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Thursday, December 17, 2009

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Haha.. It didn't click in my head until I read my post again... then again, I'm a youngin' and never saw lefty pitch live... only on VHS haha

Don't understand those who are really critical of this deal. Best case scenario for the Phils would have been that Lee would have just agreed to a contract extension. Lee didn't because he thinks he can get an additional year or two of guaranteed money in FA and Lee is probably right about that.

Forced Amaro's hand in order to have a pretty viable shot at being very competitive again in 2011. That is what this deal is really all about. Everybody keeps bringing up 2012 and beyond. Frankly, almost every move Amaro had made since becoming GM has been to create and maintain a window of optimal competitiveness (e.g., win an NL pennant) through 2011. After that, all bets are off.

For the next 2-3 years, who turns out to be a better corner outfielder, Francisco or Taylor? Moreover, Francisco is capable of playing CF as he started 38 games there in place of Sizemore for Cleveland. We'll see how Taylor turns out, but my hunch is that he becomes an average LF-only outfielder, much less a more valuable RF.

"Frankly, almost every move Amaro had made since becoming GM has been to create and maintain a window of optimal competitiveness (e.g., win an NL pennant) through 2011. After that, all bets are off."

Bingo.

"Is there a reason Halladay is wearing 34 and not 32? I would like to know.."

Clipper, wow, just wow. I think this maybe be the NEWEST running joke on BLer.

(Just busting your stones, like you busted mine for MONTHS regarding the "height" thing. Even though that was taken out of context.)

Also remember that the Phillies won a World Series in the year they opened the season with a rotation including Adam Eaton and Kyle Kendrick (although the rest of the roster has been remarkably similar for the past two years). It's not how you start, but how you finish.

Here's something funny...

A comment on Metsblog says the Mets will be paying Bobby Bonilla through 2035.

Now THAT's a bad contract!

mvp: Actually, w/ Halladay being 6'6" & Carlton checking in at a mere 6'4", Roy really should be able to wear #32 in Philly if he so chooses.

Can you imagine Doc vs. the Padres,Reds or Pirates? (the 3 worst ofenses) He'll think he's back in AA ball. plus a pitcher per game.. His eyes are like saucers.

G-town: Nice attempt at a joke. There must be nothing to complain about.

I do find it interesting though that the Phils largely made the Lee trade to Seattle though because of their familiarity with the system and these particular prospects due to Looper.

By almost all accounts, Looper was below average/horrible as the VP of Player Personnel during his tenure. Recommended the pieces that Seattle gave up in the foolish Bedard trade.

Looper essentially was going to be reduced from a VP to head of scouting for the central region of the US last year when Zduriencik took over in Seattle as the GM. That essentially in corporate speak is - "Your are a long-tenured employee and we would rather have you just resign with some dignity than fire you outright."

Basically his hire with the Phils was a "Good 'Ole Boys" hire. Same with LaMar who by most accounts didn't do a credible job in Tampa Bay as the GM.

When Arbuckle left, the Phils scouting and development personnel by all accounts stayed pretty much the same except for a few low-level scouts who left/fired.

I am kind of curious though to learn more about the role Looper and LaMar have compared to Woelever including the Lee trade.

mvp: There's always something to complain about. If you were taller, you'd know that.

MG: See, a post like that doesn't do much to help my confidence RE: the Single A Three.

G-Town - Here are two options

(1)

2010: Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, Moyer
2011: Hamels, Blanton, Happ, Drabek, ?
2012: Hamels, Happ, Drabek, ?, ?

(2)

2010: Halladay, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, Moyer
2011: Halladay, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, ?
2012: Halladay, Hamels, Happ, ?, ?

The Phils have a window. You'd rather have (1) than (2)? The Phils need Halladay (who's signed at an unprecedented, team-friendly deal) for the window more than they need a year of Lee and prospects (esp. considering their depth at OF, starting with Brown).

Halladay is better than Lee in one year (filling more than just what Lee left behind, just reacquaint yourself with Lee's gamelogs). What's more, Lee is gone after next season.

Sophist, Blanton is a FA after 2010, not 2011.

http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/team/front_office.jsp?c_id=phi

Looper is the 'Assistant GM of Player Personnel' and LaMar is the 'Assistant GM of Player Development & Scouting.'

Both of these guys have to have played a key role in the Lee trade. Zolecki spoke with Looper a bit but I haven't heard anything on record from LaMar.

Prospects aside, I just don't have much faith in Looper and LaMar. If there is one thing the Phils have done a poor job of the past 25-30 years is trading their current star players and getting a decent return in prospects. This team almost always manages to get $.50-$.60 cents on the dollar (and sometimes much less).

That is the one legit gripe I can see of those who are critical of this deal. Not having much faith in Looper/LaMar to get decent value in return for Lee.

Scott Proefrock currently on 610..

I also don't see how the Halladay move changes the money they have available to make BP moves for next season. TOR is picking up the 2010 salary difference for Halladay, leaving the Phils in the same position they were in last week to make BP moves.

