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Monday, January 26, 2009

Comments

to carry over the discussion of 5th starter from last thread:

Clout:
So if Happ and Park have similar success in ST you think that Park will win the job? I know that Park was brought here to compete, but I would hope that in-house guys that are under our control for longer would have the inside track rather than Park who is here on a 1 year deal and had his most recent success as a reliever.

I hope that one pitcher just takes the lead in Spring training and Cholly goes with that person out of the gate - regardless.

I hope that person is Happ

Lake Fred: "clout you were absolutely right when you asked Klaus: "And the Internet gets its information from?"

The answer is newspapers. You can go to numerous sites and see the same AP article over and over. When people say that newspapers are dying, it is the actual "paper" versions that are thrown on your lawn in the wee hours. Aside from the occassional time when Jason gets a taped interview, all the information discussed in BL ultimately comes from newspaper reporters articles or eyewitness game decsriptions."

Thanks LF. At least you and MPN got my point.

CY: I hope so too. But let me offer a scenario: Happ pitches great and Park pitches OK in ST. Do the Phils go with the guy making major league minimum who still has options? Or do they go with the guy making $2.5M (with another $2.5M in bonuses based on IP) who said he signed here only because he was promised to start?

I think Romero's suspension makes Park more likely to relieve than Happ or Kendrick.
I would look for Happ to be the 5th starter , KK to be long relief / backup starter, and Park to relieve as the likely outcome.
Of course Spring Training performance will really make that determination.

That isn't really a valid scenario. Only way that Park gets real merit to start the season in the rotation is if Happ and Kendrick both look pretty mediocre. That or an injury opens up another spot.

Signing Park as a bullpen guy makes some sense. Giving Park a spot in the rotation would be a disaster and I bet that he if wins for Opening Day one will be back in the bullpen by mid-May unless the Phils' rotation gets hit really hard by injuries in the early going.

Park hasn't been a credible starter in the league now for almost several years. Even with the pitching problems that LA had last year in their rotation at times, they knew that Park really wasn't a viable solution.

yes, clout, and it's the crash in ad revenues becuse of falling circulation that's killing the physical versions of the papers.

Slight correction: The AP is a news wire service no a paper per se.

"Thanks LF. At least you and MPN got my point."

Yeah, unfortunately in the context of the discussion it's sort of a non-sequitur.

"Newspapers are facing institutional death"

"Not so. Newspapers provide the internet with content. QED!"

JW, let me be the first to say I enjoyed your interview with Lamar.

Interesting tidbits about Garcia and Bastardo.

I wonder how much inquiries from other clubs influence what an organization, in this case the Phillies, thinks about it's own players.

To wit, Edgar Garcia is someone who I don't remember being mentioned on this site, yet, according to Lamar, he is one of the most "asked about" players in the system.

Also, while we have discussed the Phils' draft philosophy extensively here, Lamar flat out confirmed what we have all suspected - they go for high risk/high reward players, and are willing to fail more often than not in order to get the high impact guy like Rollins and Hamels.

It was also intersting to hear his comments on the Blanton trade.

If yo get a chance to ask anyone else in the org a question about minor league talent, my question would be what their opinion now is of the Model Dictator, Fabio Castro, as they were willing to let him go for a year and some change of Matt Stairs.

Clout -

If both are going to be on the roster anyway then what's the difference? Only Park's hurt feelings. But Park will still be motivated by the fact that he needs to pitch well to get a decent contract next year.

I think Happ would be motivated by starting every 5th day rather than being in the pen.

If Happ pitches poorly then option him to the minors, but if he pitches well it would be hard to justify sending him down.

It's so great to have decent pitchers competing for the 5th spot in the rotation.. I remember when these type of pitchers were filling out our 2/3/4 spots.

right about the time Robert Person was our "Ace"....

klaus: what inference or conclusion is clout making that doesn't follow from the contextual premise or evidence?

unless you have constructed a tautology where because newspaper content is on the internet then the internet does in fact contain all the information we need. This is like a film I saw in high school health class where a dude on PCP says: Jesus had long hair. I have long hair. Therefore I am Jesus.

Old Dirty Bastardo...man I need me that jersey!

