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Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Some incredibly amazing things I read on Beerleaguer:

1. Burrell will sign for $9m a year because he loves Philly so much. Stupidest post ever? Burrell will be offered at least 3 years at $15M per with several teams bidding for him.

2. Jamie Moyer's season was a fluke and he shouldn't be resigned. Murgatroid showed how silly this post was. Looking at ALL of his stats you see he's been pretty consistent the past few years. Obviously, that will end sometime, but until it does the best move is to assume it continues. A two-year contract with incentives seems reasonable.

3. Jason Donald will be a utilityman or the starting leftfielder for the Phillies next year. This despite the fact that Donald has played only one - ONE - position as a pro. If the Phils are smart they'll put him at 3B at Lehigh Valley and let him play all year there.

4. Lou Marson is a star and should take over the starting cather job by mid-season and his offense will make up for the loss of Burrell. Marson improved his defense this season, cutting his high error rate and had a second stratight good offensive year, although with a high BABIP. But this comes after 3 weak offensive years. I'd like to think the past 2 years are the model, but won't be convinced until he can maintain his numbers in a full season of Triple A.

5. We don't need to re-sign Burrell because the players we have will mostly have better years next year on offense. This is so laughable as to not warrant a response.

I interviewed Arbuckle once and echo what's being said about him. He's very gracious and accessible. Pretty tough to hear what parade day meant to Arbuckle. From the sound of it, the Amaro hiring has caused some degree of division within the front office. Credit Arbuckle for much of 08, but his resume is not spotless. Player development has produced many more horrors and successes over the past few years. Some of the situations in Reading and AAA have been downright embarrassing, including LV's miserable season. I don't know who's in charge of installing minor league coaches, but any change to that area would be a welcome one.

I go back to how RSB phrased it a few threads back, how there is now "formidable evidence of a championship." However, this evidence is no reason to believe that improvements cannot and should not be made.

I wish Arbuckle the best. At worst, he'll get another Farm Director gig in short order. At 58, I wonder if teams will be reluctant to hire someone of that age as a first time GM.

You would think that Lamar would be the odds-on choice for Farm Director, although you'd think they would have announced it by now. Maybe they've offered it to Wolever and are waiting for his answer.

My roster expectations:
Burrell will walk with a 3/1 or 4 year offer that the Phils shouldn't match.
Moyer back for 1 year. He can't resist the temptation of a repeat.
Ugly arb with Howard. He thinks he's a unique player, and he is, but he is unique in HOW he puts together very good, but not spectacular seasons. 2006 was a fluke. His uniqueness is not in his greatness -- that describes Pujols, not Howard.
Nice long-term deal with Hamels. I'd be slightly worried over his hugh uptick in innings this year, but he sure looked strong down the stretch and in post-season.
3 or 4 year deal with Madson, even though I expect some regression to the mean. But heck, as a RP, he's been very good all along.
I have no idea who they will find as a RH OF to mix and match with the LHers.

I'd be really interested in Javier Vazquez, who is on the trading block for $ reasons, as a bridge to the Carrasco/Savery/Drabek/Happ/Garcia/Knapp years. (Obviously, not all of those guys will be average or above pitchers). Of course I'd really check over his arm health so that Kenny Williams doesn't screw the Phils again.

Good to see that Championship glow has worn off for clout.

If LaMar takes over for Arbuckle, I dont see our "vaunted" scouting dept taking much of a hit. LaMar has a very good reputation for such things from his time in Tampa.

1st round picks by Rays during the LaMar era. Keep in mind these are high picks because of Ray poor record.

96- Paul Wilder
97- Jason Standridge
98- Josh Pressley
99- Josh Hamilton
00- Rocco Baldelli
01- Dewon Brazelton
02- BJ Upton
03- Delmon Young
04- Jeff Nieman
05- Wade Townsend

Color me unimpressed.

RSB mentions the catcher situation in the previous thread. Chooch is a lock to return as starter. Marson is a lock to take the step to AAA. I am 95-percent certain they will shop for a veteran backup.

By the way, compare the picks by LaMar, who has a "very good reputation" in NEPP's mind but nowhere else, with the two picks made after LaMar left: Evan Longoria and David Price.

As sportwriter King Kaufman has observed: "In the 10 years LaMar ran the team, he gave not a single indication that he was capable of building a winner."

Reposted from the end of the last thread:

Does anyone know if any of the local Philly TV stations are willing to sell DVDs of their parade coverage? The Fox station has clips to view on their website, but I don't see any way to grab it and keep it. Any BL computer heads out there that can get it for download? Thanks.

JW: "Chooch is a lock to return as starter. Marson is a lock to take the step to AAA. I am 95-percent certain they will shop for a veteran backup."

100% correct, as usual.

Clout: Agreed. And guys like Hamilton and Upton were no-doubt-about-it future stars.

Arbuckle was allegedly a "tools guy" although the irony is that none of the core of the Phillies championship team were tools guys. Utley, Howard, Burrell were all polished college players. Rollins was a runty skilled baseball player and there's nothing toolsy about Ruiz. Werth had excellent baseball skills when drafted (by the O's).

It will be interesting to see if the toolsy approach, which has yeilded Reggie Taylor, C.J. Henry, Greg Golson, Zack Collier, Travis Mattair and Anthony Hewitt prevails with Arbuckle gone. I hope so.

