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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Damn, Rube has been busy. I have to admit I'm quite impressed with his recent string of activity.

from last thread:


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.


good news on Werth. Ruben is rolling!

All those other GMs who were hoping to guide off how the Phils handled this many arbitration cases are gonna be pretty disappointed. Unless they learned that the best way to handle arbitration is to avoid it (which is kinda old news).

Waiting for details, but kudos to Junior. One way in which Howard will look bad is if everyone else finds ways to negotiate a settlement but he doesn't. Though I do not disagree with the idea that players should make sure they get paid (since the owners surely do), his inability to deal with the FO probably has some negative publicity implications. For instance, what was it Carson called him?

This is great for the franchise. Werth's RHB is beyond important for next year, and it looks like Rube is only going to have to slide up to the arb table one time, assuming Durbin is offered and accepts a fair package.


Think this deal makes it more likely that the FO is preparing to move Ibanez to 1st to make room for Taylor and trade Howard?

Hope not, but who knows.

Hopefully Juan Cruz and Ben Sheets.

CY - Don't know what's in your coffee, but it's way too early in the morning to be dumping it in there. Ibanez is not a replacement for Howard, neither is Taylor who needs (at least one and more likely) two or three years before he'll be ready to play in the majors.

Howard, regardless of his negatives, changes the way other teams play against the Phillies. They are not (nor should they be) looking to trade him just to get rid of him (a la Abreu).

"One way in which Howard will look bad is if everyone else finds ways to negotiate a settlement but he doesn't."

I don't think he cares how he looks. Either way he's making more money next year than most of us will in our entire lives.

"I don't think he cares how he looks."

He ought to. A whole lotta money in sports comes from product endorsements.

Andy -

I agree. I know when they signed Ibanez people mentioned this. That is the reason I brought it up. I think it is just a conspiracy theory. But you have to talk about something.

I love Howard despite his flaws. Hope they sign him long term (but that is a long shot as well).

And I don't drink coffee. I have enough bad habits.

What is everyone's thoughts on Ty Wiggington? He can play the corner OF and 2B/3B in case Utley/Feliz aren't ready, plus he provides a right handed bench bat that we desparately need. How much do you think he asks for?

Andy -

He is already one of the most marketable players. Do you think the average fan that eats at subway gives a crap about how much he asked for in Arb?

Not that many Phans in Philly even care. Many more people like Howard in Philly than consider him a "money grubbing whore".


I think wigginton wants starter money, and wants to actually start. So I dont think he is an option.

But he would do the job though.

I know there's no such thing as a "lock" in sports, but if Sheets and Cruz were added to the staff the Phils would be damn near a lock to repeat as NL East Champs and to defend the WS title.

wigginton wants to start from what i have read

Just because I called him a "money grubbing whore" doesn't mean I hate him. I've always maintained that I'm glad he's a Phillie and we're lucky to have him. However, this is getting ridiculous with his A-Rod type dollar signs in his eyes.

Good week for Rube.

I'm much less annoyed with him as GM than I was a couple weeks ago.

See, Andy. Even the people who are mad at his Arb # still like him.

His marketability won't be hurt because of Arb.

2 years, $9 million according to MLBTradeRumors.

Is it time to move Chase to 1st and let Donald play 2nd? Howard has to know, greed does not play well in Philly. He'll be pushed out of here by the fans soon enough.

Or we DON'T move the best 2B in the game to another position...

2 years 9 million. Very good.

Utley needs to stay at 1st. Let donald play 3rd when the time comes.

Kinda surprise Werth gave up a year of free agency for only $4.5 million. If he would have repeated his 08 numbers, he surely should have made more than that on the open market...right?

Or has the price of corner OFs really dropped that much.

Another win for Rube.

His off-season is getting better by the day

Philly fans don't require greed to push out their stars... just ask Mike Schmidt, Charles Barkley, Donovan McNabb, et al.

Ryan Howard is essential to this team's success.

That's it? That's a great deal for the Phils.

Actually Carson's post kinda gets at what I meant. This:
"getting ridiculous with his A-Rod type dollar signs "

A-Rod is one of the best players of this generation (who may, one day, be the guy who removes the asterisk from the home run crown), but is tainted by the amount of money he gets. Jeter, who is a mediocre shortstop and declining as a hitter, but is perceived as "in it for the game" seems to be much more visible in all kinds of publicity vehicles.

