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Friday, December 11, 2009


"Rookie GM Ruben Amaro... Does anybody really think he's going to let Halladay -- the best pitcher in baseball who likes the idea of training in his backyard -- be traded without the Phillies making a bold offer?"

Umm, yeah, all of the geniuses at BL -- until yesterday.

Talked to a couple guys from St. Louis on the parking shuttle at Phila. Intl. yesterday. Both said that the press there is constantly spinning rumors about the Cards acquiring Halladay. Seems like a common pastime around the league.

Hugh - they were confusing Halladay with Holliday. The Cards have Dave Duncan.

Giving up Happ in a deal for a top line starter is a good deal in my mind. KK will easily replace Happ at the back end of the rotation.

I wonder if KK is seeing a shrink this off-season.

the Mets want Jason Bay? Sure, because he'll solve all their problems.. ha

Bay in NY seems like a bad idea to me. Personally I would rather see them sign Bay than Lackey. Anyone else?

I'd be curious as to how the Phillies view the investment in Chapman. I know it's going to be 3 and change a year on average but it is an investment that may have long term benefits to the club.

You don't necessarily win the bidding- just do enough so that it looks like you are a competitor and valid destination to that market of players. Could pay huge dividends down the road

KK saw a shrink in the L.V. who specialized in the removal of the DITHL body language.

I'm wondering if the Phaithful is seeing a shrink this offseason .... I am not confident that KK can match Happ at this point.

The Phillies are the 'Yankess of the NL'? GAG. I want to smack Verducci in the face. I feel personally insulted!

The only way I see the Halladay thing working is if Blanton goes to the Angels (or another playoff-aggressive team) in exchange for a prospect and/or cash. One of the prospects along with some Phillies prospect gets moved to Toronto for Halladay. In addition to trading for Halladay, they should try to acquire a reliever; heck, Downs fits the bill not only as a lefty, but as a middle reliever who has experience closing games. He's currently slated to platoon the closer role with Frasor, but instability in the closer spot is rarely good for a bullpen (ahem!). The Jays could be better off picking one and getting value for the other. And wouldn't you know it? Both of them are slated to be free agents in 2011.

Yeah, the Castro and Gload signings sure reek of a Yankeesesque move!

Yankees have a budget and the Phillies have a budget. Yeah, just a different league.

If the Mets really put $65 million on the table to Jason Bay, I would assume he would take it.

Reports are Bay is looking for 5 years, I think.

Would you take a $65 million promise from a guy named Ponzi?

The Mets have so many problems that signing just Holliday or Bay won't solve them. They need to unload Luis Castillo, sign a free agent OF, replace Delgado's power (when healthy) in the lineup, sign a good corner outfielder, and sign a starting pitcher(s), a good one, behind Johan Santana. Oh, and rebuild their bullpen now that Putz was a disaster. K-Rod and a couple of good specialists, that's it. They have no setup man.

That's too many holes to fix in an offseason. They've got Santana, Maine, then Pelfrey and Perez, neither of whom can be relied on, and a hole in the 5th spot of the rotation (ideally held by Pelfrey with his numbers). They need Bay AND Lackey to address this, and then they need bullpen help and a second baseman.

And, might I add, they don't have a farm system to address this either. The Mets are in bad shape. It's the Braves who scare me. They've got 8-10 million to spend, and that's enough to land a good bat. You add another hitter to the McLouth/Jones/McCann mix, with Escobar/Prado as leadoff, and they'll be trouble. If I were the Braves, I'd be pushing hard for Adrian Gonzalez. That would be pretty scary.

Sorry for the "sign an OF" twice, part of the post above.

Signing Bay kills 2 birds with one stone: they replace Delgado's LH power and improve the corner infield position. But they still have very thin starting pitching after Santana and Maine, a thin bullpen, a problem on the right side of the infield, and no catcher (yet, although I'm not high on Bengie Molina, Torrealba would probably be better I think).

Maine's a nice pitcher, but he's faded at the end of the season a few years in a row now.

Theodfather: Good post. I think we both share the same feelings regarding the Braves being closer to us than the Mets.

A question for the board: If you are the Mets, don't you get by now that pitching overall wins? Why then is their first move to throw $65 mil at Bay?

