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Sunday, January 04, 2009

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This has been a boring winter so far, but I'm okay with that. Partly due to a slow moving free agent market and partly due to the Phillies coming off of being World Series champions and not having as much to bitch about and therefore blog about.

Thanks for the lists. I didn't realize the Marlins had claimed Danny Meyer. It's a shame that injuries derailed him; he's a Philly-region guy (Swedesboro, I think), and I hope he manages to put together some semblance of a career.

What I was amazed by is how quiet it is with the amount of talent available. Looking at the list you could start a team from scratch with the free agents available and have the ability to compete next year.

I can only assume things are going to get interesting very quickly.

http://www.phightinphils.com

This is the most boring phillies offseason in recent memory. any way amaro can get creative and figure out a way to trade jenkins/happ & acquire a right-handed outfielder & another starter? That seems to difficult for amaro, who chooses the easy, safe root instead

The Nationals were rumored to be interested in signing 2B Orlando Hudson and Adam Dunn for 1B. If they got those 2 players for 10m apiece that would be a monster infield... Braves would be looking at last place.

Reports from MLB Trade Rumors are that the Phils are still interested in Lowe. Can this be true? I think it's not. But I hope it is and they are serious. Thoughts anyone?

heard radio interview with Burrell. He praised the city, the team and all us fans for everything that this season meant to him. He believes that even if he has played his last game as a phil he will forever remember these past 9 years.

Guys - lets vote him into the All-Star game next year, even if he's not playing for us! The guy deserves it from us for playing a major part of our first championship in 25 years in this city

BTW - MLB Network is broadcasting the WS in its entirety until 6:00 am tomorrow morning.

Some rather odds posts so far. One thing I am interested to see is how the Nats' fan base will react if they don't put a better product on the field this year or at least make a few moves this offseason to interest the fan base. If not, I am willing to bet the current owners will be pressure very hard by MLB to sell the team in a year or two.

To all the NL East acquisitions I have this important and unqualified response: "meh"


Thoughts anyone?

"Hello, MLBTR? This is Scott B...I mean, an 'informed source.' I have it on good authority that the Phils are about to make an offer to Derek Lowe in the $15MM for 4 years range. That's right. Mm-hmm. No, I'm sure. It's on good authority. Really. You can print it."

The Nats have a fanbase?

MLB WILL NOT be asking the Nats owner to sell the team anytime soon. He's a billionaire who desperately wants to put talent on the field...he's had trouble so far attracting high-level talent but it will happen and they're another team that could easily outspend us if they choose too. Look how much he offered Teixeira for godsake.

With the Eagles on Fox and the Phillies on MLB, you can hear Joe Buck suck calling two sports with your 'back' button on the remote.

EFF: You're not kidding. I am getting so sick of listening to him...thank God he doesn't do hockey.

Are Joe Buck's lips still chapped from all his "hard work" on Joe Maddon and David Price?

Buck and Aikman tell us how great the Vikings offense is playing, then they get booed off the field. You wonder what the people in the truck are thinking when they listen to him.

If I'm the Nats, I'd think seriously about offering Derek Lowe 4 years, $60 million and offer Orlando Hudson 3 years, $30 million or so. Those two moves could make the Nats an 82+ win team next year and real pests. Lowe, Lannan, Cabrera, Olsen isn't a horrible 1-4 rotation. A starting 8 of Flores, Johnson/Beliard, Hudson, Guzman, Zimmerman, Dukes, Milledge, Willingham/Castro, with Harris as a super utility guy isn't that bad.

All it takes is overpaying one good player and others will follow. Look what happened with Detroit once they signed Pudge. Things can turn around fast for a team like the Nats that have the money and willpower to make changes.

Here's hoping it never happens. We don't need two teams in our division that will outspend us.

Washington (whatever individuals or corporations that entity represents) just spent $610.8M on a new stadium. I don't think they're going anywhere, anytime soon.

http://ballparks.com/baseball/national/wasbpk.htm

Sophist: Yeah, but they also offered Mark Teixeira 8 years, $184 million. So their ledger books must tell them they have some revenue....

This offseason has been slow for the Phillies because they are a strong team and in basic "tweak" mode. The only significant loss was Burrell and that was addressed. There are surely areas that could use improvement, but they are not major. I'll take the boredom of tweaking over the excitement of rebuilding any day.

As for FA activity, the economy has changed things in 2 ways: First, fewer teams are getting into bidding wars. There really was no bidding war for Teixeira since he didn't go with highest offer; Second, teams are closely connecting value with price tag on FA. When they kick the tires on some these guys, they don't see the value and they are passing until the $$/yrs comes down.
And so Manny and Lowe, and Abreu and Burrell and Dunn and others all sit there.

