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Monday, November 09, 2009

Comments

I'm thinking Tejada or Polanco. Figgins isn't going anywhere and DeRosa is a defensive liability.
Mora would be a great right-handed extra man who can play second, third and the outfield if the Phillies could give him enough at-bats. Of course, there's the money for all of this. Who knows?
I will think of Pedro Feliz the first time time his replacement throws one into the dirt or the seats, something he almost never, ever did.
Good luck, Pete. Thanks.

Tejeda was mentioned in the Inky this morning as someone who would be open to playing 3B. Obviously, the direction is going to be dictated in part by salary demands, but with so many 3B on the market, it looks like a buyer's market for the position (and a seller's market for SP, which looks in short supply.)

Tejeda's OPS+ past 4 seasons is 126, 109, 92 and 110 and even his worst years are better than Feliz's past 5 seasons. What gives me pause, however, is that he turns 35 next May.

Someone mentioned Mora, but he turns 38 next season and has been below average offensively in 3 of the past 4 years. I'd pass.

From MLBTR here's the list of non-tender candidates who can play 3B:

Atkins, Bautista, Fontenot, A. Marte, Teahen (unlikely since he's just been dealt to Chisox), Quinlan.

Here are the FAs who can play 3B:

Branyan, C. Tracy, Belliard, Infante, F. Lopez, Polanco, Scutaro, Tejeda, Beltre, Blum, Counsell, Crede, DeRosa, Figgins, Glaus, J. Hairston, Lamb, Mora, Uribe.

Scutaro, Polanco & Lopez are Type A and thus would cost a 1st round pick.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Feliz back here by the spring on a lesser deal.

what about beltre? possibly even better defensively than feliz with more pop. also, coming out of seattle should help his offensive numbers

Since there is no depth in the system and since we have established veterans everywhere on the diamond, I would hope that Amaro is exploring a trade for a younger guy at 3B that could secure the position for 4-5 years. I know they are in "win now" mode and certainly the team as a whole is built to win now but, the fact that we're discussing Figgins as a 3B and leadoff hitter at that position tends to reinforce my feeling that one can be too shortsighted.

Since the nucleus is on the wrong side of 30 i'd be hesitant to give up a first round pick, especially for that level of talent.

I'm very intrigued by Tejada. I haven't looked at his stats but i believe he's had a good couple of years and has a decent glove. Even if he's in decline, he'd be a hell of a seven hole hitter in the Phillies lineup, assuming you can get him for a decent deal.

I'd prefer to get younger, as well, but I'm not sure it's a possibility at 3B.

Given that list, the team should most definitely not sign a Type A guy and give up a 1st round pick. The Type B guys look to be better options anyway.

Infante had a pretty good season (100 OPS+). I'd look at him for utility. What little I saw him against ATL, I was impressed.

In the last thread, clout made a good point about an added benefit that Figgins would bring to the roster. Since he can also play short and second, Charlie could give Rollins or Utley some days off and insert Dobbs at third.

That would give Dobbs much needed at bats and allow the lineup to remain relatively strong with Dobbs rather with an automatic out like Bruntlett.

Dropping Bruntlett would also give them a roster spot to add someone who can pinch run. Perhaps they could bring up Quinten Berry who can steal bases for the league minimum.

Always was a Polanco fan when he was here, looks like he is still hitting . But, he is 34 years old .
If we get him it's a short term fix, I would think Ruben needs to think about mixing in some younger players to keep the team's ages from catching up at the same time.

I'm hoping for Beltre, no one else looks even remotely interesting.

Hugh: I agree with you that trading for a young third baseman would be ideal, but teams are reluctant to trade a major league ready prospect with a high ceiling, even for a similar prospect at a needed position.

There's just too much risk. If a team develops a prospect that bombs, that's unfortunate but expected. If a GM trades prospect-for-prospect and the new one underperforms the old one, his job is in jeopardy.

I would get POlanco but not as a primary replacement for Feliz. I would bring him because he isa credible threat to ghet on base whenhe come sup to the plate and he can spell Utley.

I might also trade for a real high 3b prospect.

This is primarily economics 2009. Why pay $5.5 when a 20% discount is available for the asking?

RE: Polanco.

5 years total (Phi & Det combined)
.314/.357/.407/.765

Sounds OK to me, but, is he trending downward ?