I wonder if the Phillies are as dissatisfied with Coste as most people here seem to be. You aren't going to find a better offensive backup catcher than Coste, and he's also an asset as a pinch-hitter. The lousy ending to his season seems to be registering disproportionally to what his overall value to the team has been.

Actually I meant "I hope not."

Some thoughts on stuff being thrown around.

I liked Arbuckle, but I doubt there are more than a few dozen people who really know who did what in the organization.

Burrell will not be seeing 3/45, not in this financial market. I think he has been criminally undervalued by a lot of fans, but his age and old-man skills are going to lower the market considerably.

No reason to offer Moyer more than a one year deal. I would probably offer him arbitration and let him walk. He's a Type A (!), and I would take the draft pick.

This is a very scary quote from Amaro on his first day:

"If Pat Burrell is not with us, we know we're going to have a void in leftfield," Amaro said. "We might have to deal with that internally with the Geoff Jenkinses of the world and the Matt Stairses of the world."

I can pretty much guarantee that this team will not repeat if Geoff Jenkins or Matt Stairs is in the starting lineup on opening day.

clout: Moyer HAS been consistent over the last 5 years: a consistent 45th percentile starter. His ERA+ in 2004 through 2007: 87, 98, 104, and 92. If you think the Phillies can repeat with one ace, one head-case, and 3 back-of-the-rotation starters, then, by all means, they should resign Moyer.

As for Donald, he COULD play LF next year if the Phillies had some imagination. His bat seems terrific and it ain't all that hard to play LF. He's currently playing third base in the Arizona Fall League and has made only 2 errors so far. Oh, by the way, he's also leading the league in hitting & has an OPS of 1.325. But most likely he'll spend another year, or at least half year, in the minors learning to play third base.

I have to wonder if the pitching staff lost trust in Coste right around the time Hamels turned his back on him and Romero had it out with him on the mound. I don't think it's coincidence his playing time fell off sharply after that.

Aside from that, he's old.

Jason Donald's future is as 2009 trade deadline bargaining chip.

BAP, kdon: Same question as with Burrell. If you let Moyer walk, who replaces him?

clout: I echo your sentiments about the "toolsy" approach to drafting. I'd like to see them start drafting everyday players with more polish. Arbuckle's most successful draft picks were the ones that went directly contrary to his normal philosophy of drafting raw atheletes with no baseball skills.

On the subject of Marson, let me just throw this idea on the table. Marson was our most sought-after minor league prospect last year -- the one guy who might have helped yield us a Sabathia or Harden type player. The Phillies absolutely refused to trade him and, considering how things worked out with Blanton, you can hardly question that decision.

Ruiz, however, had a pretty solid second half and an extraordinarily redeeming post-season. After a decent rookie year and several excellent minor league seasons in succession, his disastrous 2008 season really came out of nowhere & seems unlikely to be repeated. If Burrell walks, most everyone agrees that we need to replace his offense somewhere and the FA market is barren in right-handed outfielders. Might it be appropriate to revisit the issue of trading Marson?

Something to remember is that the Phils are sitting on not one, but two, pretty damn good catching prospects in Marson and d'Arnaud. Don't be surprised if d'Arnaud is top five once the scouting mags issue their rankings. Really like the numbers and what I heard from Eric Valent, who was his hitting coach this season. He's a few years away, however.

clout: I see 6 front-line starters on the FA market. Sabathia isn't going to happen, so that leaves 5: Lowe, Burnett, Sheets, Dempster, and Kenshin Kawakami. I would go after all these guys -- especially Lowe, Burnett & Kawakami. I would also consider Brad Penny, who is coming off a serious injury but has ace potential. If they come up empty on all these guys, then I would think about Oliver Perez, who probably wouldn't be as good as Moyer was last year, but would still probably be better than he is likely to be next year.

As I said in a post yesterday, the worst case scenario is KK as your 5th starter. Beerleaguers are collectively disgusted with KK because of how last season ended, so they will reject what I'm about to say out of hand. But if KK pitches as he has for all but the last 6 weeks of his career, and Moyer pitches as he has in 4 of the last 5 seasons, the 2 are essentially equal.

Good stuff in this thread. JW, clout and BAP all making good sense. As much as I like Coste (rhymes with toast), he's a gone pecan. He'll be traded for a younger something. Chooch really did impress in the playoffs and, hopefully, 2009 will see a better hitting, better defending, better pitcher handling Chooch Ruiz from the opening anthem in April throughout the season. Where's Baraj-ass? He's probably resting on somebody's trash heap and Ruben can resign him for the minimum.

"If you let Moyer walk, who replaces him?"

If they go the cheapo route in LF, then I would make a push for Lowe, or even restart discussions with Toronto about Halladay (Start with Marson + Carrasco, and work from there).

The problem is that I don't think Moyer can replace Moyer from last year. Bap's right, last year is the absolute high-end of what you can expect from Moyer, and it's no more than wishful thinking to believe he can repeat it.

To me, Happ is a legit #4 or #5 starter right now, so Hamels/Myers/Blanton/Happ leaves only one spot. Worse case scenario, I'm fine with letting Carrasco fight for that spot, and mixing and matching in April if he's not ready.

Jason, your point about D'Arnaud is right on. I'm a big fan of dealing Marson now, while his value is at its highest.