It's that "face of the franchise" thing. I am simply wondering aloud if pushing for an 80% raise instead of a 40% raise (during dire economic times) might not make him seem to general baseball fans in middle America like he's only in it for the money.

OTOH, with regard to his "special conditions" request? I think it's a valid argument only if Close, during the hearing, specifically points out that "chicks dig the long ball."

Well eventually he'll probably move to first sooner or later. If we trade Howard's dumb a$$ move Chase to first, Donald to second.

McNabb's getting pushed out because he's a choke artist.

CJ- I agree, Howard is essential to the Phils success. That doesn't change the fact that I absolutely hate his negotiating tactics for money. I know other players do it too, it's not just a Howard thing. But damn, it pisses me off.

I'm beginning to be glad that Gillick "retired." It seems that Amaro's reputation as a negotiator is accurate. DON'T move the best defensive and offensive 2B in baseball off his position. You fill that hole somehow and keep Chase at 2B as long as he can play above average baseball there.

from MLBTR

"'s Chuck Hixon has a source saying it's a two-year deal worth around $9MM"

In re: Wigginton
They could offer him "the opportunity to start" if he beats Feliz out in ST. I'm not sure if his bat makes up for his defensive abilities as a starting 3B though.

Chutley would have great value at any position on the diamond, but even moreso at 2nd where he excells all-around.

CJ: Schmidt never left, neither did McNabb. I'm not familiar what happened to Barkley as I don't follow basketball in the least.

NEPP: Don't get ahead of yourself. He's average defensively at second maybe a little above average. Not the best in the game.

2 yrs/$9 Million +/- is a great deal for the Phils. The only thing that would make it any better is if we held a club option for a 3rd year ....

I SO beat you to that....

****NEPP: Don't get ahead of yourself. He's average defensively at second maybe a little above average. Not the best in the game****

Why dont you check out his fielding metrics for the past few years...he's like a 80+ where the next closest guy is in the 40s.

Utley is easily the best defensive 2B in baseball.

When does arbitration end? I feel like we are waiting to see what the payroll is at after everything before we sign any FAs.

I think Werth took the economic certainty route.
After all he only has a partial year as an every day player and may be humble enough to see a possibility of returning to platoon status and seeing his market value lessen.

Fielding Bible =/- from 2006-2008

1. Chase Utley +85
2. Mark Ellis +58
3. Aaron Hill +45
4. Orlando Hudson +29

Just 2008

1. Chase Utley +47
2. Mark Ellis +26

Get Cruz.
With him in the pen, a temporary replacement situational LHP for Romero becomes less important. He's also insurance in case Durbin reverts back to his less-effective ways.

Cruz will never sign with us as he'd be a middle reliever in our pen...unless we're going with 3 setup men. Signing with us would kill his value now that Madson is signed...though I wouldn't mind it happening...Imagine 6 inning games.

NEPP- who's the other setup man aside from Mad-Dog? Can't really count JC because he's out for a third of the season.

GM-Carson: Well, you can be pissed off if you want... but you're pissed off because you live in a dream world where other people shouldn't push for every dollar they're worth when you know you damn well do it yourself. I mean, seriously, what are you suggesting? That he give the Phils a discount?

I love how on one hand, people complain about how cheap the Phillies are and on the other hand complain that the players want too much money.

From a strictly financial standpoint, I was counting Romero. I doubt Rube could justify paying 3 setup guys for multi-year deals AND paying Lidge $12+ million a season. Figure Cruz would probably want at least a couple years at $4 million per...that's $24 million a season for 3 setup guys (Madson, Romero, Cruz) and a closer (Lidge).

CJ- I don't bitch about the Phils being cheap, because I don't think that's the case over the last decade.

Nor do I think Howard is worth $18M based on his credentials, with the fact that he's only in his 2nd year of arbitration. He's not a free agent, so he shouldn't be rewarded as if he were one, because that's not the way service time and salary structure is set up in MLB. Teams need to be able to get a good return on their investment for a few years before free agency and big time pay days.

NEPP, I like Utley's fielding, but as much as Dewan's plus/minus is a handy little stat, you cannot make a definitive case based on one stat. Most scouts would argue that Brandon Phillips is a superior fielder; he has a much better arm and better footwork. Phillips actually has the ability to play shortstop.

