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Friday, November 07, 2008

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Lots of non news reported today. Speculation that the Phils are interested in Matt Holliday, which is speculation carried over from mid-season. Jason Donald, the most celebrated 24-year-old utility infielder in scouting league history, represents another hot topic.

I, for one, think it's pretty cool that the Phillies have overtaken the role that the Eagles have filled for the past 20 years. I hope that this championship, and all the non-news that is being given to the Phillies, will help them remain number one in this town again.

Of course, I write this in full awareness of the irony that Beerleaguer thrives on non news.

Jason Donald has become a buzz name as far as prospects go and that's a good thing because the Phils haven't really had many of them in their system over the past few years. I'm torn on his future, and I could easily see him being a trading chip to land a proven MLB player to bolster the current group we have for anothe playoff drive next season.

This Holliday rumor won't go away until he's traded, because as I've read many baseball people think the Phils are the frontrunners to get him if the Rox do indeed trade him.

If the rumor du jour is accurate, it doesn't look like the Holliday deal is doable. If they package Victorino or Werth in such a deal, they're still short an outfielder, or two.

From the previous thread:

Vonderful, I too, wish the Phillies would "go all in" and try to win another WS or two while this core is still here, because I don't think Howard will be here past his arb years - he and the Phillies seem to be too far apart on a LT extension.

My point in the last thread - that re-signing Burrell (instead of depleting the system of top prospects in a Holliday trade) might wind up being the least expensive to the Phillies in the long run, even if it means an extra year of Burrell at 15MM - was to indicate that there is more than one way of going "all in".

Re-signing PB is probably more expensive in the ST as it would cost more than Holliday next season.

In the LT having the prospects [let's say for instance Donald can replace Feliz (5MM), Carrasco could replace Myers (12MM), and Marson replaces Ruiz (who'll definitely be making more by then) and provides improved offense] come up through the system could save them more money over the next 5-7 years than resigning Burrell for 3 years would cost them.

That's all.

It's quite possible that re-signing Burrell is the least expensive and best way to go "all in".


As I have said for months on this board, if they don't bring Burrell back - or replace his production from the RH side of the plate - I don't see this team contending next year.

As clout pointed out a couple of threads ago, even Chollie seems to agree about the need.

IMO, Holliday would be an upgrade over Burrell because he should hit for a higher average and drive in more runs (though I wouldn't expect Coors type production from him), I question whether one year of him is worth the prospects.

Personally, I would find a way to bring Burrell back.

From the last thread:

"His [Holliday's] splits would concern me to, except that CBP is a bandbox just like Coors. So his splits wouldn't be as affected in my opinion. Other teams with bigger ballparks should weigh that more heavily."


For one, Coors is a much more extreme hitters park than CBP so there is no basis in reality for that statement whatsoever.

Park Factor

Coors Field

08 - 107
07 - 108
06 - 109
05 - 112
04 - 113


CBP

08 - 103
07 - 105
06 - 105
05 - 105
04 - 105

There is absolutely no comparison between the two. CBP is a slight hitters park where as Coors is an EXTREME hitters park with a huge outfield for balls to fall in for 2Bs.

NEPP, I read somewhere that the reason Coors is so extreme is that because the ball travels faster in the thin air - it apparently reaches the OF about three-tenths of a second faster, reulting in a lot more doubles in the gaps. The HRs have dropped since the use of the humidor, but they can't thicken the air.

Good Morning.

Just checking in.

Still basking.

Have a good day.

That would make sense AWH. Since they switched to the humidor their Park Factor dropped from the mid 120's to its current level of 107-113 which still makes it the most offensive park in baseball. At least its not like playing MLB 08 on Rookie anymore though...they've switched to the "Veteran" level of play at least.

At the end of the last thread, someone asked whether we'd be offering Burrell arbitration. We'd have to be idiots to not offer him arbitration. First, there's no way he'd accept, but even if he did, we'd be bringing him back on a 1-year deal, which would be totally worth it no matter what the yearly salary (probably 16-18 million)? And, assuming the 99% likelihood that he doesn't accept, we get compensatory draft picks when he signs somewhere else. To not offer him arbitration would be to give him up for nothing, when there's really no downside to the other option.

Best case scenario for the Phillies is we offer Pat arbitration and he actually accepts ala Kevin Milwood with the Braves that year we acquired him.

Didn't we offer Burrell a 2 year deal and he turned it down?

How often does a team make another higher offer after that happens?

If the Phillies did noting but trade for Holliday and resign Moyer, Eyre, and all the arbitration guys, I'd be happy. I'd love to see Holiday in the middle of that lineup.

I would like to suggest a site-wide moratorium on the word "bandbox," unless the discussion is of an actual band. It suggests that you can't pitch in CBP, which is crap, and it minimizes the team's offensive accomplishments, which did (after all) produce the second-best road record in baseball.

