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Friday, May 16, 2008

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Mathieson had TJ surgery yesterday.

I understand the risk involved in locking Hamels up long-term, but at some point soon they have to decide if they want him to be their Ace for the next decade. Its not exactly as if we're awash in pitching talent so they might want to consider trying to lock him up now instead of watching him leave for $20 million per in a couple years.

Part of me wants to say that Gillick is mailing it in during his "walk" year and doesn't want to get into negotiations right now (although, why not? if he's gone he won't feel the repercussions of spending the Phils' money).

The other part of me wonders if he is actually smart in not negotiating now. Long term/big money deals for pitchers don't have the greatest track record (Zito, Pavano, Prior, Hampton, etc.). Only time will tell. Sure, there is the security of locking up King Cole, especially considering that he's a West Coast guy and probably not dying to stay in Philly, but there is something to be said about thinking logically about anything extremely long term. After all, while it's been awhile now, Cole used to have a reputation for being somewhat injury proned.

As many negatives as I see on this team, they have amazingly been finding ways to win and are okay overall. The Giants series was a big letdown, but now that Jimmy is back and if Howard and Vic get back on track this offense will start shoving opponents around again, the pitching will just have to hang in there and win by default.

That's great until we go to the playoffs again and get crushed by superior pitching.

The problem is I don't think Hamels has any interest in signing an extension at Scott Kazmir money. I'm sure he's looking more closely at Johan Santana's contract than he is at Kazmir's.

I doubt he'd even listen to anything averaging less than $15 million/year.

Don't want to get too hyper right after Cole's shutout. There is a long way to go in the season, and he has some things to demonstrate, such as the capacity to pitch for a full year without a substantial stay on the DL.

However, I can't say I like the tone of Gillick's comments. Words mean things to players. After reading it a couple of times, this FO message came across with an arrogant tone to it.

Fair or unfair, the market for starting pitchers will insure that if Hamels continues to perform at a similar level, if the Phils don't want him enough, someone will. I know he is here for a while no matter what the FO says or does, but this attitude can only serve to alienate a promising young pitcher who could and should be a fixture in Philly for years to come if they play their cards right.

The Utley, Hamels, Rollins, Howard nucleus is like catching lightning in a barrel. Wish we could trust them to nurture and support it. They have done their job with Chase, but after all, he is probably the easiest to work with. Not liking what I'm hearing and seeing with Howard and Hamels so far.

I know that if I were Cole Hamels, that comment would have pissed me off. Especially if "I" had already complained/whined about my measly 20% raise in the off-season. I think Cole would take under $15 million per if it gave him more up front. They could probably buy out a couple years of free agency if they offered $8-10 per as he's probably not gonna make that much even in arbitration.

Where does this "Gillick is mailing it in" talk come from?

Bob: Not liking what I'm hearing and seeing with Howard and Hamels so far.


I think at some point the Front Office is gonna have to choose which one they want long-term. I'd personally take Hamels for a variety of reasons including that pitching is harder to acquire and he's much younger than Howard. Howard doesn't appear to be resignable for anything that would even be reasonable to consider.

Steve Jeltz: You're probably right, but there are risks on both sides. If the Phils make a solid offer, they are admittedly taking a gamble on his health. But otherwise, if he turns down the most they are willing to pay and the negotiations are handled in a professional, prompt manner, they are no worse off than they are now. He may see Santana $ on the horizon, but they aren't there yet. And he would be the one taking a gamble on his continuing good health.

Anyway, I'm not saying they should offer him the moon tomorrow. But simply declaring, "No, not gonna happen, no way." is unproductive.

Bed Beard, I think that the general concensus is that Amaro has taken on much of the day to day GM duties and that Gillick is the mouth piece, and not much more, at this point. I could be wrong, but I think once Spring Training wrapped up, Gillick "checked out."

The general consensus is borderline ridiculous. Why would he "check out"? Common sense would say the opposite: In his last year as a GM, Gillick would want to go out on top. The team is on the cusp here and Gillick has done better with in-season moves. There's always been a conspiracy that Gillick is in Toronto, or Seattle and not paying attention to the Phils or the Pharm and it's silly. Like it or not (I don't)Amaro has always had a role, at least in the PR front.

NEPhils fan: They may well have to choose. IF, Hamels can show the ability to stay healthy for a while, and I had to make a choice, I'd probably go that route also.

But in either case, they aren't helping themselves with what I call their ham handedness in dealing with these players.