And kudos to Amaro for avoiding another arb hearing.

I dont watch Phillips everyday so I really can't truly compare the two. From watching Utley the past several years, he's gone from average/below average to stellar defender in that time. He gets to balls that simply amaze me and he fields them cleanly. Even if Phillips is better or equal, you still don't move Utley unless you have too. He's worth alot more as a 2B than as a 1B.

Nice signing by Junior.

He still needs to be honest with the fans when he speaks publicly, though.

Locking up Werth is a clear indication that this FO thinks they have a shot at repeating in the next couple of years.

Also, as others have mentioned, this may be Howard's last year in a Phillies uniform.

I wonder if he cares about that at all. Remember, he was the one on TV with JRoll and agreed with Jimmy's "frontrunners" comments.

JRoll, OTOH, gets a little reprieve because he has been very vocal about wanting to change the culture and perception of the franchise - to put his stamp on it, so that when he comes back to the Zen for celebration days and reunions fans look at him as one of the key factors in what hopefully is a permanent turnaround.

That is a heck of a legacy to want to have, and JRoll should be commended for being that ambitious and cocky, because it's led to several years of competitive baseball and a WFC!

It soesn't seem the big guy cares about those kinds of things at all.

Perhaps he really would like to play somewhere else.

Now, in Howard's defense, let's remember that his service time was hurt because he was blocked by Thome. Many of you will remember that he and his agent at the time did request a trade when he was tearing up the minors. That led to Bill Conlin's "Free Ryan Howard" column.

However, in the Phils defense, I believe Ed Wade did look for trades, and didn't think he was being offered fair value.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I vaguely recall Wade asking for one of Arizona's starting pitchers at the time, and being turned down. That has to go down in Phillies history as the best trade that DIDN'T happen.

I don't agree with Carson's description of Howard - he's just trying to be paid what he thinks he's worth - and let's face it, even in this economy if he were an FA he would get a deal similar to Texeira's.

However, he ain't a FA yet, and he'll have to wait his turn.

Based on his salary demands I'm perfectly happy to have the Phils go year-to-year with him.

If they're going to compete they have many other needs to address, most importantly pitching, which is getting more an more expensive, especially for the top teer guys like Hamels who are ultimately the ones who win teams championships.

JW: You're right. This signing is really gettgin underplayed but I think teh Howard stuff looming is drawing attention.

Maybe Werth taking the deal is a sign that some players think the market is falling for corner outfielders. If that's the case than Amaro deserves even more credit for the signing. If Werth can give you 80% of the numbers he did last year he would've been due another raise and made somewhere between 5-7 million going off this year's estimates. Amaro has now made a few deals that are going to save us cash ont eh back end and avoid the potentially crippling long term status Ed Wade had us under.

I know at the beginning of the off-season the belief was Amaro was staying too close to the Gillick model. The past few signings show that he does have some of Wade's tendicies but with the forward thinking you need in the position. Find ways to help now without mortgaging the future.

4.5 Million a year for a good hitting, decent power/speed, great defensive outfielder is a fine price

Werth's signing balances out overpaying for Ibanez.

If the 2 yrs/$9M is true, I am pretty surprised. Werth came up FA next year and likely a better payday in '10 and larger guaranteed dollars.

Then again, maybe players are starting to realize a bit that even one big payday now of $10M or more is than enough to set you and your children up for life and potentially more if you invest soundly and rationally.

NEPP: Utley is the best defensive 2B in baseball? Interesting.

Actually, the way to look at the Werth signing is this:

He wanted $4MM in '09. The Phillies offered $3MM.

For argument sake let's say they would have settled for $3.6MM.

That means Werth's 'sold' his first FA year for about $5.4MM.

Could he have made more in the open market? Maybe. But with the economy the way it is he went for the bird in the hand.

Besides, he's only giving up one year of free agency and has more time for the economy to improve. If it does improve by 2011, he'll still be young enough to get a bigger payday in a better market.

In the meantime, he now has financial security for life if he handles the money correctly.

Good for him, and good for the team because they get cost certainty.

****NEPP: Utley is the best defensive 2B in baseball? Interesting.****

I'll give you Brandon Phillips as a maybe but name another 2B who you think is better.

