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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

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Jason -

Is this perhaps a move to clear space for a RH stick to be named shortly from another organization?

Doesn't make much sense if it isn't as we certainly had room to carry 6 position players for a few weeks into the season.

Or is this simply the Phils trying to give Jenkins a chance to catch on somewhere .... should be interesting this week.

You could see this coming. Realistically, he is not a guy who was going to help them. Not my idea of a bench player who's good enough to step in and produce in three at bats a week.

Why do I have a feeling that mikes or mvptommy predicted we would cut Jenkins and everyone on the board told them how dumb they are? Haha, I dont even want to go look at the archives but I kind of feel like that definitely happened.

Wow. The Phils have released Jenkins? Guess the Phils didn't want another year of a .240 guy with diminished power and a lumbering swing on the bench.

I though the Eaton/Jenkins/Feliz contracts would be a $20M+ millstone around this team's neck during the offseason. Maybe winning a World Series really has changed the nature of the front office.

Still, it is not like the Phils have a ton of reserve OFs who deserve additional playing time right now either. You can't go into a season with Stairs and/or Bruntlett/Cairo as your 5th OF. Guess the tinkering continues as the Phils likely will add another body to complete the bench.

Several posters were right a week ago that this team didn't have their 24th/25th players yet. Taschner and likely another right-handed who can play OF (not Mayberry) fit the bill.

For all the praise Gillick received, he had his share of stinkers. Luckily we are a big market team that wasn't hamstrung by bad contracts.

Personally, I thought they'd keep him because of Werth's weird beginning of the season ailments and the fact that he can still play the field. But I guess you also have to be able to hit, which Jenkins really can no longer do.

Amazing to see this team so willing to cut its losses these days.

Bed Beard: I had considered Mayberry as well, but why would they send him down if it was possible they would release Jenkins just to call Mayberry back up.

Nope... I gotta figure the next move is yet to come.

Kudos to the Phils for recognizing when a player simply can't help them more than someone else could and making the hard (and costly) decision.

I'm interested to see what happens next!

From last thread:

CJ: Excellent point. Rubes just basically spit on the Schmitters of numerous posters on here, and on WIP, who constantly complained about the franchise's cheapness. We are now paying $20 million this year (Eaton, Jenkins, and Thome) for guys not on the roster. Hopefully Amaro Jr. will have a bit of a better track record in terms of resourcing productively spending the payroll than did Gillick. Still, the WFC makes this much, much, much more palatable than it would have been otherwise.

2009 Predictions
94-68, NL East, 50/50 on the Pennant.
NL Cy Young: Danny Haren
NL MVP: Chase Utley

Does this mean Dobbs sees more time in OF ?

Like everyone else, I'd obviously like to see the Phils get a righthanded power bat.

But unless they're new bench player can play the outfield, cutting ties with Jenkins leaves them vulnerable to injury. As it stands, if one of the starters goes down, that would leave few options: Stairs, Dobbs, Bruntlett, or bringing up Mayberry from Triple-A.

Super duper kudos to the Phillies for being smart and making baseball decisions, not economic decisions.

Although many people on here said the contracts were very poor from the get-go, it's still impressive to see everyone, including ownership, admit that. Winning a WS can do that to you, I guess.

I think the only move that fills this void is Sheffield. I don't know if I like him on this team and on this bench, but what other choice do we have if an OF goes down???

From last thread:

Agree that there is no way we bring in Sheffield. Whoever it is has to be able to play the outfield. BedBeard: I was thinking the same thing about Mayberry, though if that happens it may mean something else fell through. I just don't think they view him as ready yet. Gotta say, I never thought anything this interesting would happen with 5 days of ST remaining. The FO really seems to think there is a window here and wants to exploit it. The Bizzaro Phillies.

As for Gillick, I think he is a savvy individual as he knows when it is good time to get out of a situation. Phils won the WS and if they had substantially increased their payroll this offseason they would have had some very difficult choices. I am willing to bet that Gillick wasn't 100% certain the FO was going to be committed to expanding the payroll so much/eating the likes of Eaton's and Jenkin's contracts.

Would Sheffield take a 4th OF spot where he'd really only PH? Is he ready to accept that that's his skillset now? He always seemed like a tough nut to crack.

donc - "The FO really seems to think there is a window here and wants to exploit it. The Bizzaro Phillies."