And besides, I'm sick of hearing it. "Bandbox." What does that even mean?

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20081107_Phillies__Amaro__GM_meetings_worthwhile.html

Another great article from Fitzpatrick with some insight that yes indeed Amaro is now the GM of the Phils and that he does human things just like you and me including eating.

About Coor's Field, it's not just about the air, compared to CBP it has an additional 18' down the LF line, 16' to the LF power alley, 14' to dead center, 6' to the RF power alley, and 20' down the RF line. That means the OF is bigger which allows for more room for singles and gappers.

if they trade Vic to get Holliday for one year, I'll be pissed. As this postseason proved, you need high-energy guys like Vic to keep things going when the big sluggers cool off or the other team pitches around them.

timr, I'm in agreement.

Besides, the Phils control Vic for 3 more years, Holliday is gone after one year.

IMO, that makes Vic at least of equal value to Holliday in a trade.

Because of that, I'm not sure I'd trade Vic for Holliday straight up at this point, unless I could get another competent CF not named Jason Werth or Greg Golson.

Would you trade 3 years of Vic for one of Holliday, with perhaps Greg Golson in CF?

Feel free to disagree.

MG: Couldn't agree more on Fitzpatrick. Don't know if anyone else noticed the dearth of Jim Salisbury colums during the playoff drive. He's supposed to be the Inquirer baseball columnist but he was relegated behind Bob Ford and Phil Sheridan for front page pieces in order to do quick blurbs. I wonder if there is a change on the horizon. It would be a bad move, he's a good writer with insight. Guys like Fitzpatrick have that old stale curmudgeony feel since he's been there forever. The Inquirer is weak enough, why weaken it further?

On an interesting note, Matt Cerrone at Metsblog almost seems to agree with timr's and my love for 3 more years of Vic:


"According to Jon Heyman, at SI.com, “The world champion Phillies are one of the most aggressive pursuers of Rockies superstar outfielder Matt Holliday.”

…man, that sentence hurts on so many levels…thanks, jon…

Heyman believes the Rockies will most certainly request OF Shane Victorino, adding, “Several teams have shown interest, including the A’s, Mets and Rays, but so far it appears the Phillies may have the best chance among those teams.”

…hmm, tough one…seriously, i would almost rather the Phillies have holliday than victorino, that’s how damaging and irritating victorino has been…whereas holliday, who knows…

By the way, Rockies reporter Troy E. Renck, in the Denver Post, continues to write that the Phillies and A’s are the most likely destination for Holliday.

…holliday is just what the doctor ordered for the Mets in left field…but, when names like Carlos Carrasco, victorino, Phil Hughes, Robinson Cano, etc., are mentioned in hypothetical deals, i am not sure what the Mets could offer, without hurting their chances of trading for a starting pitcher or relief pitcher, or some other more pressing need…"

I would definitley not include Vic in a trade for Holiday. And they shouldn't need to.

The only way a Holliday trade makes sense is if the phillies plan to sign him or the trade doesn't include Vic, Carrasco, Marson or maybe even Werth. JA Happ is fine. If they're interested in younger prospects not named D'Arnaud, Taylor, Drabek or Brown that's great. But if the Cards are really offering Ludwick, then the Rockies should make that deal. Didn't Ludwick produce the hell out of Holliday last year and isn't he cheap for 3 years? Why would the Cards do that?

Jermaine Dye has an attractive contract, can play RF, and is better than Burrell. We have a history of trades with the White Sox and they're looking to get younger and faster. This is one team Golson might actually appeal to, though certainly not as a centerpiece. They might also be interested in a guy like Happ, seeing how Floyd worked out so well for them. Perhaps Golson, Happ, and another mid-level prospect gets it done. Happ would be the centerpiece. I naturally assume I am way undercutting what the White Sox would demand, however, as I'm sure they'll start with Victorino.

my favorite non-news headlihe from yesterday:

Phillies Meet with Howard's Agent!

First instinct, look at Amaro being proactive, do we see an extension? are we just buying out the arbitration years?

Amaro and Casey Close, who also represents pitcher Joe Blanton, talked for about five minutes at the general managers' meetings. Both Howard and Blanton are eligible for arbitration.

They might as well have reported that Amaro and Close reached for the same serving spoon at the buffet.

Ugh.

Dye has a full no trade clause until the 2009 season begins, will be 35 in January, and has a $12 million mutual option for 2010. Not sure that deal could happen, or make sense to do.

@awh -- great stuff from the metsblog re: Vic. This guy took the leap in this city. And if he's one of those guys other teams hate, that's going to make him a legend in this town.

And is Matt Holliday, really a "superstar"??? I would call him a star. but superstar?

Anyway, a lot has been made of his road splits, which is probably a better indicator of the type of player. And while the Rockies want to sell him on his total, you should only look at the splits. But while his road slugging percentage would be 4th or 5th best on the phillies, his obp and batting average would be near the top.

