would you think the Phillies would try to sign one of the elite FA starters next offseason?

Rosario's numbers from last season before he was hurt weren't awful but I seem to remember him performing quite poorly...what gives?

Godfather - Let me get this straight. The Phils shouldn't sign Lohse (who actually put up pretty productive numbers since he has come over to the NL in two tough pitcher parks in Cincy and Philly and would be a huge upgrade over Eaton/Durbin) so they can make a fictional run at one of the pitchers from this category Lackey, Sabathia, Smoltz, Penny, Sheets, Burnett, even Pedro Martinex after the '08 season?

In principal that seems a good idea (which I actually favor depending upon the pitcher they sign since the Phils are never going to win a title trying to outslug everyone) but it is highly unlikely for several reasons:

1. The Phils HAVE NEVER SIGNED a starting pitcher to a long-term deal at premium dollars. They suddenly are going to change suit next year and commit $15M+ to a FA starter?

2. I doubt the Phils will have the resources to go after one of these guys if they only moderately increase their payroll (say near $110M). Phils do have Moyer, Burrell, and Gordon coming off the payroll but they will need to build-in the cost of Utley, Howard, and Hamel's raises.

3. If the Phils do sign one of these pitchers, the Phils are basically willing to become a potentially mediocre offense teams since that means Burrell will leave town. Additionally, it likely means that the Phils probably won't resign Lidge either.

4. The Phils have at least $22 M committed next year to Eaton, Feliz, and Jenkins. This potentially represents over 20% of the Phils' payroll next year that may be committed to deadwood. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the Phils have to bring in more "Value Village" options to cover for these guys.

lekh-- I think Rosario is pure organization filler.. I predict he has no shot at being the last bullpen arm-- even on THIS sorry-ass bullpen.. 27 and STILL has no command.. The Aragua Tigers don't remind anyone of the Mets or Braves.

Here, according to Cot's contracts, are the free agents-to-be among starting pitchers after this season. Those with * have a team option for 2009:


Kris Bensen BAL
A.J. Burnett TOR (may opt out)
Paul Byrd CLE
Jon Garland LAA
Tom Glavine ATL
Mike Hampton * ATL
Rich Harden * OAK
Orlando Hernandez NYM
Jason Jennings TEX
Randy Johnson ARZ
John Lackey * LAA
Esteban Loaiza OAK
Braden Looper STL
Derek Lowe LAD
Pedro Martinez NYM
Matt Morris * PIT
Mike Mussina NYY
Jamie Moyer PHI
Mark Mulder * STL
Carl Pavano NYY
Brad Penny * LAD
Odalis Perez KC
Oliver Perez NYM
Andy Pettitte NYY
Mark Prior SD
Horatio Ramirez SEA
C.C. Sabathia CLE
Ben Sheets MIL
John Smoltz * ATL
Julian Tavarez BOS
Steve Trachsel BAL
Brett Tomko KC
Claudio Vargas MIL
Woody Williams HOU
Randy Wolf SD

You might not have realized it, Godfather, but you named every pitcher on this list worth pursuing -- and several of them actually have options for 2009, including Lackey, Penney and Smoltz.

Unless Garland or Byrd floats your boat, I don't see many worthwhile pitchers who are certain to hit the market. In essence, it's Sabathia (should he not be extended), Sheets and a large load of crapola. Do you really think one of them can be signed for the same $10 million Lohse will get? I don't.

Damn, this form no longer remembers me automatically. Sorry about that.

lekh: Rosario has great stuff and bad command. There are approximately 1,356 minor league and fringe major league pitchers who fall into that category (i.e., see Durbin, J.D.)

Alby - I'd move Lowe to the "nice to have" list too. But, yeah; lots of dreck there.

Clout: MPN wrote, "Lohse could easily just as well become an Eaton as he could a league average innings eater."