Agreed. I have been pleasantly fascinated and surprised that this team finally "gets it" to some degree and is willing to try to take on a bit more financial risk in order to optimize even greater potential profits. Never thought I would see this current FO and ownership do that as they hadn't done it for the past 15-20 years.

Isn't Gillick still advising Amaro?

Yeah, Mayberry is where he belongs for now.

To me, this also sounds like something Charlie greatly had a hand in. If he's not gonna have legit OF time for Jenkins (which he most likely wouldn't), we saw how he responds at the plate. And he's not getting any younger. Stairs definitely fits more, and I imagine Charlie made that pretty clear to everyone.

Can't Sheff play a little 1st as well?

Sheffield supposedly looked terrible in spring training this year and didn't have the same bat speed he used to. Without that violent bat speed, Sheffield is just a washed up guy who can't catch up with decent pitches or generate the power like he used to.

One last point - just because the Phils have cut Eaton and Jenkins doesn't mean that Amaro is different in his philosophy than Gillick. Remember he signed two older veterans this year (Moyer and Ibanez) to multi-year deals at significant dollars.

There is a more than 50/50 chance that each of these deals ends up like a Jenkins in their final year too.

Marcus Hayes article kind of sums up the finanaces:

No recession when it comes to Phillies' bottom line

Key quote:

"Vince Gennaro, author of "Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball," estimates a big-market team like the Phillies can expect as much as a $60 million income boost over 5 years after winning a World Series.

That estimate might be low in rabid Philadelphia."


Simply, because they won the WFC the team probably has the wherewithal to eat these contracts, knows the window of opportunity is limited, and seems hell bent on putting the best team on the field.

I wonder what Scott Rolen is thinking now?

While Jenkins has done nothing to merit the contract he's been given, I figured his ability to fill in at both corner outfield spots would keep him on the roster. PECOTA had him projected for a .268/.336/.456 line this year; he's nowhere near the hitter he once was, but I doubt he's as bad as he was last year, so that seemed like a fair projection to me.

It'll be interesting to see who Ruben plucks off the scrap heap to fill the role, but I'll once again say that it wouldn't hurt to give Jay Payton a call. He sports a respectable .278/.328/.457 line off LHP over the past 3 years, and perhaps more importantly, he can still adequately play all three outfield positions.

PhillyFriar - You bring up a point I was really wondering. Jenkins still was an adequate defender and was likely to rebound a bit offensively. The Phils must have really though that he looked bad this year in spring training again (and from reports he did offensively) and decided they didn't want to give 225-250 ABs to a guy who would post the same/worse nubmers than last year.

The question is who replaces him. The Phils really don't have a player that fits that roll right now.

What if this means that (shudder) Bruntlett is gonna get more OF time, and Cairo will be the util IF for now?

Sheffield?

How about Sarge, Jr., who the Angels say they are not trying to move?

Would the Phils trade for him if the Halos ate most of the contract?

Is there any scenario that could work, and would he be happy with the playing time he would get here?

MG and Friar just touched on the point I was about to make. Insurance for Ibanez, Werth and Vic, with someone other than Bruntlett, is an even bigger priority. But I think this is a likely precursor for that type of move.

I have to be honest--I don't really get it. I appreciate the Phils making what they think is the best moves for the roster regardless of money, but I'm not convinced this was the best move. Jenkins is a solid defensive outfielder, still capable of bringing some power with the bat, probably due for a bounceback average/OBP wise, and most likely overall as valuable as Stairs.

I just never got why it was always assumed Jenkins would be released and not Stairs, when Stairs is owed so much less. Seems to me you'd give the 8 million dollar, younger guy more of a chance than the 1 million dollar, older guy. But hey, what do I know?

FWIW: Mike Missanelli is saying the decision to cut Jenkins wasn't very popular in the clubhouse. I guess that's not all that unexpected, b/c he's supposed to be a good guy.

Sarge Jr. makes a ton of money. I don't think the Angels will part with him and eat his contract unless the Phils dealt them a touted young pitcher.

Can the Rockies' Jeff Baker play the corners well enough to spell Ibanez and Werth? Werth could then move to center when Victorino needs a day off.

wow

I mean, really. wow. Junior doesn't mess around.