The thrill of winning the World Series cannot be understated, and it was great to see all the enthusiastic new posters who showed up on Beerleaguer while it was going on. But discussions like today's are really the nuts and bolts of Beerleaguer.

clout: Delmon Young turned into Matt Garza, not a bad swap. Garza impressed.

Clout: Moyer is certainly easier to replace than Burrell. I don't think they should, since I assume he'll be willing to sign here for a 1 or 2 year deal for relatively cheap. But, for the sake of argument, you can. You could sign a top FA pitcher, like Lowe or Burnett or someone, or you could sign a lower-tier FA like Garland or Oliver Perez, who is likely to give you what Moyer would next year- surely you don't expect another 120 ERA+. Most likely he reverts back to being a 100-110 ERA+ pitcher like he has been the last few years.

Or, of course, worst-case scenario you have Happ and Kendrick in the starting rotation (god knows you love Kendrick enough), and then if one of them struggles you call up Carrasco mid-season, if his success at AAA continues. Carrasco had a 1.72 ERA with a 46/13 K/BB ratio in 6 AAA starts. If he can replicate that over another half-season at AAA, it's hard to argue that he doesn't merit a promotion. But I'm sure you will.

If you would have told me 3 years ago that Ruden Amaro and Chuck Lamar would be running the team in 2009 I would have jumped off the Walt Whitman bridge. Amazing what a World Championship can do.

Something that hasn't been discussed is how many desirable contracts the Phils have at their disposal to make trades. What team with bullpen issues and not many resources wouldn't lust after Madson, for example? Brett Myers regained his value and would be attractive to a team that couldn't afford a long-term deal. Actually think the combination of bigger budget, some high-minor prospects like Donald and Happ and all the desirable contracts puts the Phils in great position to improve. Huge offseason looming for Amaro to make a splash.

I have no insight into the phillies pro scouting department, but I hope i'm right in guessing that more than Arbuckle were ultimately responsible for our series of productive draft choices and that they will remain in place.

Also, i'd have moyer back...I was reading a BP article about him. The gist is that he is always reinventing himself. He threw more low fastballs this year than he did his first full year and saw better results in CBP.

I think myers has a better overall season this time around, and I think Happ is 5th starter and is at least major league average, an upgrade over kendrick/eaton.

I hope Donald is platooning at 3rd some time this would be a shame to trade both him and cardenas away.

I hope marson is brought on to back up ruiz, and coste is kept on as a pinch hitter. Taguchi was dead roster space this season, and coste is at the very least a bat.

Marson's BAPIP has always been high, he's a line drive hitter. He has shown clear improvement over the past 3 seasons. I would say he had a great season last year as well as this. His stats look a lot like other offensive catchers, ala russell martin etc.

I have to think that since they kept him out of the AFL and kept him with the team to season him up, they are preparing to tab him to make the team out of spring training.

JW: Great points. I'd also say that they have a major chit with a cheap Happ or Kendrick contract to swap for a bat or reliever.

clout: What about using Marson as a back up like the way the Nats used Jesus Flores two years ago? I agree with you that more seasoning is probably necessary, but at the same time (TM Charlie Manuel) Marson might not be too bad for a start or two a week next year.

I just read where 10 of the players on this years WS team were not members of the 2007 Division winning team. Ten players represent 40% of a 25 man roster. I think that flys in the face of all these stand pat posters in the last few threads.

While I understand that Burrell is going to be hard to replace in the line-up I just can't fathom why so many people think signing him is the top priority facing Amaro this off-season.

In my opinion the first order of business by a wide margin should be locking up Cole for 6-7 years. Now is a good time because you can express to Cole that even with this deal- he would be a free agent potentially at ~ 31 which means he still has time for another decent sized contract.

Locking down Cole to me is far more important than locking in Pat becasue a bonafide pitching ace is hard to find and we don't have anyone in the minors that seems able to come up and take that role for another 3 years. If we play year to year with Cole with risk pissing him off even more to the point where he won't entertain staying here at all. They asked two things of him- prove you can be healthy, and other than a short DL stint last year he has. Prove you can be a big game pitcher, I'd say he did that this post-season. How many legitimate aces are in the game and where would you rank Cole as far as the best starters in baseball right now? Those are the questions you must answer. I think Cole is in that upper tier of starters and it's arguable where he ranks in that pack.

The other issue is the market for Pat will be higher than I think some of you are anticipating. I've seen people estimate 3/45. If we're figuring 15 a year I'd pretty safely take the over. If you figure Manny at like 20 a year I could easily see Pat settling at 17 a year. Should the Phillies go 3/51 or 4/68 with Pat?

Signing Pat and signing Cole shouldn't necessarily be an either/or choice but this is the Phillies and it will be- and we know that. So the question is, where is that money better spent?

JW - That's probably accurate, because while this team has World Series-upside (obviously), I don't think a lot of us are expecting another 24-6 finish in 2009. However, what are the odds that Amaro has the guts to trade away key members of a WS champion, even for a very solid return? I'd say extremely low.

I don't think Marson is ready to take over full-time, but having him play once or twice a week while Ruiz handles the majority of the catching duties would be a fine way to bring him along this season.

Donald would be an upgrade over Bruntlett offensively, but not defensively. But if we're only looking for Donald to back up the infield where we have guys that hardly ever miss time (J-Roll, Chase, Howard) then defense would be vastly over-rated in this case.

Finding a leftfielder is priority #1 in my opinion. Magglio Ordonez is rumored to be available and he'd actually be an upgrade over Burrell.