Would the better move to be to go after a couple starters and bullpen guys with that Bay money? Then sign someone less costly that can do a pretty good job in left for them?

If it were my own $65M, I'd feel a lot safer spending it on a 31-year old everyday player with an .896 career OPS than on a 31-year old flame-thrower who has been a solid No. 2 starter over his career, but has never quite been all that he should be & has started to have injury issues in recent years.

But, putting aside the long-term risks involved in the 2 players, there's no question that the Mets need a guy like Lackey more than a guy like Bay. When the Mets have all their guys healthy, they have a potent offense. Adding Bay will, of course, make it even better and it will provide an additional layer of injury insurance. But you can't win games just by out-hitting everyone; you also need to have decent pitching. Once you get past Santana, the Mets don't have that.

Pelfrey is really coming into his own. If the Mets got Lackey and could trot out Santana-Lackey-Pelfrey-Maine-some dude they'd be in decent shape. They'd still need to find one decent bullpen pitcher to help out K-Rod and some decent power out of LF and 1B but with that pitching someone like Nick Johnson at 1B might be passable. However, that's all assuming Wright gets right and Reyes is healthy all year.

All that being said, yes, the Braves are the real threat in all likelihood.

BAP: Absolutely correct. That is why it is puzzling that Minaya made an offer to Bay first.

That is why the smarter move IMO would be to offer a deal to Lackey first, followed by an offer to a guy like Sheets/Bedard/Garland, then sign a bullpen guy like Gonzalez. In the end just sign a guy in left who is capable of playing decent offensively and defensively.

OTOH, I hadn't realized that Delgado was a FA. He has been a hugely productive player for them when healthy, and their offense would take a big hit if they didn't replace him. So the interest in Bay actually makes good sense.

Agree with everything you wrote there BAP.

What's even more puzzling to me is- it was only one year so this may be an outlier- but the new park there sure seems like it will be more of a pitcher's park than anything. I know the word from the Mets is they like Bay's pull ability at Citi Field, but why not try to lock down the pitching staff?

With Reyes, Beltran and Wright they have a talented group of guys who can run and they could small ball a few runs and win 2-1, 3-1 games with guys like Santana and Lackey in the rotation.

Pelfrey "came into his own" in 2008. In 2009, he was very average. Sub .500 record, ERA over 5 and WHIP at 1.5.

BAP: I understand that but honestly, you can get Delgado back for something along the lines of 1 yr/ 7 mil OR you can sign Nick Johnson for a 2 yr/ 10 million dollar deal. With all their pitching woes, they need that first. Bay won't mean a lick of difference if all their pitchers besides Santana are spotting a 5-6+ ERA.

Beard, that's average if you're talking about a #5 starter.

Pelfrey right now is their number 3. Those numbers are poor for a number 3 starter. I put him in front of Oliver Perez for 3 reasons: 1) Pelfrey isn't the same injury liability that Perez is; 2) Pelfrey is more consistent year to year than Perez is; 3)Pelfrey is still reasonably young and could improve.

That's not to say Pelfrey is the answer, he's not. But he's only been a full time starter for 2 years. Let's see how he does this year before making a final judgment.

And I was wrong about Bay. Thought he was a lefty for some reason. He's a righty. My bad. In which case, Bay just solves the corner outfield problem they've had for the past 3 years, but that's it. They'll be righty heavy with Wright and Bay/Holliday in their lineup. Beltran's a switch hitter, so's Reyes, but outside of that, they have no lefty pop.

With Delgado gone, they need a real first baseman as well. But no one's out there who's very good. So they really can't fix all their roster problems this year, even if they spend like the Yankees.

mvp: I like Nick Johnson, but he's a far cry from Carlos Delgado. And, even if they could sign Delgado to a 1-year deal, that wouldn't really solve their longer term problem. The Mets do need starting pitching, but I can understand why they'd be interested in Bay. Signing Bay may preclude them from going after Lackey, who is a fairly big risk anyway. But it does not preclude them from going after other FAs who would bolster their rotation.

The other thing is that there's nothing wrong with the Mets' pitching that wouldn't be cured by simply a return to career norms from the guys already on their team -- namely, Maine & Perez. The Mets might well have concluded that, rather than paying big money to chase after the guy coming off the big year, it's better to just bet on their own guys to bounce back next year. That strategy would not be entirely unreasonable.