I know everyone's making their predictions. Still, it's kinda hard to do that with the roster not set.
I was about to present some scenario where the Phils win the East, play LA in the first round, but lose the last game because, when the Dodgers put Ohman in in the ninth, Chollie can't find anyone RH to face him.

Scrap that. There might be a RHB after all. Or not. It's too soon. It's a work in progress. It's every year at this time when we still don't know who's gonna be on the team.

So how about:
91-71.
Still first place. Mets are in first for at least one day in September, but finish two games out.

Howard has an inside lane at MVP, since chicks still dig the longball.

How about Billingsley for CY? (I know: it's probably Santana, but I just can't make myself do that.)

Right, I also left out that Jenkins seemed to be a really good clubhouse guy. For whatever that's worth.

The timing of this is a bit odd, coming so soon after Rosenthal's report that they WOULDN'T do exactly this.

Either he's wrong (very possible) or an immediate outside factor contributed (Sheffield/trade in the works?).

King Myno: I was just looking at some numbers, and started coming to the same conclusion (i.e. that Bruntlett could be set for more outfield time). But while I had your same initial reaction, his career numbers show that it might not be so bad...

LF: 111.0 innings, 5.7 UZR
CF: 157.2 innings, 5.4 UZR
RF: 30.1 innings, 0.2 UZR

UZR actually has him as a better outfielder than infielder. So if the Phils feel confident that Bruntlett can handle all three OF spots, and if they feel that Dobbs can handle LF, then they're free to pursue a RH outfielder who's marginal defensively but has some pop with the bat. (Note: Gary Sheffield doesn't qualify as marginal defensively.)

Not sure if that's what they're thinking, but it's a possibility.

Jack: I gotta believe this move was only made with another move in mind. We have no backup outfielder without Jenkins. The Phils can really only make this move if they have a better 4th OF ready to step in... especially if they are RH.

Jack: I don't think any of us get it. I guess that's why there is so much speculation about what the next move is. I completely agree that if there isn't a viable replacement in the offing, releasing Jenkins makes no sense at all. Fascinating.

Five person bench:
Dobbs, Bruntlett, Stairs, Coste, Cairo.

That can't be it. It just can't. I think it has to be a 6-man bench to start the season until we need to expand the pitching staff by one. That 6th man needs to be an RH OF. And when it's time for the pitching to expand, I think Cairo goes if Utley and Feliz seem healthy.

i'm shocked at this further shearing of dead weight!! it's been an expensive spring cleaning this year, eh?

hippo, expensive indeed!

DAVID MURPHY REPORTS:

Park is 5th starter.

Oh, and the source is only his Twitter, at the moment:

http://twitter.com/HighCheese

CJ: Very succinctly put.

yeah it is weird that Stairs stayed on. Is he really $7million more of a LH PH than Jenkins? I don't think so.

I wanted Stairs on the team for a few days just because I'm a fan, but realize that he shouldn't be on the team with Jenkins.

But hey, the money was already spent, so might as well just cut someone who isn't going to be in your big plans.

A RHB who can play (at the least) the corner OFs is such the EXACT player they need, I can't imagine them not picking one up, regardless of who it is.

Matthews is I'm sure not an option; aside from his contract, he's been extremely vocal about wanting a full-time job.

"Gary has made it clear to us that he wants to play every day, but right now, that’s not where we’re at," Scioscia said. via

Did anyone really think that less than a week before opening day, something would happen to light this board up like this? I'm gobsmacked.

re: Sheff

I don't like the idea of replacing a good clubhouse guy with a bad clubhouse guy; especially if their primary role is pinch-hitting. He's never not complained publicly about playing time/coaches.

I'd rather they see them go after someone like Dobbs; a relatively young guy who's out to prove himself.

How much does Sarge Jr (Corporal?) make anyway?

donc - WAY too much.

TNA - I agree, and although the "RH power bat" part of it makes sense, the rest doesn't.

On Park - good for him, he earned it. Now we see where they put Happ.

donc: Corporal is owed $33M over the next 3 years, if I'm not mistaken. WAY too much, indeed.

Let's not forget Moises Alou.

Perhaps he's decided that a reserve spot on the WFC might be attractive.

$33M over 3 years? OMG! That's a disgrace. That's almost Zitoesque.