I'm very curious to see where Manny ends up and what kind of deal he eventually signs. Any guesses??

MPN - Not sure we're miscommunicating on this, but by "going anywhere" i don't mean the movement of their standing in the division but the movement of the team to a new city.

George S - there is some space between tweaking and rebuilding that can be interesting. But you're right that most of what the Phils had to do was replacing production. Moyer and Burrell in particular.

****Sophist: Yeah, but they also offered Mark Teixeira 8 years, $184 million. So their ledger books must tell them they have some revenue....****

Ted Lerner, owner of the Nats, has an estimated personal wealth of around $2.5 billion. They've got plenty of money to spend on the team if they want to. He owns a HUGE real estate conglomerate in the DC area.

We could have the same type of revenue available if say, John Middleton was allowed to buy a majority share...never happen though.

NEPP: Yeah, I still have a suspicion that the Phillies' owners are paying down the stadium debt ahead of schedule through the improved revenue streams to sell off stakes of the team...

Sophist: Roger, a bad misread on my part of your post.

Wow...Do the Marlins have ANYBODY left on that team? They got rid of their starting first baseman, starting Right Fielder, a starting pitcher, their closer and call me a baseball idiot, but I don't recognize anyone they got in return.

Hey, at least they stil have Jorge Cantu.

With Jorge Cantu they don't need anyone else.

The Nats spent nothing on the park. It was built by the District, as a not stated but heavily implied concession in order to get a MLB franchise in DC. In addition, the Lerners have withheld rent payments on Nationals park, saying that it is not "substatially completed.". I have not looked into this recently, but a search of the Washington Post's website should find a lot of stories about this.

They should have built the park in N. Virginia out in the Herndon area. That's where all the money in the DC area is anyway. Besides, riding the Metro to the game sucks brutally. MLB was deadset on having the team in DC though and not just in the local area. For those that haven't ever lived there, driving in DC is brutal and thus not a legit option on attending games. Riding the Metro isn't the funeest experience either. I couldn't imagine doing it late at night after a game to get back across the river to Virginia.

So Lerner has plenty of money to spend and if the Teixeira talks were any indication, he's more than willing to spend it for the right players.

NEPP: C'mon, the DC metro isn't exactly the Broad Street subway -- or the New York subway, either. When I lived there I took it out to suburban Virginia and back, even late at night, with no problems. It's the nicest subway system I've been on this side of Paris. I don't know about you, but I'd kill to be able to take public transit to CBP. I live in Delaware, so it's not an option.

If I owned that team, I'd give Bowden the boot and bring in Dombrowski, or some other GM with a rep for rebuilding farm systems. They're going to get high picks for a couple of years. I can easily see them pulling a Detroit in a couple of years, going from worst to contention, with the right guy in the saddle.

It was a crime that taxpayers had to nearly entirely fit the bill to build a new stadium for Nats. Personally, I am vehemently against any time a new tax is implemented to pad the pockets of a multi-millionaire/billionaire.

To top of it, Lerners have acted like paupers in numerous instances/cases with the new stadium and paying/treating employees in their front office.

I know just one person but one of my friend's mothers worked in a fairly high position for the Nats until recently finding another position. She spoke very negatively (and that is not like her) of the front office/owners in general.

As for a business, the Nats are going to have a difficult time unless the Lerners are willing to pour in some of their money which we know that sports owners almost never do except when purchasing the team.

After the buzz of the new stadium wore off after the first few weeks of the season, attendance plummeted because of another year of a poor product on the field. They couldn't even get a decent attendance figure in the 1st year of a new stadium and that should raise a red flag.

Also, the TV and radio ratings for the Nats were in the toilet last year. It was amazing how bad they were. Getting beat my programs that were well out of the mainstream and shouldn't beat them. Again another red flag.

History should have taught MLB that baseball doesn't work in DC. It has been tried twice before and failed twice with the Senators.

My bet is that unless the Nats are able to consistently put a winning product on the field year-in and year-out over a long sustained time period, that this team will continue to attract poorly and having difficult being an economical viable one in the long term.

MLB had the write idea when they tried to kill off the Expos (and not the write one with the Twins because of Polhad's utter greed in trying to shake down Minneapolis and Minnesota for a publicly-funded new stadium).

My bet is that the Lerners will sell this team in 2-3 years (if the economy picks up enough and they can turn a profit) because they are willing to make a go of it.

NEPP - I agree 100% that the stadium should have been built in Northern VA as that is closer to where the corporate dollars/fans are. Still, since it was largely tax-funded through public dollars it was located in order to try and spur economic growth in that area of DC.

Economic data/studies I have seen on this generally cite stadiums fail as a return on economic investment to a local area compared to other investments of public dollars.