If you were just interested in getting a high OBP, high RBI guy, well Holliday is the right guy. He's just not worth the deals suggested. Certainly not Vic or Werth. Just don't look for a lot of power on the road from him.

I posted Holliday's Away splits from year to year awhile back.

Hit hit: .308/.405/.486 away from Coors last year. I wouldn't be concerned about his skill set. He may well be the best RHB in the league. I'd worry about the asking price.

Doesn't the fact that every team that the Phillies talk trade with seem to want Victorino give you pause?

Shouldn't it give the Phillies pause?

We discussed on the previous thread where Vic ranks in the CF talent hierarchy. Some of you think he's even better than I do, and feel he's even a top 5 player at his position.

How valuable is that, then, having a guy at a key defensive position, AT HIS PEAK YEARS WHICH THE PHILLIES CONTROL?

Also, he's someone who not only doesn't wilt or choke under the postseason spotlight, he steps it up.

As I said, I'm not sure I'd trade Vic for Holliday straight up.

All the other teams seem to understand how valuable he is. Hopefully the Phils do too.

Milton Bradley's name was tossed around on the last thread. I agree with clout: he's high risk both because of his health, his career year, and his volatile personality. But, even if he'll never post a .999 OPS again, he's still a very good hitter and clearly the best right-handed outfielder on the FA market other than Manny & possibly Burrell. And the fact that he's only a Type B makes him considerably more attractive. He certainly belongs in the conversation about potential Burrell replacements, but I would be disinclined to give him anything more than a 2-year deal. Because he has so much baggage, I doubt he'll get more than 2 years from anyone. I also doubt that the Phillies would even consider him, as the Phillies are a very risk-averse bunch.

Hmm. Did I just write "both because of his health, his career year, and his volatile personality?" I don't think you can use the word "both" when you're talking about 3 different options. I think "both" implies 2. As Grammar Policeman, I place myself under arrest.

Actually, when you think about it, Holliday is one player who is set up to be seriously overpaid in the FA market.

Somebody a few threads back talked about viewing reruns of the parade on Comcast. We have Comcast down here in Houston and I checked out their On Demand service...no parade. I guess they feel that Houston folks won't want to view it. Boo! How the hell am I ever going to see it? Bummer!

"I think "both" implies 2. As Grammar Policeman, I place myself under arrest."

Just turn it into a Spanish Inquisition riff and we'll overlook it. :)

The Phils would be criminally incompetant to deal Werth or Victorino in a trade for Holliday. What's the point of getting Holliday if you're losing one of the other two starting OFs? Just plain stupid.

If the Rockies want to talk about prospects like Donald, Carrasco, Happ, etc... then by all means.

Also... no Marson in the deal. But that's just my opinion.

Sophist - Agreed. The whole "lot at Holliday's road splits" is kind of missing the point. The real point is if the Phils would be forced to trade Vic.

Several posters have pointed about that the Phils control Vic for 3 more seasons and that Vic proved this year he could be an everyday player in CF who delivers above average offspeed with great speed and defense. Only real down to Vic is the occasional mental lapse on the field (still happen way too often) and the lagging leg injuries that seem to happen to him at least once/twice a season.

If the Rockies ask for Vic, then their demand for 2-3 top prospects would be a pretty ridiculous asking price considering the team that would get him would potentially only control Holliday through the 2009 season.

That said, I know putting together a package of Donald, Happ, and Carrasco might seem like a lot but I would make that move if I were the Phils. You have a shot to win another WS (and at least get to the playoffs again) if you replace Burrell's production.

This offense went from be stellar to average-very good this year depending upon the month. If they lose Burrell and replace him with a combo of Jenkins/Werth, you are looking at 4 positions (LF, RF, 3B, and C) where the Phils will likely be average/below average offensively. Asking alot of Utley, Howard, and Rollins to carry this team offensively and we know that Utley tends to wear down a bit, Howard starts slow, and Rollins is incredibly streaky.

If the Phils don't replace Burrell's production, I think you will find an offense that is middle of the pack in run production because of the decline in power that won't be offset by an improvment on the pitching and defense from this year.

I don't see how you fit Milton Bradley's personality into this mix and expect it to mesh. He's a ticking timebomb.

Holliday's bat would be great in our lineup but I can't fathom including Vic at this point. It doesn't solve our problems, it only creates new ones.

Pitching and D wins championships.

The Doctor - Yeah I kind of noticed too that Salisbury got buried during the playoff run too. Kind of ashame because I generally liked what he had to write.

As for Fitzpatrick, he is a hack. Poor writer who generally who gives you nothing of merit in a column or takes the lazy angle on a story. My favorite is running saga of always highlighting whatever negative aspect of the Philly sports fan he can find. I emailed him about this and got a nasty reply back.

Shame because much-more talented columnists at the Inquirer have gotten canned over the last few years while this old hack manages to keep a paycheck and a column.

