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Sunday, February 08, 2009

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This is going to be a fun few years to be a Phillies fan. It looks like we'll have this team to enjoy for the next three years or so. They have great chemistry, know how to win and are talented. I'm calling dynasty.

Great job by Amaro and even ownership ponied up and paid what they had to in order to keep this core in tact. Yeah I was complaining about lack of Derek Lowe, but the ownership got the job done where they needed to. The only glaring hole on this team in the immediate future will be 3B. Everything else is set and above league average at just about every position. I'm pumped. February 19th can't come soon enough so I can pick up some more tix!!!

When your primary concerns going into spring training are the 24th man on the roster and a lefty out of the pen for the first 50 games of the season things are looking good.

Now let's start complaining about 3B because there really isn't much else to complain about (and if everyone keeps their performances up then there won't be much to complain about for a few years).

I never thought I would hear the words "$130 million dollar payroll" used to describe the Phillies. How times have changed.

Howard's gonna explode this year

Wow, I have to admit that every time I visit this site I was hoping to see a headline like this one, but wasn't expecting it to happen. I feel the dollars are fair enough and the length isn't a problem. Nice to nullify the arbitration process.

Anyway, hopefully this wasn't mentioned before... but you guys create backlog like no one's business and slogging through all of it can be a chore. For those of you with the PS3 system, the demo for MLB The Show '09 is available for free download and the game it lets you play is Tampa Bay v Phillies at CBP. Line-ups are current enough to include Inabez instead of Burrell in the outfield. I assume it lets you play all 9 innings, though haven't had time to do so yet.

A couple people brought up cost certainty. The Phillies definitely have that. They know precisely where they'll be even beyond 2009. Myers, Jenkins, Feliz come off the books after the season and that's money most likely already earmarked for pay raises and a mid-level starter to replace Myers.

All that's left is the start of spring training. Oh how I long the day....

Hopefully they use that money to get a top flight starter

Ya baseball needs to start
m ,

Good news, good move. The team now knows what he's going to cost through 2011, after which he will move on. That's neither good nor bad, just the way I think everyone involved knows it will pan out and the way the contract game is played in this age. But it's resolved for three years, so let's play ball! Congrats to Amaro for getting it done. Congrats to Howard for the big payday; he's earned it.

Why does this mean that Howard thought he was gonna lose his arb? All signs pointed to a win as per articles in both the Inquirer and DN in recent days.

How about this explanation: Howard wanted to lock in a fortune that would take care of him for life at a salary that averages $18M a year, which is exactly what he was asking for in arbitration. And he gets to be a free agent in 2011 anyway.

From Amaro's side, it's a way to fix costs for the next 3 years so he can plan accordingly.

It is now clear that this team has a 3-year window for a repeat.

Good for Howard, good for the Phils, and good work Rube.

Weitzel - why is everyone giving up on Myers for next year? What happens if he wins over 15 games and has low era? You think the Phils will just let him go? He probably would get another long term contract.

There's nothing like guaranteed contracts.

fljerry - I don't know if this is what JW meant to say, but the person who replaces Myers' production could be Myers himself. That is, the money set aside to sign a mid-level starter, once Myers is off the books, could be used to re-sign Myers.

I think Howard would have lost in arbitration, but even if you think he would've made only 14 this year, I think the Phillies still come out of this well. Very good job by Amaro.

fjerry: He could. Maybe it should have been phrased differently. Ultimately, it's up to Myers, and I think he likes playing here. So it's possible.

Even with the Feliz/Jenkins/Eaton money coming off the payroll, the Phils have already committed $95M to the following list of 11 players:

1B Howard, 2B Utley, SS Rollins, 3B Dobbs,
LF Ibanez, RF Werth, SP Hamels, SP Moyer, RP Lidge, RP Romero, RP Madson

If you figure the Phils keep Blanton and Victorino that is likely another $14-$15M.

That means the Phils have essentially committed $110M to only 13 players next year. Plus it is going to take nearly $3M to buyout Feliz/Jenkins/Eaton options for 2010. So basically the Phils have likely committed to around $115M already in 2010.