At least with Feliz gone, we won't be left wondering if Halladay will out hit poor Pedro. If there is one thing I'll miss most about Lee was how he wore his heart on his sleeve up at bat. The guy was stone cold, down to business on the mound, but man, when he ripped that first double... grinning from ear to ear.

"Keeping Lee makes this team the hands down favorite (dare I say lock) to go back to the World Series for a third straight year - at minimum"
This thought is prevalent in many minds. Remember way back in aught-nine when Carpenter, Wainwright and Piniero were channeling Alexander, Young and Bunning and how unstoppable they were in the playoffs?
There are no guarantees in the post-season -- improved odds, sure, but there's a lot of "crap-shootishness" at play too.

You know who has an easy job right now for the Phils - David Buck, SVP Marketing & Advertising.

Great ballpark and a defending 2-time NL champ that just acquired Halladay. He can come to work and play 'Free Cell' all day with a product that sells itself now.

'2010 Phils marketing campaign' - Champs add Halladay.

"Halladay is better than Lee in one year (filling more than just what Lee left behind, just reacquaint yourself with Lee's gamelogs)."

Unless Halladay fills 2 of the 4 (postseason) rotation spots, that's simply not possible. I can see how Halladay projects to be a better pitcher than Lee over the course of the regular season, but I was under the impression that the point of this whole exercise was to win a World Series. One cannot presume that Lee would have been able to repeat his '09 postseason success ... however, one must also take into account the fact that even if halladay matches what Lee did, the Phillies still lose. This team needed a bullpen & a bench, & the cost of acquiring Halladay makes such moves far more difficult.

I misread Cot's. 2011 FA means guys whose contracts end in 2010. In any case, it's a wash since he has the same presence in both deals. If anything they may tip the scales further because it only increases the post-2010 SP needs.

Tommy: I'm not tall enough to create a running joke. i'm only 6'1"

Well Halladay will almost definitely start on short rest...something Lee has never done in his career....so that's a plus come playoff time.

Sophist: Since Amaro says Lee wasn't a cost cutting move you forgot #3.

2010: Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Happ
2011: Halladay, Hamels, Happ, ?, ?
2013: Halladay, Hamels, Happ, ?, ?

I'll take #3 with the 3 or 4 comp picks for Lee and Blanton.

Last year, Phils get reigning Cy Young winner (with another 1.5 years left on his contract) for 4 decent prospects at what is usually the biggest seller's market.
This year, Seattle gets a top of the rotation lefty on a 1 yr. rental for 3 decent prospects.

It's beginning to appear that there's more (or less) to Cliff Lee than we may know...

Dave - I agree with you that this team isn't much better than the one that ended the season because of the Halladay trade. Kind of status quo.

To me this offseason was and has been about the bullpen. It was pretty shaky down the stretch and in the playoffs and they actually have managed to get rid of some of their key contributors in Condrey, Eyre, and Park.

I don't know if I would call this bullpen 'lousy' right now but it is pretty close. Relying upon both Lidge and Romero to come back healthy and effective in order to have a credible pen is asking for alot. If the Phils fill out the last 3-4 spots internally with the like of Bastardo, Escalona, Mathieson, etc. the bullpen will stink next year.

Points from Proefrock:

- Says they signed Halladay to extension well below his market value.

- All 3 prospects will start in AA this year, but could very well see MLB sooner than later.

- Could have let go of Blanton, but they wanted prospects back and Lee was the only option to achieve that goal.

- Saying that they needed to re-load in the minors. You can not win just by signing free agents.

- Scott said that they are currently going to evaluate Lidge & Romero's progress after their respective surgeries

- Kendrick will compete for 5th starter spot. If he loses that, he will be used out of the bullpen.

- Bastardo and Mathieson will also be in mix for starter/reliever roles.

- If Lidge can not start season, Madson will be closer until he returns.

Really really good stuff by Proefrock. Should shape up to a successful and interesting end to the offseason.

Sophist, if winning now is taken as over a 2-3 year period (short-term), I agree with you that Halladay is a definitive step up from Lee in that context, which is why I have absolutely no problem with giving up Lee in order to get him. What I do have a problem with is the discrepancy in prospects we gave up for Halladay vs. those we got for Lee.

Toronto obviously wouldn't have wanted Lee as a member of their 2010 team, but the real PR crush they were ultimately going to have to deal with came in losing Halladay. By trading him for Lee+ they might've bought time for the fan base to mourn the loss of Halladay, while receiving a far easier to market commodity (cheaper Type-A free agent minus the no-trade clause). Even if Toronto had no interest in Lee, Amaro should have been able to move him to a third team for prospects Toronto wanted, or worth near to the total value of those of ours that Toronto wanted.