Hitman: You sound certain that Lohse won't be another Eaton but, on the other hand, Lohse's career numbers don't look all that different than Eaton's looked at the time we signed him. It doesn't strike me as likely, but there is really no way to be certain that Lohse won't follow the same career path as Eaton.

That said, the Phillies can't live in constant fear that every pitching acquisition will turn into the next Adam Eaton or Freddy Garcia. I'm all in favor of learning from past mistakes, but I'm not in favor of being paralyzed by them. If you want to win now, you have to have viable starting pitching and viable starting pitchers command long-term contracts. Long-term contracts carry risks, but those risks must be weighed against the risk of NOT giving a long-term contract. If you don't sign Lohse, you'll get Adam Eaton or Chad Durbin as your No. 5 starter, with (maybe) a broken down Kris Benson waiting in the wings. If you think that's an ok scenario, then you don't sign Lohse. If you think it's NOT an ok scenario, you do what you can to sign him.

Clout - Rosario has terrible command.

The question is are the Phils willing to put a potentially serious dent in their revenues for the year if they sign Lohse and don't make the playoffs? If they do make the playoffs, the additional revenue streams would probably cover the cost of Lohse's salary in '08.

BAP- Ageed. Gillick has a tendency to be overly risk averse. Maybe the Adam Eaton signing has had a profound effect on his fading mind.

MG -
This is not an argument, but a genuine question. Have you seen Rosario pitch? I'm wondering because his minor league peripherals do not indicate terrible command. At AAA in two seasons he gave up 55 BBs in over 158 IP. He got something like 133 Ks too.

If you've seen him pitch anywhere other than the Phils last year, I'd love to hear it. He might actually be worse than his numbers indicate.

Responding to an earlier post, signing Kris Benson does give Phillies fans the benefit of a two-for-one deal, you know, like Bill and Hillary. Except Anna Benson has big jugs and she won't raise your taxes.

MPN - Lohse slips in nicely to Moyer's spot when he retires. The Phils will not sign top of rotation pitching nor will they trade for it. They are too afraid of being wrong and their budget gets in the way. They have to hope they can grow some pitchers.

Godfather most of those pitchers mentioned will re-sign with their current team. If the Phils want to get better, they need to sign Lohse or trade for someone like Blanton.

Kris and Anna Benson are divorced. Yes she is attractive, but like the slutty, drunk hot chick you lusted after in HS/College, she's a psycho and would be bad for the Phils clubhouse, anyway. Kris believes she's the reason the Mets traded him.

Given the small amount of money Benson is looking for, why not sign both him and Lohse? At best Benson will make a great long reliever in 08, but that could be useful.

Dear anonymous poster:

Thanks for posting the FA list of pitchers, really. Not being sarcastic.

The central point of my previous post was that the 2008/2009 FA class there is far and away superior to what was available this year. Silva? Lohse? Benson? Even Kuroda, all are down the ladder, behind the pitchers I mentioned. I'd rather the Phillies save some money for after this season then spend it on Lohse, who I am not high on. The man is a mediocre pitcher. He's not bad, but he's not good. He belongs in the bottom of the rotation. You don't give a multiyear contract worth 8 mil/year to a guy to do that.

And yes, considering what's happened with Eaton, that was a damn stupid signing. He's getting paid to be the number 3, and now its a question of whether he makes the rotation if they sign another hurler.

And yes, I know the Phillies don't go after the big name hurlers with big contracts. Frankly, those long term deals often don't seem to work out. Hampton? Brown? Zito? Those pitchers all got 7 year deals. We'll see what happens with Santana. Frankly, considering the wear and tear that happens with pitchers, 3/4 year deals are the largest you'd want to extend a pitcher.

There's a few names on that list that deserve a look if they return healthy next year. Prior, Mulder, Harden, and Hampton. Note, I said IF THEY RETURN HEALTHY.