Even if the Phils maintain their payroll in 2010, they will have about $15M to round out the last 10-12 roster spots on the rotation.

Posted it the other day but the reality is highly unlikely that the Phils will be unwilling/unable to sustain a payroll of $130M next year unless they make a deep payroll run again. Without the additional revenues from the playoffs and the ability to raise average ticket prices by 15-20% again, the Phils will probably have to slightly reduce payroll.

What does this likely mean - that while Amaro has signed basically decided to retain the basic set of players through 2010, the Phils are going to have to heavily rely upon their farm system or true Value Village types to fill out the rest of their starting rotation (likely 2 starters), a couple of bullpen spots, starter at 3B, and the rest of the bench.

Amaro's ability as a talent evaluator will be truly tested as the core of the Phils' players will likely remain one of the best in baseball through 2010 but a pretty sizable of the roster will be either rookies or Value Village types.

This is good news: the two sides finally found a happy medium. 3 years is not nearly the risk a 5 or 6-year deal would have been, and kudos to both sides for realizing the sense in realizing that this made more sense than either continuing the annual arbitration rites or holding out for the $100 million payday. I'm far from certain that Howard is really worth this kind of money, but the main thing is that the team isn't locked into a contract for all eternity. I don't believe Howard is *invaluable* to the fortunes of this team, but obviously he's plenty valuable; and if that amount is what it took to get it done, then that's what it was going to take.

I'm also on board with giving a lot of credit to Amaro for how he's handled things contractually across the board this off-season. It's been very impressive.

"realizing the sense in realizing that this made more sense"

so am I up for the Casey Stengel award?

I apologize if this has been covered already, but has management indicated what they plan to do with Jason Donald?

It seems to me like it would make the most sense to let him play as much 3B as possible in Allentown to see if he could be a cheap replacement for Feliz (splitting time with Dobbs as well). But do they plan on keeping him at SS or using him at 2B in Utley's absence. I've heard a lot of speculation but nothing official from the Phils.

MG- I think you are using some fuzzy math. Vic would have to get a huge raise for he and Blanton to make $14M next year (they will make under $9M combined this year). I think $12M combined would be a better guess, so with the buyouts they would be at $110M. It is pretty much agreed that this years payroll will end up over $130M, so that is over $20M to spend.
They will have other guys (Brunt, Durbin, Condrey, Ruiz, and Paulino) who they may choose to keep at slight raises.
So they probably spend about $116M and end up with one rotation spot to fill (unless Carrasco and Happ look ready) and third base (unless Donald looks ready) with whatever money is left.
I don't think it is all that likely that they decrease the payroll next year. Attendance this year is going to be insane, especially if they are in contention the whole way. So my guess is they will have about $15M to spend, which means very little reliance on 'the value village'. 2012 may be a different story, but Darren Daulton told us that baseball would be the least of our concerns that year.

The FO has said that Donald will get reps at 2B and 3B in ST and then get alot of reps at all the IF positions at Lehigh assuming he doesn't make the big league club.

Luckily we'll be able to fill several holes through the farm system unlike most years so that payroll limitation won't be as onerous as it may appear. Carrasco, Happ, Donald are all low cost options. The year after has potentially Drabek, Taylor and Brown, etc.

Jonesman - But you are assuming that the Phils' revenues are going to stay the same for 2010. Unless they make a similiar type of run in the playoffs, they aren't going to have the same revenue streams.

I am telling you right now their season ticket base isn't going to be as strong in 2010 either as the reality of a pretty terrible economy sinks in by Q3 with unemployment conservatively at 9% (likely higher) and plenty of people who are underemployed or have given up looking for work. Advertising deals will be much softer too.

Not saying the Phils will dramatically cut payroll but if the Phils don't make a deep playoff run I do find it highly unlikely they increase payroll or keep it static.
Now granted they don't need a bunch of starters at positional players they are going to need at least 4-5 pitchers including at least 2 starters.