Chris Coste was cooked by season's end. He may get traded this offseason.

clout, its not all about just 1st round picks. and as has been mentioned before, Young traded for Garza...that's not half bad.

I'd also non-tender Bruntlett and Condrey. Each served a purpose, but they're arbitration eligible and looking at pay days over 1 million each, and for their production that can be had cheaper from within the organization or through cheap free agent signings or trades.

Here's my theory on the offseason, which I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with: the WS title has bought you some capital in this city. We don't have to trade away our best prospects to chase after a title right now. We got one. You can use this year and next year to really set up the franchise for continued long-term success. Ok, so Rollins and Utley and Howard are in their primes, but what you have right now is an opportunity to groom their replacements. Replenish the farm system, use those extra resources to invest in the draft and international signings, and actually make this team the type of franchise (Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Indians, Dodgers) that can compete year-in and year-out. Do I think this will happen? No. But I'd like it to.

Burrell is not worth 4 years, 68 million. He's not even worth close to that. I like Pat as much as the next guy but that's a ridiculous amount of money for a non-allstar who gets pulled for defense in every close game.

I love Pat Burrell, but it's time to move in a different direction. A different direction does not mean an outfield of Werth/Victorino/Jenkins/Stairs/Golson. Gotta work the trade hotline or free agent market for a replacement. Kendrick or Happ could be used to help land a new leftfielder via trade.

LaMar also drafted Sonnanstine and Shields as well as traded for Kashmir. Not too shabby. His biggest issue as GM was not trading prospects to contenders, not scouting. So basically the entire current Rays pitching staff outside of Edwin Jackson were from him.

Kashmir (traded for)
Shields (drafted)
Sonnanstine (drafted)
Garza (drafted Young who was flipped for him)

So yeah...

NEPP: Agreed that Pat is not worth 4 years, or over 17 a year. I'd offer him 2/35 or 3/45, hope he takes the hometown discount, and if not, I'd move on. I love Pat as much as any fan, but after this title, I've come to peace with the fact that he's a true Phillie for life, whether he moves on or not. And if we can't completely replace his production next year, that's ok with me. People were wondering how we could replace Rowand's production going into this year, but we seemed to do ok. If you upgrade the pitching staff, you can afford a little less run production.

First, I really enjoy this blog. The debates between and among BAP, CLOUT, Weitzel and others (no offense to anyone I didn't mention) prove that Phillies fans are the most knowledgeable and passionate in the country. And, people post some seriously LOL funny stuff.

I didn't post during the series or afterward b/c that privilege belonged to the long-time contributors. As you start the offseason threads, however, I'd like to jump in with a few thoughts:

1. Gillick's "success" derives in part from his management of contracts, i.e., preserving club flexibility. If Amaro follows that philosophy, you can (and probably should) say good bye to PtB unless he is willing to limit to 2 years.

2. The real danger is that Amaro will repeat the errors of 1993 -- that he will award long-term contracts to fan favorites based on how he feels about them as persons as aopposed to as ballplayers. That sentiment also might lead to retaining the services of fan favorite Chris Coste as opposed to sound baseball decisions, like perhaps grooming young talent.

3. Having said 1 and 2, you re-sign Moyer for 1 if possible, 2 if you have to, years.

4.Break the bank on Cole. Today.

5. If Carrasco is ready to go, do you give thought to moving Myers and/or Kendrick. I mean, nice speech and all that at the parade, Bret, but boy are you a handful.

3 years for a guy who you're all ready defensive subbing for is not a good idea.

Right on KP, when you wrote: "The real danger is that Amaro will repeat the errors of 1993 -- that he will award long-term contracts to fan favorites..."

I think we should appreciate what Burrell did and wish him luck. Surely there is a right handed player out there with healthy feet that can play LF and hit .250 with some pop.

We have Utley and Rollins signed long term. There is no need to lock up anybody, except, perhaps, Cole Hamels.

Myno: Very tough to repeat, so I think Amaro is going to have an aggressive offseason and change the mix significantly, based in large because I think Burrell is gone. Wouldn't surprise me that Gillick's first words of advice was something along the lines of "If it ain't broke, break it."

I havent had internet access since last Thurs (I was moving) but I heard a rumor that Pat turned down a 2 year, 22 million deal after the the WS ended? Anyone hear something along those lines?

Money is only one part of it guys. Burrell is 31 and might have one decent contract in his career yet. A 2 year deal is way too risky for a guy like him who already runs about as well as Bambi skates. Loyalty to a city or not, this is still a business and there are very few who would value a company they are with if another company came calling with a substantial raise.

I'd be real shocked if he signs for less than 4 years. His agent will push for that. If it's less than 4 than it will be for more cash per year. Neither is ideal for the Phillies.

Much like Carson I love Pat but I think the writing is on the wall there for a move. I also agree with Carson that it doesn't mean you stick with the outfield you have. If you move Werth to left than you'd better be trying to trade for a big time right fielder. If you keep the platoon in right than you'd better be trying to land a big left fielder. As JW pointed out- they have resources to do a move like this with the contracts they have, and with the depth at certain positions in the minors

"1st round picks by Rays during the LaMar era. Keep in mind these are high picks because of Ray poor record.