Halladay did not 'come with an extension' as you say, CJ, he simply wanted to play in Philly and was willing to sign one with us in order to do so. Based on the leverage he held over Toronto's trade negotiations, and the discrepancy between his and Lee's 2010 contracts, I stand behind the opinion that their current trade market values should have been very close to equal. The only real reason I am upset with all this is that the package we received for Lee is not close to what we gave up for Halladay, which included two prospects -in Drabek and Taylor- who were ready to play legitimate roles in the major leagues this year (whether or not we'd have actually needed them to do so).

G-Town Dave: The point of this exercise is to get to as many World Series as possible. If you can find me a trade that guarantees a World Series win, sign me up... but it doesn't exist.

What good front offices do is build teams to get to the playoffs and do it many years in a row. Lee was walking. Halladay is signed.

It's pretty simple.

G-Town, I'm not stupid enough to engage in counterfactual WS analysis. You build the best team you can for a season. No one knows what happens in the WS with Halladay instead of Lee.

How does the cost of acquiring Halladay make it harder to add relievers? Halladay costs the same as Lee this year and is a much cheaper addition in future years. As much as you may not like it, Amaro seems to be finished with the bench.

Amaro is largely full of cr@p about Lee not being a cost-cutting move. Randy Thomas and a few others on DNL pretty much called Rube out on that BS.

bp: What the hell are you talking about?

Of course Halladay came with an extension. The trade doesn't happen otherwise.

It's pretty obvious that the Phils are just about maxed out as far as revenues are concerned. What we see is what we get. Revenues maxed means payrolls just about as high as it will go. We always talk on here about selling high on a player or prospect. I wonder if any of the ownership group are thinking along those lines. There may never be a better time to sell your interest than now. I wonder if Middleton could make a move and get a controlling interest. Of course he would be buying high himself, but it may be the only way to get what he reportedly wants. Sorry for going OT there, just something that occurred to me.

FYI: For those calling the Seattle prospects just a bunch of A-ball players... Aumont finished last year at Double A.

"If the Phils fill out the last 3-4 spots internally with the like of Bastardo, Escalona, Mathieson, etc. the bullpen will stink next year."

MG: I recently read an article that had the Phils basically saying exactly that -- the younger guys like Bastardo, Escalona, etc. will be expected to fill the gaps in the bullpen. That's not a pretty picture.

Can we call a rotation headed by Halladay, Hamels, & Happ the "Triple H"? Kinda like Houston's "Killer B's" back in the day.

"This team needed a bullpen & a bench"

Um, I am sorry but didn't the Phils just replace Bruntlett, Stairs and Bako with Castro, Schneider and Gload? I would say that IS an upgrade.

Also, Proefrock just said on 610 that they will try to re-sign some of bullpen guys, but if not, they are comfortable with some of the younger guys stepping in during spring training.

CJ - that the trade doesn't happen without the extension doesn't mean that the Blue Jays could trade 4 years of Halladay. Halladay agreed to sign the extension to come play for us. He had no contract with the Blue Jays beyond this next year. The willingness to sign the deal made Halladay more attractive to us, but Toronto couldn't trade what they didn't own.

CJ - FWIW Keith Law said as much in today's chat on ESPN too.

"Amaro is largely full of cr@p about Lee not being a cost-cutting move. Randy Thomas and a few others on DNL pretty much called Rube out on that BS."

1.) I think you mean Randy Miller

2.) IT IS NOT solely a cost cutting move. Proefrock just said that they tried to get something for Blanton, but they weren't going to return any good prospects for him. So they shopped Lee who DID return prospects. Somebody had to go, just so happened that with Lee you got to restock the farm.

Dave - Maybe it works out but my bet it doesn't. Zero depth * minimum MLB experience + relievers with questionable health status = cr@ppy bullpen.

We have seen this recipe before in 2006 & 2007 when Gillick insisted that Gordon could be relied upon as the closer and that you could field a competent bullpen with little depth, not much experience, and plenty of 'Value Village' types. It doesn't work.

bp-

What do you know about the prospects that we got from Seattle? Why are the prospects we gave up so much better than what we got?

If ours are so much better, and Lee could only get us 3 stocking stuffers, what does that tell you about the value that GMs have placed on Lee vs. Halladay?

CJ, my point is that the extension should have had no negotiable value in the trade talks. Obviously we wouldn't have made the deal without it, but it wasn't offered to us by Toronto, it was offered to us by Halladay. As such, the extension can't legitimately be used as a justification for why the value we gave up for Halladay so far exceeded what we received for Lee.

Two contracts are killing the Phils' right now - Moyer and Lidge. Over 15% of their payroll invested in 2 guys who may contribute next to nothing next year.

I am curious to see that there has been no word on Lidge at all. Should have been some progress on his elbow surgery by now since he had surgery nearly 6 weeks ago. Only vague 'he will be ready for Opening Day' updates when even Stark refuted that nonsense with the usual recovery time for Lidge's surgery placing him at best back by late April/early May.

bp - Again, you can't compare the prospects traded for Halladay to the ones received for Lee and expect them to be equal for a couple reasons:

1. Halladay is unequivocally better than Lee. This simply can't be argued. By whatever measure you want to use, Halladay is a significantly better pitcher, over a much longer period of time.