AWH: "To wit, Edgar Garcia is someone who I don't remember being mentioned on this site."

That means you've been ignoring my posts for two years.

clout, you engage in so much contentious debate with other posters on this site that it pretty much drowns out many of your informative posts about minor leaguers.

I posted that I didn't "remember", not that he hadn't been mentioned.

You are aware of that distinction, no?

"what inference or conclusion is clout making that doesn't follow from the contextual premise or evidence?"

The contextual premise, if you care to investigate, is grounded in a comment MG made two days ago, positing that Zolecki's decision to leave the Inquirer for MLB is a sound one, given the apparent non-viability and instability of the newspaper industry (and, the implicit corollary, it's meaning for his career).

Clout replied that MLB recently ordered lay-offs, either to refute the point or simply make an observation.

I said that the cyclical highs and lows of MLB are of a different order than the endemic issues facing the newspaper industry.

Either in order to refute that or simply to make an observation--again, it's often difficult to discern Clout's meaning when his method is indirect interrogation and his rule "6 words or less"--he asked, "whence does the information on the internet come?"

Pretty obviously, as reply, it's a non-sequitur. It doesn't really address the observation that if Zolecki were to make a career of it at the Inky, he'd likely find himself some years down the road bought out.

klaus: Did it occur to you that maybe Zo got sick and tired of traveling with a baseball team 6+ months of the year? Could explain why he went to work at the mlb.com.

The funny--as in, joke's on me, because I've wasted all these words--thing is, I would think that Zolecki's primary motive for leaving was that MLB offered him a better pay/benefits package. But I also think it stands to reason to say that the so-called "crisis" in the newspaper industry (not my word, it's the American Press Institute's) formed the background in which Zo's decision was made.

"Could explain why he went to work at the mlb.com"

I was told he will be the beat reporter.

Again, it's possible that his decision was in no way influenced. But it's not absurd to think so.

As for the layoffs, Office Space may be instructive. Maybe they off-shored some jobs to Singapore and brought in new folks whose paychecks were not as big as the folks they replaced, and replacement doesn't seem to be on a 1:1 basis.

What is the scenario that Park makes the opening day rotation?

I would have to stay he pitches well throughout the entire spring training and can't afford a single poor outing during his last 2 starts.

Still, it baffles me that Phils are even giving real merit to Park as a starter. He hasn't posted solid numbers as a starter for any stretch SINCE 2001.

Even in SD two years ago, he was horrendous after the first 2 months and got lite up on the road too. He only posted decent numbers in arguably the best pitcher's park in baseball behind a pretty decent team (although they weren't great defensively).

Regardless, the issue with Park will be a very interesting test case of how Amaro will handle the issue of performance vs. contract. In fact, I would stay that it easily is the best/most interesting story in spring training this year.

If Park doesn't pitch that well and still wins the job in spring training, then was a sham competition just as it was last season with Eaton "having to earn a spot on the rotation" when it was clear the Phils was going to give him one even before spring training began regardless of how well he pitched.

So far, the comments by Park seem to be very similiar to those made by Eaton last year. I would find it awfully odd that a player would say/take the steps that Park has taken this offseason unless he had some very good assurances from Amaro & FO about winning a spot.

In fact, I would bet that Park pretty much has a spot in the rotation already and the only way he loses it is if he gets rocked in spring training a couple of times.

Honestly, who the hell cares why Todd Zolecki went from the Inquirer to MLB.com? Other than Todd and his family, his reasons for switching employers is nobody's business and completely irrelevant.

CY: So you can't imagine that a decision about a player's role would be impacted by the size of his contract? Interesting.

klaus: You seem intent on arguing with yourself. How will you know who wins?

MG: "So far, the comments by Park seem to be very similiar to those made by Eaton last year. I would find it awfully odd that a player would say/take the steps that Park has taken this offseason unless he had some very good assurances from Amaro & FO about winning a spot."

It is nice to read someone who gets it. Rare, but nice.

AWH: Regarding high risk/reward, I understand why Hamels would be in that category because of his injury. Rollins, I'm not sure. Did they think he was too little? He was one of the best players in HS and went 2nd round. His baseball skills were already there, so he wasn't like a Hewitt.