MG: My calculations say the Phils owe $90.5M to 11 players in 2010 (Lidge 11.5, Utley 15, Ibanez 11.5, Rollins 7.5, Moyer 6.5, Hamels 6.65, Romero 4, Werth 7, Madsen 4.5, Dobbs 1.35, & Howard 15). I figure an additional 14.5M for arb cases (Blanton 7.25, Victorino 4.5, Durbin 2, Condrey .750) and 2.25 for buyouts (Jenkins 1.25, Feliz .5, Eaton .5). That brings the 2010 payroll to $107.25 for 15 players. If you account for Donald, Marson, Carrasco, Happ, & Mayberry making the roster, that would be an additional $2.25M for 5 players. That would bring the 2010 payroll to $109.5M for 20 players. If Phillies stay with a payroll of $135M, that would leave them an additional $25.5M to spend. They could add 2 nice pieces for that amount (3B & SP ?)

My fault. Howard makes $19M in 2010. That would make 2010 payroll $113.5M for 20 players. That would still leave them $21.5M to spend on free agents. Remember, Phils raised ticket prices, have a full season ticket base of 25,000, & will likely raise ticket prices again in 2010. I see no reason why they can not maintain a payroll of $135M.

As of today, 2009 payroll sits at $129.3M. This includes 25 man roster, 3M for Thome, $8.5M for Eaton, $1M buyout for Gorden, & .125M buyout for Taguchi. I think we are well positioned to add another Lefty out of the bullpen (Ohman ?) and a Right-Handed bench bat (Garciaparra, Alou ?)

cem: "I think we are well positioned to add another Lefty out of the bullpen (Ohman ?) and a Right-Handed bench bat (Garciaparra, Alou ?)"

I agree.

W O W - didnt see this in a million years. Howard looks like he was willing to negotiate finally.

Amaro nailed the arb hearings better than anyone could have predicted. Aside from a few bench moves, we're all set to begin a WFC defense in less than two months.

Phils are in good shape in the NL coming into next year. Looks like the Cubs and Mets should each be strong, but a lot of teams have seemingly backtracked. You could say right now that LA (with or without Manny) and Milwaukee have clearly taken a step back and there is not much coming up. The Braves should be improved and so may the Giants. St. Louis should be okay and Arizona sure can pitch, but still has a shaky offense unless all their young players step it up at once. Frankly, it is hard for me to imagine the NL champ for 2009 to not come from Philadelphia, Chicago or New York. Each team has flaws, but appears to be a step ahead of the other 13 teams.

the Phillies have a total seaosn ticket base of $25,000. full season ticketholders do not equal 25,000.

I see the worrying about the 2010 budget has already begun.

I was wondering what fans who consider the Phillies "cheap" would complain about now that the Phillies will probably have committed over $35MM more than last year.

And now I know, complain about a "reduced payroll" in 2010. Geez. Worrying about that is about as relevant as trying to figure out the payroll in 2020.

@MG -- It stands to reason certainly that reduced revenues would cause a drop in payroll in 2010. That would make sense for most people. But I think Amaro has shown that he has a good handle on how to spend Monty and companies money. Whether it's spent wisely we'll find that out.

However, I'm not entirely sure that the Phillies spike to 135 is a "one time spike". I have a feeling that the owners have set the new budget in a range they are comfortable with going forward. However, it may not escalate much further at the rate the CORE salaries will increase. That should be the real "concern". It's keeping the budget at a plateau. In year 1 or 2 of the budget it might not be too bad. But year 3 without esclating it, that would have the same effect as reducing the budget. But there will always be options. Trading howard after 2010 is one options. Getting lucky with a homegrown star or two. But the care and attention that Amaro took with the arb-eligible players was managed extremely well and we should see the rewards of that.

The organization seems committed to keeping players that they value as the core, enabling a level of cost-certainity, developing minor leaguers (or grabbing a project out of another org) and cutting coupons from the Value Village gazette.

That formula brought one championship and 2 playoff appearances. I'm willing to have faith that the success will continue.

Phils aren't going to have 25,000 season tickets next year unless they win the World Series and this team's opening day playroll next year isn't going to be $135M either.

Frankly I am much less concerned the production at 3B (where the Phils have generally been among the bottom of the league since Rolen left town) than the pitching staff next year which is going to likely need to be filled with at least 2-3 homegrown options and likely 1 more.