Werth had his best year so far last year, but if he can keep up his production and defense he is a very good player. He has platoon issues but those aren't as bad as they seem. His power drops but his OBP remains vs RHP, which matters more. With Burrell gone and Ibanez in, Werth is only behind Utley in terms of '08 OBP. He should be batting 4th vs LHP, but instead our once-in-a-lifetime hitter who only managed to outhit Ruiz vs LHP will be there.

NEPP - Hudson

I am glad to hear about Werth.

Hudson's range has actually been declining the last couple seasons. Most reports I've read show that he's not nearly as good as his reputation anymore.

"glad to hear about Werth"

Thought you might be.

Nepp - After checking around, I was surprised to see that I can't really find anyone I would rather have at 2nd defensively that plays everyday than Utley (based on last year alone).

Glad to see he worked on his game and improved a lacking area. Hope Howard follows suit.

NEPP - Kinsler

Kinsler's got awesome range but he makes a TON of errors...though that may be in part to him simply getting to balls that alot of guys wouldn't get to.

Utley's fielding percentage is about 1% better overall than Kinsler...though he is spotting him a little bit on range.

NEPP - Polanco

Kisler maybe, don't think so on Polanco.

Kinsler made more Errors than anyone, but that is probably because he gets to more balls, also turns the DP very well.

whoops. Nepp already covered that. Sorry

Polanco is pretty good though personally I think Utley makes more "wow" Game 5.

AWH: Supposedly Wade offered Howard to the Pirates for Zach Duke and was turned about a near disaster.

Actually, as I made my way through the lists of who people are using at 2B, I did notice that it seems to be declining as a defensive postion. Folks are beginning to treat it almost like a corner OF position, or 3B - getting people like Rickie Weeks and Dan Uggla. I would place, strictly as defensive players, each of the three I mentioned, along with Phillips ahead of Chase. There are some less proven 24 - 25 year olds out there who may be better than him in 2009 and beyond, but, relative to the field, he's quite fine.

Avoid the superlative and you've made your point. Utley is "among the best defensive 2Bs" and at least "among the best" offensive 2Bs.

I do agree that moving him to first base is a dumb move. It is much easier to get offensive production out of 1B than 2B.

So can we agree that Utley is among the top at his position along with Phillips and Kinsler perhaps a shade better and Polanco and Hudson a bit below?

At worst, he's very near the top. Impressive considering that fielding was his weakest point in the much that people thought he wouldn't be able to stick at 2B.

John Heyman at SI says Werht's deal is for $10MM.


I know right? We'd have Back to Back WS wins if we had Duke in the rotation...

Sure would like Polanco at 3B though

After looking, yeah; he's in the top five. That truly is amazing after the scouting reports on his minor league fielding abilities.

But where would we have been without Urgeth Urbina???

msb, thanks. I couldn't remember the exact trade rumor, but I think you nailed it.

That said, it's still the best trade in PHillies history that DIDN'T happen.

Utley is definitely up there defensively, agreed upon by most scouts I've read and certainly the metrics like +/- as NEPP pointed out. Hudson has had the reputation for a while, but again, both the stats and the scouts I've read agree that he's declined the last couple years. Ellis and Phillips are the two I would think would compete with Utley for best defensive 2B.

Have to admit I don't know much about Kinsler's defense. If he really is a top-notch defensive 2B, then he's close behind Utley as the 2nd best at the position in the game. His offensive numbers last year were fantastic.

NEPP- re Urbina
To quote Major League " Then cross him off your list"

Heyman says Werth will get 3MM in '09, and $7MM in '10, plus performance bonuses.

Not bad for Jason. He probably took the Phillies number in '09 in order to raise his '10 value.

It's a good deal for the Phillies because they get him for their number in 2009, and in 2010 Eaton and Thome's money is off the books.

Myers also, but I wonder if they want to keep him?

OK, Junior, I'm impressed, but you still owe the fans another RH bat, a starting pitcher you said you were looking for, and another arm in the bullpen.

CY - I admire your optimism, but if Howard can earn $14-$18M per year playing some of the worst 1B defense I have seen in 40 years .... I don't think he's going to be spending much time working on his defense.

That's just me.

"This guy's dead!"

"Cross him off then"

the problem I have with Howard's defense is simple - At times, he flashes brilliance with amazing catches and range...then he can't complete a simple pickoff move or a throw to 2B.

Its very frustrating as it feels like he COULD be a very good defender at 1B but doesnt try enough.

