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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

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From the last thread:

Interesting Ryan Howard career stat:

692 SOs vs. 578 Hits.

A stat that puts him closer to Adam Dunn than to Teixeira or Pujols on the hitters scale.

Man we got bent over in the Abreu trade...

And Howard's defense isn't exactly on par with Teixeira or Pujols either.

Thank you for this post Weitzel, love these meaningless player updates.

From last thread-
I know my calling Howard a "money grubbing whore" was harsh, but that's how I feel. He's asking for $18M which is putting him in the top level of salary is baseball. But let's look how he compares to other hitters in baseball last season- ranked 28th in OPS, struck out 199 times, and is the worst fielding 1st baseman in baseball. He's great at homeruns and rbi, but that's it. His average continues to dwindle, his bases on balls are decreasing, and he can't hit lefties for crap.

From the last thread:

Howard aside, which is getting all the commentary, the Phils should be complemented for getting most of the arb players signed.

The Blanton deal, in particular, seems fair to both parties. IMO, Blanton should give them excellent value for those dollars: 200IP, 10-14 wins, etc.

The Phils now have 4 starters signed for next season who, barring injuries, are capable of pitching 200 innings. If that hsppens it will go a long way to maintaining the effectiveness of the bullpen.

If they can get 150+ IP from whoever occupies the 5th starter spot (Hey, how about a L-R platoon with Park/Happ?[scsm]), they should be in pretty good shape.

Also, unless something crazy happens, I see the Phillies as being able to settle with Werth ($1MM apart) and Durbin ($600K apart).

Of the two, the Phillies may have slightly lowballed Durbin, offering $1.35MM for 2009. For a pitcher who put up similar numbers to Madson last season, and was arguably the second most important arm in the pen for most of the season, seems a little low, though he doesn't have Mad Dog's career numbers out of the pen.

Werth is in for a nice pay hike no matter which number you pick, and hopefully they can settle up with him too.

Howard, OTOH, seems destined to head into a hearing once again.

NEPP, "WE" didn't get bent over in the Abreu trade, the Phils FO, including Gillick, were the ones that negotiated that abomination.

I know this has been discussed here before, but that trade has to rank as one of the worst in Phils history - not quite Sandburg trade - but pretty bad.


JW, why weren;t the Phils interested in bringing Smith back?

Utley update from the Inky

Second baseman Chase Utley, who underwent hip surgery in November, is about to start running on an underwater treadmill. Initial estimates had him out of the lineup until late May or early June. Utley is ahead of schedule and says opening day is his goal. He will report to Clearwater, Fla., early next month and continue his rehabilitation.

Despite Utley's hopes of being ready for opening day, the Phillies will exercise caution in bringing him back.

"The goal is to have him 100 percent for the long haul," Amaro said.

Comparing Howard to Tex and arguing which is better is like comparing Ozzie Smith to Cal Ripken. They are very different kinds of players.

Tex has topped 40 HRs exactly once in 6 seasons and his career SLG is .541. Howard has never gotten FEWER than 47 HRs in a full season and his career SLG is .590.

Which one is better? That depends on whether you value OB and AVG over HRs and SLG. I couldn't answer the question myself without knowing the team context.

I am very happy to see Beerleaugers getting the Abreu trade right. On the day it was made, about half the board cheered (curt and RSB come quickly to mind) and declared it a fine deal for the Phils. JW, to his everlasting credit, was so outraged that he dropped the F bomb in the headline, the only time that's ever happened. Although it was quickly removed, it remains one of Beerleaguers most glorious moments.

Carson, good news about Uts!

A glance at MLBTR this morning tells all what the salary arbitration figures are for all arb eligible players who haven't signed.

Interestingly (and perhaps meaninglessly) the the Mets and Pedro Feliciano exchanged the exact same salary figures as the Phils and Chad Durbin. A look at their career numbers, and I would say that Feliciano has a better chance at obtaining the higher number. Durbin does have a 3.88 ERA as a reliever, though.

Also, our old friend Geoff Geary and the Astros haven't settled yet, and are $675K apart.

The next highest difference after Howard is Prince Fielder with the Brewers, who are $2MM apart.

