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Thursday, December 03, 2009



AR, are you seriously hoping the Phils move on to Kendrick?

Scott Proefrock is on 610 now. Some keys points:

- He says Jimmy will continue to lead off with Polanco 2nd.

- Thinks that Polanco is a downgrade defensively from Feliz, but obviously a upgrade offensively.

More points:

- Says they will now focus on the bullpen and a starter!

- Says he likes Kendrick in the bullpen

- Looking specifically for a bullpen guy who has 8th inning experience in case Madson needs to close occasionally.

"Can somebody please explain to me why anyone would suggest moving Chase Utley off of second base?"

Ken Rosenthal's bit on the Polanco signing added that the Phils approached Orlando Hudson about moving to 3B and he refused. It looks like they placed a serious emphasis on finding a 3B who could move to 2B. The question is why.

Utley's a tremendous 2B - no one doubts that. But his postseason throwing errors on the double-play pivot may be a sign of recurring hip problems. I know he barely planted his foot before the horrible throw against the Dodgers - he was definitely favoring that leg.

I wouldn't write off the possibility that Utley moves to 3B either, at least while Howard's here. If the pivot is the main problem, moving to either corner would help.

You know, this is a little off topic, but apropos of Paul Hagen's column today, which suggested that payroll issues might keep Amaro from going after Halladay: if the Phillies were to non-tender Blanton, who's arbitration-eligible and due for a raise, that would probably offset about half of Halladay's 2010 salary. Just saying--seems like they have a little more flexibility than is usually acknowledged.

Don't want a bullpen guy that has 8th inning experience.

I want a BP guy that has closing experience. We obviously have issues there.

CY: Well he said that eithier Madson or Lidge would be closing. If Madson closes they want to get a guy who can be his setup guy if needed.

Are you serious about not knowing why they would want someone who can hit and play second? Its to rest Utley of course.
He does better with rest but you can't spot him if you only have a guy like Bruntlett.

"If Madson closes they want to get a guy who can be his setup guy if needed."

Madson hasn't proven to be a reliable major league closer. This team needs somebody who has done that and been productive doing that. Madson has been just as "hit or miss" as Lidge was last year. Plus he is an ace in the 8th inning.

If they would have re-signed Park, that is your "set up guy" for Madson. If Romero comes back healthy, he could do it as well. And if Mathieson makes the club out of ST, he will be in the mix in the 7th/8th inning. There would have been plenty of choices.

As for Stairs comments, I agree with him. Cholly bungled the bench last year most of the year and then, in the playoffs, they failed to get one hit from a bench player. It wasn't surprising either. He didn't use his bench and they weren't productive in the few AB's they got. If he had used them more, maybe they actually get some confidence for the post-season. Maybe not. We don't know. But we can all agree that the way Cholly used his bench last year didn't work.

****Utley's a tremendous 2B - no one doubts that. But his postseason throwing errors on the double-play pivot may be a sign of recurring hip problems. I know he barely planted his foot before the horrible throw against the Dodgers - he was definitely favoring that leg.****

Or it was just a coincidence that he had a couple errors on consecutive nights. He was fine after that with no obvious issues.

Please, please, please stop with the "move Utley to 3rd" garbage. As Mike said above, they signed Polanco to play 3rd and occasionally give Uts a day off at 2nd. I love the way Utley plays the game, but he clearly wears down. A day of rest here and there is a good thing.

I wonder if Utley could handle CF? We could then move Vic to 3B as he's a gold glover who could probably handle the transition pretty well. Besides CF and 3B are pretty comparable on defensive difficulty, right?

Buster Olney writes "As teams have been checking in on the availability of infielders, they have found that the asking price for Beltre is no less than $10 million a year, and for DeRosa, it's a three-year deal for something in the range of $9 million a year."

Polly at $6 million per looks a lot better when you see DeRosa asking for $9 million (get a grip Mark, you're not worth $9 million).