2. Seattle is only getting 1 year of Lee, the Phils are getting (at least) 4 years of Halladay. If Lee had been willing to sign an extension with the M's, and the Phils willing to grant a 72-hour negotiating window (like the BJs did), the return for Lee would have been significantly higher.

3. Toronto sent 6 mil to the Phils in addition to Halladay...If the Phils had sent 6 mil to the M's to offset Lee's salary, the return in prospects would have been significantly higher.

MG: I just stated above the latest on him and Romero. See Below.


"Points from Proefrock

Scott said that they are currently going to evaluate Lidge & Romero's progress after their respective surgeries

If Lidge can not start season, Madson will be closer until he returns"

"Replace Lee w/ Halladay last season & the Phillies still lose the World Series."

As I said yesterday, that's not a valid argument, since it rests on the ridiculous premise that the entire 2010 season and post-season will play out exactly the same way as in 2009 -- except that all of Cliff Lee's post-season starts will be replaced by Roy Halladay starts.

We didn't trade for Halladay so that we can replay the 2009 World Series & see if it turns out better with Halladay substitutign for Lee. We traded for him so that we can improve our ability to get back to the World Series in 2010 & beyond. If we do, hopefully things will turn out differently this time.

Last thought:

For all of the hype about Halladay and the moaning over trading Lee, it is funny how Lidge is still really the focal point for this team especially if they almost certainly make the playoffs again next year.

Lidge was a big reason why the Phils won it all in 2008 and one of the reason they struggled to in 2009. My bet is that it will be the same again this year and next year too. Just too much money invested in Lidge to acquire a decent alternative.

BP - Maybe I am missing something, but there has to be value placed onthe 72 hour negotiating window, and the fact that the deal was contingent on the extension. If the deal is void without an extension, then technically the extension existed before the trade was made. There HAS to be value placed on that, no?

CJ & Sophist: Sorry, but I have no interest in watching the Phillies become the next Atlanta Braves. Getting Halladay is nice & all, but this team as currently constructed has no chance of beating the cream of the AL crop. Staying "competitive" sounds like being happy w/ finishing 2nd to me, & I don't care for it one bit. Per JBird:

"Since Amaro says Lee wasn't a cost cutting move you forgot #3.

2010: Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Happ
2011: Halladay, Hamels, Happ, ?, ?
2013: Halladay, Hamels, Happ, ?, ?

I'll take #3 with the 3 or 4 comp picks for Lee & Blanton."

That's a killer rotation this season & your beloved "competitiveness" in the following seasons. I would have taken it. Instead, Rube & the FO hedged their bets, & I think it will come back to bite 'em in the ass.

mvp: Is it? Insofar as nobody could possibly be as bad as Bruntlett, I guess so. Taken in the context of "this is the bench of the defending NL Champs", it's pretty damn underwhelming. The bench was 0-17 in the World Series last season. I'm thinking the addition of Gload & Schneider bump that up to maybe 3-17.

ChrisInVT: Yes, you can, because the Monty & Rube stated unequivocally that trading prospects for Halladay necessitated trading Lee for prospects. That's bargaining from an extremely weak position, which is evident in the poor return.

"CJ, my point is that the extension should have had no negotiable value in the trade talks. Obviously we wouldn't have made the deal without it, but it wasn't offered to us by Toronto, it was offered to us by Halladay. As such, the extension can't legitimately be used as a justification for why the value we gave up for Halladay so far exceeded what we received for Lee."

This is a ridiculous statement. Do you really think the BJs didn't have to give the Phils permission to negotiate with a player they owned the rights to? Do you really think the Phils would trade for Halladay (based on the premise that they were acquiring him for several seasons, which was the entire impetus behind the trade) and then HOPE they could work out a reasonable extension with him after the deal was done? C'mon, use some common sense. OF COURSE the negotiating window was part of the deal.

bp: You can argue semantics all you want, but without the extension, the deal doesn't happen. I'm not sure why that's so difficult to understand.

OF COURSE Toronto got a premium because of the extension. A player you'll have for 4 years is more valuable than a player you'll have for 1.

Is that so hard to grasp?

bp, Explain the deal that landed Lee in Philadelphia then. The Phils moved similar prospects and got not only Lee for longer but a 27-year-old capable of playing every OF position with a 106 career OPS+ in the AL making <$450K.

All parties were aware that Lee was a rental and that Halladay came with an extension. It must have effected discussions. I'm also pretty sure there wasn't much talk of extensions last summer when the initial Halladay move was discussed. Even then Lee was worth far less than TOR demanded for Halladay. Don't forget Lee came with Francisco. Francisco may be the most underrated Phil.

mvp - A bullpen with Madson as the closer, questionable Romero, Durbin, internal options, and 'Value Village' types? 2007 redux.

"in the context of"this is the bench of the defending NL Champs", it's pretty damn underwhelming"

G-town: I am sorry we have so many stars that we can't afford to compile the "bench of the decade". Take a deep breath and relax.