Guess you can cite Camden Yards and maybe Coors Field as two examples where the stadium did help to revitalize an ecnomically-distressed area but those are the only two that come to mind for me.

I still don't understand why there is so much mindless bitching about the Yanks spending money while a scumbag like Jeffrey Loria isn't derided at every turn.

The past couple of years the Marlins are guaranteed to make a profit even for the season begins because of the luxury tax revenues and keeping their payroll at an absurdly low level.

To top it off, this supposed great philanthropist threatened, cajoled, and gave money to certain politicians to grease the wheels for a $500M retractable roof stadium from Dade County and the state of Florida. Who benefits from this - really only Loria when he resells the team and likely makes a 6-7x return on his initial investment.

That folks is what is wrong with baseball.

****NEPP: C'mon, the DC metro isn't exactly the Broad Street subway -- or the New York subway, either. When I lived there I took it out to suburban Virginia and back, even late at night, with no problems. ****

I never had any issues on it during work hours but there were some quite disreputable folks hanging out anytime after 9pm...especially once you get away from the more touristy stations. Going all the way home from the Navy Yard station to Fairfax is quite the hike though.

I think the T in boston is the best mass transit system I've ever been on in the U.S. The Underground in London is the best I've ever seen in the world though...though the Paris Metro is pretty good too.

When I lived in the northern Philly suburbs we used to regularly take the R5 down to Fern Rock and jump on the subway to S. Philly. The only time that really sucked was if we missed the connecting train at Fern Rock and had to wait on the platform for 30 min at 11pm at night..not fun. Though if you drive to Fern Rock and just get on there, that works pretty well too...if you're willing to leave your car at Fern Rock for that long.


I agree that they should cann Bowden if they want to be successful.

****Guess you can cite Camden Yards and maybe Coors Field as two examples where the stadium did help to revitalize an ecnomically-distressed area but those are the only two that come to mind for me. ****

Part of that is the absolute TON of money that was put into the rest of the inner harbor in baltimore though. Camden Yards and the Ravens stadium was the coup de gras of that revitalization.

Oh and I agree completely that Jeffrey Loria is one of the biggest scumbags in the game..."Hey, you drove one franchise into the ground? Here, have another one.".

Tim in DC. I was in DC while it was being built. This is why I qualified in saying that "Washington" built it and supplied the link. Obviously if the owner himself invested most of the money in the stadium his disincentives to leave would be even greater but having a brand new one funded probably is sufficient to keep the team around for awhile. A publicly funded stadium of this sort is the reason many teams leave their current cities.

In any case, the Nats doom talk is premature.

Sophist - The only reason I think the Lerners won't sell in the next 2-3 years is that the economy is going to be in the crapper for at least the next 12-18 months and capital need to fund this type of sell is going to be tough to arrange.

>That folks is what is wrong with baseball.

The money has always been the driving factor. Always, and forever.

The old saying goes: "This game is so damn good that even THEY (management) can't eff it up".

NEPP: Herndon? I live in Rosslyn work on Cap Hill and I have a hard enough time wanting to travel a few blks (from work) to a game. No shot in hell i'd consider going out to the Dulles area. Baltimore's almost as close.

NEPP -
Don't deride the NYC Subway system. It's not pretty, but it's pretty comprehensive. The sheer number of places you can get with relative ease, the single fare pricing, and the amazingly diverse demographics of ridership make it an astounding acheivement.

Despite the rats on the tracks.

Anyone got a guess on what Hamels will ask in arb today?

I've heard that Kazmir's deal will provide a guide to Hamels' arb process.

Kazmir (from Cot's):

3 yrs/$28.5M
09: $6M
10: $8M
11: $12M
12: $13.5M (club option)

In Kazmir's first arb-eligible year, he resigned to avoid: $3.785M.

But doesn't the team give a figure first and the player (through his agent) give a counter-offer dependent on that figure? I don't have the procedure in front of me.

I think it's premature to gauge the potential interest in DC baseball by the current attendance and TV figures. The team is an alien presence and a star-less punching bag. Its advertising resorts to showcasing Austin Kearns. It may be that there's no real appetite for baseball, a la Montreal, the game being perhaps too sophisticated for the typical philistine DCian, but it really is too soon to tell.

As for the DC metro, even I would admit that it's probably the finest system on the east coast--not a drag but a boon to the franchise. All things considered, it represents a more efficient mode of transportation to a game than a highway system leading out to a hypothetical suburban ball park. If the team contended, fans would use it.

The Marlins' biggest problems last year were relief and defense. With the trades they made early this winter, I expect their bullpen will be much better. We'll have to see about their defense, but I expect at least modest improvement. I don't think they can quite hang with the Mets and Phillies, but they seem like an 80-85 win team to me at least. That's a really, really good front office.

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