This is BLer, people aren't happy unless they are complaining about something. And as it looks like 2009 season will be ok, then people need to start complaining about 2010 and whether Myers, Feliz and company should be resigned. It is ridiculous.

mvp - You really are obnoxious. Who said I was bitching? I was just trying to point out what is some of the likely financial impact of signing Howard in the near term.

I saw some comments on MLBtraderumors objecting to the signing that I thought were interesting. Some generally derided Howard's one-dimensional contributions (I suppose that one-dimension is hitting for power, although he has, in the past, been able to draw walks and hit for average, esp. in streaks) as well as his declining no.. Far enough. That is a concern going forward, although even Howard in decline is a force to be reckoned with. Just look at his no.. for 2/3 of last year, esp. the final two months.

Their sol'n I thought implausible. Why sign Howard for $18M/yr when Dunn is on the market, has similar no., and is probably available for much less? Well, if teams are unwilling to sign Dunn for even more than $10M/yr, what interest would they have in trading for Howard, giving up talent, and paying whatever he'd get in arbitration (at least $14M, it seems). Why would they just not sign Dunn for less instead? If you accept their premise that Howard and Dunn are equals (and Howard wildly overpaid) why would any team be interested in Howard?

Mg:Ok and what proof do you have about their payroll and season tickets?what if we win the jimmy rollins predicted 112 games this year that he stated tonight on comcast sportsnet( which would be 101 regular season and 11 playoffs games). I find it hard to believe they won't sign anyone next year to replace the parts if we even lose any.

I just don't see the point in even talking about 2010 at this point. Bottom line is that deal is much more positive than negative and Howard left money on the table for the next 2 yrs just to avoid arbitration which I said was bad all along. While other hear regarded arbitration as already "being locked up" for 3 more years.Now that he signed here for 3 years like I said he would do, he will sign a 4 year deal in 2011 for around 85 million. This team is in excellent shape in the future so let's leave it at that.

Seems to me all this patting Amaro on the back is a bit over the top. I'd say that even Lee Thomas and Ed Wade could have done a lot more if they'd been given the huge increase in budget Amaro has been given.

I'm fine with it, as long as the next thing we hear from the owners isn't "We need to cut payroll, costs are getting out of hand." A lot of us remember that dope Hicks in Texas handing out huge contracts only to have to dump players, especially Aroid, only a few seasons later.

I'd dare say that a lot of GMs could do what Amaro did with a budget over 130 mil. Especially since he's given out a lot of raises already for 2010. Let's see how he handles things for the next 2 to 3 years before anointing him executive of the year.

At the current rate, the Phillies will probably be nearing 150 million in two more seasons. Will ownership be up for that? We'll see. I hope so. But I can see Bienfest and Billy Beane and a bunch of other GMs wishing the Phillies had interviewed them to be Pat's successor. They must be drooling.

Sophist: Looking at stats yes, Dunn and Howard are very similar in numbers. But here is one of my famous watching the games thing comes in. Dunn has never literally carried a team into the post season as Howard seems to do by having clutch hits and numbers in september.

Signing Howard is good news. I heard about the deal late this afternoon. I attended my daughters' soccer game at noon sporting my red Phillies cap a red Phillies t-shirt with Howard's name and number on the back. What a nice coincidence!

Well, as Mr Patrone has pointed out, they haven't added a RH bat or a starting pitcher (unless you consider Park that starter), so this offseason, while very successful in locking up certain players, swapping fallen prospects [Golson/Marberry], and replacing Burrell with Ibanez (we'll see), because he didn't complete what he set out to do, I don't think Junior would tell you he's satisfied.

If he can get a RH bat that can actually produce (I would love Alou but he's an ongoing injury risk and may not accept the limited playing time), I think Junior would feel a lot better.

And there still is the issue of the 5th starter.

tommy boy, who were the other players on Dunn's teams.

Did he have Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins hitting in front of him. Victorino?

RBIs are great but to get the number that Howard does, someone else has to get on in front of him.