Re: CJ's comment on Bobby Bonilla. I found that tidbit fascinating so I looked it up.

"When the New York Mets placed Bonilla on unconditional waivers in 2000, they agreed to pay out the remainder of his contract by deferring the remaining $5.9 million. Instead of paying him upfront for that money they came to an agreement where the Mets would pay him 25 equal payments of $1,193,248.20 every July 1 from 2011 until 2035. He spent the 2000 season playing for the Atlanta Braves. Although that seems like a large amount of money, the present value of those payments at an interest rate of 8% is $5.9 million."

LOL

mvp: I'm not so worried about the bench as it may appear. The bullpen was where the Phillies really needed to improve, & (possible injuries notwithstanding) having thus far failed miserably to do so, I doubt the club will suffer much from the lack of a decent bench.

I'd like to know if anybody has any bullpen NAMES. I found TWO (Beimel and Calero) who are worth a damn.. The rest are "crapshooty" to conjugate a term

MG: So you wouldn't be ok with a bullpen of the following: Lidge, Madson, Durbin, Romero, Eyre, Park/Mathieson/Bastardo?

Also, keep in mind with Halladay he is going to go 8 or 9 innings almost every start. So the bullpen won't be burned out that much with Halladay/Blanton/Hamels in the rotation.

"ChrisInVT: Yes, you can, because the Monty & Rube stated unequivocally that trading prospects for Halladay necessitated trading Lee for prospects. That's bargaining from an extremely weak position, which is evident in the poor return."

Again, they are two separate trades for two different pitchers. Why should the value of one automatically be equal to the value of the other? That's like saying that I should be able to buy 10 shares of Coca-Cola stock with the same amount of money I received from selling 10 shares of Pepsi stock. They DO NOT have equal value because they are two different commodities. What you can do is look at the price you paid for those 10 shares of Coca-Cola stock in July and see what you get when you sell it in December and determine whether or not you made a profit on the deal.

And the "poor return"? Two top 10 prospects and a 3rd with a very high ceiling is not a "poor return." It is exactly the type of return that represents Lee's value, as well established by the market.

G-Town: "No chance" at beating the AL WS representative? A little hyperbole, don't you think? Didn't we beat the Rays 2 years ago. Didn't we take 2 out of 3 from the Yankees during the regular season?

Do you think maybe if Cole Hamels pitches to 2007/2008 form, that 2009 WS might have had a different outcome? Or if Brad Lidge pitches halfway decently? Or if Ryan Howard & Vic hit above the Mendoza line? Or if we replace Pedro Feliz with someone who can hit? Or if you take Hideki Matsui & Johnny Damon off the Yankees' roster?

Your argument starts with the assumption that all of the infinite number of variables will be identical in 2010 as in 2009, and the only difference is that Halladay will be making the starts that Lee made last year. Don't you realize what an utterly preposterous line of reasoning that is?

G-Town Dave: I have no idea why you have any interest watching the Phillies at all. All you do is bitch and moan about every move they make. It's gotta be hard to be that insufferable all the time.

Let's you and I agree not to talk about the Phillies. Thanks.

"I'm not so worried about the bench as it may appear"

Well then stop complaining about it. The bench is upgraded nonetheless, so let's move on.

Offseason Checklist:

Offense (Upgraded)
Defense (Slight downgrade from 3rd)
Bench (Upgraded)
Rotation (Upgraded)
Bullpen ???

On to the bullpen, to wrap up this offseason!

JV-

I don't know too much about the prospects we got back, just what I've read in the last couple of days, mostly over on phuture phillies and other prospect sites. From what I've read the consensus seems to be that all 3 are pretty talented and come with definite upside, but also major question marks, while addressing none of the existing holes in our minor league system.

As far as what the fact that Amaro traded two top-25 major league ready prospects and a third who may or may not be rated higher than any of the three we received tells me? It tells me that he settled for below market value on Lee after putting himself into a budgetary jam wherein he was basically forced to remove Lee's salary from the books before in order to add Halladay's.

Sophist - Agreed. I never understand why people who so casual with Francisco and asked like he was a through-in who had really limited ability as a 4th/5th OF.

By all accounts, the Indians didn't want to move Francisco but they were worried about the kind of raise he would have seen this year in arbitration as a full-time starter. They are that hard up for payroll.

If Cholly has more sense this year, he will use Francisco more especially to spell an aging Ibanez. No reason Ibanez starts next year 150-155 G. Should be more around 140 or so.

Sophist: it was a salary dump. I think it's a little odd that both times Lee was traded the deal came out of the blue. We heard about guys like Sabathia, Halladay, Santana, and Peavy being shopped around and bid on by different teams. However, by the time the idea that Lee was on the market was leaked the deals were done already.

mvp - By almost all accounts, Park isn't resigning here and Eyre isn't likely to either.

Lidge had significant elbow surgery (it wasn't a minor surgery as Amaro suggested) and Romero also is a question mark.