2005: .331/.383/.447/.830 Phi & Det combined
2006: .295/.329/.364/.693
2007: .341/.388/.458/.846
2008: .307/.350/.417/.768
2009: .285/.331/.396/.727

Type A FA coming off a $4.6M contract, and, as posted above, would require a 1st round pick. If he could be had for $15M-18M for 3 years, is it worth it, or, should Rube reserve that money for securing the services of one Clifford Lee for 3 more years?

* should be "partial payment for securing the services of one CLifford Lee..."

Is it a no brainer that Detroit will offer Polanco arb?

Maybe I am understanding this incorrectly. If Detroit doesn't offer Polanco arb is he still a type A free agent?

J.R. King: I completely agree with you that landing a 3B in a trade is difficult and unlikely. I am only expressing my opinion that the possibility should be explored this offseason before they settle on one of the options available in the FA market.

Polanco like the rest of us is not getting younger. He is tending down but if you are not looking to make him the starter at 3rd Base he has at least 3 good years of exceeding everyone who has been a Phillie off the bench.

Again why not look to trade Micahel Taylor for Brett Wallace both have equivalent minor league records but each could fill an appropriate need Oakland could use Taylor inteh poutfield and teh Phils could use Brett Wallace in 3rd Base.

Wallace 20 hr 293/367/455 (ave/OBP/slg)
Taylor 20 hr 320/395/549

Yes on paper Taylor looks better but what do we need another poutfielder or a3rd baseman?

CY,

Yes, the Phillies would only lose a draft pick by signing a free agent if the former team offers arbitration to that player.

If you remember, the Phillies got nothing when Pat Burrell signed with the Rays.

I think they'll go after Beltre. Given Gillick's ties with Seattle, and the fact that Ibanez as well as Moyer are here, that could entice Beltre to come in. He's listed as 30 years old. If not him, then Atkins. I'd like the team to get younger @ 3b, not older. But don't be surprised if Pete Happy returns.

The Pirates just got Iwamura for a reliever with one pitch and no control. So the trade market for a third baseman can't be that difficult.

if we cant do anything else I would go with Polanco and Feliz (back at a lesser price). POlanco can spell Utley as well.

The Phils didn't lose the WS because Feliz was playing 3B. The only thing Rube wants to upgrade is the pitching.

Dpatrone - I love how you have to say he is "listed" at 30 years old. Just like Iverson is "listed" at 6-1.

I don't know Wallace but, with Beane's long term plan of having Chavez hold down 3B up in flames, that doesn't seem the spot that he'd be looking to deal.

Ryan Zimmerman is going to start costing the Nats a lot of money. If we want to upgrade, why not shoot for the best. That's what the Yanks and Sox do. I know it would be tough to get him and it probably won't happen but we can dream a little can't we? Start with Taylor and a pitcher and see what goes from there.

There is 0 chance we can get Zimmerman. Plus, he signed a 5 yr 45m contract this past season. Forget it, he is locked in and the only face of that team (until Strasburg comes along).

"The only thing Rube wants to upgrade is the pitching."

I think Ruben has already addressed that statement to be wrong.

Are the GM meetings this week?

Usually some news from that.

bb - There's words and there's deeds. Any "upgrade" at 3B is going to cost less than $5 million.

I believe the GM meetings start today in Chicago. I agree with curt - 3B will cost less than $5MM next year. AS for upgrading the pitching, indications are that they will go to Spring training with potential starters largely in the system already. That would mean another season of adding to the rotation at the deadline. Infield help and bullpen help are the issues for the off-season, it seems.

Do you think Beltre signs for less than $5mil?

(1) Beltre is only 5'11"!!!!!!!!!!

(2) Interesting factoid:

"Beltre's decision not to wear a cup despite playing third base has been well-documented. This really came back to hurt him on August 13, 2009, when he took a hard ground ball to the crotch. Although he stayed in for the remainder of the 14 inning victory, he was put on the DL after suffering bleeding in one of his testicles. In his first game back from the DL from that injury, teammate Ken Griffey Jr. conspired with those responsible for the Safeco Field PA system to have Beltre's at-bat intro music be the waltz from The Nutcracker Suite."

Adrian Beltre is intriguing to me. I'll lay out my case:

1) He's 30. A lot of the other names we'll toss around (Tejada/Polanco) are several years older.

2) He's a gold glove caliber 3B. No matter what you think of the gold glove voting, he is no worse than Pedro in the field. At age 30, we could hope for this to continue.