MVP - I realize what he said, but I agree with denny. As much as I love Madson and what he has become, I think he is a 8th inning guy. We need to sign someone we can plug into the closer roll if/when lidge implodes. Just leave Madson in the 8th all year so he can focus on his role (I know how you love those).

The Bosox signing of Scutaro for 2 yrs/$11.5MM makes it look even more that Phils overpaid a bit for Polanco.

I don't like/trust Buster Olney. E.g., He wrote yesterday that Polanco will probably bat 8th.

Bonehead: I'm not sure I see the connection between Scutaro and Polanco. No one would have suggested the Phils sign Scutaro to play 3rd base.

Plus... Scutaro is the classic "buy-high" free agent. He's coming of a career year that looks like a fluke compared to his career. On the other hand, we likely "bought-low" on Polanco because of his down year.

Of course, it's possible that at 33 Scutaro suddenly became a 111 OPS+ guy and that at age 34 Polanco suddenly became an 88 OPS+ guy. But I'm not so sure that's the case.

Let Jimmy "wreak havoc" on the basepaths from the seven spot. Vic's young enough for us to believe that he can work on being a good leadoff man. Rollins is, at this point, who he is, which is no longer leadoff material.

How does Scutaro's deal for 2/11.5 make Polanco's look bad? Scutaro is coming off a career year (his first as a regular), and his power last year was a fluke in comparison to the rest of his career (minors and majors). He's also a SS, and his deal is worth almost exactuly the same annually. Is it the 3rd year that makes it a bad deal? I don't really think 2012 is going to matter all that much for this team, as the only regular under contract for that year before this offseason was Chase. More than likely, 2012 is going to be a transition year for this team.

Hugh: Man did that post bring back memories! The man who made that hideous Jack Sanford trade was Roy Hamey, who later was Yankee GM. The man who made the hideous Rudy May (who went on to a fine 16-year career) deal was John Quinn.

Hamey's hands were tied somewhat by the racist Carpenter family's refusal to scout black players. Quinn did build the Phillies only contender during the 23 years of wilderness (1951-74) in 1964.

Not to mention, Dutch Daulton has proof the world's going to end in 2012 anyway, so why worry about it?

They also gave up a 1st round pick for Scutaro...that is a part of it. Polanco would have made far less had he been offered Arbitration.

CJ - I see the the Scutaro contract as an indicator of where the market is currently for free agents. Scutaro and Polanco are roughly the same age, roughly the same offensively (admittedly, Polanco has a bit better long term track record, but there are questions around both of them regarding their offensive production going forward), and Scutaro plays a more valuable position.

Still, Polanco got both more years and more per year.

Do you disagree that Phils overpaid a little bit for Polly?

Bonehead: They're BOTH overpaid

sorry s/b Both teams overpaid

Bonehead: I'm not sure the Phils overpaid. We'll see at the end of free agency. I'm also not that concerned if the Phils overpaid by a million or two.

However, Scutaro's contract does not suggest the Phils overpaid.

Scutaro is NOT as good of a player as Polanco. There's hardly a person in baseball who would agree that Scutaro as good as Polanco. Secondly, Scutaro cost the team that signed him a 1st round draft pick. Being a Type A FA who's offered arbitration necessarily depresses your market and makes it harder to get paid.

That's kinda how the baseball world works.

NEPP - Good point. The draft pick makes a difference.

Looking at the Polanco signing, it's become clear why and how it happened.

Amaro clearly targeted a player who could be our everyday 3rd baseman while also spelling Utley at 2nd (and thus, giving Dobbs some starts at third).

Players who fit that description: Figgins, DeRosa, Polanco

Figgins is probably the preferred player of the three, except for one big problem. Signing Figgins would have cost the Phillies a #1 draft pick. The Phils already lost their #1 pick last season and continually losing that pick is not the recipe for sustained success.

DeRosa was Type B (costing the Phils no draft pick compensation), and may have been the #2 choice for some, but, frankly, he's not so much better than Polanco that he's worth $3M more a year... and DeRosa is also a year older.

Polanco was not offered arbitration. He's younger than DeRosa. And the Phils are familiar with him and how he would fit in this clubhouse.