BTW tommy boy, IMO Dunn is not as good as Howard, but my point was one guy does not a team make.

Besides, if the pitching didn't show up in September the last 2 seasons, what Howard did wouldn't have mattered.

Howard and Dunn are NOT equals on the stat sheet. The only thing Dunn does better than Howard is draw walks. Even at his worst, Howard hits for much higher average and much higher slugging pct. Moreover, their season-to-season numbers leave no doubt that Howard has way more upside. Dunn is a .240 hitter who, in a big year, might hit .260. Howard is a .265 hitter who, in a big year, might hit .313.

A case could be made that Dunn had a better season that Howard last year -- although it's not a particularly convincing case. But, based on their career numbers, no rational person would bet on Dunn to have the better statistical season in 2009.

I'm not worried about the 2010 budget, I'm more worried about the 2012 season. Not only does it mean we are only 100 years from the time Rush describes on the album "2112", but Howard, Rollins, Hamels, Werth, Victorino, Romero, Madson and Lidge will all be gone as free agents and Chase will be a broken down man due to four more years of aggressive play. Hopefully we can get a couple of decent prospects for him so he can DH in the AL. At least Jamie Moyer will still be around to anchor the staff. 2012 is looking really ugly at this point. I have little hope. "My spirits are low in the depths of despair"

mvp - Dunn's best year in the league was probably 2004. The Reds went 76-86. Take a look at the Reds pitching that year and get back to me. I would rather have Howard than Dunn, yes, but no player can singular lead a team to the playoffs, sorry. Actually, I'll tell you who pitched for the Reds that year:

Paul Wilson (4.36 ERA, 98 ERA+),
Aaron Harang (4.86 ERA, 88 ERA+),
Jose Acevedo (5.94 ERA, 72 ERA+),
Cory Lidle (5.32 ERA, 80 ERA+),
Brandon Claussen (6.14 ERA, 70 ERA+),
Josh Hancock (4.45 ERA, 96 ERA+),
Todd Van Poppel (6.09 ERA, 70 ERA+)

These guys account for 142 of the team's starts that year. Good luck making the playoffs with that rotation.

BAP - I definitely wouldn't concede that they are equals, but I did arguendo. In any case, I don't think you even need to assert that they are equals to prefer Dunn to Howard. The question is, if Howard is better, is he $XM better. If you had $20M to spend and you could have Howard for $15M or Dunn for $8M, which would you take? Maybe you don't need the extra $7M considering the needs and what's on the market.

Howard signs a deal. How.. odd. I have know idea what to really think about it, but I think the cost certainty is hitting the nail on the head.

I still don't think the Phils are going to be keeping him around forever, but it's the best of both worlds for them. They have a headache off their hands for a few years, and, if they go the route I still believe they will, which is to trade him to the NYY, BoSox, or LAA, they will have a real number with which to begin their trade negotiations.

Amaro gets and A+ from me here unless Howard falls off of a cliff.

AWH~

I'm glad someone understands my point. Jr. has done a marvelous job with the contracts. But he does have more to do. I believe he wants to add what he needs, but can he? That remains to be seen.

I'd like to see Aurelia and Ohlman brought in. I have no problem with Park being the #5 at this point. Not sold on Alou given his age and recent inury history. And I wouldn't wait around for Nomar either.

A fun thing to mull over though: How crazy would it be if Manny were to sign with the Phils? What a lineup that would be. I know it's fantasy, just fun to think about. They could stick Ibanez in RF. Ah, but back to reality.

There could be some guys who shake loose in 3-4 weeks, so we'll just have to wait and see. So far, the club has basically stood pat, but at least Jr. has all of the core players locked up save Vic.

As I continue my recovery from surgery, I'm having a lot of fun reading everything about this off-season, posting here amd watching MLB network. And yes, even though I complain often about what has not been done, it's still great being a Phils phan. Always has been. After all we're WFC! And no one can take that away.

Sophist: My post was directed to Tommy's statement that Dunn & Howard are equal on the stat sheet, but that he somehow knows that Howard is better. I was merely objecting to the premise of his assertion. They are NOT equal on the stat sheet.