3) He's got some pop. He isn't a high OBP guy, but even in his one weakness spot, he makes for an upgrade over Feliz. He's hit 25 homers in an extreme pitchers park in Seattle 3 out of his 5 seasons there. He could be good for 25-30 in Philly for a couple of years.

4) He has struggled with the big salary, franchise player tag in Seattle. Clearly they overpaid for him coming off a career year, but given his age and athleticism at the time, it wasn't as crazy a decision as it seems in retrospect.

Cons:
1) Health
2) OBP.

I would've loved to get Iwamura from Tampa Bay, but since the Rays were sort of stuck by having to decide on his option the day after the WS, we couldn't really get in on that.

Polanco's age kind of concerns me; the mid-30s are notorious for claiming second basemen. some of his batting trends are little alarming too. his line drive pct has dropped over the last few years, and a flukishly high batting line on ground balls in 2007 (.639 OPS, compared to .513 on his career) was the main reason he posted a 122 OPS+.

I've heard Kevin Kouzmanoff mentioned several times as a trade candidate. his batting line looks a lot like Feliz's with more strikeouts. he has a ridiculous line at CBP, albeit in only 10 games (.372/.400/.651). I don't know what his defensive rep is; his UZR was very good in 2009 but only average in 2008 and poor in 2007.

my hope is Adrian Beltre at say 3 years, $7M to $8M per year. an .800 OPS 3B with a 10+ UZR would be easily worth that IMO.

a point about Beltre's OBP: while he's not a big on-base guy, he's a much more patient hitter than Feliz. on his career he sees 3.77 P/PA; Feliz sees 3.34. that's a pretty significant difference.

RK: Funny you should mention Brett Wallace. Jack and I debated him last seson although I can't recall why. I was a lot higher on him than Jack was, although with the season he had this year Jack may have changed his mind.

curt: "The only thing Rube wants to upgrade is the pitching."

That's why he's said he will not be going after a starting pitcher, but is looking at alternatives to Feliz at 3B? Is he trying to fake us out?


Iwamura's very expensive for a Pirate - I think he has the highest salary on the team currently. By mid-season he, too, will likely be on the trading block. A little late for the Phils' immediate needs.

Hugh - I was kind of hoping the Phils would explore a trade too but there isn't a ton of young, talented 3B around the league. Given that this team is really designed to "win now" and that there are several veterans on the market (including Feliz) who can be had, I wouldn't mind the Phils signing a temporary solution for the next year or two.

Clout: I remember us discussing him, but I don't exactly remember what the debate was. I like Wallace as a prospect--I think my issue was I didn't see him as a clear top-level future impact guy because his defense was questionable at 3rd and he hadn't yet shown enough bat to be a star at any other position (1B, LF).

He's a nice hitting prospect, no doubt. But he put up an .822 OPS this year in hitters' leagues while scouts have questioned his ability to play at 3rd. I think he becomes a good major league player but not a star. Could definitely be a .300/.370 hitter with 20 HRs--great if he can play an adequate 3B, but not anything amazing if he's a 1B, OF, or DH with little defensive value. Reminds me of Billy Butler on the Royals (who put up significantly better hitting stats in the minors).

Beltre had 8 home runs and 19 walks last year in 111 games. He would be a downgrade from Feliz, and its hard to believe he's really 30 given his career arc.

DeRosa put up a .319 OBP and will be 35 and coming off surgery next year.

In fact Figgins is the only available free agent who would be a definite upgrade. I doubt the Phillies would pay him $10 million, which I think he'll get. The lineup wouuld be amazing with him though. Barring that, I'd expect a trade.

Figgins should be the guy and would be the ideal fit for this lineup (He is your new leadoff guy while JRoll drops to 7th) but I can't see the Phils spending $7-$8M at 3B next year and largely overlooking their bench and bullpen.

There are a couple of very solid prospects at AA/AAA but C and INF are largely devoid of any real prospects that could contribute next year in a meaningful way and there isn't enough pitching depth to rely upon it to round out the bullpen & starting rotation.

How about Andy LaRoche? Pirates have Pedro Alvarez on the fast track to the majors at third base, and want to resign Iwamura at second, leaving no place for LaRoche. He had a 97 OPS+ last year and an acceptable 5.1 UZR/150 at third. He's also only 26 years old.