Bob: But in either case, they aren't helping themselves with what I call their ham handedness in dealing with these players.

I agree completely. It makes no sense to make a blanket statement saying "No, we won't even consider it". All Gillick had to do was say that if Hamels continues to pitch well he will be rewarded and that we'd love to have him here long-term.

Locking up Howard long-term (over 4 years) doesn't make sense to me because he's already peaking/peaked and will be in his decline phase soon. He may well have peaked at 26 and already be declining...it does happen especially to players of his skill set.

Gillick is decidedly way old school. In the opinion of those of his ilk giving an 8 year deal to guy who hasn't even reached arbitration just isn't done. Over the last few years giving long-term deals to much lauded but inexperienced in the big leagues players like Tulo, Braun, Longoria, etc. has become much more prevalent.

I was worried about Hamels a bit before the season because he has never been able to stay healthy and pitch more than 184 innings in a season. But at only 24 he is just learning how to extend himself over a full season and will learn the correct preparation. If he stays healthy this year he should most definitely get a multi-year deal in the vein of Matt Cain, Ian Snell, Chris Young, and James Shields.

I can understand what PG is saying, but the tone is a little off again. If Hamels would take a Kazmir deal, why not offer it to him? As someone said above, I think Hamels' cockiness has him thinking he should be getting Santana range money.

Although I am not really concerned with Cole's past injuries, I can understand the Phils FO being more concerned than me, as it is thier money on the line.

That being said, if Cole makes it through the entire season without any injury problems, then this off season they really should get a deal done.

They should use the Kazmir deal as a framework and do something similar. Thereby avoiding the arbitration unpleasantness and keeping Cole happy. Injuries will always be a question with any player, but Cole's ability to be an ace is pretty much no longer a question. He is an ace and ace's don't grow on trees. And that is why they really should wrap him up for a multi-year deal, sometime within the next year.

I think it's funny, but when are his teammates going to stuff Billy Wagner in his locker??

"Outspoken Mets closer Billy Wagner lashed out at truculent teammates Thursday for dodging reporters and ducking "being accountable" by failing to talk to the media."

Beerleaguer is now my number one site for a good laugh. Last night we had one of the dumbest newbies ever to show up here trying to make a case that Pedro Feliz is more valuable than Pat Burrell and today, 2 weeks after everyone was talking about how selfish Cole Hamels is, how he lacks courage, wimps out at the slightest hurt, those same folks are criticizing PG for suggesting he won't lock up Hamels early with a fat contract. I truly love Beerleaguer!

I don't mean to carry this silly conversation over from last thread, but patently ridiculous statements cannot go unanswered:

Flipper writes: "There is no reason for Burrell to be in the major leagues except for his production as a hitter." Well, yeah. And there is no reason for Kobe Bryant to be in the NBA except for his production as a scorer.

Flipper next writes: "If he had performed consistently over his career like he has the last 3/4 of a season - no problem at all." You've already admitted that you had no idea what Pedro Feliz's lifetimes stats were, before you posted about him. The same is apparently true with Burrell. If you had bothered to check his stats, you'd see that, while he is no doubt streaky, his full-season performances have been remarkably consistent throughout his career, and even more so in the last 3 years. What is inconsistent about a guy who, for 3 straight years, has had an OBP between .388 & .400, has hit 29 to 32 homeruns, has drawn 98 to 114 walks, and has driven in 95 to 117 runs?

I don't have an opinion either way whether they should lock up Hamels, but the notion that the Phils are waiting for him to reach new heights before deciding what to do it absurd. Everyone knows he's a stud, and his dominance has been sustained.

b-a-p: you fail to mention that Pete Happy is also very consistent over the course of his career, but in a much much much different way.

B_A_P: What is inconsistent about a guy who, for 3 straight years, has had an OBP between .388 & .400, has hit 29 to 32 homeruns, has drawn 98 to 114 walks, and has driven in 95 to 117 runs?


~blusters/angry~

But he was bad in 2003!! Even though he's had 4 very good years since then, he was bad then!!!


~not serious...I'm probably one of the biggest Pat Burrell fans there are~

I can actually understand the Phillies' cautious approach when it comes to discussing a long-term contract with Hamels. After all, the guy has landed on the DL in every season of his professional career. None of the injuries has ever been serious, but it's still a worisome sign for a player who is only 24. On the other hand, if you're unwilling to take risks, you're going to wind up with 5 Jamie Moyers in your starting rotation. If Hamels can make it through this season without a stint on the DL, it would be time to talk contract.