Godfather: Someone above included Pelfrey as a #3, as if having him behind Santana and Lackey would be fearsome. It would not be.

Speaking about pitching, I'd argue the Marlins are in need of some help there as well. Their bullpen is average, but their starting rotation is woefully inconsistent. Yes, that's because they've got a gaggle of young kids, I'm aware of that. But you'd think the team would be thinking of getting a decent veteran for the #4/5 spot to help the kids. It could make a big difference if they have a mentor, as it were. Florida's offense is still very good, even if they trade Dan Uggla to the Giants.

Then there's the Nationals. I actually think they're in a better position overall than the Mets. Why? Because the Nats don't have the dead weight of Castillo or Perez on their shoulders. They also have a decent offense, and if you look at the rotation, it's not like the Mets are in that much better a position. Basically the difference is Johan Santana. That's about it. Maine = Lannan really, and after that it's the pits for both teams.

Nothing like the yearly "this is the year Perez gets it together" watch.

Frankly, if I were GM of the Mets I'd trade just about everyone on the roster with any value and start over. Considering the haul they'd get on Santana, Beltran, Wright, Reyes, and K-Rod with their payroll they'd be back in contention in only a couple of years. It'd be a PR nightmare and it would never happen, but that's probably for the best for us.

BAP, Perez doesn't have career norms, not really. There are years when he's hurt (and awful) and years when he's healthy and good. He's pitched 170+ innings just 3 times in his career, 2004, 2007, 2008. Once with PIT, twice with the Mets, the 2008 year being the basis for his 36 million 3 year contract. But when he's out half the year, like he was in 2005, 2006, and 2009, he's flat out awful.

He's wildly inconsistent year to year and a constant injury liability. You can't have a good rotation with a guy like that, I don't care how good his stuff is. Blanton, because of his consistency and health, is a better pitcher for a rotation for that reason alone.

BB: It's not a matter of his getting it together. Perez has already proven that he can be an excellent pitcher over a sustained period of time. His problem is that he has been wildly inconsistent throughout his career. But there's absolutely no way to predict how he'll do next year. His 2006 season was every bit as bad as his 2009 season, & he immediately followed it up with the best overall season of his career. Plus, even though it seems like he has been around forever, the guy is only 28.

Would I feel confident betting on Oliver Perez for next year? Absolutely not. But, since the Mets are paying him $12M per year, they're obviously going to count on him. It's certainly not out of the question that they could be pleasantly surprised.

re: Halladay

Amaro's meeting with Lee's agent at the meetings could also be seen as evidence of trying to get Halladay. Wouldn't be surprised if Rube told the agent: look, if we don't do a contract extension now we might never. If we trade for Halladay, we're extending him and not Lee.

curt - Amaro may be going after Halladay but it isn't as simple as him just making a solid trade offer.

In fact, Amaro would have to figure out a way to move some serious salary because Halladay is making $15.75M next year, figure out what the back end of the rotation would look like especially if Happ is moved in the deal/Blanton gets traded in a salary dump, weigh the costs of trading some of the limited younger MLB-ready talent this team has that can make an impact this year, and figure out how to have enough money left over to deal with a paper-mache thin bullpen.

Say the Phils get Halladay. Are they really a better team if they have to move Happ in the deal, move Blanton in a salary dump, and rely upon 1-2 Value Village signings/internal options to round out the bullpen.

You would get a team that has a team that has a mediocre/below average back end of the rotation and middle relief core.

Frankly, if the Phils are going to make a move for Halladay, I would take an extreme further step and move Howard too who has his highest trade value right now with 2 years left on his contract.

Keep Blanton, move Howard for for several reasons (salary relief, bullpen help, and a SS prospect is possible), and sign a discount option at 1st base. Amaro would never take such an extreme step but it would be interesting to see a team built around the best rotation in baseball next year that managed to set themselves up potentially nicely for the future too with the prospect hall that Howard would bring in.

Yes, getting Halladay, but trading Howard is a good idea. Ross Gload: You're new starting 1b.

"Perez doesn't have career norms."