As for the two players' worth relative to their salary . . . I suppose maybe Dunn at $8M might provide more bang for the buck than Howard at $15M. But, that type of comparison is illusory unless the difference in salary could allow the team to dramatically upgrade somewhere else. And, even then, it's doubtful there's any $7M player out there who would be worth the drop-off from Howard to Dunn. Ask yourself, for example, if an upgrade from Pedro Feliz to Ty Wiggington would have made up for the downgrade from Howard to Dunn. I'd be surprised if even a single Beerleaguer answers this question Yes.

Howard is a force at the plate, but lets not forget he made the MLB">http://morehardball.blogspot.com/2009/02/stonehedge-butchers-all-error-team.html">MLB '08 All-Error Team.

Sorry, first link didn't work.

Howard's appearance on the MLB '08 All-Error Team.

I've been one of those who griped about the front office not being willing to loosen the purse strings in years past. I thought Amaro could have been in over his head. And I've also posted a few times about what I feel is a once in a generation nucleus of talent that I feared the organization would squander.

I'm happy to say I've been proved wrong on both counts. I defer to b_a_p, mg, sophist, clout and others in terms of whether it's a great deal in terms of dollars and sense. And I preserve my right to gripe on Beerleaguer going forward. But I gotta say, I was sure happy to see this deal inked; and thinking about the crew of players the Phils have locked in, coming off the Series win - it's a great time to be a Phan.

In re: Dunn
Dunn doesn't scare people the way Howard does. Having Howard in the line-up gets teams to re-think how they approach the Phils. (This is part perception, but I also remember that statistically everyone struggled - esp. Utley) when Howard was out. Dunn is a guy teams believe they can strike out. Howard is a guy teams hope they can strike out.

Given Amaro's apparent negotiating skills, it is very clear that they a) did not want Burrell back; and b) that they really wanted Ibanez in left.

I have come to believe that Wigginton should have signed here. He would have gotten adequate playing time, a chance to earn a starting position in a year, and a showcase on a team that will garner a lot of media attention. Instead, he'll bounce around the line-up (pending Melvin Mora) of a four or fifth place team in a small market who won't get much national coverage. Bad career move, IMO.

"Ask yourself, for example, if an upgrade from Pedro Feliz to Ty Wiggington would have made up for the downgrade from Howard to Dunn. I'd be surprised if even a single Beerleaguer answers this question Yes."


b_a_p, I don't think you can limit the question to just Wiggington. For instance, Joe Crede is stail available, and if healthy and able to produce like '06-'06, could provide a decent upgrade at 3B.

Also, that's not to say who they might be able to TRADE for if they had the salary space available.

Could they have worked out some kind of deal for Adrian Beltre? Could Casey Blake have been signed?
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Or, better yet, could they have upgraded the pitching? Would they have been able to squeeze in Derek Lowe, or autbid Atlanta for Kawakami (if interested)? How would you like to have Smoltz waiting in the wings.
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My point is that there are a number of ways to spend that "other" $7MM you reference other than on bringing in another bat.

I don't know the answer, and there is really no way to know other than to speculate. Maybe someone could run some type of computer simulation.

The fact is Ryan Howard is a force in the middle of any lineup. Him lurking on deck or in the hole probably affects how other batters are pitched.

That's not a bad problem to have.

"Given Amaro's apparent negotiating skills, it is very clear that they a) did not want Burrell back; and b) that they really wanted Ibanez in left."
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Andy, I suspect they went the Ibanez route initially (yes, speculation) because of Burrell's initial asking price.

I don't know what that was, but he made 14MM last season, so I wouldn't be surprised if Burrell had been asking for a 3-5yr deal in the 15MM range. Remember, Abreu wanted 3/48. Dunn also wanted to get paid in that range.

The FO probably looked at the situation and concluded, rightfully, that Ibanez at 3/30 was better value than Burrell at 3/45 or 4/60, and fit into their salary structure better, with all the arb players looming, and the minor league players who might be ready in 3 yrs.

Now, after Ibanez signed, the implications of a shrinking economy sunk in, and teams really pulled back from the marketplace, prices started to drop.