Also, ideally we'd look for a number 2 to fit in behind Hamels. That moves Myers back into the pen and we let Lidge go if necessary, and if I'm not mistaken Gordon's contract is up after this year as well. So that's Burrell, Gordon, Lidge, Moyer. We might bring back one of the 4 from that list. Moyer will probably retire, frankly so should Gordon. That's a combined 14 million I believe.

BAP: I missed that, thanks. I suppose anyone could turn into someone as bad as Eaton if they hurt their arm, but I see no evidence to suggest Lohse would.

MG: I won't quibble about Rosario's command. I say bad, you say terrible. The words awful and weak also come to mind. They all work for me.

Andy: I think MG is referring to Rosario's major league performance, which includes 29 walks and 58 hits in 49 IP. That's not far off Durbin's numbers. But, as you note, the big difference is strikeouts. Rosario's stuff is far superior to Durbin's and he strikes guys out. This suggests that Rosario is way more likely to help you. But he will need to throw quality strikes to do that.

I remember the one save Rosario had in September against the Cards (in the game Kendrick pitched well and Condrey promptly came in and crapped the bed) where he was all over the place.

His stuff was hard, but he reminded me of Nuke LaLoosh...you just don't know where it's going...and neither does Rosario.

It would be great if he could learn to harness it....we'd have a pitcher who could come in and shut down an opposing teams rally with some serious heat.

I can understand most posters statements here about Lohse. I just am not ready to proclaim him indispensable to a good year. It's a philosophical difference to be sure.

By 2009, I'd hope that the Phillies would at least have one candidate internally produced to slot into the rotation -- from the group of Carrasco, Happ, Outman. I don't think that that is irrational exuberance on my part.

Lohse started 13 games for us. He went 3-0 with 61 innings pitched.He had 42Ks vs. 24BBs and his ERA was 4.72... up from 4.58 at Cincy.

To reiterate, he might be fine. I'm just not comfortable going more than 2 years with him.

They will sign Benson. They could sign Loshe. They have the money believe me. I'll bet they've been talking to him all along. Don't know who they;ll bring in for the 'pen, if anyone.

Godfather: That was me. My point was that except for the short list you picked, most of the people on the full list are no more likely to help you than Lohse is. Some are the same guys we have rightly ignored this off-season, and virtually all of them have suffered arm injuries, which Lohse has not. Some would say that means he's due for one, but I think he might just be durable at his usual 180 IP/season.

With the frightening rate of inflation in baseball salaries, Lohse at 3/$30M might look good by the third year -- good enough that he could be traded if one of the youngsters is ready and enough other warm bodies are around.

Basically, I'd only go two years with an option, too, but I don't feel strongly about it whatever they do. I agree with your point, that sometimes you're better off waiting to see what else might become available. I just wanted you to see the rest of the pitchers -- you didn't remember them because most weren't worth remembering.

Andy: you're right, I missed Lowe. He's an interesting case. He's not just an extreme ground ball pitcher, he's also a horse, and some of his peripherals are actually improving -- his strikeout rate last year was his best since becoming a starter in 2002. He's making a little under $10 million a season now, and will be going into his age 36 season when he hits the market, so this is his big payday. Any guesses what kind of contract he'll ask for?

Of those FA's, it seems that Lowe and Burnett would be the most likely additions the phillies would target given their spending and even that is probably a long shot at best. I can't see them shelling out for the injury-plagued Burnett but Lowe is just old enough where he might be cool with a 3 year deal and the phillies love to sign decline phase pitchers for 3 years (see Gordon, Tom).

DPatrone - Where do the Phils have an extra $9-$11 M to sign Lohse if there self-imposed budget is no higher than $105M for the entire season particularly if they aren't able to move Helms (and his $3.0 M salary/buyout) and if they lose the arbitration hearing against Howard (and owe him another $3 M).

As for those of you who don't think Lohse would be an upgrade over Eaton, Eaton was arguably the worst starter in MLB. In fact, he posted one of the worst seasons by a starter in the past 50 years (given that he started more than 20 games).