Sophist, I think Holliday's career home/road splits are far more telling than his 08 numbers. I simply dont think Holliday is worth what they're asking or what Boras will want contract wise.

Mean a combo of Jenkins/Mench in LF but you get the point. Average but likely below average offensively in LF.

Trading Werth for Victorino is another matter altogether. Werth is a nice player but can't hit LHP that well and is overrated defensively. More suited to being a LF. More importantly, the Phils only control Werth throug next year unless they sign him to a multi-year deal. The Phils on the other hand control Vic for 3 more years.

I don't want to trade away Werth or Vic for a rental player. Plain and simple. I don't care how good Holliday is, and quite frankly, I don't like him as much as a lot of baseball people do. He's been somewhat injury prone over the past few seasons and makes more errors than Burrell did in LF.

If Amaro ships out Vic in any deal, it would be horrible way to begin his tenure.

Of course, if I had a gun pointed at my head and you made me choose, I'd give up Werth well before I gave up Vic. Werth still strikes out a awful lot, so being able to get someone with higher OBP would be a nice change for this lineup.

Of course, it would also be nice to see Utley return to that previous incarnation of himself (higher avg, less power), but I guess we can't have everything.

doubleh - Trading Werth vs. Victorino (assuming both guys just resign 1-year deals) is a completely different matter. Werth is a FA after next season too unless the Phils sign him long-term this year.

MG; I agree with you completely, although I've heard some reports that had Werth AND Victorino in a possible trade package...which I'm sure is just BS, but it still makes me nervous.

Just Werth and Happ or something (how about Eaton? ha,ha) but nothing more for a rental.

Lynsk: So you've spent a lot of time around Milton Bradley and the Phils clubhouse, and therefore you know how his personality will fit in and that it won't work?

If they trade, say, Werth, Happ & Carrasco for Holliday, then they will have turned two areas of critical need into three areas of critical need. And they will have thrown in their best minor league prospect in the process. All to acquire a one-year rental who, away from Coors Field, probably wouldn't even be much of an upgrade over Burrell. The Rockies were insane in their trading demands for Fuentes and they are insane in their trading demands for Holliday.

I agree that trading Werth is easier than trading Vic... but what's the point of trading Werth for Holliday?

Holliday is a better player... I'm not denying that... but how much better? Werth is better defensively. Werth had one fewer home run in more than 100 fewer at bats. In Werth's first full season, he had an OPS+ of 121. He's likely to get better as he gets more work against RHP.

It doesn't make sense to deal Vic or Werth in a deal for Holliday.

"That said, I know putting together a package of Donald, Happ, and Carrasco might seem like a lot but I would make that move if I were the Phils. You have a shot to win another WS (and at least get to the playoffs again) if you replace Burrell's production."


MG, I'm not sure I agree.

I'll ask you again, directly:

Is it worth trading top level prospects for Holliday(and I concede Holliday is superior to Burrell), a one year rental, when keeping those prospects and simply re-signing Burrell not only gives you a shot at winning another WS, but potentially gives you the potential to compete several years into the future?

Yes, Burrell will be a 10/5 guy soon and probably wouldn't agree to a trade, but there is no guarantee Howard will be on this team past 2009 if they can't get him locked up, and Burrell could be moved to 1B.

If you like Holliday so much, you could sign him for LF then, without losing the prospects.


I'd offer Burrell 3/45. If he doesn't take it then he really is blowing smoke up our arses about wanting to stay in Philly.

Let's face it, the reluctance to re-sign Burrell is about money, not team competitiveness.

Also, if they really believe Michael Taylor will be ready in a year or two it's also about contract length, though, as I said, there is no guarantee they'll be able to keep Howard, so Burrell could be slid over to 1B.

Then, Werth could be moved and replaced with a LH outfield bat to help balance out the lineup.

All speculation, I know, but the point I'm making is that I would be very careful about trading away players who could potentially be inexpensive future replacements (Carrasco/Myers.....Donald/Rollins......Happ/Moyer) for a one year rental, no matter how good.

Most other MLB teams are scurrying to get where the Phillies already are. The World Series champs are the best team in baseball and they got that way because of chemistry. They pull for each other. They pick each other up. They take turns being the star, and when they're not the star, they carry the star du jour on their shoulders. Their chemistry is a delicate balance and not one likely to be improved by fitting perfect pieces into an imperfect puzzle. Like most fans, I would like to see Matt Holliday playing left field for the Phils but not at the cost of Shane Victorino, the most electrifying player in the game, or young players who have the potential to become franchise players in the not so distant future. An affordable Matt Holliday for 4 years and an acceptable loss of young talent is one matter. A one-year rental who costs the heart and soul of the Phillies lineup or the rest of the farm is quite another. Despite his erratic play, I have always liked Pat Burrel and would rather see him in left field than players with names like Baldelli, Hairston or Mench. Compare Burrel's stats to theirs and his work ethic to almost anyone else's and his return becomes a no brainer, given the current alternatives. I would replace Burrel, as well as a number of other Phils, under the right circumstances but not for players who might not be the right elements for the complex formula that is a defending world champion. The Phils management will have some difficult decisions to make in the next few months. I just hope they don't throw the baby out with the bath water and forget the advantages to dancin with the one that brung ya.