Yeah, I would completely agree with that. I actually agree with everything you say. My point is not to exaggerate Perez's ability or to claim that he's anything close to a reliable starter. My point is that he's a total wild card. In any given year, he might be 2 standard deviations worse than Adam Eaton or he might be as good as a guy like John Lackey. I used to say that Perez was the Phillies' Brett Myers, but Myers is a pillar of consistency compared to Perez.

@Mg -- Trade Howard? Did JW put you up to it?

If you move Happ in the Halladay deal. And must trade Blanton for salary space. You are really only paying an additional 7 MM for Halladay. That's really only 7.75 or whatever more. You are going to trade one of the most dangerous hitters in the game to save 7MM and hope that you get a prospect for SS or 3B???


I'm not sure any GM in the universe would ever do that. Not one. Because any signing to replace Howard's offense would be
a) significant downgrade.
b) if not a significant downgrade would provide zero. Absolutely zero salary relief.


I think the ownership would pay the premium on Halladay.

It seem's to me the market/value right now for Blanton is pretty low, because teams know the Phils must move him or non-tender if they acquire Halladay.

If your the GM of the Jays isn't Blanton atractive as the 3rd or 4th player in a deal? You'll be paying him about 3-4 mill for about 16 or so starts and then trade him at the deadline where I belive he will have some real value. A team in the hunt will only have to pay the 3-4 mil quality pitcher with playoff exprience who they won't have to commit longer term to.. I believe he could bring back a B-Level prosect and some change by then

Trade Howard? Are you guys nuts? You're talking about one of the premier power hitters in the league and a core player of the lineup besides Utley and Werth.

They shouldn't TOUCH the offense unless they've got no other choice. It's the best in the NL right now!

BB - It would be a radical move with potential for serious downside. At the same time, the Phils would likely get much more in return for Howard then they will when he leaves in 2 years and players that would help them to remain competitive too.

Any compensation picks you get when Howard would leave won't help this team until several years later. Your talking 2014/2015 which in an eternity in professional sports.

As for Gload, he isn't your starting 1B. There are several candidates (Johnson, LaRoche, Delgado, Blaylock) would be signed as stop gap solutions at low/moderate price.

MC - $8M isn't chump change. That would significantly impact profit margins.

People keep acting like the Phils'ownership has endless pools of revenue streams available to them. They don't. Attendance at CBP last year was +100%. Let's say that the average ticket price increased by 5% this year. Additionally, the Phils were probably able to negiotiate somewhat stronger ad revenues deals but this was likely offset by the advertising market which has gone into the sh!tter.

Reality is that the Phils don't likely have that much more potential revenue coming in this year or next. Their revenue streams are pretty much maxed out in the short-intermediate term.

There is also the real possibility that the Phils don't have a deep postseason run again even if they acquire Halladay.

Last point - the only way for the Phils to substantially increase their revenue streams over the next year or two would be to renegotiate their TV/radio deals when they expire.

Those aren't up this offseason and the reality is that the Phils' potential revenue streams has really hit a ceiling this year. If they don't have another deep postseason run, there is a strong likelihood I bet they make less revenue.

Just saw that CJ Henry scored 11 pts in 10 minutes, including 3 3-pointers in 4 attempts, in last night's 99-64 Jayhawks win over Radford. Has Bobby Abreu ever shot 75% from the 3-point line?

Someone asked about Max Ramirez on the previous thread (the guy the Sox got for Lowell).

He's one of the better hitting prospects in the minors and far superior to Marson, but there are questions about his defense. His arm is OK, but his mechanics and footwork are awful and his game-calling below average.

He focused on his defense in Trip A last season, then hurt his wirist which bothered him all year, thus causing a bad year with the bat. I guarantee he will hit in the big leagues. What position he'll end up at, I don't know.

IF there's is truth to the Halladay rumors,it appears the Blanton rumors are linked. Assuming that is the case, it is more likely that Mgmt has discussed Halladay's $ cost and what they're really willing to increase the payroll to and that number may not be the exact number that's been bandied about in the press. Probably isn't much more than the Blanton-Halladay difference, but I really can't imagine they're thinking about trading Howard or someone of his stature.

They would be getting Halladay to go put them over-the-top for one year.*

All speculation, of course.

Economics 101:

Lets assume we can use the Forbes numbers (which I have to admit I take with a grain of salt).