We now know that Ruben Amaro will identify holes in the team early and strike quickly. He doesn't seem to be that concerned about overpaying by a million or so... or having additional years for older positio players. I'll be interested to see how that strategy pays off (or doesn't) in the next few years.

GBrett asks: "Did the bench's lack of production lead to them being used less, or did their lack of use lead to their lack of production?"

That's an excellent question. A lot of people harped on Cholly this year for over-using his regulars, but did you really want to see more of Eric Bruntlett & Matt Stairs? Cholly has shown that he WILL find ways to give his backups playing times when those backups deserve playing time. Francisco, for example, made 19 starts and had 109 PAs in barely 2 months with the Phillies. Likewise, when Dobbs had his big year in 2008, he got 237 PAs and made 47 starts.

In short, our bench players have not sucked because they didn't get playing time. They didn't get playing time because they sucked. The ones who don't suck DO get playing time.

Not sure Scutaro's deal is the best indicator of the 3B market, since Scurtaro wasn't on that market. What ends up happening with Beltre, Figgins, and DeRosa will be more relevant in that regard.

There's less reason for Beltre to take less than $10M/yr though. He has arbitration possibility in his back pocket (don't see him taking that much of a pay-cut there; Mariners won't completely lowball because that would put them to Phils-Howard risk) and he's competing against a fairly saturated 3B market.

Figgins is the hottest guy on the market - his value couldn't be any higher.

Olney reports that Scutaro's deal is 2/$12.5M. He has a $6M club option in the third year ($3M player option).

If you think Scutaro's deal is relevant to the 3B market, just take a look at the other SS available (recalling that the Red Sox even discussed moving Pedrioa back to SS):

Chris Gomez
Nick Green
Khalil Greene
Chris Woodward

Not a dazzling market for the Sox.

That Scutaro's average salary is about what Polanco received is evidence of one thing:

A barren market for SS's. In a normal year, Scutaro probably makes half that. But the BoSox don't have many other options.

"Let Jimmy "wreak havoc" on the basepaths from the seven spot. Vic's young enough for us to believe that he can work on being a good leadoff man. Rollins is, at this point, who he is, which is no longer leadoff material.

Posted by: timr"

tim, I presume you can support the statement that Rollins "is no longer leadoff material" with some factual ans statistical evidence.

A comparison to all leadoff hitters in MLB would be nice.

I'd be very interested to see what you find out. :)

Pick your whine:

The 2008 - 2009 whine: The Phils overpaid for the guy they wanted.

The pre-2008 whine: The Phils were left with the dregs after the FA market was picked over (and then overpaid for the dregs).

Or you could root for the mythical team that signs the top FA every year to a 1 year contract (with perpetual club options) at a 50% discount because he loves the paint job in the home locker room.

A couple notes on predicting Polanco's performance (if you are like me you are picturing me as Daffy Duck right now): the AL to NL switch has benefited some hitters (anybody have any good statistical analysis on this?), and Comerica is still considered a pitcher's park that benefits lefty hitters, whereas CBP seems to work out well for batters from both sides of the plate.

Jonesman - From 2008,"Overall, the general notion that a hitter will perform better in the NL than the AL seems to be true. Most importantly for fantasy owners, a batter gains a full point-and-a-quarter in contact rate, .005 points in BABIP, and 1.5 points in HR/FB simply by playing in the National League."

This is the best I could find on league switch for hitters:

"As it pertains to Holliday and Teixeira, the key here is league differences. For various reasons, we don’t incorporate those into the WAR ratings, but they have been fairly significant for the last five or six years. The AL is just a better group of talent than the NL, and as such, when two players who post equal numbers in the different leagues, the AL player has to be presumed to be better. He’s facing better competition and creating the same results, which is inherently more valuable.

The best estimates for the differences between the AL and NL range between +0.25 and +0.5 wins per season. When comparing players across leagues, this is not an insignificant factor. That Holliday has had the bulk of his success come in the NL requires a downward adjustment to the value of that performance. Likewise, Teixeira’s ability to perform in the AL enhances his value."