Sarge Jr. makes way too much. Had a good year with the Rangers (or wherever, I think it was the Rangers), first particularly good year in his career, and was given a five-year, 50 million dollar contract. I imagine it scales up throughout the deal; he probably makes a little over 10, maybe 11.

Zolecki also reporting that Park is the fifth starter (and that the Phils have contacted Sheffield's agent).

there really is good reason to keep Stairs over Jenkins as a pinch hitter. Stairs has much more experience: 308 PA versus 86 PA; Stairs actually has 87 PH PA just in the last three years.

also, Stairs has a better overall batting line as a PH: .281/.377/.513 versus .264/.360/.472. maybe more importantly, he's been nothing short of spectacular as a PH in the last three years, hitting .296/.414/.606. that's not skewed by one fluke season, either; his OPS (as PH) in each of the last three years was .913, 1.095, and 1.055.

Courtesy of the Murphy's High Cheese blog, Park is the number five starter, Happ to the bullpen. I actually think they made the right decision putting Park in the rotation, but it is interesting that they want Happ in the pen. I'm guessing they think that gaining major league experience is more important than working as a starter against lesser competition.

Can Alou play even a little bit of outfield at this point? I don't think he can and if he tries he'll get hurt immediately. I truly believe the guy can still hit but I don't think he is what we need right now.

Is Sheffield really worth the risk considering his character?

I mean, with Manny or Bradley--I could see it--as they both can still rake and the risk seems to be worth it considering the reward.

I don't know about Gary.

phaithful, I missed your 2:36 post above about two of the founding members of the Sir Alden Trio.

Have phaith, they'll come out of the woodwork.

donc, Alou was hurt most of last season, so I don't know if he can still run, or whether the year off has helped him heal a little.

I'll bet he can still rake, though.


Happ has to be disappointed, but I've typed this before:

He'll get his chance this season and going forward. The pitching staff was very fortunate - injury wise - last season, and is not likely to be so this year.

All the more reason having guys like Koplove and Majewski around, guys who have had a modicum of success at the MLB level, to step into a 'pen role will prove, IMO, to be very valuable.

It says here that Mike Koplove will realize his dream of wearing a Phillies uniform at the 'Zen this season, and I don't mean in the two ST games this weekend.

If the answer is Sheffield - that really will be an amazing turn of events. Not one I'm happy about honestly - but let's say that this was in fact a trade and not two veterans being released ..... what would we have thought of Rueben?

Sheffield for Jenkins - for arguments sake, let's say the salaries were equal, would you have made that trade?

More kudos to the Phillies.

The easy choice was to put Happ in the rotation and put Park in the pen. But, to my surprise, Park won the job. Period. He's been amazing this spring.

Now... should Park show that his amazing control in the spring was a mirage, Happ will be ready to move into the rotation.

Good for Chan Ho Park. He was told the 5th starter spot was up for competition and then he went out and won it. I hope he pitches great!

wow this suddenly turned into a newsworthy day. First off, congrats to Park. I know just about everyone here was fearing that Park would be the 5th starter, but he earned it this spring. If he falters we still have Happ and Kendrick. I like our depth.

Jenkins is definitely a surprise. He wasn't about to win a gold glove, but I am nervous about our backup outfield situation. We have no speed or defense off the bench now. This is becoming a big concern for me. However, we probably have the best lefthanded pinch hitters in the game with Stairs and Dobbs. Now we need a righty to counter it.

This brings me to the fact that I'm sure that the Jenkins move isn't an isolated one. They have to have another move in mind. Buster Olney was really touting Sheffield to the Phillies on Baseball Tonight right now, but I can't see Sheffield taking a pinch hitter role as I don't see where he would play. He also had to look terrible in spring training for the Tigers to eat $14 million.

Someone mentioned Alou. Although it doesn't help our speed and defense off the bench at all, in fact its more of a negative, he would be awesome as the righty off the bench.

It looks like Gillick evened out getting Victorino, Werth, Durbin, Romero, Dobbs off the scrap heap for no money by dishing out the Eaton and Jenkins bad contracts. Those guys were lucky they were free agents when they were.

I like the idea of Matthews Jr. too, but the Angels would have to eat like $30 million.

It is nice to have a little excitement and something to talk about to kill off the final days before the season starts.

Happ has to go the BP, you cant have 3 lefties in the rotation.

For the money we woul dhave to pay sheff (400K) it is worth it as long as he knows coming in it would be PT.