Even an average pitcher like Lohse is a big upgrade over Eaton and Durbin (who I think will be serviceable out of the pen as a long-relief guy but fair poorly as a starter).

I'm thinking that the Phils will exceed their budget of $105 million. My understanding is that they make around $27/game per person. With 3 million fans, that is around $80 million, add to that the approx $20 million revenue sharing from MLB, you are at $100 million. My guess is their TV, Radio and other revenues are at a minimum of $10 million. My guess is if they are competitive from game 1, they could draw 3.2-3.3 which will add another $5-$7 million. The point is the Phils are profitable and have room to spend more money. My guess is the Cigar king is pushing them to go for it.

MG: The question isn't whether Lohse is better than Eaton. The question is whether Lohse at 3 years $33 million dollars is better in 2008 than a combination of Eaton-Benson-Chad Durbin for millions less in 2008? More importantly, does Lohse GUARANTEE qualitative excellence over such a combination in 2008?

MG~

They have the money if they want to spend it. That's all I'm saying. Right now their committed payroll is about 89 million including Thome. So thery can extend a little if they chose to. I'm hearing Helms will be DFA'd for the purposes of making a trade.

MPN: "does Lohse GUARANTEE qualitative excellence over Eaton-Benson-Chad Durbin"

Nobody would represent a guarantee -- anybody can get hurt. If Lohse pitches to his career stats, he's better than Eaton and Durbin, and we have no idea what Benson can do. Look at it this way -- if it wasn't a gamble, somebody would have signed him by now.

Slocs- That analysis didn't really make sense from a business standpoint, if you don't mind me saying. You have them bringing in about 115-117 million in revenues, right? Well, if you advocate them spending some more money over their currently imposed 100 million budget, I'll assume you mean raising salaries to something like 110 million. That leaves the owners with a profit of 5 million dollars. Now, that may seem like a lot of money, but considering its split among a lot of owners and considering how much the franchise is worth as a whole, a total profit of 5 million for its investors is a very small amount. I'll be the first person to say this ownership should spend more, but if all they are pulling in a year in revenues is 115 million, to expect them to spend 110 million on player payroll is a little bit ridiculous (considering you aren't even factoring in all the other costs of a franchise that would mean most likely losing money in a year). I know that they have already made tons of money because they bought in so long ago and the franchise is now worth so much, but to expect a return of only say, 500K a year (after being split among the owners) on that big an investment is terrible business-wise.

I know you that was a very informal analysis that you did, so I thought I'd respond with a very informal critique- I fully admit I know next to nothing about big business, so please correct me where I'm wrong.

Sometimes you just gotta take risks. A 1 year incentive deal is a good idea to add some much needed depth. There is room to move in regards to payroll. The man has shown in the past he can pitch. So if he is showing good signs then why not?

Patrone - Where do you get $89 million including Thome? With the Feliz signing and Howard's pending arbitration, I figured the Phils are already committed to $95-$100 M (depending upon on if Howard wins his arbitration case).

Signing Lohse at $10 M would put the Phils perilously close/over to their self-imposed "$105 M payroll." Maybe if they find a team to pick up Helms entire contract but I find that unlikely. Not at a $3M price tag.

MPN: I think you are right on about the bench and people aren't giving Gillick enough credit for building a really strong bench this offseason. With most of our starters realistically capable of 6 innings per start we should have a nice group of pinch hitters. Rollins should have some runners on base when he comes up.

I say take a gamble on Benson. You know we'll need the help in the middle of the season and this seems very low risk with a high reward potential.

Len39-With Feliz and the pitcher hitting in front of him a majority of the time, Rollins is going to see more PAs with nobody on.

In 62.5% of Rollins' PAs last year (486/778), there was nobody on base. I bet that number only increases this year by at least a couple of % points with the ".288 OBP" hitting 8th.