Thanks Sophist, your link is better.

""did you really want to see more of Eric Bruntlett & Matt Stairs?""

Bruntlett...NO NO NO NO NO!!!

Stairs....well, through the first half of the year, yes.

His numbers on June 28th: .296 .433 .500 .933, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 10 BB and 15 K in 67 PA, 54 AB

During July: .063 .286 .250 .536 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 BB and 5 K in 21 PA, 16 AB

So, he sure fell off the table in July, but I'm not sure 21 PA 16 AB is a good enough sample size to draw any conclusions. FWIW, he had 63 PA July - Oct, and 67 PA before then, so it's not really like Charlie used him any less.

Maybe he really did get affected by the lack of playing time and it cought up with him.

He may actually have suffered a bit from lack of AB in the 2nd half.

"Pick your whine:

The 2008 - 2009 whine: The Phils overpaid for the guy they wanted.

The pre-2008 whine: The Phils were left with the dregs after the FA market was picked over (and then overpaid for the dregs)."

curt, an excellent, excellent post.

You described many of the people who post here to a "T".

Personally, I'll take the '08-'09 whine, and I'll have some wine with it, because I got to celebrate 2 consecutive pennants(first time EVER for the Phils) and a WFC!!!

I actaually hope the FO continue to make people whine about overpaying.

Hopefully, it will lead to more wine and more celebrations.

Bonehead: Do you think Scutaro is a better offensive player than Polanco? If so, please explain. If not, then why would you think we overpaid for Polly when Scutaro got essentially the same money?

Sophist and CJ, in looking at that list of SS, it surprises sometimes how far players' stock can drop.

Crosby is a former ROY and Khalil Greene finished 2nd in ROY.

Both were thought to be rising talents at one point.

I agree with AWH. Well said Curt!

awh - Crosby's ROY line wasn't that special: .239/.319/.426, 93 OPS+ (lowest BA ever for ROY, also struck out 114 times). I'm guessing what stood out to voters were his HR and RBI numbers (22, 64). He's only played one full season since 2004. Take a look at the candidates that year. Some big names (Rios, Greinke) but no big seasons. Greinke or Takatsu (although Takatsu was 35) had better seasons. Greinke probably needed more wins to satisfy the voters.

Greene's another guy who just hasn't played much since his first year. He also can't walk. His OBP is disgusting. Greene is what many imagine Rollins to be at the plate.

I think Khalil Greene also had a ton of injuries and I think suffered from some depression issues or something. I remember as a rookie he was an absolute magician with the glove. At some point I think he hit almost 30 homeruns. That would explain the strikeouts. Definitely sounds Rollinsesque.

Sophist, thanks for the link to the article. I think, however, you need to include the rest of the commentary:

**"On the downside, a batter loses two points in stolen base success rate (though it should be noted the sample size for SB% is quite small in relation to every other stat tested) as well as half-a-point in outfield fly rate. Even given the outfield fly loss, though, a move to the NL would still allow a batter to hit an additional two-plus home runs given the big HR/FB spike and the contact rate increase.

Interestingly—though not particularly noteworthy for fantasy owners—is that aside from outfield fly rate (and stolen base rate), the only stat that hitters worsen in is triples."**

OK, so let's look at it:

" rate, .005 points in BABIP, and 1.5 points in HR/FB"

BUT, "a batter loses two points in stolen base success rate" ... "as well as half-a-point in outfield fly rate", and they also hit less triples.

awh's take:

If I were being a skeptic (which I am), would say that the increased contact rate has nothing to do with the difference in leagues other than the fact that from what I've read they throw more fastballs in the NL.

Higher contact rate probably leads to better contact overall, and should lead to a better HR/FB rate.

BABIP? I'm not sure .005 is a statistically significant difference.

More fastballs probably affects the SB rate as well, for obvious reasons.

As to the triples...well, maybe overall the NL has smaller parks? (Was there control for park factor?)

In short, I'm not sure this analysis proves that there is better competition in the AL, other than the fact that they have a DH (which is VERY significant).