From the last thread, with credit to NE:

"On Feliz, he is the least of our issues. We can win with him at 3B, we can't win with horrible starting pitching. Unless you have the Yankees payroll, you have to have some less than perfect solutions at some positions. Feliz does a great job in the field and he isn't hurting us that badly in the #7 hole. His career norms would be fine as along as the rest of the offense continues to play like it has lately. If you're gonna whine about weaknesses on the roster, why not focus on the abysmal starting pitching outside of Hamels?"

At bottom, this is a perfect assessment. Feliz is the ultimate rally killer and, as such, makes an easy target. But we won the division last year with a Helms/Dobbs/Nunez combo that was, arguably, even worse. I'm no Feliz fan, but we CAN win the division with him as our third baseman. We CAN'T win the division with our current starting rotation. It will need to be upgraded.

I don't have a problem with Gillick's opinion only with the way he voiced it. The concern obviously is alienating our lefty. If we were the Dodgers or Padres I'd be less concerned, but I have the feeling the Phils have to play all their cards right to keep Hamels in Philadelphia until he's reaching his mid-30s.

I actually do not have a problem with what the FO is doing relative to Hamels and Howard. It is probably early to extend them based on the economics. (I would not wait too long on Cole, however, since he's gonna start getting expensive quickly.) My problem is the way they're going about it. Their hardline, stubborn public statements, seemingly made with chins stuck out, cannot be good for current morale nor for future negotiations.

I expect many Cubs fans were wanting to lock up Mark Prior to a long term high dollars deal a few years ago . . .

You know, I actually agree with Wagner. The Mets players took a powder after a tough loss rather than manning up and facing the reporters. Of course, Wags should've kept his opinion to himself, but he was right.

b_a_p, flipper obviously shoots from the hip.

It was one of the most absurdly stupid posts I've ever read on this blog.


As far as Hamels is concerned, yes, aces don't grow on trees.

BUT (and I can't believe I'm typing this about the Phillies FO), they are wise to be cautious with Hamels, because of the injury history.

IMO, he needs to make it through 2008 AND 2009 without time on the DL for structural injuries (elbow, back, etc. - if he misses time because he get's hit with a line drive, well, that's a fluke injury).

They got him his chiropractor, so he's lost that excuse.

I love to watch him pitch, and I hope he's here a long time (he's 19-8 at the Zen).

However, one injury free season isn't enough for me. He needs to stay healthy through 2009 as well.

If it costs more money - so be it. I think the risk/reward tradeoff is better.

As a matter of fact, I think that's what Gillick was implying. "We'd rather pay more later and know the risk is lower".

Andy: Put this down in your file along with clout's "I am sometimes wrong" and my "I am going to be optimistic."

AWH: "[The Phillies FO] are wise to be cautious."

b_a_p, you left out this:

"(and I can't believe I'm typing this about the Phillies FO)"


Yeah, sometime I surprise myself.

I'd like to congratulate Pedro Feliz on his fine performance at the plate last night.

Okay... now that I've gotten that out of the way...

Hamels is the best pitcher we've had around here for a while. If he stays healthy, he'll continue to be around here for a while whether he's signed to a long-term deal or not.

So the question is whether you lock yourself in to a guy with an injury history. And not just any injury history, but a history of injuring his pitching arm.

I personally would hate to see the Phils get stuck with an unnecessary long-term contract on a guy whose health is unconvicing. I'm completely with Gillick on this one, although the method of the message could be better.

At the end of the day, though, one would think that Cole Hamels will sign his first big money contract in his financial interest and not because some former GM said something in a slightly offensive way.

Last point -- Cole is a great pitcher, but there are other great pitchers in baseball. Unlike Rollins, Utley, Howard, who are in the top three in their respective positions in the league if not the majors, Hamels is only above-average as far as aces go. Don't get me wrong -- I love the guy, but a world-beater pitcher is a guy like Webb, not a guy like Hamels. In other words, it would be hard to replace Hamels but not impossible. We're just not used to seeing very good starting pitchers around here, so he looks like a 10 when he's really just an 8 or a 9.

CJ - I don't mind saying positive things about Feliz when he's doing well. But I reserve the right to spew the kool-aid when we reverts to career norms later this season to the detriment of the team.

FWIW, his plate discipline this season has been worse, numerically, than over his career. That's bound to catch up with him later on.

bap -
so, let's see:
clout's humble
you're an optimist
and
AWH is a stout defender of management;
yup; great quotes.