Burrell signed quickly and got a 2 year 16MM deal, while other guys are still out there, and may have to sign for less than PB did.

Now, you'll never get an answer from Junior, but I suspect he'd rather have Burrell at 2/16 than Ibanez at 3/30.

IMO it certainly represents better value, and give them flexibility in year 3.

Plus, there would be no RH bat issue.

Let me put it to you this way:

If Burrell's initial asking price had been 2/16, what do you think the FO would have done?

Timing, they say, is everything.

Howard affects the entire lineup...even in the midst of his slump to start the year, the opposing team was worried about how to pitch him and would bring in a LOOGY just in case. Dunn, while a very good hitter, just doesn't have that same effect.

I'd much rather have Howard than Dunn, even if it means having to go with a Feliz/Dobbs platoon at 3B instead of Wigginton.

Andruw Jones with a minor league deal from the Rangers. Good ballpark to try to resurrect a career in. Unfortunately lots of cattle for Jones to consume.

Bill James has some cool stats on 2008 team baserunning. It's fairly complicated but includes pct. of times runners moved from 1st to 3rd on a single, 2nd to home etc. minus outs on the basepaths and also factors in move ups on SF, WP, PB etc. plus, of course, SB/CS and pct. of DP opps that result in DPs. It's a plus/minus system.

Bottom line: The Phillies were the best baserunning team in baseball last season. The best baserunner on the team, no surpise, was Jimmy Rollins, who at +46, was the 5th best baserunner in baseball.

The worst baserunner on the team, by a big margin? It may surprise you.

The result is even more impressive because the system does not account for park factors and it is much easier to take an extra base in a park with big alleys and OF foul territory like Coors or Arizona, for instance, than in a small-outfield park like CBP.

Clout: it's got to be Utley, and batting in front of Howard doesn't help, right?

clout, knock off the suspense and just tell us.


I'll guess, though, on who the worst is:

Pedro Feliz?

I bet the Yankees are kicking themselves over the HR Milestones Marketing clause in A-Rod's contract. From Cot's: "$30M marketing agreement based on home run milestones ($6M each for reaching 660, 714, 755 and tying and breaking major league HR record)".

clout, does the system account for there being a runner on base in front of the baserunner being measured?

My second guess would be Chooch.

My third guess would be Coste. I love the guy, but he's as slow as molasses.

AWH: those three guys make sense, and so do Howard and Burrell. Since clout thinks we would be surprised, I'm figuring it must be one of Victorino, Utley, or Werth. I seem to remember Utley getting caught in the front end of a lot of DP's and GO's, and getting thrown out at the plate a good bit.

How can it not be Burrell?

AWH: 100% Correct on the "timing is everything". If the Phils waited around for Burrell to finally drop to 2yr/$16mil, then Ibanez could have been off the table. The error was that they did not forecast the market very accurately and overpaid for Ibanez compared to what the FA Market eventually turned into. But in the conditions when they did sign Ibanez, it seemed to be a reasonable deal.

And i feel like Burrell wouldn't have taken a drastic paycut from his current employer, seems like it would have been more of an insult to stay at the same place and make that much less than it would be to go elsewhere.

phaithful - good points.

to the people who are concerned about 2012 payroll and such: lets try to understand that you dont win the WS every single year. If you have to pay more now with a great team that may create possible troubles down the road, you do it!

When analyzing moves from a team that has a very legitimate shot to win a championship shot in the upcoming year(s), every million bucks spent in those years is much more important than the $3mil wasted in following years.

If the Phils win 3 rings in a row, and cant finish strong in 2012 because of financial moves in year prior, is that really a fault of the FO? If you think Yes, then i fail to see how you can be considered a phillies fan.

OK, enough suspense. The worst baserunner on the team was Pedro Feliz at -16. Burrell was -3, Ruiz and Coste were each -7.

Some reasons Burrell wasn't nearly as bad is he committed 3 baserunning outs (Feliz committed 5) and his GIDP% was 8.9% (Feliz was 15.3%). Burrell also took 11 extra bases (Feliz 9).