If hitters perform better in the NL the difference may merely be attributable the percentage of fastballs.

clout - no, I do not think Scutaro is a better offensive player that Polly. In fact, in my post, I actually said the opposite, so why do you ask?

Scutaro was also overpaid, plays a more valuable position, and there is a weak free agent field at his position. With that, Polly still got a better contract than Scutaro.

Phils overpaid a little bit for Polly. Not agregiously, but a little bit. He fills a dire need, so Rube got it done.

Sophist, I don't disagree with your point, I'm merely pointing out that their stock (perception of them) has dropped.

The perception was that they were young and might improve.

They haven't.

Crosby sure was hyped here in the Bay Area when he came up as a rookie & took over for Miguel Tejada. His minor league numbers were impressive, though it's worth noting that most of his good numbers came in Single A and in AAA, where he played in the very hitter-friendly PCL. In his short stint at AA, his numbers were merely decent, but not great. Nonetheless, I certainly expected a lot more from his major league career.

Bonehead: If Polanco is a better player than Scutaro... and he doesn't cost the team a draft pick. Why wouldn't Polanco get a better contract than Scutaro?

CJ: My point exactly.

There seem to be a lot of fans enamored by Feliz's defense; but I observe the defensive exchange is strong arm for more range and a solid arm.

Assuming Polanco's offensive #'s deteriorate at a similar or lesser rate to Feliz's; I think it's an upgrade. It buys Phillies an expensive utility player in year 3 of contract. Or if he's solid in year 2; he becomes trade bait.

Still wondering if there is not a trade out there for the Phillies. Victorino or Werth would bring in a large haul. This assumes the org believes that one of the younger outfielders is ready to step in. At this point, Werth is clearly going to walk next year, and I feel he'll be type A and decline arb - so we'll get the two picks.

I might trade for an infielder who can develop and legitimately replace Rollins after 2011. Hopefully this is a burner for late inning base running sub.
Add a decent arm for the bullpen and I am happy.

In terms of FA, I think the key to the rest of the off season is determining plan b if Brade Lidge has problems. I wouldn't be too surprised if the Phillies go after a higher price FA pitcher. I wonder how high Phillies value first round draft picks anymore - as they're choosing to bust slot for a lot of high school talent in later rounds.

Also I've read online and heard on radio suggestions that the Phils are exploring Halladay. I'm not excited about this...

Oh you can be sure Rube's "exploring Halladay." 2010's the year for this team, and he's the missing piece.

Jayson Stark reports that Brandon Lyon is at the top of the Phils shopping list.

That's good news.

Any GM worth his position is of course "exploring Halladay." It doesn't mean anything will come of it.

ESPN writes:

Now that the Philadelphia Phillies have filled vacancies at third base (Placido Polanco), backup catcher (Brian Schneider) and utility infielder (Juan Castro), they've turned their attention full-bore to upgrading their bullpen, reports's Jayson Stark.

And while GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has talked openly about the club%u2019s interest in bringing back free agents Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre, and about adding depth with possible low-cost high-reward types J.J. Putz, indications are that Lyon has actually become the GM's top priority.

With closer Brad Lidge iffy to be ready to pitch in early April following elbow surgery last month, the Phillies are looking for a set-up man with closing experience. And Lyon has 54 career saves -- 26 of them for Arizona in 2008. He saved three games for the Tigers last season, while serving as their primary set-up man for Fernando Rodney.

Lyon allowed the fewest hits per nine innings (6.41) among all free-agent set-up men who pitched at least 65 innings last season. And his 1.11 WHIP was second only to Rafael Betancourt.

Rosenthal reports Mariners are close on Chone Figgins. In the range of 4 years, $36M... and, of course, a draft pick (Figgins is Type A).

Man... what if Mariners sign Figgins and then Beltre chooses to accept arbitration?? Ouch. I suppose Figgins could play another position, but that would be an expensive mistake for the M's.