Amaro has plenty of time yet and I bet he likely does sign 2-3 veteran journeyman to very low dollar values (near or at veteran league minimum or even a minor league deal with a major league salary if they make the roster) but my bet is that he better hit at least 1-2 of these to be real solid contributors next year.

ChrisVT - I can't say I know that much at all about the Seattle prospects. In fact, as Sgt. Schultz would say, "I KNOW NOTHING" about them.

If it comes to betting against the Phils though in terms of talent evaluation when they trade major stars for prospects, I would double down on that bet any day.

MG: I agree with you, except that I think Eyre will resign here instead of retiring. That is why I said, the bullpen is the last think Amaro is going to focus on.

Also, like I have stated with Hamels/Halladay/Blanton you are really going to only need Madson and/or Lidge MOST nights. Bullpen is a big deal, but as long as it is stocked with "capable" options, you don't need to spend $10 million upgrading it.

Kinda funny...

Ben Francisco, the throw-in for the Lee deal, may turn out to be better than any prospect dealt in both Lee deals and the Halladay deals.

That's the thing about prospects...

mvp: On what planet are the Phils going to be able to sign Park & Eyre? Also, Halladay's 8 innings/start will be offset by Hamels' 5.2 innings/start. Finally, expecting both Lidge & Romero to come back 100% healthy & effective is expecting a lot.

OK, so the Hamels thing is just sour grapes. I do expect he'll be better this year. But what about Moyer? If he comes out like he did in '09, he'll almost kill the pen single-handedly.

b_a_p: I think the Phils' overall record vs. the AL, the Red Sox, Yankees & Angels in particular, speaks for itself. Without an improved bullpen &/or another solid #2 or #3 caliber starter, the Phillies cannot compete vs. the AL.

CJ: You must have been born around 1990 or so to crap nothing but sunlight & rosewater whenever a vision of St. Rube the Infallible appears before you.

Dave - The argument about 'matching up against AL team in the World Series' is a really a stretch to say the least. Assuming this team makes the World Series again even in a pretty mediocre NL is assuming an awful lot.

restock =/= replicate. G-Town, getting Halladay increased the need for prospects ("necessitating" the Lee move). It did not necessitate replicating what was lost. That couldn't be done.

bp, Halladay and Lee had identical time remaining in their contracts last summer. Lee cost less. That's why the Phils made the move. They simply don't have the same value, and you can't expect Amaro to replicate what he sent to TOR in dealing Lee. The most relevant comparison is the CLE trade.

MG: You're correct, which is all the more reason to field the best team possible. My feeling is that not being so Halladay-obsessed & fixing the problems in the pen & on the bench would have been the smartest plan. Failing that, however, acquiring Halladay & keeping Lee (if only for this season) would have taken care of the former & set the club up very nicely should it be blessed w/ another appearance in the World Series. As it stands, the Phillies did neither.

sophist - Francisco is definitely underrated. he's like Vic except less speed on the basepaths, more power, and a little less contact/avg/obp. Vic's career OPS+ is 99 as opposed to Francisco's 107.

---------
re: bullpen
there aren't a lot of good (and affordable) FA relievers left. but there are quite a number of good 2011 FA relievers that may become available in July. save budget room and prospects for those guys.
the 2011 FA list includes Downs, F. Francisco, Frasor, Qualls, Soriano, Crain, Cruz, Affeldt...all who would be upgrades for the Phillies bp (and guys who likely wouldn't sign with the Phillies because they'd want closer contract terms)

" On what planet are the Phils going to be able to sign Park & Eyre? Also, Halladay's 8 innings/start will be offset by Hamels' 5.2 innings/start. Finally, expecting both Lidge & Romero to come back 100% healthy & effective is expecting a lot.

G-town: Oh G-town, I am about to stop responding to your negative banter. Right now the Phillies are at $118 with about another $18 million in raises coming. That takes them to about #136 mill. You don't think they can sign 2 or 3 bullpen guys with $4-6 million? I ask you, what planet are you living on? Eyre will ask for 2 million, then you sign a guy to $800 K . Then you eithier resign Park or someone else for $2-3 million. Then you are done.

Also, Hamels' 5.2/IP starts? Are you serious? I think you know that 2008 had an effect on him in 2009. You can't honestly be so ignorant to think that he won't revert back right? Then again, maybe your serious?

Two things that wouldn't surprise me with the bullpen:

- No other decent option is signed. Phils aren't spending the likely $4M or more to sign one of the better bullpen options out there as a backup closer. Its Lidge or bust.

- Phils tweaking that spring all next spring including the real possibility of making a late spring trade like they did for Rhodes in 2006.

- Francisco being used as trade bait to acquire a more decent caliber set up if needed.

G-Town, it's really hard to stop picking on you when you keep making statements the likes of the ones you are making. And you've been making them since the end of last season, when you predicted the Phils would be the 'worst 92-win team ever' and get swept in the first round of the playoffs.