Last point on Feliz - Still never understood why the Phils gave Feliz 2 years with a buyout option to begin with. There was no other team including the Giants who adamantly refused to offer Feliz a guaranteed 2nd year.

It is largely water under the bridge at this point but if Feliz supposedly only really elicited interest as a starting 3B from a few teams even 2 years ago including the Pirates and Phils it is hard to believe that he will get anything more than a 1-yr deal with a real likelihood he ends up as a bnech guy who can sub at 1B/3B.

I'd be shocked if Figgins went for only $7M/$8M next year, MG.

Nick: Beltre was injured last year. the 3 years prior to that, he averaged 25 HR and 45 walks. he's patently not a downgrade from Feliz (much less a 35-year-old Feliz).

regarding age, baseball players do not peak in their 30s, they peak in their mid- to late-20s. aside from 2005, his aging curve looks completely normal.

I'd rather Pedro Feliz than Andy LaRoche.

DH Phils - based on the ascendancy of Alvarez and the addition of Iwamura, I am pretty much convinced that Huntingdon is shopping for a deal for La Roche. They'll want a serious return on him, though. I tend to think they won't move him unless and until they're ready to move Alvarez up and then only if they can move Iwamura but, he's hte guy I'm looking at as a potential young addition to the roster in Philly.

MG-I think you've beaten the multiyear deal to Feliz story to death. You're probably right about it, but I think the Phils see the signing of Feliz as being a success and don't really care.

Citing Beltre's numbers from last year is disingenuous. He played with a bum shoulder most of the year and took one in the nuts in early August (which kept him out a month). A healthy Beltre is a huge upgrade of Pedro offensively and even defensively.

I like LaRouche well enough, he's the type of player Philadelphia eats alive, the kind that seriously under-performs his supposed abilities. . . but I guess the same could be said of Beltre.

Figgins is going to cost more than the Phillies are willing to pay (and probably a lot more than he is probably worth)

That's a given, JBird (on Figgins). He wont be worth what he ends up getting.

clout - do you really think Rube contemplates the 2010 Yanks, Dodgers and Braves and thinks "damn we need a better 3B?" He's basically planning to squeeze a couple of million out of Feliz, or, failing that, sign some other aging mediocrity for $3 million.

Curt: My guess would be that if Amaro looks out at the free agent market he can use that fancy Stanford degree to determine that an upgrade at 3b is going to cost a whole lot less than an upgrade to the pitching staff. Thus, there is a greater likelihood for a bigger return on investment (because the investment is smaller) at 3b than at pitcher. The Phillies aren't going to spring for Halladay, Figgins, or Lackey so they need to improve around the margins. Beltre > Feliz for a difference of $3 million(?)

The Phillies have already made the only move on starting pitching they'll make this offseason: Picking up Lee's option.

The Phils starting pitcher candidates for next season are:
Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, Moyer, Kendrick, Drabek

I'm also not sure how much the bullpen will really change. I figure we'll have Lidge-Madson-Romero for sure (unless there's something we don't know about Romero's injury). I also think they'll bring back Condrey since the price will be right. They're attempting to re-sign Park.

That leaves just a question on Durbin and whether they replace Eyre with another lefty.

It wouldn't surprise me to see the Phils fill one of the slots with an internal candidate and then replace Durbin with someone who can be a backup closer.

The big question mark is Hamels. If he develops that 3rd pich and takes his offseason seriously (which I think he will) that's an awesome rotation. Blanton's better than a lot of teams' #2. Having Happ/Moyer/Kendrick/Drabek to fight over the 4/5 spots in the rotation is better depth than most teams without a $200 million payroll. One more piece in the bullpen and they are set, I think.

A rotation of:

Lee
a healthy/rested Hamels (more like 2007 or 2008)
Blanton
Happ,
???

Is better than pretty much any other NL team. The rotation should not be an issue next year.

I don't see Durbin back at his price but I do see Eyre back (assuming the surgery today is a success). Park I would like to see back at a moderate price and guys like Bastardo, Mathieson and Escalona will likely be given legit auditions for the BP.

BB - For what they paid, he was adequate and was better than Nunez (not exactly a high bar to set).

I wouldn't mind seeing Feliz back next year especially a part-time starter but he has worn down badly the past 2 years after the ASB. Historically, Feliz generally has posted stronger numbers in the 1st half and faded as the season goes on.