Maybe Zolecki did get tired of traveling with the team and his personal situation has changed (e.g., don't know if he is married & thinking about having kids).

The reality is that MLB.com is going to be a very viable entity in several years while as Klaus as pointed out that the Philly newspapers (as with other newspaper chains) are in serious trouble. Hell, even the NY Times is in serious trouble. They have had to do all kinds of crazy things like even mortgage their building at some unfavorable terms in the last 12 years.

In fact, I am willing to bet the most towns in the US will only have 1 major newspaper in the next 3-4 years that is published in a print version only on a Sunday/weekend edition (where it is still enjoys pretty favorable profit margins and sales are relatively strong). The rest will be strictly online.

Newspapers and print media just haven't figured out a way to create a viable online presence yet that though that offsets the decline in print revenues (mainly advertising but don't discount sales too which were important). Likely continued experimentation with news forms of content (e.g., social media) and a rehash of various revenue models (e.g., subscriptions) but I certainly wouldn't want to be an investor in any strictly print media company over the next 2-3 years.

Now, even online advertising is starting to take a real hit. Just look at the numbers that a company like Meredith Corp (traditional magazine company in Iowa) and Google posted for Q4 earnings.

Reality is that online advertising rates have gone dramatically but they have really slowed. Plus, the rates have fallen through the floor as more & more competition in the form of advertising networks online have formed too.

Given that the economy is likely to crater through at least 18 and likely longer, advertising is really going to suffer. Since advertising always really lags too behind a recovery too by a good 6 months at least, I bet that advertising rates as a whole don't really begin to recover until late 2011/early 2012. That folk's is a long way off in the business cycle and going to hit the print media industry like a Biblical flood.

Park will really have to blow it to not get the spot.

There is always the outside chance that Amaro just blatantly lied to him though to get him to sign and figured Park as a good follow the line type guy that will just go to the bullpen if needed.

Amaro does look like a pretty shrewd guy at times.

"You seem intent on arguing with yourself. How will you know who wins?"

MPN is a figment of my imagination?

It's true, though, that arguments rarely end with a concession. Yours yesterday warmed my heart.

Clout:
I am sure it happens all the time.

Not sure that this situation would qualify though. If they are going to keep both on the roster (one as a reliever one as a starter) then what difference does it make where the money is going (rotation or pen)?

If Park gets more money if he becomes a starter then I would assume that the FO would want Happ to out pitch him and save that money.

Maybe I am off-base here. I think it will be an open competition and I think (hope) Happ will win it out and Park will be in the pen. And that Kendrick pitches well enough that we can get something for him.

I doubt that Amaro would do that. It would poison any future negotiations he would ever have as a GM. My guess is that he said, "You will have a fair shot at being our 5th starter out of ST...if you win the job, we will give it to you."

CY: I will simply repeat what MG posted since I think he is right and you are wrong:

"So far, the comments by Park seem to be very similiar to those made by Eaton last year. I would find it awfully odd that a player would say/take the steps that Park has taken this offseason unless he had some very good assurances from Amaro & FO about winning a spot."

Meant to say that online advertising revenues have dramatically increased but the individual rates for all forms (e.g., display, search, etc) have fallen especially for display ads. Regardless, online advertising is still advertising and it is going to get rocked this year. At best some very anemic growth of say 2-3%.

Why Google has laid off people recently and is looking to potentially even get rid of some engineers since a meager 98% of revenues at Google are still tied to some form of advertising. Also explains why a company like Facebook is struggling mightily to come up with a very viable business model and repeatedly delayed an IPO offering.

The only online ads rates that I have seen that continue to command a strong premium are very niche-focused and deliver a very specific customer to a business.

AWH: In fairness, JW has mentioned Garcia several times, and other posters as well. I was just trying to help your memory, not challenging you.

MG: Good post on a subject I care about. I don't make much through Beerleaguer anyway, but I've seen advertising rates fall dramatically as well.

You seem to know the subject well. Do you think we're going to see a rise in subscription-based sites? That might be the next step. I know if Google charged a fee to use Gmail and their other services, like Google docs, I'd probably pay it.

"Park will really have to blow it to not get the spot."