That could be completely unfair as I dont know how hard he's working in practice at defense and I likely never will.

Hey phargo, wasn't Werth in your top five? Personally, I think his soul patch has to go. I think it makes him look ugly. I hope he shaves it off.

Brandon Phillips and Orlando Hudson are better than Utley defensively. Utley still seems to have trouble with sharp ground balls here and there. He turns the DP much better than he used to. He does make some spectacular plays on line drives that don't hit the ground.

Hudson WAS better than Uts...he isn't any longer....

NEPP - It could be a whole lot worse. Rollins and now Feliz have two of the most accurate arms we have had on the infield that I can remember. You have to go back to Bowa/Schmidt literally. Howard isn't exposed as much as he probably could be given the types of throws he receives from that pair.

Chase occasionally will toss a Steve Blass toss over there, but for the most part is pretty solid.

It seems on the "reaction" type plays, Ryan occasionally can flash the leather - speaking to his athletic ability and eye hand coordination.

However the types of plays that are more "hard work/repetition" ie. practice plays - fundamentals are the ones he struggles with the most.

You and I aren't hitting fungos to Ryan obviously, but given what I believe to be an accurate observation above - I would venture a guess that Ryan isn't on the back fields down in Clearwater working on his footwork as much as he's in the cage.

As far as a RH bat for the bench: Would a Geoff Jenkins for Austin Kerns deal make sense?
I think Kerns makes 6MM and Jenkins close to 7MM. The Nationals need LH bats. Maybe they take Jenkins? Kerns stunk it up last year, maybe they would consider.

"I would venture a guess that Ryan isn't on the back fields down in Clearwater working on his footwork as much as he's in the cage."


"Sluggers drive Cadillacs."

Harmon Killebrew

Hudson WAS better than Uts

The difficulty here, of course, is that there is no reliable metric for evaluating defensive ability. Again, it might be better to simply state, clearly, that Utley's defense needs to be considered in the same grouping as Hudson, Knsler, Phillips and Polanco.

Jmarr - Good point. Maybe howard could just work on some simple stuff and avoid butchering the throws that he does. Anywhere league average D would increase his payday when hitting free agency. Tex is inferior to him but got a huge deal, playing great D had to have something to do with it.

Mike - agreed that Utz turns the DP really well now. It is nice to have such a strong DP combo. With Perdo + Jroll, Utz gets a lot of good feeds. His footwork is solid now though.

While I disagree with NEPP that Uts is the best defensive secondbaseman in baseball (and probably in NEPP's mind, the greatest human being in world history) I do agree that he is now better than O Dog. That was not true in 2007, but the Dog has lost a step range-wise.

I'm a bit suprised no posters mentioned Pedroia or Ellis.

AWH - I agree completely.

However, Ryan already has Cadillacs .... wish he tightened up the throwing a bit - he's god awful in that regard.

Yes, (as Andy alluded to) Werth is top 5, top 3 in fact.

I assure you he is on there DESPITE the facial hair, not because of it. I'd be happy to see it go, for sure.

However, I am still looking for him in a leather jacket, sitting on a barstool in North Dakota, gazing at the front and back doors simultaneously...

Things can get pretty wild in the bars out here, you know:

(I am NOT Adriane)

I am glad that some incentives got worked into the Werth deal. He should stay motivated this year and next with the incentives and future payday on the line. Hope he doesn't drop off.

With Howard in front and Ibanez behind he should be in a good spot. Hope Cholly puts it in that order.

****While I disagree with NEPP that Uts is the best defensive secondbaseman in baseball (and probably in NEPP's mind, the greatest human being in world history) ****

I'm assuming you missed the last 30 or so posts where I conceded that he's Top 5 and not the best ever. Its good reading, you should check it out.

Phils refuse to pay the going rate for FA's for the most part but have been more than fair with arb cases and locking up players. Cheap and fair is how I would decribe them. Amaro has easily had his best week as GM.

Why not A. Jones for 400K? He'd would fit nicely. I'm also wondering if Jenkins will be with the club. At his number though (6.75), I find it hard to believe that another team would take him. I have 27 players on the sheet here including Coste and Eaton. Seems that those 2 won't be here. But it also doesn't allow for anybody to be brought in with out somebody going out. Paulino, Ruiz, Kendrick will have their contracts renewed.

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