Off on a bit of a tangent, but Greene is a sort of sad story. I saw him play against the Phils a few times and in a number of other games his rookie year, and he WAS superb in the field. Had some power, and reportedly was one of those guys who hit above .500 in college (Clemson). I remember a couple of the Padres saying they couldn't imagine how bad the team would have been if Greene hadn't stepped in at SS and played like he did.

Hadn't heard about the depression issues, but playing at PETCO and the injuries could not have helped. A future all star, now a journeyman? No tears in baseball.

About to engage in some speculation (which I hate doing):

Maybe Figgins' agent is floating the rumor. The Angels are hesitant to lose Figgins, especially to a division rival.

CJ - It's certainly happened before. Polanco and Millwood each did it to the Phillies. Or rather, they did it to themselves (Yes, Ed Wade, I'm looking at you.)

****Man... what if Mariners sign Figgins and then Beltre chooses to accept arbitration?? Ouch. I suppose Figgins could play another position, but that would be an expensive mistake for the M's.****

I was just about to post the same thing. That would be too funny. Of course they could put Figgins in LF but they'd still be hurting.

I saw that the Mariners were looking to sign Figgins for 36 mil over 4 years. IMO, that would have been a much much better option for the Phills than Polanco.

Figgins can play the outfield so, at least from a baseball standpoint, the Ms would be just fine if they signed Figgins & Beltre accepted arbitration. From a financial standpoint, though, it might bust their budget.

Figgins can play a couple other positions as well, so Beltre accepting wouldn't be a disaster.

Steve the Met Fan: Nah. Once again, Figgins is the prototypical "buy-high" player. I don't think he's worth extra money plus the extra year plus losing our 1st round draft pick. I'm content with our signing if Figgins contract ends up being what's speculated.

Steve - Since it's been established in 2007 and 2008 and 2009 that nearly any warm body can man 3B for this team, why spend $36mm/4? I'm surprised Rube actually committed $18mm.

I love the idea Of signing Brandon Lyon. He will probably cost 5 mill. How much of a cut would Putz take from 6 mill? 50 pct? 3 mill would be nice.. These along with a low risk hi reward starter (Duchscherer?) would make this off-season a rousing success IMO.

As of now, the Phillies' opening day bullpen consists of 2 players: Madson & Lidge -- and Lidge is obviously a huge question mark. Park & Eyre are FAs. Walker is gone. Condrey & Durbin may or may not be tendered contracts. Romero probably won't be back until mid-season.

The Phillies will probably offer arbitration to either Durbin or Condrey or maybe both, but both guys are 6th or 7th reliever types. Mathieson & Bastardo may be of help, but can you really count on that? If a lot of things break right (i.e., Mathieson and/or Bastardo work out, Romero comes back quickly, Lidge returns to form), the Phillies might be able to get away with adding just 2 relievers in the off-season. But, sometimes unknowns can break right, but you stll wind up with problems, either because of injuries or because guys you were counting on have unexpectedly bad years. The bottom line is that it would really behoove the Phillies to find at least 3 new relievers. Obviously, they won't all be big-ticket guys like Brandon Lyon. But they do need to bring in a bunch of new arms for the pen, & Lyon would certainly be a good start.

From a Jayson Stark article on

"The Phillies were always my first choice," he said Thursday. "I played here, I know most of the guys here, I know the city. And they have a pretty good team that's committed to win. I thank all of the other teams that expressed interest in me, but the Phillies were always my first choice."
"I always wanted to be here, I never wanted to leave," Polanco said Thursday. "One of the reasons I wanted to come back is because it's pretty obvious the team is committed to winning. And I want to win. That's it. They asked me if I was willing to play another position and I was like, 'Sure.' I can play third base. I played in college, in St. Louis and I also played some third here. I feel pretty confident about it."
"I want to win and you look around and we have a lot of great players," Polanco said. "It seems like you could flip this lineup around and it would still be good, you know? Whatever Charlie [Manuel] wants me to do, I'd be more than happy to do it. I just know everyone here plays to win. Chase, Victorino, Rollins, Howard, everybody."