You can take a guess at this % increase by substituting a .288 OBP vs the .333 OBP the Phils' 8th hitters put up last year. Basically means that Rollins would have seen about 30 more PAs without a runner (or 66.3% of the time for an increase of about 4%).

It is really a drag especially since the Phils have a leadoff hitter who has demonstrated some impressive power out of the leadoff spot. In fact, 10 of JRoll's 30 HRs were multi-run jacks last year. I bet that falls too and JRol winds up hitting almost slightly more solo shots this year.

MG,

That's a really good point. I would still prefer the team swap Vic and J-Roll in the top 2 spots. You loose no speed or OBP in the leadoff spot, and you get J-Roll up with more people on base.

Also, don't be surprised if Feliz hits 7, and Ruiz 8. Not only does it conform to Manuel's fetish for hitting the catcher 8th, but it gets Feliz (who has a lot more pop than Ruiz) into more RBI situations.

Alby: Yes, Benson is a gamble. No doubt about it. But Lohse isn't going to sign for one year unless he thinks that a great year in 2008 will translate into a sweet multiyear contract in the offseason. As Scott Boras is his agent though I see that possibility at perhaps less than 5%. The fact that he is still on the market, too, suggests that MLB execs are also suspect of his abilities, or suspect of his abilities at his desired contract demands. As Carlos Silva kind of set the market early, this will be interesting to see how it resolves itself.

Looks like there is a video of Pedro Martinez attending a cock fight in the DR.

Should be some bad pub for the Mets at least.

Was he supporting "Little Jerry"?

If he was, then Little Jerry is dead.

Seems like most people couldn't care less about this story.

MG: I'm with you on th team budget. All the numbers I've seen printed say they're up to $95-100M right now. I have no clue where DPatrone gets the $89M number.

MG~

The 89 million does not include Howard, Hamels, Vic, Bruntlett etc. It's the guys that are already signed. I keep an Escell spread sheet for the main roster and it's preety accurate. Last week there was an aticle on the Phils website about $$ avail. for a pitcher. It stated that the payroll probably be between 105 - 110 million.

We cannot assume what Howard or anyone else who is current unsigned will sign for. Just because they have pending arb cases with Howard and Bruntlett doesn't mean going to arb. A deal can be struck anytime with any player. Let's wait and see.

If the Phillies insist on batting them 1-2, then I agree with MG and kdon about flipping Vic and Rollins. Neither would rank even in the middle of the NL pack in terms of leadoff OBP, but Rollins' power makes more sense in the 2 hole.

The one downside is that Vic strikes out more often than Rollins, which is pretty amazing since he's a slap hitter and Rollins has legit power. Thus on those rare occasions when someone was actually on base, he'd be less likely to move them along.

The lineup I'd really like to see would have Utley batting 2nd to break up the lefty-lefty in the middle and get at least one decent OB in the top 2 spots. It would go like this:
Rollins (or Vic)
Utley
Burrell
Howard
Jenkins/Werth
Vic (or Rollins)
Ruiz
Feliz
The opposing team couldn't use one LOOGY to get Uts and Howard without having to face Burrell. And if they bring in the LOOGY for Howard & Jenkins, you sub Werth to force another move.

And yes, I realize Charlie will never ever bat Ruiz ahead of Feliz even though every possible stat suggests that's the more productive order.

"Seems like most people couldn't care less about this story."

Outside of moral outrage, I don't see why people would care. It's not illegal where it was done (in the Dominican Republic, where cockfighting is 'is legal and popular', according to the AP article). Additionally, it doesn't involve a 'cute' animal (like a dog), so there won't be a Mike Vick type response.

Everyone please send the following email to:

fanfeedback@mets.mlb.com

The title of your email should read: Suspend Pedro!