Gotta give RAJ credit for going with the proven PH bat in Stairs and eating Jenkins' contract. I could easily imagine other Phillies GMs desperately holding on to Jenkins and playing him to recoup the sunk cost. I don't think Sheffield is the answer, though. He seems like a jerk.

Park definitely earned the job -- and the unflagging loyalty of Philly's Korean-American community. It wouldn't surprise me if he wore down a la Ryan Franklin or Adam Eaton and had to be replaced by Happ.

Also, thanks to Geoff Jenkins for that double and for all the enthusiastic high fives to his teammates. He was always the first smiling face to greet his teammates when they did well. I guess the double is worth $8 million or so.

congrats to c-ho-p on winning the #5, came in to camp, sacrificed skipping the WBC for Korea, and nailed down a great spring.

And congrats to Happ to remain on the MLB roster. He also had a very nice spring and I hope he continues to keep the pressure on Park as long as he sits in the #5, and vice versa.

Still pulling for my boy KK! He better start lighting up AAA so both Happ and Park have a fire lit under them.

My guess is that Happ prefers to be in the pen in The Show over being in the rotation at LV. It's the right decision.

Please stop wasting bandwidth on Sheffield. He can no longer play the OF.

All the posters saying this move is merely a prelude to another are correct. There is no way they release Jenkins without having another outfielder, likely RH, lined up. Amaro cannot possibly open the season without a true backup outfielder who can fill in everyday if one of the regulars is hurt.

Jenkins (regardless of his lack of success or underachievement vs his contract) will always be remembered fondly by me for that one beautiful hit. I was one of the many fortunate ones to be at game 5. During the time in between the two segments it was endlessly debated how the chess match btwn maddon & charlie would play out (leave in Balfour or counter with LHP once Jenkins was announced). That double was simply awesome!

Re: Sheff
I know I threw out the Sheff option earlier, but I too am worried about the clubhouse aspect.

Re: Park

Like many posters have stated this spring I am leery of him reverting to the performances he has displayed as a starter since 2002. But If Charlie is planning on ridding the hot hand, I am ok with that. So long as park is given a very short leash.

from the previous post:

It's actually kind of scary that if Lidge was not absolutely perfect all season but instead performed at the elite closer level (88% save rate), the phillies finish a couple of games behind the Mets and out of the playoffs.

The bullpen's effectiveness and the pitching staff as a whole is the most important element this season more so then Ibanez v. Burrell or fulltime Werth. If the Phils can give up less then 800 runs again this season they have an excellent probability of repeating as NL East champions.

Nonetheless this team, barring catastrophe is a lock for 87 wins. Question is whether thats good enough to get into the post season this year.

It was Clout who originally pointed out that Amaro's offseason discussions with Happ had implications for him starting this season. This contrasted with most posters who assumed it was a pro-forma offer to be ignored as it was for Durbin.

However, I think Clout went too far in asserting the depth of the guarantee, given that neither Amaro, Manuel, nor Dubee were willing to publicly confirm the offer. Even the normally clueless Mvptommyd spotted this.

It's interesting that the Beerleaguer consensus has shifted from Park would be a terrible starter and Happ should be the starter (where I also was at the beginning of Spring Training) to an acceptance of Park taking the 5th spot and Happ working as a young pitcher out of the bullpen -- despite his discomfort there last year.

David Murphy's good piece today reinforces the pragmatic decision and BL consensus. Park's seniority, backed by an entire nation pulling for his starting status, made the virtual tie this spring go to Park. I think that left unsaid is that it would be preferable to replace Park with Happ in the starter role if Park falters than the reverse -- which would risk Park's discontent and send Happ in the wrong direction for the goal of making him a long term starter.

With the virtual tie this spring between Park and Happ, we lost the interesting opportunity to divine the real nature of Amaro's promise to Park and who really decides playing roles between the GM and the coaches. Had Happ outpitched Park, it would have put more strain on the private guarantees Amaro made to Happ, and how much Chollie and Dubee were willing to go along with them.

Sorry, I meant to say in the last sentence private guarantees Amaro made to *Park*, and how much Chollie and Dubee were willing to go along with them.

DUDE:Park has won the job for now,and deservedly so,but what stats,evidence,or theories do you have to back up your claim that we cannot have 3 LH in the rotation?

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