Uggla hasn't agreed with the Fish, and in addition to the previously mentioned Zimmerman, the Nats have not come to terms with the two players they got from Florida, Olson and Willingham.


Latly, an intersting tidbit from the AP via FoxSports.com:

"For cases that don't settle, hearings will be scheduled for the first 21 days of February. Just eight of 110 players who filed last year went to hearings, and clubs won six. The average increase for those who filed last year was 120 percent."

Also, our old friend Chris Roberson signed a minor league deal with the DBacks, which also garnered him an invite to ST.

Don't forget the Phils threw in Lidle in with Abreu. Lidle likely would have been classified as a (B) Free Agent and the Phils would have probably received a decent compensation pick if Lidle hadn't unfortunately passed away.

AWH: Smith was a six-year minor league free agent and there was no room for him.

The DBacks also signed Iron Pigs outfielder Brandon Watson to a minor league deal.

A look at Watsons minor league stats begs a curious question, that perhaps can be answered by some other BLrs:

Watson has hit .310 in 2000+ AB in AAA, albeit with litlle or no power. He's been called up a couple of times with limited MLB AB.

How is it that he has not been given more of a chance to earn a spot on an MLB bench?

I don't know about the rest of his game, but it seems to me, at least, that he might represent a better option that the 2008 version of So Taguchi.

Please advise.

Thanks, JW.

If it doesn't work out for Roberson, it might be time to consider some international options. He's done well in Mexico playing winter ball.

Food for thought on Howard:

2008 - Phils offered $7M and lost in arbitration to Howard's $10M deal. If they had countered with $8M or $8.5M, I bet they would have won. Let's say $8.5M so the Phils cost themselves at least $1.5M last year.

2009 - If Howard's 2008 salary had only been $8.5M, I would bet the maximum salary increase this year would have been around the $14M figure the Phils suggested. Maybe even a bit less. Let's say $14M.

Again, the Phils likely would have countered with a figure of $12M or $12.5M and again I bet they would have won although it would have been likely tougher this year based on a $12M vs $14M difference.

Regardless, because the Phils were foolish in their approach with Howard in 2008, it has likely cost them at least $3.5M and that is probably being conservative especially if Howard wins his arbitration hearing this year and makes $18M in 2009.

Then it likely will have cost the Phils north of $7M.

I thought this was an interesting rundaoen of the arb process from Padres EVP Paul DePodesta's blog:


"Arbitration is never a pleasant (or terribly productive) exercise for the parties involved, which is probably why fewer than 10% of the potential cases ever see the hearing room. The system is pretty straight forward:

1. The Player and the Club submit filing numbers, which are then exchanged a few weeks in advance of a hearing.

2. The player and the Club may continue to negotiate (in fact, they can strike a deal all the way up to and even AFTER the hearing if it's before the decision).

3. If no agreement is reached, the parties will go into a hearing in front of a panel of three arbitrators.

4. Both sides present their case to the panel and follow up with a round of rebuttals and a round of surrebuttals.
The panel deliberates for up to 24 hours before rendering a decision.

5. The panel has two choices - the Player's number or the Club's numbers - there is no middle ground.

Among other things, these hearings can: cost time, cost money, create animosity, and take both the Player and the Club away from Spring Training. The system is far from perfect, but for all of the aforementioned reasons the current structure does a reasonable job as a deterrent. Regardless, it's nice to go another year without a case."

Salisbury article had some interesting points:

1. "Once again, the Phils' case will be argued by Tal Smith, the Houston Astros' president of baseball operations."

Good-old boys network triumphs performance or a potential conflict of interest again. No shock here really though.

2. "Howard's representatives built a winning case last year by invoking a "special accomplishment" provision and comparing their client to the game's top sluggers, regardless of service time."

If that was the basis for Howard's representatives winning their case, I would have to think that more agents have more closely studied this case and attempted to use the same line of reasoning/arguing to strengthen their position.

Now granted it will likely only apply to a few elite younger players but those are just the type of players that the owners created the arbitration process for (control their at substantially cheaper dollars for several years).

It really is the one of the core tenets of labor peace in baseball between the owners and players. Let's not forget either that the arbitration system also has strong support from veterans in MLB who have already paid their dues to speak and small-market owners who need the arbitration system in place in order to control their younger-priced talent for a few years/field more competitive teams.