96- Paul Wilder
97- Jason Standridge
98- Josh Pressley
99- Josh Hamilton
00- Rocco Baldelli
01- Dewon Brazelton
02- BJ Upton
03- Delmon Young
04- Jeff Nieman
05- Wade Townsend"
Actually, due to the expansion rules, in 1996 & 97, they (along with the Diamondbacks) picked at the end of the first round. In 1998, their first pick wasn't until the end of the 4th round (due to both the expansion rules & free agent signings).

That's not to suggest that LaMar was a good GM, but saying that the early picks were towards the top of the first round isn't totally accurate.

Burrell's expiring paper plus Thome's expiring paper gives us about $20.5 million to play with before factoring in the raises for Cole, Ryan, and Ryan. When coupled with increased revenue projected budget raise, we should be in good shape to pursue a "creative destruction" path like JW recommends.

"I'd also non-tender Bruntlett and Condrey."

I don't get this. What would they cost, two million total?

The league minimum is around $400,000, so you're talking about saving just over a million bucks, which is nothing.

Why start the clock on young players when you have a perfectly acceptable utility guy and longman under your control?

kdon - Agree with you on Condrey. But, Phils need a utility infielder who can spell Utley and Rollins without such an offensive drop off.

Fred: Barajas just had his option picked up for $2.5 million by Toronto, for whom he had 11 HR and 49 RBI in about 350 AB. It sounds more impressive than what he did in Philly, but it's just an 86 OPS+, actually lower than what he registered here.

On Kendrick: I think they should abandon the idea of him as a starter. I'd prefer seeing him as a groundball-inducing reliever, somebody you can bring in with men on base for a DP. The late '70s teams excelled with Warren Brusstar in exactly that role.

"Delmon Young turned into Matt Garza, not a bad swap."

Perhaps not, though you could see the head issues in his WS start. Regardless, Young hasn't looked like a particularly good #1 overall draft pick yet, though there's still time. He turns 23 next season.


Agreed on Kendrick as a reliever rather than a starter. No need to keep hoping there. You have Happ and Carrasco who likely could be a more serviceable 5th starter.


Bruntlett had a pretty Nunezian year this year, but I doubt his normal production will be any different than your average utility guy.

The only internal options - Harman and Donald - are better served playing every day in the minors, and being called up in the case of a serious injury.

I like that word. Let me try to use it. From 1974 through 1976 my love life was Nunezian. Yep, that's a very descriptive word.
I would expect Bruntlett.v2009 > Nunez.v200x.

I discovered BL in June, so I'm only now coming to appreciate that everyone brings his or her A-game in the offseason.

Some points that have gotten me thinking: is it reasonable to expect a 24-6 finish in 2009? At first, I was inclined to say no. But then it struck me that, so long as Ryan Howard remains with the team, a hot stretch run is not unreasonable to expect.

Second, Pat Burrell is not currently replaceable for a decent (read: the FO's established) price. That said, by mid-May, there will likely be somebody available who can fit that bill, as initially lousy teams become sellers. That likelihood will increase through next year (2010 FA's include Rick Ankiel, and Matt Holliday of course). So I'd be inclined to let Burrell walk.

I would extend Hamels, of course. Nobody disagrees. But I would also lock up Werth, who is also up for FA in 2010, and Victorino, even though he is actively hurting the team.

I say give Howard the money, but perhaps go shorter on years than he might like. Even if you can't go short on years, he is exactly the kind of guy you can trade away to an AL contender at the end of a contract, and so I wouldn't worry about him being an albatross down the line. He provides a strange, Burrell-like reliability of peaks and valleys, except with Howard, you know pretty much exactly how it will play out: awful April; meh-May and June; a surge in July that leaves him the NL HR leader (and yet likely off the all-star team); and an August and September of MVP talks.

On Moyer: BAP believes, maybe rightly, that Moyer will command a contract that matches his 2008. Surely there will be pressure on him from the union to do so, and I would not fault him if he did. At the same time, while he'll get a raise, I don't think the cost will be exorbitant. It seems like a low risk signing, especially because of the length of the contract.

On getting a number 2 starter: I actually think this club is in a nice spot. Maybe Myers is a no. 2 after all; if not, he's gone after 2010. If his 2009 looks good, you extend him if you can. I like Burnett, but as the second best pitcher on the market, I don't think it's worth overpaying. As for Lowe, I think he too will be overpaid. Again, I'd say go with this rotation, and see what turns up as teams become sellers in the spring.

Another question for the day: In terms of importance, money, value, and how they look long-term, how do you rank the guys you want to lock up long-term? I'd rank this as the order in which you lock guys up: Hamels, Victorino, Werth, Howard. Howard I wouldn't lock up at all if his price stays so high, but a guy of his talent you have to at least look at it. Ruiz and Madson you keep going year-to-year and then see where you are with them.


KP: I agree with you point 1. And that fits in with Jack's idea of the "capital" we ahve with a title. Go with short term contracts to fill holes, which Moyer/Burrell are possibilities for, and retain that long term flexibility.

However, on point 4., breaking the bank right now for Cole doesn't make a ton of sense to me. His value is about as high as it's gonna get(great season followed by playoff MVP), which is a bad time to bargain. If you can't get him on a reasonable 5 year deal, then pay him the 6 or 7 mil he's due in arbitration and then reevaluate next year. The notion that he's going to be "pissed" and write off signing a long term contract with us when he's still 3 years away from free agency(which he will be after '09) is silly.

"so I'm only now coming to appreciate that everyone brings his or her A-game in the offseason."