You think the results of this WS would have been the same if we had an Ace that could pitch 1, 4 and 7? Game 4 would have had a different outcome. Game 5 Lee ended up giving 5 runs in 7+ and we still won because of the Burnett implosion. You could make a case that the Phils are up 3-1 going to NY if Halladay was able to match games with Sabathia.

But even that is all up for argument. Most of your complaints are. That's why I can't understand how you're so unequivocally convinced that the Phils made a BAD deal here. It sounds like you're more bitter than anything about not having a Lee-Halladay-Hamels front three. So am I. But I'll get over it considering the Phils will, more likely than not, get back to the playoffs this year, and a Halladay-(resurrected) Hamels 1-2 is pretty damn formidable.

Sophist: I agree that replicating what was lost could not be done, which is why I believe it SHOULD NOT have been done ... unless, that is, the Phillies were willing to keep Lee for one more year & take the picks when he walked. Point being, I simply do not believe the FO when they claim that Lee was not a salary dump.

mvp - If the Phils have about $3-$4M on bullpen options, it largely is Value Village time for the bullpen. Even a veteran journeyman LOOGY will likely run around a minimum of $1M or so. Probably more.

MG: Just for fun since you are currently "obsessed" with signing a "sexy" reliever. Can you name me more than 3 releivers in recent memory that were actually worth trading/signing as a free agent?

I can name 5 without even thinking who didn't pan out and earn their money...

Sherrill, Marte, Mahey, Putz, Wagner...

Now your turn.

Going "cheap" on bullpen is not that big of a deal.

Hamels has averaged about 6.1 IP for his career.

So he typically makes it into the 7th inning.

Sophist/CJ/ChrisInVT -

I'm not arguing semantics in asserting what I am about Halladay's extension. What I am arguing is that while Amaro obviously paid for the window to negotiate Halladay's contract, he shouldn't have, or -at the very least- the price for it should have been marginal. Ever since the trade deadline, it has been fairly obvious that Halladay wanted to be in Philadelphia, and that he's generally more concerned with putting himself and his family in the right environment than about making the absolute most possible money on the open market. To know these things and then pay any significant cost for a 72-hour negotiating window is asinine.

As far as the $6m, this should not have been issue. Amaro aught to have known Lee's stance on re-signing going into the offseason, so if he still wanted Halladay he should have planned for it in the budget. To basically sell one of the top prospects in baseball is ridiculous.

Interesting, the Jays GM just said that one possible scenario was trading Lee and prospects for Halladay after which the Jays would flip Lee to another team for more prospects...

mvp: You're smarter than your reply indicates, because I know for a fact you read my entire post, including the part where I pointed out that my initial statement was, in fact, a joke, & specifically said that I expected Hamels to be better than he was last season.

Iceman: I was flat wrong about the Phillies' playoff potential last season, & I readily admit it. However, I believe the Halladay/Lee deals are bad deals because they do not improve the team enough in the short term to justify the cost in the long term. I'm not asking you to convert to my POV, but I'm not gonna change my mind just because others aren't in agreement w/ me. This isn't a popularity contest, it's a discussion board. Hell, if we all agreed there would be nothing to discuss, right?

I'm just waiting for one more post from MG about the 2007 bullpen.

I'd be ok with Mathieson and Bastardo in the bullpen. both have live arms and can probably miss bats from either side. However, that would not be without risk because both need a little bit more developed second pitch.

So I'd be ok with those two under the caveat that you do what you did last year and stash a veteran arm(s) in Lehigh Valley that are ready to go should something happen.

bp-

So let's say the Phils make the trade for Halladay without the extension, as that will lower the price by some amount (although how much is unknown). And then they trade Lee to replenish the farm system (or salary dump, whichever you prefer).

And after this, they approach Halladay about a new contract, and he recognizes he has the Phils over a barrel and demands 6/150 guaranteed. Where does that leave the Phils? And how much would you be calling RAJ out for being so naive as to think that Halladay wouldn't demand a HUGE deal?

No, there was NO WAY that they could take that risk. Either they were going to lock in an extension with Halladay prior to the completion of the trade or the trade wasn't going to happen. And that negotiating window has a price to the team that actually owned his rights at the time. RAJ paid for that window.

And I do like how you are conveniently overlooking the fact that Halladay is simply better than Lee when assessing their comparative values.

G-Town: I would have loved to have a rotation of Halladay/Lee/Hamels, too, but there's risk in that as well. What if Lee has a down year, similar to Hamels from '08 to '09? What if there's injury--and then you've risked it all to win now with no thoughts at all about the future?

Those compensatory picks you talk about won't help the club for 4-5 years. Even if Lee is a pure salary dump, and I happen to agree, a salary dump PLUS a few guys that may/may not be able to help you in 1-3 years is much better than letting the guy walk in a year and getting 2 guys who may/may not be able to help you in 5 years.

The window is small. You have to seize it while simultaneously trying to make sure you don't guarantee that the window totally closes in 2012.

TTI - They followed largely the same recipe in 2006 and it didn't work out that well either.