Park will NOT be the Phillies 5th starter to begin the 2009 season. Mark my words.

Why are the Phils so seemingly interested in trading Kendrick? His value is likely at a pretty decreased minimum right now and I can't imagine he gets much in return besides maybe two prospects who likely aren't MLB-ready. Plus, not like the Phils have a ton of starting pitching prospects ready to be called up in the 1st half of the season.

Kendrick and the Phils would likely be best served if he can go down to Allentown to start the season, work on mastering his changeup, and post some solid numbers to show that he wasn't a flash in the pan.

If he does that, I bet that Kendrick gets an opportunity to start again with the MLB team sometime in the 1st half when the inevitable injury to a starter opens up a spot in the rotation.

Clout:

The only difference between our point of views is that you think he is assured a spot and I think he is competing for a spot.

You think that the guy with a 1 year 2.5 mil contract and 2.5 more if he pitches X innings has the edge over a guy that is making the minimum who will be on the roster either way.

I get it. If Park pitches worse than Happ and wins the job I shall concede. We shall see, we are both rooting for the same side I am sure...

CY: Why is it guaranteed that Happ will be on the roster? He has options, no? And he's not a Rule 5 guy, so he's got no requirement to be on the MLB roster. However, I think you're correct that the innings incentives, if that's accurate (I don't know the details of the contract), could be a factor in the team not using Park as the 5th starter.

Park should be pretty motivated though to pitch well. And that's a good thing. He moved to the East coast (it seems most of the players from Asia tend to stay on the west coast) and he announced to the whole nation of Korea that he would not play for them this year to concentrate on starting for the Phillies. Amaro had to give him a wink or something more than just the "you got a fair shot"

"All the information discussed in BL ultimately comes from newspaper reporters articles or eyewitness game decsriptions"

I think a lot of stuff on BL comes from stat sites, too.

On the Zolecki debate: As a print-media survivor myself, anyone working at a newspaper is a fool if he or she isn't looking at other options. The survival of newspapers might be likely, but it's also likely that a lot of jobs will be shed along the way.

Jack:

Just dealing with a fictional scenario and trying to stay consistant.

He is not guaranteed to be on the roster. That just opens up another can of worms to argue.

Park as the 5 and Happ to the minors is all to real of a possibility (shudder).

Conlin on Kendrick today:

"The righthander with subpar stuff but a fighting heart and cool demeanor is on the bubble to make the ballclub . . ."

When did Kendrick have a cool demeanor last year? Basically, there were several times I can remember last year when Kendrick basically just completely lost focus on the mound during the inning and walked 2-3 hitters in a row.

Now maybe it was because it was hit hard a couple of times and lost confidence in his stuff if he fell behind in the count.

Sophist could do a better job of breaking it down but if you look at the numbers last year when Kendrick throw a ball first in the count he was generally meat. When he threw a strike, he was fairly effective again. Rather simplistic but numbers clearly show a huge difference across the board.

One thing that I do wonder though is that Kendrick splits increasingly got much worse each time a hitter saw him in a game. I do wonder if the scouts had enough tape now on him and that hitters had seen him enough to have a pretty good read on him.

To take the 5th starter question and expand it a little- I hope Cholly has convinced the FO to have the GM stock the roster and the manager decide who is going to get the playing time.
If Eaton taught us anything it should be that.

Unless Happ craps out, Park dominates or the FO puts pressure on Charlie (not likely after a WS win), I think Happ will be the no. 5.

Man oh man, after listening to Chuckles Lamar, I can't see how any of ther other 29 teams can compete with the Phillies. Looks like WS Titles as far as the eyes can see.

Agreed Bubba.

Park is closer to Durbin IMO than eaton. Eaton signed a multi year deal for big money.

If I were Park I would be saying the same things if I wanted to start. I signed with Philly to start, I won't be playing on the national team to focus on starting etc. He wants that extra 2.5 million. I can't blame him at all. Doesn't necessarily mean that we assured him anything. We gave him good money to compete for the 5 and then go to the pen if he loses.

MG: Most newspapers break even on the cover price, and lose money on home-delivery subscriptions. They (theoretically) make it up in increased ad rates for higher readership.