Absolutely. I'm happy to see most of the 'A' posters around today. I was worried I would come back to an all new and different Beerleaguer, but the level of discussion is as high as ever.

Yeah, this is my first time back on Beerleaguer in a while. I had too much going on with the playoffs, and frankly, these discussions are what it's all about here. Anyone can post exclamation marks on a big home run; it takes a real beerleaguer to spend days discussing how to replace a 4th starter and middle reliever.

Jack: I would rank them Werth/Victorino/Howard/Hamels, which is based on the urgency, since those guys have 1,2,3 and 4 years respectively until free agency. And I would only attempt to lock up Hamels and Howard if they were interested in making a good "their financial security" vs "slight team discount" tradeoff.

Finally we can start talking about the Jim Ed Wardens of the world and forget about the stupid World Series :-)

Its going to be really interesting to see what type of market creates for Pat Burrell.

I'm trying to think of what he is going to be going after - length or value? The only way Burrell is taking a 'hometown' discount as some have been referring to is that the Phillies shell out a longterm deal with lower $$peryear than other offers.

Its obvious this year that our already streaky lineup can't afford to keep adding more and more players of the same mold. With Howard, Rollins, and Werth being so damn hot and cold, the Phils need a more steady presence in the lineup.

Kdon: Yeah that comment about Jenkins and Stairs is scary. They should be looking for upgrades on those guys in the first place (I know they won't dump the salaries though) nevermind making them starters to replace Burrell.

Truth Injection: You do speak the truth on Cole Hamels. Lock him up. He proved himself. He's only 24. Imagine how good he'll be when he reaches his peak years from 27-30.

Jack: What are you saying? We should just give up on next year and start rebuilding for the future? That is ridiculous.

I think we all realize that we can say "good job Pat, thanks for the memories" and that he is gone. I would say sign Moyer. I think he has proven to be a unique case where you can't judge him by age and he seems valuable as a coach to the rest of the staff.

What about a package build around JA Happ to Detroit for Ordonez?

Agree with everyone about Cole, top priority.

In other pitcher news, this is ridiculous (from SI): C.C. Sabathia is the Yankees' top offseason target, and they'll make him an offer beyond Johan Santana's $137.5MM. Heyman also sees the Yanks pursuing A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe, and Oliver Perez (with Ben Sheets a less likely target). Heyman's sources believe the Yanks could even attempt to sign three free agent starters.

Hamels, Werth, Shane and then Howard. Still praying that Werth keeps getting better and becomes one of the most dangerous all around right handed hitters in the NL (sooner rather than later).

The real answer is you lock up the first three for certain and you let Howard's arbitration eligibility play itself out.

JW: Jason Donald as 2009 trade bait? How bout in a deal for Matt Holliday next week at the GM meetings?

rbi: I can see the Yanks going nutso in free agency this year. Not only do they have the new stadium, but they're getting rid of some big contracts as well (booby, giambi, damon right?)

the other ny team we're more familiar with is also going to be making a splash - lots of rumors are tying them Raul Ibanez from Seatlle, along with every big name reliever in the majors.

Hamels should be the #1 priority in the offseason. #1 starters are few and far batween. #1 starters who become more clutch in the playoffs are even rarer. #1 starters who become more clutch in the playoffs and are lefthanded are rumored to exist but seldom seen. All of the above and 24 years old=One of a Kind Talent.

Len39: No, I'm saying there's no point in making moves with only short-term considerations. You have the opportunity now to build something serious long-term. You obviously aren't going to "rebuild", you have a bunch of star players in their primes. This team is going to compete.

My point is to do what the Red Sox did in 05 and 06 following their title, which is to use the goodwill and civic capital you've earned among the fanbase to invest some extra resources into player development in order to ensure long-term opportunities for success. They didn't re-sign Pedro or Lowe, instead opting to take some of that money and invest it into the draft. They didn't trade a lot of their young guys (Hanley Ramirez being the obvious exception), opting instead to use them to supplement their veteran guys on a team like the 07 team, which won the title, and this year's team, which came close.

I know we aren't going to be the Red Sox, but my point is that we've bought ourselves a few years where we don't HAVE to orient everything around winning now. If we hadn't won, I would've advocated trading all our prospects for Jake Peavy. But now, I'd rather hold on to the young guys, and try them out, in a situation where there is 10 times less pressure. We're a few smart investments and smart decisions away from really building a long-term team.

I have no interest in any aging free agent. If the next one earns his contract for us, he will be the first. To succeed in this game on any regular basis, you have to develop talent.

We have talent to trade for some help, and some talent about ready to move up from the high minors. Winning franchises are able to move a new youngster or 2 in every year. This team is aging; Hamels needs some peers.

Burrell is gone unless he takes less than he's worth to someone, which he won't. Ruben Jr. ought to be able to trade for a decent,consistent, young righthanded LF for the parts we have available.

Moyer would probably retire rather than go play for another club, particularly a 2nd tier club like Seattle. A 1 year contract should do it, and a 50 year old shouldn't expect more.

At the risk of contradicting myself, Donald I would consider trading, mostly because I think he's a man without a position here, and his bat, while good for a MI, doesn't play at 3rd or LF.

Prospects I would consider trading: Donald, Golson, Savery, Bastardo (does he even count?)