Polanco is definitely on-board. I like reading stuff like this.

Oh, and Brandon Lyon? An absolute "YES."

I would have take figgins at 4/36.

I would love to grab Lyon. I know he is looking for a multi year deal. what do you think gets it done? 2/8-9 MM?

Does anyone have a trick that keeps typepad from deleting your posts? Really annoying. Thanks

R. Billingsly: I like this from the Inky this morning

"Polanco was traded to Detroit in 2005 in part to make room for Chase Utley at second. Polanco said yesterday that he was never bitter and always wanted to return. A year ago, he advised his South Florida neighbor and off-season workout partner Raul Ibanez to sign with the Phils. When he recently approached Ibanez for similar advice, the leftfielder told him, 'It's even better here than you told me.'"

The problem with the Phils' pitching staff is that they are stuck with two turd contracts for next year - Moyer at $8M and Lidge at $11.5M.

I am dubious they are going to get much out of Moyer at this point but he will get every chance in spring to win a spot in the starter's rotation. Same on Lidge too but he likely will be able given the closer role by default also. They have been awfully quiet on him since his elbow surgery that found more damage they than initially thought.

The front of the rotation on this team is largely set but there are a bunch of questions with the rest of the pitching staff including a bullpen that is in flux and doesn't have a lot of depth.

BTY, don't believe the hype about the Phils have an overwhelming number of arms at AA/AAA who can readily fill in most of the Phils' pitching question marks right now.

I can't really see the Angels letting Figgins go to a division rival at that price. He'll get more money than that. I'm guessing Amaro didn't kick the tires on Figgins much - for the reported prices, even this one, would have taken him out of the market for the relievers he's targeting.

Doubleh: Thanks. There must be something to this FO and clubhouse. You don't hear that coming from a lot of guys regarding other teams. Or I just don't pay enough attention to what other teams are doing.

Although I guess have Wood ready to go, and needs elsewhere, may keep the Angels out of it.

BAP: I think that's a pretty good assessment of the bullpen situation. Luckily, middle relievers are the cheapest commodity in baseball. Unluckily, there's absolutely no predicting how a bullpen guy will fare year to year (see Lidge).

Lyon, BTW, has had WHIPs of 1.84, 1.29, 1.24, 1.48 and 1.10 the past 5 years (and violent swings in ERA+ to match).

Anyone know for sure which one we'd get next year?

R. Billingsly: You didn't use to hear that much coming out of Phillies players. The atmosphere has really changed--most of it comes from winning, I'm sure--but a lot of it also comes from the organizational mindset. I actually give a lot of credit to Rollins for this; he has said in many interviews even before they won the WS that he wanted to change that internally with the org and his teammates as well as the fans. You need to change the "be competitive" to "be the best". All the other stuff will follow when you do that.

Nice to see Philly is becoming a popular destination and the FO is gaining a better reputation.

Also nice to see that Raul likes it here. Glad to see the Phans and city treating him well.

I *heart* Brandon Lyon and a buy-low on Putz for this team. Sure they could have spent more at 3B for Figgins or Beltre, but I'd rather have Lyon and another nice reliever with Polanco.

Also, it's impossible to say they 'overpaid' until the market works itself out. I'd rather take the average-looking girl who likes me to prom then wait out the cheerleading captain and get left empty-handed.

Non-tender Blanton? That's crazy. They could tender him and trade him.

I think everything started to change almost the minute they broke ground on the ball park. It was as if they decided when we make this kind of commitment we can't do it half way. We know the people will come for the first year or two but if the product doesnt improve it will all be for naught. They got a lot of public help and they took advantage of that. I thought the Thome signing was a clear sign that things were changing. They knew they needed star power when they opened the Cit and they made sure they had it. I was there for the second game of the inaugural season and could feel it almost the minute my dad and I walked into the park. Everything was different. I hope it stays this way for a long, long time.