If Howard does go to arbitration and win his $18M figure again, it will likely punch a larger hole in the arbitration process and I wonder if any other younger elite players will be more apt to try and take advantage of Howard's representatives strategy. My bet is yes and that this causes some ripples in the baseball economic situation if it occurs.

3. "The midpoint is an essential part of both arguments. Because the arbitration panel picks one figure or the other, the Phils need only to convince the panel that Howard is worth $1 less than $16 million, while Howard's advocates must prove he is worth $1 more than $16 million.

For comparison's sake, St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols made $16 million while winning the National League MVP award last season. New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran made $18.5 million while finishing 21st in MVP voting."

Using the "special accomplishments" line of reasoning, the benchmark comparisons between Howard and any player in the NL become much more apt and makes the conversation much more interesting. You really can start to throw all kinds of players and numbers in there.

I still say the if Howard's reps tries to convince the arbitration panel that his client deserves a raise from $10M to $18m that is overreaching and likely to lose. Then again, Howard's reps got him from $900k to $10M last year and the Phils might be a little short at $14M.

Sophist was right that if the Phils had offered $15M they would clearly be sitting in the drivers' seat most likely.

Do the Phils offer Werth a 3 yr deal at around $20-$21M and would he accept knowing that he could try the FA market next year and likely do better if he puts up solid numbers again this year as a full-time starter in RF?

MG, is Werth 'worth' $20-21MM for three years, or is he a $5-6MM/yr player?

Beats me, but it's not like he's put up last seasons numbers for 4-5 yrs in a row.

Just asking.

From this thread header: Tadahito Iguchi will always have a place in my heart for the fine work he did in 2007 filling in for an injured Chase Utley. Sorry to see him leave the country, but it is understandable.

From last thread topic: For the first time, for me, I'm with Junior. $14 Million is the number. Howard should take it, shut up and sit down.

This is from me, the man who wrote a few posts back that for me, Ryan Howard is the face of the team. I own one shirt with a Phillies player name and number on the back. It reads: HOWARD. I own one treasured bobble head, given to me a few years's back by a BL friend...it is Ryan Howard. Still in this battle, Junior is right.

More on ex-Phillies from Ken Rosenthal:

"The Dodgers, Rangers, Padres, Rockies and Diamondbacks are among the clubs expected to watch free-agent right-hander Kris Benson's next throwing session on Saturday. Benson, who underwent rotator-cuff surgery in March 2007, last pitched in the majors in 2006. He was 1-4 with a 5.52 ERA in 11 starts for the Phillies' Class AAA affiliate last season."

awh -

is the process the same if we offer a player arb after a contract is over and they are about to hit free agency. ex - if we would have offered PTB arb and he accepted.

or does it just go straight to the hearing?

I still consider the Abreu deal a slight success in that after he was removed from the clubhouse, there seemed to be a changing of the guard as far as the leaders were concerned. You started to hear more from Jimmy and Chase and you know the message they send out by their play in the field.

Also, since then the team has been pretty successful at the end of the season, as compared to the 2001-2005 time period...

Let me defend myself by saying that I don't buy into the whole "chemistry" thing as a reason for success, but just looking at the difference in the team before and after that trade, something must've changed in there.

Remember after the trade Gillich saying that he didn't think the team was going to contend for another few years?

CY, I believe the process is the same.

The only difference between an FA and a player who is still under the team's control is that an FA can decline arbitration and go out into the marketplace. If he accepts arbitration, he loses his FA status, and must either negotiate with or go to a hearing with his currect team.

The player who is still under control does not have the option of declining arb.

If I am incorrect, I invite other posters to correct me.

awh

Makes sense. I just dont recall players exchanging #s with teams that have accepted arb. But my memory is terribe.

From Jim Salisbury-
Amaro would like to sign veteran infielder Nomar Garciaparra, but the former two-time American League batting champion has not decided whether he wants to continue his career or retire.

"We'd like to bring him to camp," Amaro said during a media availability at Citizens Bank Park yesterday. "It's a matter of whether he's interested."

Agent Arn Tellem said Garciaparra still was "considering all his options."