Career split:
.262/.300/.433 pre-ASB vs. .242/.283/.407 post-ASB

It is overlooked but Feliz has had decent enough numbers before the ASB the past two years as a Phils. Last year he got hurt and his numbers fell off a cliff from August on.

This year, Feliz numbers were very adequate before the break: .293/.338/.418 but his numbers after the break really fell off (.236/.274/.351) and Feliz was pretty close to an automatic out the last 2+ months including the postseason.

I could see Feliz be very useful for a team next year that started him 110-120 G instead to keep him a bit fresher and give him a breather against select RHP pitching.

Problem is that Dobbs just can be counted on to be healthy enough to be a true platoon player and as long as Feliz is on the roster, Cholly will trot him out there nearly everyday.

It is not only spending the extra money on a guy like Beltre but the likelihood you will have to give him 3 years.

Figgins might get more than $8M/year because the market for hitters is so weak this year after Holliday/Bay but it would be a mistake. If some team signs him to a 4/$40M deal, they are really going to regret it.

Hamels has a 3rd pitch...its called a curveball. He was very unlucky in 2009 which led to mental meltdowns. He needs to be rested and fresh which will likely lead back to his vaunted pre 2009 mound presence when he took no prisoners. We need that cocky 20 year old that struck out Jeter, Arod, and Tony Clark in Spring Training. That guy was a killer. That guy won the WS MVP with just 2 pitches. Having only 2 pitches does not mean you cant be a starter, just ask Tom Glavine.

Curt: Your line of thinking seems to be "Pre WFC".

MLB Trade rumors quotes an article or something about Dan Uggla being a candidate to fill the Phils 3rd base role...

i dont think there is any substance to this, but hell that would be some extra pop in the lineup...

Does anyone know if he ever played 3rd in the minors or in college?

I agree the Feliz contract was not the best but it wasn't as bad as some people present it as.

The Phillies had a hole and they went out and filled it. Maybe they paid a little too much, but sometimes you need to make yourself the bigger offer to avoid negotations. At the time they signed Feliz there were not that many options out there anymore other than hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with someone.

Pedro got 8 million for 2 years of .259/.306/.393/.699. Certainly not great but his defense was solid and that filled in some gaps. He was also excellent in the 2008 World Series. That doesn't excuse anything but he was a solid piece in that series.

The reason I'm ready to see him go is you can see the defense really hitting a wall soon and I'd rather he were elsewhere when it happens. He is losing range to his left and once that starts happening to a third baseman everything around the infield defensively starts snowballing. Thank Pedro for his service and find someone who is comparable to what he was 2 years ago.

MLBTR sees Valverde landing with the Phils.

Pipe dream?

Pedro Alvarez is one of the best hitting prospects in the minors, if not the best. He also is pretty raw at 3B. He also has yet to play a single inning of Triple A.

He is definitely the Pirates 3Bman of the future, but the future is not 2010 unless the Pirates are willing to let him learn on the job on defense, which I doubt.

Valverde and Mark DeRosa...I just don't see it.

I'd rather have Beltre and Mathieson personally. Overpaying for relief pitchers rarely works out.

NEPP: I meant a good 3rd pitch. I don't know what the technical name for Glavine's 3rd pitch was... it was the one he threw that was 6 inches off the plate but was still a strike. If Hamels could learn to throw that pitch, it'd be great.

I'm not disputing the unlucky argument for Hamels, though he did seem to make his own bad luck at times last season. I'm not attacking him, like I said, I think he'll be better next year.

So do I. I think Hamels will be better regardless of whether he learns a legit 3rd pitch or not.

JRoll will be the leadoff hitter even if Figgins gets signed by the Phillies. In fact, the only way JRoll is not the leadoff hitter for the Phillies next year is if:
1) he's injured or dead
2) he's traded away
3) Rickey Henderson showed up in prime shape (and even then Jroll would probably grudgingly give up his leadoff spot to his idol)

The ignominy of being lower in the order would crush Rollins and he'd become a malcontent cancer on the team. The best we fans can hope for is that he more than bounces back and gets on base at a .350+ clip.

Andy Marte might not be a bad pickup if he can be signed for real cheap.

Kouz has been getting defensively, not only by the UZR metric, but also in the eyes of viewers.

Tejada is interesting, but I'd only be interested if they got some other young 3B in the pipeline.

Injuries and age are going to take a bigger and bigger toll each successive year with this team given that they play and pitch more games than any other team. They need to bring in some arms and develop some young infielders.