Trading Werth and/or Vic makes little sense. Why would Colorado even want Werth? Are they trying to compete this year? I would think that they would want Carrasco or Happ along with other prospects.

CY: Colorado is suggesting the trade would start with either Vic or Werth and then continue with 2 or 3 top prospects. It's ludicrous, but that's where the talk is.

"The Rockies were insane in their trading demands for Fuentes and they are insane in their trading demands for Holliday."

bap, as an adjunct to that, Holliday is likely to be insane in his contract request when he becomes an FA. With Boras as his agents, I can see him seeking 10/200-250. That's simply what Boras tries to do.

All to acquire a one-year rental who, away from Coors Field, probably wouldn't even be much of an upgrade over Burrell.

I think there's reason to believe that Holliday would be a significant upgrade over Burrell. offensively they're at worst a wash, and Holliday is a significant improvement in speed, baserunning (Bill James has him rated as the best non-SB baserunner in the league), and defense.

I don't think that it's smart to create holes in CF or RF or overpay for a one-year rental, but I do think Holliday would represent a pretty solid improvement over Burrell.

ae, I think we all agree, that Holliday would be an upgrade.

But, as Sophist pointed out, at what cost?

Carrasco and Happ are potentially inexpensive replacements for Myers and Blanton (financial concerns) or Moyer (eventual retirement).

Hamels, if he agrees to stay, is going to cost BIG money. If they want to stay competitive, they better have some inexpensive guys bubbling up.

It's the formula that got them a WS championship. Why deviate now?


bap is correct, the Rockies are nuts in their demands. If they were reasonable, Fuentes and/or Holliday would have been moved during the season.

Even the Cards, who a reportedly offering Ludwick for Holliday (clearly superior stick to anyone the Phils have) are rumored to not be interested unless they can get an extension from Holliday.

"Victorino as the most electrifying player in baseball" . . .

I think we are perhaps suffering the case of rare and dramatic over support of valuing the current players the Phils have just because they won a World Series.

This team was a good team that got hot at the right time, played a high-level of baseball for 4 weeks, got some lucky bounces/timely hits, and had some pretty ideal playoff matches (Brewers vs. Cubs in the 1st round).

Losing Burrell and just maintaining the core of this team makes them a likely "good enough to contend for a playoff spot" by winning 86-88 but unlikely to win the division again/make the playoffs.

As for the prospects, yeah it would be alot to give up Donald, Carrasco, and Happ in a deal for Holliday. Donald doesn't have a position on this team and he strikes me as a guy who will be a decent player in the major but mainly a backup player. Happ is a back-end rotation guy who is valuable to have for depth/cheap starting pitcher for a few years but no world beater. As for Carrasco, I didn't see him pitch when he supposedly improved in the 2nd half but when I have seen him pitch the last 2 years color me as unimpressed given all the hype. Strikes me as classic case of being annointed the best pitching prospect in the system because of the lack of ready pitching prospects at Reading or Allentown. Remember when Arbuckle touted all of the pitching prospects at Reading last year and it turned out to be largely bunk. Carrasco might be a decent starter one day but the guy who got away was Floyd. That trade for Garcia is looking worse and worse as time went by:

2 years of Rownad for $22M and Floyd

That is a trade that comes out in the negative ledger if Floyd becomes a rotation staple for the White Sox over the next several years.

I saw most of the current Phils playing in spring training and the minors. There was never much doubt that the Howards and Victorinos and Utleys and Hamels would become major league stars and hopefully remain Phillies for many years. The Phillie organization currently has a number of young players who promise to be the stars of tomorrow. Rather than impulsively trading this talent away, the Phils should continue to develop the young stars and integrate these young players into the major league club as time and conditions permit. For more immediate needs, the Phils organization should tap the free agent market. Teaching all of the club's current left-handed batters how to hit left-handed pitching would also be a step in the right direction.

it's a formula that won them a World Series in 2008. but I don't see stasis as a winning strategy for 2009. we don't have the prospects that the Marlins or Braves do and we don't have the money that the Mets do. if the Mets upgrade their bullpen, 2B/LF, and sign a good SP to replace Perez while we just field the exact same team except with a Jenkins/Mench platoon in left, I don't see how we repeat.

As much as this is the beginning of the parade of hot stove "modest proposals," I think that a lot depends on how the off-season proceeds. How well Donald does playing 3B is important, for instance, because he might be a far, far better utility IF than any gnome we've ever placed in our garden before.