The stud baserunners were no surprise: After Rollins we had Vic +34, Werth +28, Utley +21, Bruntlett +11, Taguchi +5, Jenkins +1, Dobbs -2, Howard -7 (worse than Burrell).

We were all remembering how horrible Burrell was on the basepaths (and in the field) with his aching foot in 2007, but the fact is he was much better in 2008 and not nearly as bad as we thought.

****I bet the Yankees are kicking themselves over the HR Milestones Marketing clause in A-Rod's contract. From Cot's: "$30M marketing agreement based on home run milestones ($6M each for reaching 660, 714, 755 and tying and breaking major league HR record)".****

Yeah, those "celebrations" aren't gonna be awkward as hell now. Pretty slimy to negotiate that into your contract when you know you were just as big a cheater as Bonds...starting to understand why they call him AFRAUD.

That +21 for Utley is impressive considering 2 factors:

1. Bad Hip for the final 4 months
2. He's really not that "fast" of a runner...just really smart on the basepaths.

Note: I mean "fast" like a Vic or Rollins.

FWIW: Seth Everett was on with Glen Macnow last week, and was asked about the market and the Ibanez deal specifically. He tended to agree that they probably overpaid for Ibanez. Although, he added the caveat that someone would have: his impression was the Mets or the Angels would have likely signed him to a similar deal in the day or two after.

clout: when you say burrell's DP% was 8.9 and Feliz was 15.9%, that means they were the runners on when doubled up?

I'm not arguing that Feliz was the worst baserunner on the team, but we all know Chooch's DP problems last year, and you gotta understand that the 15.9% really hurts his +/-

The worst baserunner has to be Feliz. Clout wouldn't bring it up otherwise, right?

I'm not surprised that the Phillies were the best baserunning team in baseball. While many people here bemoan the team's lack of consistency and reliance "only on home runs" and want more "smallball", some of us have noticed that the Phillies have been an exceptional baserunning team the last couple of years.

If I recall, Utley was actually rated the best baserunner in the game either in 2007 or 2006, by that same Bill James study. Rollins had a simply amazing 47-50 performance stealing bases last year, and Vic and Werth were great as well. Probably the most underrated aspect of this team, and one that I'm sure will continue to be overlooked as people still insist on caring too much about strikeouts and home runs.

A Mets fan told me today that Jayson Werth is no better than a 5th OF on any other team than the Phillies.

How's that for denial?

This from a guy whose team had Fernando Tatis as a starting OF for most of last year.

How 'bout that, clout! I nailed the top three.

I did that just thinking about the games I had watched.

Hmmmm, maybe watching the games DOES matter and it's not ALL statistics.

Maybe leviculus thomas peur is righ.....oh, wait.

NEPP, Mets fans are a very unrealistic bunch.

Over at metsblog thay are still under the misguided impression that they have had a better team the last 2 years, and that their team just "choked".

I guess people call them "chokes" when it happens at the end of the season, but good and bad streaks happen to all teams in baseball at different time of the season.

The 1916 NY Giants had two seperate winning streaks of 17 and 26 games, the latter of which is still the MLB record. They also had seperate losing streaks that season of 8 games/once, 6 games/once, 5 games/once and 4 games/twice.

Despite the huge winning streaks they went 86-66 and finished in 4th place.
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The Phillies, in 2007, were under a lot of pressure to get out of the box in April. Yet, they "choked" the FIRST 14 games of that season to a 4-10 record. Had they done that the last 14 games.......

The Mets, OTOH, had a record of 5-9 the LAST 14 games in 2007.

By pure record alone, which was the worst "choke"?
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The fact is the Phillies HAVE been the better team the last 2 seasons.

Now, their evaluation of players - Werth is one example - takes on the same unrealistic bent.

In their minds, their players are always better, other teams' players are always defficient, and therefore, the only explanation they can come up with is their team choked - not that they got beaten OVER THE COURSE OF A 162 GAME SEASON by a better team.

clout gave up the answer before I had a chance to guess. But I would have definitely guessed Feliz. I distinctly recall several plays last year where Feliz was thrown out trying to advance and I immediately thought to myself, "Damn, that guy is REALLY slow!"

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