Clout: Of course, no one knows for sure. But, I think Lyon would be a solid fit for what we need. We need a guy that can set-up or close in a pinch, but yet will also be able (and willing) to pitch in a middle relief role should the need arise. I can't see spending "closer money" on a closer (like Valverde or Rodney, for example) if what is needed is someone to pitch the 7th inning (should Lidge and/or Madson be effective in their respective roles). There, of course, are no definites.

My two cents.

donc: I think you hit the nail on the head. It's nice to see the FO' mindset change. And I agree -- I sure hope it stays that way.

clout: You know that with relievers that no one knows for sure what we'll get. I like what Brandon Lyon may offer us. He's got closer experience and in three of the last 4 years, he had and ERA+ above 120 and a WHIP under 1.300.

yo, new thread

I'm in for a Lyon. I'd take Polanco and Lyon over Figgins and a very low end reliver.

although i think a combo of Feliz and Soriano would have been nice too.

Of course, thats assuming the Figgins/no one, Polanco/Lyon, Feliz/Soriano all equal about the same $$.

Chone Figgins and Adrian Beltre are better players at this point in their careers, but I'm beginning to come around on the Phillies decision. Despite his impressive walk totals, Figgins struck out 114 times last year and his speed would be superfluous in our lineup. Beltre is inconsistent, injury prone, and another 100+ strikeout guy in a lineup with far too many Ks. Both would've cost significantly more without offering a proportionate upgrade over Polanco. The 3rd year is suspect, but the numbers are not nearly as outrageous as some of you are making them seem. He's younger than Feliz and will make about the same.

Lyon sounds perfect BTW...but I wouldn't stop there. We need pitchers who can miss bats in the bullpen and/or the rotation. I like Amaro's low-risk, high-reward approach. Harden, Gonzalez, Sheets, Betancourt, Duscherer and Bedard all sound good. Or if they want to go high-risk, high-reward, go for Igarashi or Arguelles.

clout: Yeah, I noticed Lyon's sharp swings too. He has been pretty good, though, in 3 of his last 4 years. His one bad year in that time span was 2008, when he had a freakishly high .342 BABIP. Of course, last year, which was by far his best, he had a freakishly low BABIP of .231, which is about the lowest I've ever heard of. That could have something to do with an improved repertoire (or improved command of his old repertoire); I also note that he posted a much, much better GO/FO ratio than in past years. But no one has a .231 BABIP without a healthy dose of good luck.

A reasonable expectation is that the 2010 version of Brandon Lyon will be somewhere along the lines of the 2006/2007 version -- which is to say, pretty good but hardly dominant.

To me, the bullpen is really where Amaro is going to have to do his best work. As many of you have made clear, the Phillies current situation faces a ton of questions, a relatively low talent level, and a distinct lack of confidence at the top.

I think it would make the most sense to go after someone like Soriano, even with his high price tag and Type-A status. His addition would immediately improve the talent level and begin clarify roles, etc.

I agree Rube isn't afraid to put a million or 2 in a deal to get it done if he wants the player. But he hasn't wasted money as the Gillick deals did every year. One thing i admired about Pat was when he made a mistake he got rid of the player. However you can not overlook that Pat did give us Fred Garcia, Adam Eaton and Geof Jenkins. They all took a considerable amount from the salary budget. Rube hasn't made this level of blunder yet. His last year of contracts may not look attractive but the first year have all been productive so far. You really have to give a GM 3 years before you evaluate them. With the injuries sustained in 08 it was a remarkable feat.
He managed to get Charlie the players needed to get back to the big table and I believe he will do so again this year.

I just have to throw my comments up here finally. Feliz was a very good defender but probably not a gold glover; his range was not exceptional. I think many got carried away with his strong and accurate arm and soft hands (he did make many wonderful plays to first admittedly). But how many of those plays really come up in a season? And then the runner would still have to score. However, Polanco will catch everything he gets to also. And really, how many runs did Feliz save or does any 3rd baseman truly save? It can't be many so therefore any dropoff possibly to Polanco would be minimal. And how many more will Placido produce with his bat versus Feliz? It is expected to be significantly more so this switch is clearly an upgrade for next season.

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EST. 2005

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