After learning of and viewing the recent cockfighting that Pedro Matrinez participated in, I am calling for an immediate suspension of Pedro Martinez. His suspension should mirror that of Michael Vick due to his acts being just as despicable. Professional athletes are role models for children all over the world and paid and rewarded for their work. They should also be responsible for their actions of the field. By ignoring this, you would indeed aid in the harming of countless animals all over the world.

I appreciate your assistance in this matter! Your help will help to protect many innocent animals! Pedro needs to be suspended!

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Mike:

fantastic idea...

/morty

guess someone does care.

Like the above poster said, it is a moral issue. Not sure I care too much about an animal I eat.

I am sure they don't live a good life before they get to my plate.

Yea suspend pedro.... The guys in philly would never be involved with beating their wives or murdering workers on a farm outside of the country or anything.... oh wait.

Who murdered workers on a farm? Urbina may have tried, but failed. Was he even under contract with the Phils when this happened?

sorry then. "almost killed". does it really matter? cock fighting is legal in the DR. I don't condone animal abuse or anything but it's not illegal. i can't wait til espn compares it to mike vick. I'm assuming its gonna be big news because it was in the post.

MLBTR has a report on Bartolo Colon saying he "worked between 88 and 91 in the Caribbean Series start." seems the Pirates and Astros were scouting him.

also, I didn't notice anyone mentioning that Brendan Donnelly has signed a minor league contract w/Cleveland. true, he is 36 and coming off TJ, but still--only a minor league deal.

I don't think Mike goes far enough. The league should also suspend Jose Reyes, David Wright, & Carlos Beltran. These guys are supposed to be the leaders of the team, yet they sit back & do nothing while their teammate engages in such behavior.

Okay clout, get ready for another argument.

Burrell 3rd? No way. Man's a career 250/260 hitter. Sure, his OBP is very good, but you want your 3-hole hitter to have an average at or greater than 300. It's more important to get a hit at that lineup spot because it's more likely to drive in the 1 or 2 hitter if they're on base. Number 3 guy is supposed to be your best hitter, who's got the best combination of OBP, power, and BA. Utley matches that description. Burrell does not.

Burrell is an ideal number 5 man. Good power, BA isn't so hot but he draws a lot of walks. His numbers don't change with runners in scoring position (except for 2006 when he was pretty bad). He actually drew more walks than hits last year with RISP, when obviously it's more important to get a hit at that point. Hit scores the run. Walks won't unless the bases are loaded, a which case a hit usually scores 2.

As for preventing LOOGY use against Utley, his numbers against lefties were 427/500/318 (OBP/SLG/AVG), pretty damn good (although his numbers against righties are better). It's Howard and Jenkins that're the problem. Howard's lefty numbers are 333/493/225, Jenkins 282/415/215. LOOGY's going to be used against them anyway, regardless of whether Burrell or Utley is in the 3 hole. Burrell actually breaks that up if he's in the 5 hole, and his numbers are 418/532/255, (OPS against righties is 880, 70 points lower). Manager will probably have to switch out the LOOGY in that case for a right/right matchup, but Jenkins bats 6th and he does much better against RHP (326/482/262, still not up to Burrell's but we're at the 6 hole by this point).

As for how good a leadoff man Rollins is, I should point out that Bill James himself, in an article with Sports Illustrated, rated Rollins the #5 or #6 top leadoff man in baseball. I'll get back to you once I find the link.

As for Victorino, his speed should place him in the top of the lineup. I've always been under the impression that the two fastest hitters should bat 1-2 respectively, depending who has the better statline.

Donnelly's not supposed to even play until August, most likely, if he can even make the majors.

I see the logic in clout's lineup. We worry about Burrell's speed, but batting before Howard kinda diminishes that problem becuae Howard's not motoring around the bases either. Plus, I can see many situations where a Burrell walk brings up Howard with 2 or three men on base, and pressure on the pitcher to not work around him. Furthermore, I do remember Vic batting in the 6 hole last year and invigorating the back or the order with his speed. All in all, that would be worth an experiment to test it's viability.
/Morty

But Morty, Utley's numbers are 410/566/332, Burrell's are 400/502/256. Utley also strikes out less (89 in 530 AB vs 120 in 472 AB), he's a more balanced hitter, faster, and more consistent.