The Phils' operating income was $16M on revenues of $216M last year. That's an operating margin of 7.4%. Operating margins vary greatly depending upon the industry but that generally is pretty weak. The year before it was 7.3%.

If the Phils' ownership were to have to eat an additional $8M or so on acquiring Halladay (and thats after they move Blanton), their operating income would likely decrease by 50% and the real possibility of a further decline if they didn't have a postseason run.

There is no rational business in the US where a CEO could go to his board and say I want to make an M&A that really doesn't have any additional revenue upside and will slash their operating income by at least 50% and potentially even more. That CEO would be fired on the spot.

MG - You are assuming that sports teams are run as rational businesses, and we all know that's not true.

It's just a matter of how irrational ownership is willing to be.

MG - trade howard and sign a stopgap? A stopgap to what? Is he blocking someone I am no aware of?

JJ Putz to the White Sox, cross him off the list for bullpen help.

MG: That's a surprisingly naive argument from you. MLB franchises are a monopoly. There are a finite number of them and they have no competition in the specific form of entertainment known as baseball.

Year to year profits are mostly an accounting trick and, in any event, a tiny piece of the true value of a franchise. No franchise since the depression has ever sold for anything less than a huge profit.

MG: I think the argument against what you propose is that the CEO would have to go to the board and tell them how it would increase revenue long term.

Getting Halladay is the type of thing where Phillies fans might not fall off the bandwagon for the next ten years, just because they'll have the feeling that if the team is close, management will go the distance.

MG - Rich people don't buy sports franchises for a nice steady income stream with which to buy the groceries. They own municipal bonds for that purpose.

For the life of me I can't understand why anyone would want to spend $436,000,000 for ebidta of 16.3 million.

CY: Andy Tracy!

Howard is in a major slump and should clearly be traded. The guy hasn't gotten a hit since Nov. 4th!

Kevin Goldstein from BP has an interesting prespective:

Neil (NJ): The Phillies will be sorry if they trade ______ for Doc Halladay.

Kevin Goldstein: Chase Utley. Provided they could get Halladay to sign an extension, there is no Philly prospect who should be untouchable.

"Perez has already proven that he can be an excellent pitcher over a sustained period of time. His problem is that he has been wildly inconsistent throughout his career."

bap, not to nitpick, but yo DO realize that your second sentence contradicts the first, no? The rest of your post didn't really, IMHO, clear up the contradiction. I guess I'd like you to define "sustained period of time".

BobbyD, welcome to the party. I posted the same thought about Lee/Halladay - extension yesterday at 2:19.

MG, are the Phillies really a better team if they trade Happ and dump Blanton for salary reasons? I would say "yes" in one context and "no" in another.

"Yes" if they make the playoffs. Halladay-Lee-Hamels (bounce back version) would be about the best there is in MLB. Can you imagine Hamels, THE stud MVP of the 2008 postseason facing off against most team's #3?

"No" if you figure that they'd be scraping for wins when the bottom of the rotation was pitching. Of course, if they really expect Drabek to make an impact in the 2nd half of 2010, then perhaps they can live with it for half a season.

MG, as far as trading Howard is concerned - or replacing him - IMHO it's only 50/50 that they trade him, maybe even less. If Brown and Taylor have replaced Werth/Ibanez then they may have the wherewithal to keep him.

Besides, he's not the only stud 1B who will be a FA after 2011. There's another guy who probably just as good a hitter, plays better defense and is 2-1/2 years younger. His name is Adrian Gonzalez. Who knows...the Phils may prefer him?

One of the owners of the Phillies made $2 billion on the sale of his company. If the Phils want to break the bank for an exceptional player--something they've shown the willingness to do once or twice in the past 50 years--I think they have the means to do so.

To all - Glad I provoked the kind of response I was hoping. Of course the operating income from a team isn't as paramount for a professional sports franchise as for a publicly-traded company but it is still a business where the revenues streams are pretty much maxed out in the short term and having to take on Halladay's salary would be economically meaningful even if the Phils move Blanton.

You can argue pretty easy the Phils' ownership has potentially moved away from their historically risk-averse model as they have seen the revenue upside potential real success can bring but they also have seen an expansion too on their profits (e.g, operating incomes).

It is probably a much tougher argument for Amaro to push a model that would diminish that profit in the near-term and potential effect their more intermediate/long-term competitiveness.