JAS: Haven't seen you in awhile. I agree with you that Hamels is an ace, but not yet a "super-ace" like Peavy or Webb or Santana. But, if he leaves, replacing him will be almost impossible because, in order to sign an ace pitcher in free agency, you're almost certainly going to have to pay even more than you would pay to lock up Hamels. That leaves a trade -- and on the rare occasion that ace pitchers come available in a trade, it's only because their walk date is coming up, which in turn means that, even if you have the prospects to acquire that ace, he's only going to be a rental unless you're willing to lock him up to a long-term contract.

The Philllies have some nice pitching prospects in their minor leagues, but I certainly don't see anyone who looks like a future ace. So there's no getting around it: if the Phillies want an ace pitcher, they're going to have to either pay for Hamels or pay for someone else. It would almost certainly be cheaper to deal with Hamels than a FA, since he has a strong incentive to take a somewhat lower salary in exchange for immediate long-term security.

Their best pitching prospects are Carrasco, Outman, and Savery...and possibly Naylor (although he's still in Low A so who knows). None of them are projected at anything more than middle-of-the-rotation at best...No aces there. If Hamels left today, there would be no one in system to replace him for at least a few seasons. Thankfully he's not eligible for FA for several more years.

If the future is at Reading,then the Phils better sign Cole long term,PDQ.Just watched the little Phils in a 3 game series at Harrisburg,they may need Wagner to talk to them. Carrasco got hammered and the 4 errors didn't help much.
I know,they're young and will get much better.We can only hope.

Feliz did have a good night last night. But can we reserve the congratulations? He obviously responds well to rampant criticism and vitriol from beerleaguer.

The phillies don't do well in interleague play. And we really could use a hot streak from the 7th hole (.291/.317/.798) and the WORST 3b in baseball.

And even though here in May, Feliz is .304/.333/.899 with 3 HR and 8 RBI he is still a rally killer and well deserved of the vitriol from all of his bashers.

And if that doesn't get you worked up. I think he kicked a puppy rounding 3rd on his homer last night.

This notion of Hamels getting $15M+ is ridiculous. Not when the Phils have him until control until I think the 2012 season.

Actually see valid points both ways. Extending a positional player who you think will be a stud (like the rumored Ramirez deal in Florida for 7 years) is one thing. It is quite another to do with a pitcher like Hamels.

At this point, it is really not a revelant point though. Hamels getting a contract extension should really even be an issue until after the 2009 season. Phils have plenty of issues they actually have to worry including Lidge, Burrell, and Howard.

I don't understand all of this back and forth of Feliz. He is a streaky hitter who has periods where he gets hot. Cholly should be taking advantage of this and ride it out while it lasts. Plus, he should start against LHP because his career number (particularly his power ration of AB/HR) are better.

Still doesn't change the fact that Feliz is a really poor hitter and everyone who can't see that is ignoring the obvious.

Digressing a bit, there was an article in the paper about John Smoltz stopping to chat with Brett Myers on Thursday. He told a journalist that transitioning back from the bullpen to starting was "a stinking war". People "just assume if you're throwing, you're throwing. As a starter, you better have your A-game almost every time. As a closer, you can get by with a B or C performance because you have to get three outs."

As to Myers, Smoltz was quoted "The thing I can say is, my track record, just like his track record, was pretty good before the change... There's a big adjustment to be made and he'll make it. It's not like you're talking about someone who hasn't has success... I just know that he will get it, and when he gets it, it'll be just like it was yesterday...But he's going to be fine, I'm telling you."

Carrasco has been hyped more than any Phillies prospect since Hamels. But, with Hamels, the minor league performance matched the hype, and that hasn't been the case with Carrasco. Same goes for Savery, who is a year and a half older than Carrasco, but a level behind him & having considerably less success. These guys are not going to be of any help to the Phillies any time soon, and they most certainly do not look like future aces.

B_A_P's post=Nail on the head


Carrasco is not ready and won't be ready this year...he hasn't made the step forward this season as expected. Savery isn't either. We will see both of them in the big-league camp next spring though. LHP Josh Outman could very well make it this season as a reliever...and we could easily see Fabio Castro again as well. There aren't any blue-chip prospects in the High-minors (Clearwater and up) for the Phillies. Adrian Cardenas and Lou Marson are probably the 2 best position prospects in the system and both should help in 2010.