Prospects I wouldn't: Happ, Carrasco, Drabek, Marson, D'Arnaud, Taylor

On a humorous note, does anyone realize that Fabio Castro helped win us the World Series? We traded him in August for Matt Stairs, whose HR in Game 5 of the NLCS was huge. I hope the team voted Castro a share.

I guess the Yankees didn't take note of how the Phils and Rays built themselves into World Series teams. Let them spend.

NEPP: agreed. I may be biased, but if you ask people if you could start a franchise with 1 player right now, Cole Hamels would have to be a very popular pick. As you said: young, playoff proven, lefthanded aces who lead the league in IP dont grow on trees. Phils are sitting on an absolute one of kind player - locking him up first and foremost can only be a good thing.

Brian G: Have you not heard the reports that Hamels was upset this past off-season with arbitration and the fact that the Phillies were not eager for a long term deal.

Exactly how long do you think he will give the team before he writes off staying here.

The Phillies have looked for an ace of the staff since Schilling left. They finally have him, and they don't need to trade a bunch of prospects or talent for him. They just need to spend some cash now to lock him up. As was said- he is this good at 24 and still about 2 or 3 years from his prime. Why would you want to give him any reason to think his future isn't in Philly?

i think we all know the phils will let pat walk and replace him with a jenkins/RH hitter platoon. i'll be shocked if something other than happens.

i'd like to see coste get a spring training invite to see if he has any mojo left, but that's mostly sentiment speaking. like JW, my gut is saying that he lost the confidence of the pitching staff. between the hamels thing, romero's outburst, and the brett myers blowup start that he caught late in the season, coste saw a dramatic, sudden dropoff in playing time. it wasn't all because he was slumping--cholly has never managed like that, leaving guys to rot in their slumps without opportunity to break out.

i think we'll see a chooch/veteran tandem next season, although i wouldn't rule out marson coming up by midseason if he's playing well and his defense/game-calling are looking up. personally, i'd prefer him stay in AAA barring a catching disaster, i'd rather have him improve for the long-term. chooch is no spring chicken.

if they resign moyer, barring a trade, i suppose we'll see happ, kendrick, and (gasp) eaton competing for the 5th spot in the rotation? couldn't they make eaton pitch some winter ball somewhere and see if he can do anything right, whether as a reliever or a backup bat boy?

On replacing Bruntlett: is there anyone out there who really can as cheaply as Bruntlett without putting up similar or worse numbers? I haven't runn through all of the names, but the one guy that I saw the Phillies linked to was Pete Orr, who is worse than Bruntlett and arguably worse than Nunez.

I think not having Eaton around for a single postseason celebration or activity has to be a sign that they're ready to kick him out the door. How could you give someone a shot after that, and if you're Eaton, why would you want one? He's paid no matter what.

*er, "run"

Alby wrote: "On Kendrick: I think they should abandon the idea of him as a starter. I'd prefer seeing him as a groundball-inducing reliever, somebody you can bring in with men on base for a DP."

I agree. Someone earlier sort of lumped Kendrick and Happ together, as if they were interchangeable. They are not. Happ has upside potential. Kendrick has had his day in the sun. He won't see that again. If some team came snooping around looking at kendrick as a possible starter, I'd trade him in a heartbeat. I think he's shot his wad as a Phillies contributor.

Keep Kendrick in AAA and let him work on a 3rd pitch. If he ever develops a 3rd pitch he suddenly becomes a servicable 4/5 guy. We can keep looking to trade him during that process anyway. He's not a legit starter at this point.

If Kendrick could actually develop that changeup to keep lefties from teeing off all day on his sinker, I think he could still be an effective starter. I say throw him back in the farm and literally pound that mentality of getting lefties offbalance as his #1 objective. I mean, if he gains value int he trade market, then yes by all means let someone else develop the kid, but until then, he's not really hurting you at all by throwing in the minors, never know when you'll need a spot starter again.

I know people assume some team out there is going to give Pat a contract a long the lines of 3/4 years, 45/55-60 million or something.

I have been wondering, however, who is this team? Who is going to pay Pat the money he's looking for? There are a crazy number of high-profile free agents out there this winter (in addition to the players on the trading block like Matt Holliday and Roy Halladay), and I just don't know if there is this infinite amount of money to throw around to lure all of the free agents this off-season.

Manny, CC, Ben Sheets, Derek Lowe, Adam Dunn, AJ Burnett, Orlando Hudson, Brad Penny, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Rafael Furcal, Oliver Perez, Brian Fuentes, Francisco Rodriguez, That Japanese Pitcher, Randy Johnson, Jon Garland, Jake Peavy, Matt Holliday, Roy Halladay, and of course Pat Burrell.

Look at that list - and that's not even everyone! The bottom line is I have to think that not everyone in the aforementioned list will get what he deems "fair market value" for his services. I have to think that Pat won't even be thought of in the same breath as most of the other free agents available this off-season.

Jack: I'm not saying we sell the farm for veterans or sign one of those bad free agent contracts. However, the Red Sox only did what they did in 2005 because Varitek got hurt and the team collapsed after the all star break. They did go out and sign a couple of bad contracts with Lugo and Drew after the 2006 season so they were taking a win now approach then.

Our ownership is very "thrifty" I guess you can say. The Red Sox ownership is not. We probably realistically have a 2-3 year window with this nucleus now (3 might be generous). Time to go for another championship.