I would say that there are certain items on the shelf which should be easy to trade - notably Happ, Kendrick, Golson, Jaramillo and a few other assorted "prospects." The catch with any such players, however, is that they have limited trade value (i.e. they may be the kind of player you want in your system; but they're not the kind you go out of your way to trade for).

I still see us more likely to end up with the over-priced game board than Burrell or Holliday. I've begun to agree, however, that something like a 3/45 for Burrell might be the best offer, maybe even 3/48.

Mets seem to be in pretty bad shape to me unless they just spend a boat load of money. Same thing with the braves. We are the frontrunners at the moment (obv).

Holliday will prove to be too expensive. I would not trade any significant prospects but rather sign a few free agents like Doc said.

Moyer and Eyre for sure.
Burrell, Bradley, Baldelli for left. Or a trade that doesn't kill us (Swisher).

As a World Series windfall gift I would love to see sheets get signed.

By not trading away our prospects we will be able to save some money by plugging them in (as others have said).

Incidentally, if we're looking for an obscure non-news story which might have a genuine impact on the Phils, I suggest the GMs discussion of "bat safety." Any proposal would likely have the effect of placing a minimum diameter for bat handles, which would distribute the weight away from the hitting surface (or, more accurately) make bats necessarily more heavy to carry the same amount of mass at the point of impact). More weight might mean slower bat speed and fewer hard hit balls.

Dunno. Just a suggestion in this dead zone of baseball non-news frenzy.

Can we please stop with the Donald/Bruntlett comparsions. Look at the numbers. Bruntlett was a 260s-270s hitter in the minors with little power and a bunch of stolen bases. Donald has power and hits for a much higher average. Clearly Donald has starter potential and is a MUCH better offensive player than Bruntless is, has been, or ever will be.

Wow, didn't mean to type Bruntless, so what'd you call that, a freudian type.

I would call it a new nickname

Coors is overall a better hitter's park because of the huge OF area and the thin air which translates into lots of extra base hits. CBP, however, is the best HR park in baseball during the 3 hot months of summer.

I'm opposed to letting Burrell walk and then dealing prospects & Vic for Holliday. Way too high a price for what is a small uptick over Burrell.

CY: I'm sure someone's done it before, just likely not by accident.

Tray: To clarify my point about Donald and "playoff caliber" leftfielder. That's not my shorthand for "he, like Ruiz & Feliz, isn't very good but the rest of the team is good enough to win with him." It is my shorthand for "this team will NOT make the playoffs if Jason Donald is the starting leftfielder." If you'd like to take the opposite side of that, that's fine, let's see what happens.

Regarding Baldelli, the latest I've seen is that his disease will allow him to play 2-3 times a week and affects his legs (speed and defense) more than his upper body.

I am still basking from the Phils winning the World Series! Now, they are talking about trading for Matt Holliday, which would be amazing.

I hope this is real and not smoke-blowing:

A day after it was reported that the Atlanta Braves had made an offer for Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa, the Phillies' general manager indicated that his club also has some interest in the 22-year-old righthander.
"We know of him," Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday before departing the general managers meetings. "We've seen him, but we haven't made an offer."

If Werth was the centerpiece of a trade for Holliday I wouldn't mind too much as long as we didn't give up too many prospects in addition (say two out of Happ/Kendrick/Bastardo) and if we could sign Baldelli or Mench cheaply to platoon with Jenkins/Stairs in RF.

"Losing Burrell and just maintaining the core of this team makes them a likely "good enough to contend for a playoff spot" by winning 86-88 but unlikely to win the division again/make the playoffs."


MG, thank you for your support. I have been saying that on this board for several months.

I will, however, ask you to think about our WS champs a little differently, and that this wasn't just a team that:

"got hot at the right time, played a high-level of baseball for 4 weeks, got some lucky bounces/timely hits, and had some pretty ideal playoff matches (Brewers vs. Cubs in the 1st round).".


I posit to you and other BLrs that the team that won the WS was not the same team that won 92 games.

The team that won 92 games had Dr. Jekyll not Mr. Myers as their #2 starter for the first 2/3 of the season.

The team that won 92 games had Adam Eaton start 19 games, and then replaced him with Joe Blanton.

The team that won 92 games lost their sparkplug, JRoll, for a month.

I could go on....Howard, Burrell or Utley slumping at various times....but you get the idea (I hope).


My point simply is that the team that finished the season was not the same team that started it or played throughout.

Hamels, the good Mr. Myers, Moyer and Blanton as the 1-4 match up pretty favorably with just about any other rotation in baseball. The Dodgers found that out.

The rotation that finished the season would have, IMO, probably have won 3-7 more games, making people think that, yes, perhaps the Phillies really are the best team in baseball.

I don't really understand the "utility infielder" comments about Donald either. Sure, it's POSSIBLE he could be nothing more than a utility infielder. But guys who hit well in the high minors usually hit well in the majors too. The "utility infielder" label was an apt description at the time Donald was drafted. Problem is, the scouts got that label into their mind and have been too stubborn to change it in the face of mounting evidence that Donald has since turned into a very good hitter.