Colin, very few here can argue with the post trade "success" of the team, though there is no way to tell if the team would have been just as successful if Abreu had not been traded.

That said, however, IMO trades should be evaluated NOT based on what the team did after the trade, but by the balance of the players the team received in return.

To wit, the Phillies in January 1982 traded Larry Bowa to the Cubs for Ivan DeJesus. It was possibly the worst trade in Phillies history.

The Bowa trade was triggered by a salary dispute with the team (sound familiar?).

DeJesus, a journeyman shortstop, played three years for the Phillies and got 366 hits.

Bowa wound up playing 3 1/2 years for the Cubs and accumulating 391 hits.

The 'throw-in' from the Phillies side was Ryne Sandberg, who is now in the HOF.

Had the Phillies not been so petulant about 'salary disputes'(Bowa) or eager to 'dump salary'(Abreu), clearer heads might have prevailed, and they would have gotten more in return, which WOULD HAVE HELPED THE TEAM WIN MORE GAMES IN THE FUTURE.

MG: "I wonder if any other younger elite players will be more apt to try and take advantage of Howard's representatives strategy."

I'm curious, just how many other younger players can make their case based on leading the majors in stats like HRs and RBI and finishing second in MVP balloting? I don't see Howard's wins punching a hole in anything.

i hated booby so much, but i can even admit that it was a pretty horrible trade.

clout -
agreed. if it did, we would have seen Prince Fielder asking for more.

AWH: Excellent explanation of how to judge trades. IMHO, had the Phils kept Abreu and Lidle they would've made the playoffs in 2006 as they'd already gotten hot before the trade. Abreu wound up posting OPS of .956 and .888 in August and September.

His replacement (a platoon of Conine/Dellucci) posted OPS of .707/.941 and .696/.676 in those final 2 months.

The Phils missed the playoffs by 3 games.

Clout - Missing the point a bit though. The "special accomplishments" is something that potentially is going to be used by other elite players (pitchers or hitters) who come up and have a big impact right away over the 1st year or two.

Now granted this is limited to only a handful of players each decade probably but it is exactly these type of players that small-market teams need to control at reasonable dollars in order to be field competitive/very competitive teams.

Howard's winning $18M next year would raise the bar and dramatically increase the price of younger power hitters down the road (under those who are just arbitration-eligible for the next 2-3 seasons).

Yo, the comments on the last thread submitted by "Jack" was not me. In fact, they were some of the worst comments in the thread and I couldn't disagree with them more. Whoever is posting here occassionally with the name Jack, don't.

A final kick in the jewels would be Matt Smith becoming a factor in the Cubs bullpen. Very doubtful I know but I think we all were in some denial that some (one) of those guys would produce.

At least the Schilling deal produced opening day starters Lee and Daal but unfortunately that was during some of the darker days of Phillies baseball.

Which brings me to my next point that it was not that long ago Robert Person (2002) & Omar Daal (2001) were anchoring our pitching staff.

Our offense is what typically gets noticed because of Rollins, Howard, Utley, and perceived bandbox but the starting rotation might be our biggest asset (with the bullpen a very close second).

Utley, Feliz, and JC are our biggest concerns going into ST but the balance of this team is very encouraging.


MG: "Howard's winning $18M next year would raise the bar and dramatically increase the price of younger power hitters down the road."

That's precisely what I disagree with. "Younger power hitters" do not all lead the majors in HRs and RBI and finish second in MVP.

awh

Looking at MLBTR arbitration exchange #s, Weathers sticks out to me as someone who likely accepted arb as opposed to free agency.

So the process must be the same.

thanks

In response to Alby a thread or two ago, this place is not turning into Metsblog. Sure there is a lot of negativity, but please don't be glib -- and glib in the real sense of glib, not in the Tom Cruise to Matt Lauer sense. We don't need this place turning into The Good Phight (no offense Dajafi). Please dismount your supercilious high horse. Thanks.

Agreed AWH...but shouldn't the extra playing time for Victorino be considered a part of that discussion? If we had held onto Abreu, when would we have gotten a chance to see Vic play (this coming season)? Also, would we have signed Werth if Abreu was still on the roster before the '07 season?

Obviously those two moves helped the team at the end of '06 and beyond...

Yo, new thread

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