Has anybody heard whether G. Chacin is still with the club and in the mix for next year?

Andy LaRoche has been the subject of whispers about his lackadaisical attitude for a couple of years now. The Phils usually stay away from that sort.

A starting pitcher coming in this off-season is probably a moot point. Unless Moyer retires (possible??)or a trade involving a starter is made (unlikely) there is just no room for one. They can't even decide whether to offer an extension to Lee at this point. And they probably can't afford a guy like Halladay anyway just to use a name.

We will probably see a new 3B-man and certainly changes to the 'pen and the bench but not much more.

One thing scares me. We lost to a very good Yankees team and we are clearly the best team in the NL. Of our starting 8, not much room for improvement. My concern is teams like the Mets, Braves, Dodgers, Cards, and Rockies improve enough to possibly overtake us.

Will Rube be able to do enough where he needs to for us to stay on top?

Andy Marte's a 1st baseman now. Don't know if that was out of necessity because of defense or if that's just what Cleveland needed at the time.

Aside from the late addition of Lee, this pitching staff is the definition of "mediocre." Not the the fantasy staff (where Hamels is not the current Hamels, Lidge is not the current Lidge, etc.), but the real staff. Cholly trusted poor old Pedro Martinez more than any of them at crunch time.

JRoll also factors into the equation at 3B too in this way:

- Phils could count above average power and overall production from JRoll at the SS position the past few years. This year they didn't get that.

Given, JRoll had an adequate enough 2nd half offensively but Amaro has to be wondering if he going to get a JRoll who going to be aging and lose/speed that made him such a unique talent offensively at SS. SS who give you a line of .265/.315/.430 with the 20+ HRs a year or the 30+ SB with a great SB % isn't really that great of an offensive presence at SS. More run of the mill.

Power yes from JRoll but SLG no.

NEPP: but we can both agree that a legit 3rd pitch wouldn't hurt, can't we? And a baseball player should always be striving to improve and to get an edge.

TNA: why exactly would Jimmy necessarily become a cancer?

Fangraphs says Feliz was "worth" $6.7M his first year with the Phils and $5.7M his second year.

It's amusing to look back just a couple months ago when most people said it was a no-brainer that Feliz would be brought back.

It may be worth mentioning that for Beltre's career he is a substantially better player in the 2nd half than in the 1st half and that his early season play would probably not endear him to Phillies fans, if he's the guy they go with:

1st Half: .261/.316/.425
2nd Half: .281/.335/.485

On the other hand, his first half line is also better than Feliz's year this year, FWIW.

Dan Uggla? At 3b?

Pass.

re: Marte

Not sure if he played first for CLE because Garko was traded and/or Peralta, a former SS, was a better 3B defender after Cabrera got the starting SS job. As a prospect, Marte's 3B defense was vaunted although it was nothing but average during his time in the majors so far. But he's only 25 years old. I'd love to see what Manuel can do with his hitting. That said, Marte should be signed explicitly as a project and not as a dependable everyday 3B. Perhaps trade for Tejada to fill the short term if the cost isn't too much and develop Marte?

"JRoll will be the leadoff hitter even if Figgins gets signed by the Phillies."

Yep. 100% true.

"Will Rube be able to do enough where he needs to for us to stay on top?"

Riiiight... because it's been apparent so far that Amaro is planning to rest on his laurels.

Feliz would have been brought back had not the FA market gone to h*ll. Rube and those few GM's not completely broke can now pay less for more.

I dont know if this has been said, and maybe i am just being ignorant, but didn't the phillies set attendance records at their new ballpark by selling out over 90 percent of their home games? Did they not end up playing 8 out of a possible 9 home playoff games?

Money should not be an issue for this team. I'm not saying have a yankees type payroll, but there is no reason why they cannnot improve their payroll right to 160 million which i believe is the cusp of the payroll tax.

We've all seen the payroll numbers for next year, and even if the phillies have to give up some serious arbitration money, they would still have close to 40 mil to spend before hitting that 160 million. I could have done my math wrong, but 40 million is a ton of money in this market, no reason why they couldn't get figgins at 10 a year. I could be way off here tho...

Mike: There is a 0% chance the Phils will go into the season with a $160M payroll.

Besides, the payroll as it stands going into next year is closer to $130M already. I'd guess the Phils will spend between $10-$15M this offseason at the most.