Donald isn't going to be Chase Utley. But I'd be surprised if he doesn't turn out to be about as good as, say, Mark DeRosa -- who is a pretty damn good player. The only issue in my mind is how long it will take him to get to that level.

Clout: Got a link for that Baldelli story? He's an interesting case, in that his upside has been eliminated by the disease. Sounds like he needs a setting where he can DH, though.

clout, based on the track record, it's probably blowing smoke.

Any talk of Inqy hacktackularity has to account for Gonzo John Gonzalez, whose column I think is supposed to be an imitation of a blogger. And that's interesting, because in the sports blogosphere you'll often find substantive discussion rife with factual and statistical references. And yet with Gonzalez we get this: "If they do sign [Schilling], he and Blanton should have a footrace to determine their respective places in the rotation." Perhaps that's supposed to be funny. Or maybe Gonzo genuinely believes that Schilling and Blanton are equivalent pitchers. I sort of suspect the latter.

On a related note, in what year will the letters OPS, WHIP, and VORP finally grace the Inky's sports page? 2010, 2011, 2021?

Klaus: By 2011 if Brad Pitt is cast as Billy Beene in Moneyball: The Movie! and he talks about EqA in the sauna with Leo DiCaprio cast as Paul DePodesta... and maybe then Carrie Rickey will put it in the Grey Harlot (aka the Inky).

Mark Derosa probably isn't a bad comp for Donald. Everything I've read about him says the bat simply isn't good enough to be an everyday 3rd baseman. The point isn't that he would probably represent an offensive upgrade over Feliz- he most likely would. It's that he has higher value somewhere else, and that you ought to be able to find a 3rd baseman with a better bat pretty easily elsewhere, either through your own system or from another team. Donald's value is highest at a MI position, and if we have to trade him to maximize that value, that's fine. He looks to me like our best trade option right now.

Tray: To clarify my point about Donald and "playoff caliber" leftfielder. That's not my shorthand for "he, like Ruiz & Feliz, isn't very good but the rest of the team is good enough to win with him." It is my shorthand for "this team will NOT make the playoffs if Jason Donald is the starting leftfielder." If you'd like to take the opposite side of that, that's fine, let's see what happens.

I don't know how we'll "see what happens," because Donald in LF probably isn't happening, and if it does we won't be able to say whether he was what cost us a playoff spot, should we miss the playoffs. But it's hard for me to imagine how he could be so bad that we'd miss the playoffs because of him. I agree that we can't afford to have three awful hitters in the lineup, so if Ruiz were to have another awful season, and Donald went out and hit .220, I guess that's one way he could cost us a playoff spot. But what else could go wrong? Could he really be so bad defensively that he'd cost us a playoff spot?

bap - Issue with Donald is that he hasn't shown that he would be even average defensively at SS/2B at the MLB level and while he has hit for a very high average (and this team certainly coud use one or two .300 hitters in the lineup) the real question is whether or not he shows some of the power he did last year at Reading.

A middle infielder who hits .280 definitely has some value but his ability to be a starter if he is below average defensively and doesn't have power is in question.

Jack: Our third baseman right now is Pedro Feliz. We haven't had a third baseman with a "third basemen's bat" since Scott Rolen left in 2002.

I just don't buy this idea that he should play elsewhere because his bat would compare more favorably there. We have Utley and Rollins now and for the forseeable future. Donald has NO future at 2B or SS. His bat is better than what we have at third. Let's start grooming him there. If, down the road, something opens at SS or 2B, then we can discuss moving him back.

Amaro named Benny Looper (Braden Looper's uncle and a former Mariner front office guy) as the assistant GM today. And there appears to be no mass exodus of folks in the wake of Arbuckle's resignation.

http://phillies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081107&content_id=3669975&vkey=news_phi&fext=.jsp&c_id=phi

I thought Baldelli had been diagnosed properly finally for the first time this year and is much more availible now then he ever was before. I doubt Baldelli will be a 'cheap' option if we do decide to pick him up. cheaper than signing manny and trading for holliday, but not just 'cheap'

CJ: I just think he has more value as a trade chip to upgrade another position than as a marginal offensive increase at 3rd base, with most likely a defensive downgrade.

The issue with Donald in LF is that I don't know if he gives you the offense you need. LF typically is a positon where you a decent amount of power although this lineup actually would be better positioned with a contact hitter who hit for a high average in the short-term given the power the Phils get from other positions. Cholly said as much and I agree 100%.

Jack: I don't buy this concept that "His bat is good for a 2nd baseman but not a 3rd baseman." Statements like that are just meaningless abstractions. His bat isn't good enough for third base as compared to whom? As compared to Aramis Ramirez and David Wright? As compared to a league average third baseman like, say, Kevin Kouzmanoff or Edwin Encarnacion? Or as compared to the Phillies' presently viable alternatives -- namely Pedro Feliz?