The other argument is still this if they acquire Halladay- Are the Phils a better team if they have to move Happ & Blanton and go with retreads/internal options to round out the rest of the rotation and the bullpen including letting Eyre/Park go?

Besides, they could probably get Adrian Gonzalez is they also offered a UT job to his brother, Edgar! :)

doubleh: the same owner who sold his company for $2bil also is the one that spoke out about his willingness to spend the money for top players (middleton).

MG, on eof the things you have to keep in mind about MLB teams "operating profit" (OP).

That OP is the number posted after all operating expenses, WHICH COULD INCLUDE large amounts of compensation for the ownership group.

Remember, the Phillies borrowed a lot of money to build the 'Zen. There is probably some kind of covenant with their lenders that they post some kind of profit every year - after ALL compensation. If ownership of any franchise wants to run the operation on a break-even basis every year they can do it simply by paying themselves out of the operating budget.

I'm with clout on the economic forecast you present MG.

Your numbers would hold more power in a business based indutry where there was competition. The only competition for MLB is the other leagues and they still are #2 and they have enough money coming through them

awh: By "sustained period of time," I meant, simply, over the course of a full season.

Bed Beard~

I couldn't agree with your above statements more. At this point, trading Howard is nuts. If the Phils wanted to be creative, They could (or could've): 1. Sign Beltre to play 3B, 2: Move Polanco to 2nd 3: Move Utley to 1st. 4: Trade Howard for a king's ransom. 5: Get Doc and extend him 6: And possibly extend Lee.

Now all of this is far-fetched of course.
The Blanton and Doc rumors probably are linked. The more I read about Rube coveting Doc, the more I believe it will happen. Ergo, reasons for not spending big bucks on the 'pen.

But let's say Blanton is traded and Doc comes in. The rotation is Doc, Lee, Hamels, Moyer, and KK? Wouldn't they be better off with Doc, Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Moyer? The FO will have to crease payroll to accomodate Doc anyway. Can you imagine the icrease in revenue if they got him?

And now for the 'pen: I believe they will tender both Condrey and Durbin. Reason being is stated above. They're just not spending $$ on the 'pen. And Halladay is the underlying factor. Everyone with a brain know Rube is lying about Doc. Rube wants him badly. and has for 2 years.

Now from the last thread, to comment on my perceived negativity. Don't confuse that with passion. I'm about as passionate a phan as there is. What I don't have is patience. I never said Rube was a failure as a GM, In fact he's very good.

Something none of you klnow about me. I have had Cerebral Palsy since birth. All of my life (51), I have attacked challenges head-on. That's my nentality. Not everyone can do or does that. When Rube says "we meed to improve the 'pen, and we would like to do it via FA not trades" and then we phans see guy after guy being signed by oher teams, well that frustrates the hell out of me. Heck, we still haven't even signed Smoltz. How difficult could that be? So, I know he will get it done. I hope soon. Yes, I know the season doesn't start until April. But I hope he doesn't wait ''til then.

awh - A couple of years ago there was a lot of discussion about that very topic. The common "wisdom" was that if the Phillies increased payroll beyond some number (I think it may have been around 90 million) before the stadium was 4 or 5 years old, then the payments on the loan taken out to build it would accelerate.

At the time, a lot of people poo pooed it. But I think the way the payroll has ballooned recently after years of relative austerity may lend some credence to that story.

So, maybe the only think now limiting the payroll is the amount the ownership feels it wants to pay. And btw, if you trade Howard, that means you can not only bring in Halladay and re-sign both him and Lee, but it may mean you can also keep Werth.

clout is right. the value of the team is significantly more important to owners of sports franchises than the yearly operating profits. From a business standpoint, the "brand" of the product is probably one of the most influential aspects of the long-term sustainability of the franchise, and stadium, winning tradition, and likable/marketable players are probably the most important aspects of the "brand". As the article by Verducci in SI alludes to, the Phillies "brand" has increased dramatically in the last 5 years or so, and the value of the franchise has probably doubled in just those 5 years.

So while acquiring a Halladay may lead to a slightly lower operating profit for the year, the brand will only increase, resulting in greater long-term value for the franchise owners.