I suggested breaking the bank on Cole -- and acknowledge he has no real negotiation leverage other than what an arbitrator probably will award him -- because he is a once in a lifetime pitcher. Beside, you have to figure that an arbitrator awards closer to what the Sabathias, Santannas of the world get than on the lower end. So why not bypass potential ill will and lock him up, and use him as your lure for other players. I used to think of him as the new "32" but that comparison fails. He is "35" -- his own man. And he has a hot wife ...

As an addendum to my point above, I forgot to mention that everybody assumes all of the high-profile free agents looking for big paydays will sign with either New York team, Boston, LA, or Chicago, and I maintain that there is only a finite amount of funds that the classic payroll giants can spend on incoming free agents.

If NY signs CC, Boston signs Teixeira, LA retains Manny, and Chicago retains Dempster and some other Free agent, who is going to pay for all of those other guys??

I'm curious about what team would give Burrell 4 years. Would have to be an AL team so he can DH (at least some of the time).

DDave: on SI and mlbtraderumors, Pat Burrell ranks as the #13th best free agent available - so although he is not the cream of the crop, he does look to be in the 2nd teir group.

Here's a interestnig question - who makes more this offseason, Adam Dunn or Pat Burrell?

Let me preface this with: WE WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!

On Burrell, let him test the market and see what is out there for him. It very well could turn into a Kyle Lohse type situation where the offer never materializes and we can get him back very cheaply (2 years under 10 per year). There's no reason to overpay him or any other free agent LF...Give it a year as better free agents are gonna be available, a trade might be possible, or even Michael Taylor could be ready by then if he pans out. Theres no reason to panic as WE WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!

"John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, .. Randy Johnson"
One of these is likely to retire and the other two are one-year contract guys.

"If the Yankees sign CC..."
They will only have money for about 2 or 3 other FAs. The Yankees have a sh**load of money coming off the books and a sh**load of new revenue next year. The Mets are looking at a lot of new revenue. LAA still has money available.
Jose Guillen got 3/36 don't forget, just last year.
Burrell is very attractive to an AL team as a part-time DH/part-time LF.

I have to echo the sentiments of other posters (and something I posted after the WS win). Beerleaguer is definitely at its finest during the offseason. As much as I celebrated the WS victory (in fact, I'm still celebrating and will continue to do so) I love the Beerleaguer coverage from November to April.

Thanks to Jason and all those who regularly contribute.

Sorry, I have nothing of value to add at this point.

Teams that might want Pat in their lineup:

NY Mets
Seattle (maybe since Ibanez is leaving and they NEED power in that lineup. SEA would strictly be as a DH type role with spot starts as their OF is HUGE)

Few points:

- Condrey isn't going to make a million. I bet the Phils resign him at around 700 or 750k.

- Some posters are acting like Bruntlett provided some kind of real value to this team this year. He didn't. Besides playing multiple positions, he brought also nothing to the table.

If the Phils are largely going to make dink moves in the FA/trade market, I would like to see them at least upgrade the middle utility INF position. It is evidently clear that Utley wears down if he plays everyday by July. Phils would be wise in invest in a decent veteran middle INF who Cholly might actually start occasionally.

- Burrell is gone. When Lidge was resigned, that was the day that Burrell's tenure in Philly was over. Problem is that it is almost guaranteed the Phils only bring in a second-tier to play LF with Jenkins next year.

My money is on bringing in a guy like Mench to a 1-yr deal, sign another marginal veteran OF like Taguchi, and see what Golson or some other internal candidate can fill the 5th OF spot coming out of spring training.

- I also bet they trade Stairs because he really doesn't have a roster spot on this team and the Phils will trade him to an AL this offseason for a TBA to save some cash.

- Still curious to see what the Phils do with Coste. Been almost no word on him and given his dramatically limited role and his drop-off after the ASB, I don't know if the Phils bring him back.

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Phils do what they did a few years ago and bring in a veteran catcher (there are several veteran FA catchers available) for a 1-yr deal. Figure they might bring up Marson at some point in the 2nd half of the season but go with Chooch as the starter and the vet FA catcher as a backup coming out of spring training.

- As for Gillick's "contract flexibility," he left Amaro with nearly $25M near year on the payroll in largely unproductive players (Jenkins, Feliz, and Eaton). Yeah it didn't hurt the Phils long-term but it will dramatically impact what they do this offseason because you can't move a single one of these contracts and this is likely going to be about 15-20% of the Phils payroll next year.

Feliz had the game winning hit in the 2008 World Series...I think that should make him immune to any further criticism. His contract was completely worth it because of that.

The Tigers need a Catcher, a Shortstop, and Bullpen help and are thinking of trading Ordonez to get it. If only we had prospects that were MLB ready at C and SS...

Would anyone do that deal though? Marson & Donald for Magglio Ordonez?

Jason, I just listened to the On the DL World Series show and you were great as usual. So much of this show described all the feelings I've had over the past week. I would recommend that everyone take a listen -

Ordonez is on the hook for $18MM in '09 and has that lingering knee injury. I like him and he's a great hitter but I wouldn't do that deal.

Marson & Donald for Magglio is exactly the type of deal I'm arguing against doing.

MG - Couldn't agree more re Bruntlett and the need for a utility MI.

Do you think Nick Punto would accept coming here in that role? He would be a nice upgrade. Is there a market for him as a starter?

I love Ordonez as a player but that would be a tough deal to swallow. Very tempting for a new GM trying to make a splash though...isn't it?

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