Mike C: You could surely come up with some additional obscure, selective stats to show what a stud Feliz is. C'mon be a little creative. I think his numbers are great in weekend day games played on grass vs. LHP! LOL

NEPhan: Glad you qualified Naylor. He's not remotely the prospect that Carrasco, Savery & Outman are. I would add Drabek to the top prospect list as well, despite the fact he's missing this season with TJ surgery. He's still just 20.

Clout, his numbers are pretty good against LHP , period. .294/.345/.588. Of course, his numbers against lefties will probably fall off; on the other hand, his numbers against righties should improve.

I'd refuse to offer Hamels a dime until he is able to get his damn yard clippings under control.

Great night for Pete Happy last night. Let's extend him!

I didn't include Drabek for precisely that reason...you never know how a guy's gonna come back from TJ surgery. He might end up throwing harder or he might turn into Scott Mathieson.

I like Naylor as a darkhorse prospect for a couple reasons. He's a young prospect developmentally (despite being 21 going on 22) and he's got decent stuff. He's also dominating the Sally league so far...I'd like to see him in Clearwater to get a better idea of where he's at. You have to subtract a year or two off his age when judging him when you consider the level of competition he came out of in Australia...its hardly in the same level as a U.S. program or Latin America.

"AWH is a stout defender of management"

Andy, that hurts, and it's decidedly untrue. I hope you were being sarcastic.

I challenge you to find a voice on this blog who has been more critical of this ownership/management group.

Pedro Feliz really excels against Arizona (1.318 OPS), the third time he faces the starting pitcher (1.319 OPS), in the 4th inning (1.236 OPS), with a count including three balls (1.527 OPS).

So Brandon Webb better watch out if he gets a three ball count against Feliz in the fourth inning and it's his third time through the lineup!!!!!

Somehow I don't think that would matter for Webb.

I'd be willing to put money that Feliz would find a way to GIDP against Webb in that situation no matter what...even if there was simply a runner on third, he'd managed to hit a line out to 3B so that they could just step on the bag for the double-play.

@clout --
Right because you are never selective with your stats. Especially with starting Dobbs over Feliz.

obviously this stuff is a little tongue in cheek. I don't think Feliz is a stud. I just don't think he's as horrid as you think he is. He has contributed to this team. However, when he was hitting in the 6th hole his numbers were horrid. But since moving to 7 his has performed pretty well.

I think he's a servicable 3rd baseman in this lineup. He's been hitting well lately. His career numbers, indicate a return to his career norms which may pose a problem. I have no problem with Dobbs get starts against tough right handers. But Dobbs' number last years playing every day versus pinch hitting are still drastically different. And I don't know how much of a in improvement starting Dobbs over Feliz for 75% of the games over the long run you would get offensively that you would lose on the defense. We just don't have enough stats on Dobbs.

NEPhilliesPhan:
If we're playing against Webb and his third time through the line-up to the seventh hitter is in the fourth inning, I don't care what Feliz does - I'm happy (unless we've left the bases loaded three times - but even then, he will have thrown a LOT of pitches).

And, by my calculations, we still would have scored a minimum of three runs, which against Webb is great.

****NEPhilliesPhan:
If we're playing against Webb and his third time through the line-up to the seventh hitter is in the fourth inning, I don't care what Feliz does - I'm happy (unless we've left the bases loaded three times - but even then, he will have thrown a LOT of pitches).****

Trust me...I wouldn't care what he dida at that point either.

mike c: I'm sure you're just joshing. Thinking that where a guy hits in the order is predictive of how much he'll hit is beyond ridiculous. The numbers that count are his totals, not what he hits while playing thirdbase against redheaded sidearmers. Same goes for Dobbs. It's the totals that count. If you want to break it down further, numbers against righties and lefties are obviously relevant, but to say that moving someone between 6th and 7th in the lineup will somehow cause him to hit more or less is laughable.

That's not always true...here's a couple examples:

1. Alphonso Soriano prefers batting leadoff and he is horrible otherwise because he pouts about it...its the main reason he's always batted leadoff in his career despite his low OBP.

2. Bobby Abreu preferred batting 3rd on the Phillies and didn't hit as well out of any other spot.

A players position in the order can effect how he bats.

clout,

Maybe we're talking apples to oranges here, but the type of pitches you would get if you were followed up to bat by the pitcher would be different than if someone like Chase Utley or Manny Ramirez followed you up to bat. Different slots in the order also have different responsibilities and require different talents.

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