Double H~ That would be Middleton. My brother-in-laws brother went to La Salle U. with him. Middleton really wants to win and he is I believe the youngest member of the ownership group. He was the drive force behind the Phils getting Thome. The problem is that while he may want to expand the payroll, the others members of the group may not. So he won't use any of his own $$ without and equal commitment from the other owners (Betz, the Buck brothers etc.).

One good thing is that the group is getting very up in age. They don't view the team the way we phans do. For them the team is a toy. Middleton acutally wanted to buy a majority stake in the team but the other owners would not sell. Therein lies the problem.


About the pen, it seems Amaro wants to sign another setup man. He's not looking for a backup closer. Saito is an injury liability, as is Billy Wagner, and many executives around baseball think the Brandon Lyon signing was nuts.

Yes, we'd all like insurance for Brad Lidge. No such reliever exists. Unless you're willing to spend 8-10 million a year for Valverde or another closer who, frankly, isn't as good as Lidge at his best.

There's so many free agent relievers out there right now that the price can and will drop as time passes. They're right to wait. Whomever they want to sign now can be had for much less money in January/February. It's that simple.

aksmith: i'd rather lose Werth and keep Howard.

Obviously, the Phils have pitching needs for bullpen roles and rotation depth. There are several viable in house candidates for the bullpen-Zagurski, Mathieson, Bastardo, Herndon, Escalona. But precious few in house candidates for rotation depth-only Kendrick and Carpenter.

Why is it that Mathieson is no longer ever considered to be a candidate as a starter?

John Middleton is also the guy who told Ryan Howard after the World Series ended: "I want my (bleeping) trophy back. It's (bleeping) ours."

Suze: Really? Where did you read/hear that?

If so, it's kind of awesome.

I'll post this for 'youse' guys and gals, and recommend that you read it very slowly:

Ryan Howard is NOT going anywhere.

He's due $39,000,000 in 2010 and 2011.

There are only about 3-5 teams that could even afford that type of salary, and the big one - the Yankees - are already set at 1B. So where could he be traded without the Phillies having to eat a large part of the salary in order to get someone significant in return?

Let's look at the "big" market teams:

Boston would do it - they'd probably love to have him, but what do you think they'd be willing to give up if they had to take on THAT type of financial commitment?

The Dodgers? Probably not, with their ownership situation the way it is.

Cubs? See: Dodgers.

White Sox? Didn't they require the Phils to eat a significant part of the Thome contract (oh you with short memories)?

Cardinals? Ummmm, they have a guy names Pujols.

Houston? No. Bagwell.

Detroit? No. Cabrera.

Atlanta? IMHO, there's no way they give up anything of significance if they have to take on the whole conract.

Seattle? They want to win badly but they're looking at a significant commitment to King Feliz.

Giants? Maybe, but again, what will they get in return if they want the G's to pick up the whole salary?

Did I miss anybody?

So, while "awh don't make no stinkin' predictions", or is at least reluctant to do so, I'll set the odds for the unrealistic posters here:

There is less chance that the Phillies will trade AWAY Ryan Howard than there is that the Phillies will trade FOR Roy Halladay.

Suze - that IS awesome. And after reading this thread I love John Middleton!

I don't think I'd write the Bosox off that easily, since they could put him at DH/1b, if necessarily. That said, I think they get a 3b and keep Youklis at 1b.

awh - Good point about what type of revenues that ownership takes as an administrative expense before operating income is calculated. One of several reasons I am pretty dubious on the Forbes numbers. Since they are the only publicly available numbers though, I was forced to use them.

Again I don't understand the logic of how Halladay increases the "value" of this team after going to 2 straight World Series. It is pretty much at its zenith right now.

Halladay diminishes the profit margin this year and potentially the more intermediate competitiveness of the Phils if they have to give up a package of Happ/Taylor/x.

It would be incredibly fun to see this team get Halladay but I don't know if they are a better team if they get him given what they might have to do to accomplish it.

Trading for Halladay would be a much bolder move than the Lee trade last year.

One of youse bloggists is a silent owner.

ahw: Houston? No. Bagwell.


Didn't realize Middleton went to LaSalle. I like him even more.

awh - well the odds of the phils trading for Halladay are 75%. Everyone knows that.

So there is a lot of room for Ryan to be dealt I guess.