These abstract statements not only assume a ready supply of league average (or better) third baseman but also a complete absence of salary considerations/priorities (like the fact that we already have 3 elite infielders who are being paid commensurate with their elite status). Moreover, they fail to account for such factors as how the rest of the lineup is constructed. A 25-homerun third baseman would be great but, on a team that already has the best homerun hitter in baseball and plus power hitters at 2nd base, shortstop, right field and (hopefully) left field, I would submit that a high-average, high OBP 3rd baseman might well be of more value than a lower average hitter who hits 25 homeruns.

MG: Agreed. I'm not talking about donald, or anyone specifically - but this lineup would do much better with a solid contact, high batting average hitter than just adding another all or nothing guy. Im not saying this team can't use some extra OBP, but just imagine if you took all of those RISP walks that Burrell would draw and traded them in for half as many singles - you're talking many more runs.

CJ: excellent point. Feliz doesn't exactly have a 3B bat either. All this talk about Donald not having the 'bat for 3B' is bullsht. With Utley at second we don't need a huge power hitter at 3B. How many great hitting 3B are there anyway? Longoria, Wright, Zimmerman, ARod, Glaus, Beltre?, Aramis. I'm sure I'm missing a few but it ain't many, and they're some of the best players in the league. A guy like Donald would be a good fit in this lineup and (assuming his defense is up to par) would be more valubale than Feliz, who could eventually be our RH bat off the bench/defensive replacement later in the year. Donald is not a guy the Phillies should be looking to trade, unless they plan on keeping Feliz beyond next year or signing or trading for a pricey 3B.

MG- Agree 100% that a contact hitter would benefit this lineup. For me, that would make Howards K's much easier to swallow since there wouldn't be another swing and miss guy behind him in the lineup. It seems that the FO is concerned about the drop in power with any LF replacement but they fail to see the possible benefit that a contact-.300 type hitter would bring to the lineup.

About saying the Phils should go "all in" for Holliday. I was assuming that Vic was not going to be included in the deal. If he must be a part of any Holliday deal than I say NO! Trading prospects for a 1 year rental is one thing, but trading effective major league players is another totally.

Sometimes you have to capitalize on the buzz your prospects have by trading them. I bet if you asked Minaya he would have traded Milledge a year earlier and gotten more for him than Schnieder and Church.

thephaithful- Your point about trading some of Pat's walks for singles is something I've been saying for awhile. Totally agree. I had the same complaint about Abreu. The walks are nice, but it takes at least two (sometimes 3) more hits to score Pat from 1st and it clogs the bases in front of a fast runner (Vic, Werth). People that get paid to drive in runs need a more aggressive approach with men on and Pat seems to become more passive with men on.

lekh: The bigger issue is whether he'll have the arm for 3B. Agree about offense considering the nature of infield at present, but don't forget that the Phillies tried Utley at 3B in AAA... and that experiment went nowhere.

Jack: I know you think Feliz is a stud but if Donald's minor league stats are indicative, he'd be a helluva lot more than a slight upgrade at 3B. My problem is I think we should at least see him get a half season in triple A and at the positions being talked about before we just hand him the job.

MPN: The scouting reports on Donald say he has the arm for 3B but not the range for SS. Since 2B is a footwork position I'm not sure where he stands there.

clout: good to know, thanks!

As unholy as the prospect of trading Vic is to me, even for someone of Holliday's caliber, they may be considering it if they could also get Crisp (who is like Vic-lite) from the BoSox. All things considered I'd prefer to trade Werth and move Dobbs to RF. Dobbs is a great pinch hitter to have coming off the bench, but a bat like that should be in the line up.

One thing that baffles me is that the Phillies haven't been mentioned in trade talks for Peavy. or any other pitcher.

clout: i know what you mean, we've heard the phils connected to every free agent and half the team is 'tradable', but yet not a peep in talks with Peavy. Early word is Cubs and Braves. C'mon not the Braves - or any other nl east team.

Jack: I'm not opposed to trading Donald in the right deal. However, if we don't deal him, he should be moved to 3B fulltime to prepare for him replacing Feliz in the lineup. His minor league stats suggest he could be much more than a slight upgrade over one of the worst offensive third basemen in baseball.

clout: Do we know if Donald has quick hands and/or feet? I ask because 3B is mostly a reaction position and if he is quick that would be the place to put him. Third basemen don't really have to cover that much ground (except for Scott Rolen cutting off the shortstop, man was he good) and with Jimmy playing SS even less. The quicks would cut off those hard hit grounders just to the left of the 3B, which are the only ones that Jimmy ever misses.

clout: I think Peavy can dictate moves, hence the list of NL teams he'd go to, due to down range full no trade clauses that he holds.

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