A paper like the Daily News, which sells the vast majority of copies at newsstands and honor boxes, will be better positioned to keep publishing on weekdays; the Inky, with its large subscription base, fills the Sunday spot.

I used to work for Gannett, which made a bunch of money in the '80s by buying up properties in which a single owner published two papers. Their MO was to kill off one paper (combine them, usually) and pocket the savings. The formula was widely copied, so most places already are one-paper towns.

"Kendrick splits increasingly got much worse each time a hitter saw him in a game"

Doesn't that indicate his ML future, if he has one, lies in the bullpen?

JW - I think inevitably there is going to have to be but no one really knows what "cloud computing" or the other terms thrown out by the computer industry pundits is going to look like including where are people going to access the Internet (e.g., how fast the change to mobile), what actually going to sit on a person's PC/device to connect to the Internet, etc.

Economist ran a piece on Corporate IT last year and it was all over the place. Usually this is a sign that nobody has a great idea and everybody is just taking some stabs in the dark in a specific direction(s).

Of course, the winners and new companies will emerge in the next 2-3 years and be hailed as geniuses when it was really a combo of hard work, good timing, and dumb luck.

One thing though is that Microsoft's model (and largely through product portfolio especially in software) that is overwhelmingly based on subscription sales has grown incredibly stale. Recent 5% layoffs were primarily just a way to save some cash to maybe get a possible bump in the stock price (e.g., analysts at JPMorgan and others had been recommending it for a while and the stock still crapped out that day the cuts were announced and it was kind of poetic justice.)

Microsoft still makes more money than God and has oddles of cash but there stock has languished for several years now and I bet the investors will get angsty for more blood this year if Microsoft's margin continue to erode/stock price languishes even in this bear market.

Tim Berners-Lee site is a useful starting place:
http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/

Last rant on Internet stuff as this is a baseball blog.

Good stuff, MG. Whichever way the wind blows in the comments thread, especially in late January. I'm enjoying this discussion. Lots of relevance in the world we're living in.

Anyone have an opinion on the new Torre/Verducci book that's coming out? Making a ton of waves on the national sports news sites.

Nepp - He must crave the spotlight. Or have a big vandetta. You wouldn't think that he wrote a book for the money. He is well compinsated.

If I were to guess, I would think that he craves the attention. How can you write a tell all book about an organization that made you rich and gave you the opportunity to win ring after ring.

I would be nervous if I were the Dodgers FO or in that locker room.

My mom grew up with Joe Torre in Brooklyn. Let's just say she doesn't have many nice words to say about him...

NEPP: I don't know how much of the "leaked" press on the book I believe. Apparently, he calls A-Rod "A-Fraud," and alludes to a feud between Alex and Jeter, as well as complaints about his renegotiations with the team for an extension that failed.

Certainly seems driven by a vendetta more than anything else...but I'm not sure if this is what the book is really going to say or if this is what's being leaked to drive sales?

While I think the Yanks could've handled the contract "talks" with him a bit better, it's been a few years since the best team money can buy won something. It probably was a good time to cut ties with him and try a (somewhat)new approach. I think he's a wee bit overrated. These reports make him look petty.

The Verducci story I read on it on CNNSI doesn't exactly flatter Joe by any means...and it makes the book sound far less inflammatory than the "leaks" do.

I read a review of it somewhere that said most of the book is fluff, only the reported "gossipy" stuff is of any real interest. The publishing house must've realized this and put "leaks" out pronto. I bet we hear Torre downlplay it all soon.

Maybe thats the screenplay Torre was pitching.

My thoughts exactly Alby

despite whatever statistics, you can observe Kendrick and see that he doesn't have the stuff to get a hitter out multiple times, especially not over a prolonged period.

if you want to keep him, put him in the bullpen. otherwise try to trade him while he may have any value

Tom Verducci seems like a giant blowhard. A quote of his from the article on CNNSI:

"The book is not a first-person book by Joe Torre, it's a third-person narrative based on 12 years of knowing the Yankees and it's about the changes in the game in that period."

Really? The book is BY Joe Torre and its not a "first person" book? Stupid.

Spitz: Maybe Torre is like the Jimmy from Seinfeld... or else he confused his ghost writer...

thanks for the interview, j. good insight.