Hard to believe the bullpen will be as 2007 (which was among the worst in the league all year until Sept when things came together for 4 weeks) but it isn't hard to see it really struggling too.

Phils need everything right now to break their way to have a quality bullpen. That means no injuries, Lidge/Romero are healthy & effective, and they get meaningful contributions from at least 2-3 younger players.

I say that chances of that scenario happening are slim to none.

I guess everyone is happy about obtaining a great pitcher like Halladay. Unfortunately he only pitches every 5th day. The problem I see is that by subtracting both Lee and Drabek, you're short of a top arm that especially will be noticed in the case of either injury or ineffectiveness by a member of your starting staff with no one in the minors ready to help out. A win from the 2-5 pitchers counts the same as a win from the top pitcher. Yes the Phillies might have enough starting pitching as of now if there are no injuries and our best hopes are realized with the remaining returning starters. And has anyone discussed whether Moyer can truly come back from a serious injury at the age of 45 or if Kendrick can be a full time effective starter (or is he needed in the bull pen0. Having either Lee or a Drabek ready to advance to the rotation at some point in the season sure would have been nice.

Don't know if this was posted elsewhere, but Baseball prospectus has this to say:
http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9861

"Halladay’s contract is so far removed from his market value that it looks like an error. Remember, he had to approve not only the contract, but the trade to the Phillies that precipitated it. He made the choice that he wanted to be with the Phillies so much—and wanted to be with them immediately so much—that it was worth it to him to leave $60 million, $80 million, maybe $100 million unclaimed. There is no way anyone could have predicted this even a few weeks ago. This is the kind of decision that a player gets to make for himself and his family. Halladay gets to play for a contender in 2010 and gets to do so with a team he wishes to play for, one that holds spring training near his Florida home, and he valued those things more than the marginal dollars foregone by not testing the market. I don’t judge him for it, but I do think we should all be stunned by how much money this man left on the table. There is no precedent for it in sports."

MG: I was joking a little bit because you find a way to work in the 06 and 07 bullpens every 5 posts or so.


No I agree it's going to be rough most likely. The difference is they would be going with young guys instead of reclamation projects. That's why like I said I'm ok with it, but they need a few guys stashed away ready to go if necessary.

Sophist -

As JBird says above, both times that Lee has been traded it was in the context of dumping salary. After the Cleveland trade Amaro was pretty much universally congratulated for getting a steal at the price he paid. Why would you then turn around and use that price as your marker for Lee's actual value (in the wake of his postseason domination, no less)? Pretty much all the revues I've seen this time around have heaped praise on Seattle.

If you get rid of the Lee trade and let the Halladay deal stand on it's own, it does alright. I'd argue that we underplayed our leverage and slightly overpaid, but so be it.

If you take the Halladay acquisition away and let the Lee trade stand on it's own, we just got hosed.

MG: Doesn't that pretty much define every major league BP? i.e. Things have to break every teams way because of the inherent crapshootiness (I saw the term invented on another blog so I stole it) of BP arms? I remember most of us being none to impressed with the BP assembled for 2008 run and being worried about Lidge, etc., and that ended up surpassing all of our expectations.

I mean, who's to say Wagner's arm doesn't finally fall off this year for Atlanta? Same with K-Rod.

My guess is they get an arm or two now and take their chances and if they are in OK shape come trade deadline, there will be arms available. That's what they've done in recent years anyway. Seems to work out OK for them.

MG - How do you plan a BP? There simply is no real method of success. The Phils went out and signed the guys who were successful in 2008, and they are the same guys who's inconsistency you worry about.

Wow...Roy realized that he's already a gazillionaire and that he doesn't need an extra $40 million when he's getting probably $97 million by the end of it?

What a freak.


Oh, per MLBTradeRumors: ESPN's Jayson Stark looks at the market for recently non-tendered reliever Mike MacDougal in a Rumor Central post today. Stark says eight to ten teams are "actively pursuing" MacDougal, with the Phillies most interested.


Super. Lets overpay this piece of crap so he can walk guys left and right for us now too. If the Nats non-tendered you, you're really not that good.

I also just wanted to comment on Amaro's statement or maybe more accurately spin on why Lee had to be traded "We needed to restock the cupboard". Well the key is what you restock your cupboard with. You can put average junk food in your cupboard and you have enough for basic sustenance but it doesn't mean you're going to be eating gourmet when you need to open it.

Dan: for BP to be right, you'd have to assume someone would pay Halladay $25 million a year for the length of the Phillies deal (plausibly $15 to $20 million left on table) as well as $25 million for his age 39, 40, and beyond seasons (dubiously $50-$75 million). I think BP is employing some hyperbole. Halladay left between $15 and $40 million on the table less what he actually does get paid for those out years the Phillies didn't have to buy. Nobody was giving a mid 30's pitcher a 7 year Sabathia deal, no one wants to be locked into paying a 42 year old Halladay $25 million, not even the Yankees and Red Sox.

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