Oh, awh, did you mean Berkman. I was not trying to be a jerk -- my mind completely drew a blank, until I looked it up. I'm assuming that's what you meant.

closed. Sorry.

I'm sitting myself in a time-out for opening tabs and for some reason not being able to close them.

Darn. CWS signed Putz. He was my first choice for a 'low risk/high reward' reliever.

R. Billingsly: Cross of the D'Backs b/c of Mark Grace being there.

Did this work?!

awh - Just threw out the Howard thing as a potential way to make the numbers work with keeping Blanton. The dollar value is the single most difficult thing to move him but at the same time his power potential is nearly unmatched too. Teams would make room to do so.

"but I don't know if they are a better team if they get him given what they might have to do to accomplish it."

Someone's had too much eggnog. From all the info gathering we can do online, it "only" appears the Phils would lose Happ(+prospect(s)) and have to trade Blanton (for reliever?/prospect(s)?), to get Halladay. They aren't going to have to move Howard/Utley, etc., except in your mind. They would be getting Halladay to put this team over the top, not weaken it.

"awh - Just threw out the Howard thing as a potential way to make the numbers work with keeping Blanton."

fair enough.

BedBeard: Red Sox said they will offer a contract to Kotchman. If they sign Beltre it will be on their, not his, terms. They'd be fine with Kotchman at 1B and Youk at 3B.

That John Middleton quote was reported by Mike Sielski on Here's an excerpt from his story:

"The man in the red Phillies cap and the red Phillies windbreaker moved like a mist through the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium, for that is how John Middleton generally does things. He is a limited partner in the Phillies' ownership group, a cigar magnate who doesn't often speak to the press, allowing David Montgomery to serve as the group's spokesman. It should be impossible to be an invisible billionaire, but Middleton comes close.

"Game 6 of the World Series had ended less than an hour earlier. The five boroughs were still celebrating the Yankees' six-game victory over the Phillies. In the wee small hours of Thursday morning, Frank Sinatra was still singing at Yankee Stadium, and John Middleton was going from player to player in the Phillies' clubhouse, shaking their hands, thanking them, spending a few seconds with each of them, until he came to Ryan Howard's locker.

"Howard was seated and, having showered and changed, was slipping on a pair of white sneakers ... Middleton crouched down in front of him and spoke to him in a half-whisper for a while. Middleton was supportive and encouraging and grateful to Howard for the way he performed this season, and he delivered even his most striking two sentences with that supportive, encouraging, grateful tone.

""I want my (bleeping) trophy back," Middleton said to Howard, gripping Howard's left shoulder with his right hand. "It's (bleeping) ours." "

Simply put, there is an opportunity cost to acquire Halladay in terms of Happ/Blanton and likely limited additional pitching help via FA. It is a bogus argument to say that acquire Halladay automatically put this team over the top. Gives them a hell of rotation 1-3 but likely a shaky back end of the rotation and bullpen.

That is what makes the Halladay trade so tantalizing (win a World Series) but at the same time comes with real risk. This isn't the Lee trade which made sense by all accounts. There was really almost no downside to making that trade. That isn't the case with the Halladay trade.

Godfather SJP~

My wife's cousin called me NJ a little bit ago and he also heard the Lee will test the FA market. I believe you posted that yesterday.

Also phans, I got another call from ny info guy. He tell me this (and I not making it up, actually it makes sense). He believes the Halladay trade will happen very doon, before Christmas. Phil giving Toronto Happ, Taylor and Carpenter or Bastardo. Phils want a 72-hour window to sign Doc to an extension. Amaro is waiting to move Blanton after the Halladay trade from whre and for whom he would not say. Says it's between Angels and Phils but Hallady doesn't want to train in Arizona. Believes Doc will sign a Derek Lowe type contract.

Doc will sign a Derek Lowe type contract? If that wasn't comical, I'd say the Jays can have an extra prospect or two. And if Lee will do the same, that will make 4 WFS championships in the next four years.

Why in the world would Halladay undervalue himself that badly, when the worst he could do on the market would be 5/100? He is a much better pitcher than Lowe was at his peak.

If the Jays will take Happ, Taylor and Carpenter or Bastardo, then I certainly want to play poker with the Jays' GM. For big stakes. And I promise to take it easy on him.

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EST. 2005

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