Been gone for awhile... some thoughts.

1) Chan Ho Park will "compete" for the #5 starter spot, but absent injuries or incompentancy, he has the same shot at the job as I do.

2) Newspapers ARE dying. Whether you want to pretend that what they put online is part of the "newspaper" or not, the newspaper itself is dying. The hardcopy version of the newspaper will be gone in 5 years.

Spitz: Technically, the book is by Tom Verducci.

The Yankees signed Andy Pettite for 1 yr, 5.5 mil. Considering we signed Moyer for 2 yrs 13 mil, that's another data point in the "Ruben Amaro might've misread the market" argument.
But as I've said before, I'm not gonna criticize the Phillies for going out and getting the guys they wanted.

CJ: On Park I think you are ignoring the power of the contract. Personally, I hope Happ is lights out. But if he isn't, the job will go to Park.

clout: It's $2.5M. It's not out of line with the rest of our bullpen. It's not like he's signed some big long-term deal like Eaton did. Eaton is making three times what Park is making... will he have a shot at the 5th spot in the rotation this year?

CJ: I doubt Eaton will be on the team in ST. We shall see how it plays out, but my guess is Conlin winds up right on this one.

Brian G: For what it's worth... Moyer's ERA+ was 20 points higher than Petitte's last year. Petitte was just under league average at 98.

And, frankly, it looks like Petitte mis-read the market because he was originally offered a one year deal worth $10M. This deal apparently has significant incentives that could push the deal to $12M or more, I think.

Pettite vs Moyer: Pettite seems to only want to pitch for the Yankees for some unknown reason. If you think Moyer was just kidding about being willing to pitch elsewhere, then, yea, the Phils spent more than maybe they needed to. But anyone like Pettite (or Glavine last year) cuts their price if they insist on pitching where they're happiest.

clout: But wouldn't the power of the contract put Eaton on the team in ST?

I agree... Eaton will not be given the opportunity to make the team this year.

Park will be given an opportunity, but he hasn't started since 2006 (save a whopping 6 games!). And in those 21 starts, he posted an ERA+ of 84. His resume to be a starter might actually be WORSE than Eaton's.

CJ: Park signed here with the specific condition that he be a starter. The strong implication is he wouldn't have signed here otherwise. I don't know how firm that was on management's side, but as Conlin notes, Park held an emotional press confenernce to announce he wouldn't play for Korea so he can devote his energy to being a starter for the Phillies. I think management will feel a bit of an obligation (including the $2.5M+) to put the guy in the rotation at season's start. Whether he lasts is another issue.

He signed on the promised that he'd have a legitimate shot at being a starter, not "you'll be a starter no matter what".

Slight, but key, difference. It leaves UC a loophole if he sucks in ST.

@clout -- to me, the emotional press conference indicates to me, that Park DESPERATELY wants to be a successful starter in this league. He knows that to win the job, he has to be in camp early and working towards those incentives that gets him to $5MM.

All this is, is a guy who really WANTS to win the competitition to be a starter. Not that it was handed to him.

I don't see the Phillies would feel obligated to anything concerning Chan Ho Park other than give him an opportunity to start. They DO feel he would have value in a role that offers flexibility and insurance in case an injury to an pitcher in the Starting 5.

Happ might be slotted to fill the Role of Romero, if only because of the side of the mound he throws from. Which would give Park a slight edge. But the Phillies need to fill 2 roles, 5th starter and the 7th/8th inning role that Romero held for the first 50 games.

Park is more likely to fill the second than the former.

Back to the contract, considering the historically CHEAP FRONT OFFICE as many like to contend here, why would they FEEL obligated to start a guy because they are paying him 2.5MM, when starting him will MORE likely get him incentives that will tip the contract closer to 5MM???

2.5 is a drop in the bucket... and would provide zero obligation for anyone.

mikec: Obviously you, CJ and most posters here feel Park will open the season in the bullpen. My observation of Beerleaguer over the past few years is that when the consensus says one thing, it's makes the opposite pretty much a slam dunk. That's unfortunate since I'm hoping Happ wins the 5th starter job.

practice link on old thread:

right here

let's see

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