Burrell had a monster 2nd half, especially in July, and raised his numbers. He's inconsistent. Utley hit 300 or better every month except April (296 BA). Burrell batted below the Mendoza line in May and June, and close to it in September/October (209).

anybody see Rich Hoffmann's column today?? Metsblog is freaking out....

He wrote about the dog and pony show that was the Santana presser...it was really lame and staged..Omar needed cue cards and just sounded ridiculous...I am officially sick and tired of the cliche "moving forward"...yes, Mets, we get it..you don't like talking about 7/17...but Santana or no Santana it will haunt you for-ev-er

I understand the argument for breaking up Utley and Howard, but I would rather do it by batting Utley 3rd, Pat 4th, and Howard 5th. I'm as big a stat guy as anyone on this board, but I also grew up under the doctrine that you put your best hitter 3rd, and that's Utley. He's perfect in that spot. In terms of getting some more OBP in the top 2 spots, yeah, you'd love to see Jimmy or Shane walk some more, but we have led the league in runs the last 2 years with that format; if something ain't broke, don't fix it.

P O'Neil - Donnelly was very good with the Red Sox last year before he was injured (1.16 WHIP, 3.05 ERA, 15:5 K:BB). obviously it's a long shot. but so is whoever's going to be the 2008 version of Mesa/Romero/White/etc.

Godfather: Just a small point, but when you post someones offensive numbers, it's kind of confusing because the standard format is AVG/OBP/SLG, but for some reason you post it as OBP/SLG/AVG. If it's because you feel OBP is more important, I wholeheartedly agree, it's just confusing because I'm so used to reading it in the standard way of AVG/OBP/SLG. Just something I noticed.

YOU GUYS WON THE NL EAST LAST YEAR. Time to start acting like it.

Johan is the biggest pitcher to be on the mets since gooden. He's a 2 time cy young winner. Behind him is pedro, a proven veteran when healthy. Behind pedro are 2 young 15 game winners. you wonder why it's a big deal? The mets have been competing with the yankees since their beginning. We finally have the pieces and the stardom to up the yanks. The mets are now the talk of the town and Clemens is all you hear from the yanks side hahah.

I'm probably in the minority, but I really dislike having Rollins/Victorino 1/2. the Phillies have three guys who are likely to put up a .400+ OBP. giving the most and second most PA to two guys who are under .350 just seems crazy, at least to me.

what do you guys think about matt morris? he is a free agent after the season, and basically rotting away on the pirates. we need something!!!

Charlie will never ever bat Ruiz ahead of Feliz even though every possible stat suggests that's the more productive order.

clout - I have to disagree with the idea that batting Feliz 8th is a good idea.
1) It puts two bad hitters in a row (Feliz and pitcher).

2) It increases (as was pointed out) the chances that Rollins will bat with the bases empty.

3) It decreases the opportunity to turn the line-up over.

4) The pitcher will come up (many) fewer times with a runner on first base.

5) Pitchers will find it much easier to throw pitches out of the strike zone to Feliz if they know the pitcher is up next - and he, of course, will swing at them anyway.

6) Feliz might benefit from having someone with greater speed and size (like Werth or Jenkins) on first base when he comes up, since he'll hit a lot of grounders to shortstop which might make for easier FCs (at least) and GIDPs (probably) with Ruiz running.

I'm not sure, of course, that he'd be any more productive in the 7th slot. But in the past four years, as pitchers got used to his ability, the Giants stopped batting him 8th. I think they knew what they were doing.

Morris is really not a good pitcher any more. he's also making $9.5M.

Jack, I put the stats in OBP/SLG/AVG because that's the order I find them on MLB.com.

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