JBird-

Rollins put up a lot of resistance and was outwardly bitter when dropped lower in the order this year. As the self-proclaimed captain of the team, that attitude generally reflects a me-first, rather than a team-first attitude.

The only way Rollins is dropped from leadoff permanently without being disastrous is if he owns the move to a lower spot in the batting order. And that isn't happening. His inability to draw walks is just ridiculous for a leadoff guy. When he can't hit, or when his balls in play don't drop in, his OBP drops 50 points. He needs to learn how to take walks because it'll make his OBP much higher and less volatile. Of course, there's little chance he's going to change given that he's a former MVP and probably doesn't think that taking walks is as good a way of garnering attention to yourself as getting hits. It's as if he thinks he's Ichiro, except he doesn't have the speed, coordination, and hitting ability of Ichiro.

If Figgins is signed, couldn't J Roll go to #2 hitter?

funny how Abreu was constantly slagged for (supposedly) refusing to hit leadoff for the Phils, while Rollins' refusal to not hit leadoff is just pretty much accepted as a fact of life.

I know, I know, move on etc.

Uggla played 228 games at third in the minors, compared to 290 games at second. don't know if advanced fielding stats are available for minor leaguers, but he had a .929 FP (pretty bad) and 2.76 RF (pretty good).

If the Phillies get Figgins and lead him off they will be an offensive juggernaut. Adding that kind of OBP to the top of the lineup will give the Phillies a sick lineup and another tough out.

The biggest problem with our lineup in the WS was too many easy outs with hackers like Rollins and Feliz who create outs in 70% or more of their PAs.

Beltre although maybe better in the field, gives you another Rollins in the lineup - .320-.330 OBP and 20 HRs. Figgins although lacking power would be an almost 100 point OBP increase over Feliz. We just can't pass that up.

I don't know, CJ, about 0%. It maybe unlikely, but not totally out of the question. After the 5% increase in ticket prices I expect, I figure $160 million would probably lead to a break-even year if they can just reach the playoffs. You know they've turned a nice profit the past two years, and the value of the team has probably risen 20% in the past three years. Ownership is doing fine, so I could see them going for broke.

However, there are a lot of Ivy league thinkers in there that realize they can make almost as much revenue with $20 million less payroll, still be almost just as likely to make the playoffs, and the whole playoff thing is a crap shoot anyway.

Andy: I agree with your description of the staff as 'mediocre,' at least as it applies to the bullpen. I think their rotation is closer to the top of the division than it is to the middle. The pen, on the other hand, may closer to the bottom than it is the middle, especially in light of all the questions that persist. I still believe that the Phils will spend the money to make some major changes in that area, filling the holes at 3B and on the bench with cheap FAs and vets from the farm.

How (if?) that happens will be fascinating to watch, and should give us a much clearer pitcure on Ruben's approach to the job and Charlie's relative power within the organization.

SmokyJoe: It's not just that they could get the same revenue or more by spending less... it's that spending more doesn't necessarily mean the team will be better... and signing big deals generally means long-term committments that can have disasterous results down the road.

I'm not sure this team would be better next year or in the next 5 years by spending $20M more this year.

This hads DeRosa written all over it. They have always seemed to like him

Pedro Feliz may not have been the best signing ever when we got him (though I think, once his defense is considered, it was a fair deal), and maybe a one year contract would have made more sense. But check out the respective lists of 2009 and 2010 free agents for third base. Looks like there was a decent business decision behind the two year contract.

2009 Free Agent Third Basemen (* = team option)
Casey Blake LAD
Hank Blalock * TEX
Joe Crede CWS
Morgan Ensberg NYY
Chipper Jones * ATL
Corey Koskie MIL
Greg Norton ATL

2010 Third basemen
Rich Aurilia (38)
Brian Barden (29)
Adrian Beltre (31) - Type B
Wilson Betemit (28)
Aaron Boone (37)
Craig Counsell (39)
Joe Crede (32)
Bobby Crosby (30)
Mark DeRosa (35) - Type B
Pedro Feliz (35)
Chone Figgins (32) - Type B
Nomar Garciaparra (36)
Troy Glaus (33) - Type B
Nick Green (31)
Adam Kennedy (34)
Mike Lamb (34)
Mark Loretta (38)
Melvin Mora (38) - Type B
Pablo Ozuna (35)
Robb Quinlan (33)
Miguel Tejada (36) - Type A
Juan Uribe (31)

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