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Thursday, December 03, 2009

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Utility IF, check.
Backup catcher, check.
3B, Check.

Now, on to the most important thing: PITCHING.

Marlon Brando in a Phillies uniform.

Polanco is a slightly more patient hitter than Feliz.

#P/PA for Polanco

2007 - 3.51
2008 - 3.50
2009 - 3.49

#P/PA for Feliz

2007 - 3.31
2008 - 3.39
2009 - 3.28

I feel like we could have gotten Micheal Jack for much cheaper.

So far, Rube has spent...

Polanco - $6 million
Schneider - $1.25 million
J. Castro - $900 K

$8.15 million down. I suspect another starter and a reliever are still to be had.

BAP: I think you and I are in agreement that moving Vic or Rollins down in the order is a good aspect of the Polanco signing. Whichever you move there it is going to add a new dimension to the bottom of the line-up becasue of the speed they bring.

To help brighten some days for those upset by this- John Manuel of Baseball America has a piece on SI.com declaring us as having the 4th best farm system in the majors. So that's good.

MPN - Didn't know you could track someone's posts through google. That's pretty sweet. How do you do it?

I have been reading for 2.5-3 years. I posted under CY33 originally I think. They were probably pretty poor posts as this is the first blog I have ever posted to. And BL has taught me a lot about the game.

I enjoy the hot stove and trade deadline BL seasons mostly. I can't really read the game threads, they are a drag.

I had JW's annual sitting at my desk all year in the same spot to avoid any sort of jinxing.

from last thread:
And when Ruben Amaro left a message on my phone to prompt me to "renew my season tickets" he never mentioned ONCE that he was bringing back Polanco.

That I found the most hurtful.

But I do like the decisiveness. One thing that Amaro seems to like is a certain level of roster and cost-certainty. Some might think that means you can make one big splash and rest on laurels, but actually it probably allows them to be more flexible with filling in slots in the value village, buy having as few holes to fill as possible.

I like the extra contact, assuming he'll be hitting 7th?

For those really hung up on the money, look at it this way. He's less per season than Geoff Jenkins and will play every day. ($6M compared to $6.5M)

From the previous thread:

"5. The one thing that worries me about Polanco is that he supposedly struggled with fastballs a bit last year because of a possible loss in bat speed. Whenever you hear that about a guy who generally has a reputation for being a good fastball hitter and is in his mid-30s, that might raise a red flag. If Polanco only suddenly hits .270 or so next year, he doesn't have much offensive value to this club."

MG, were those struggles related to not guessing right (i.e. he was looking offspeed and got fooled), or because he can't catch up to a FB anymore - even in an obvious FB count?.

If my memeory serves me correctly, more FB are thrown in the NL, which will take some of the guesswork out of it for Polly. I suspect he'll see more FB in 2010. Granderson slumped significantly in 2009 when batting leadoff [.241 .319 .445 .764] (almost Rollins-like, no?), so I suspect that affected the way Polly got pitched to.

Not sure what to make of this signing yet, mainly because I'm not sure of Polanco's defense. 3 years does seem like a bit much.

How much money do the Phils have left for pitching help now?

NEPP: It's actually not clear how much we will pay Polanco in 2010. The contract's specific terms have not been released yet, but it's fairly common practice to backload these deals. If that's the case, then we've spent less than $8.15M & have more money available to throw at pitching.

I know that it didn't take in AAA, but I wonder if Utley would consider a move to 3B in spring training.

Utley's defense has improved by leaps and bounds since his days with the Red Barons. If he can make the switch, we'd have a 2B/SS gold glove combination along Howard at first and Utley at third.

That's a pretty darned good defensive ballclub.

Polanco's Broncos ride again!!

Yeah, I was doing a worst case scenario on money spent by simply averaging it.

Polanco has a huge head.

People need to stop complaining about the size of the contract. Our window is NOW. This signing has everything to do with the Phillies ultimately getting the guy they wanted at an affordable rate, and without having to give a draft pick up.

If I told you 2 months ago we would sign a right handed hitter with a low K rate, a .350 OBP over the past 5 years, and gold gloves in 2 of the last 3 years to play 3B, you would have jumped for joy.

Now relax. This is an upgrade any way you slice it.

Braves to sign Takashi Saito. Their pitching staff is starting to look really tough.

Will - Chances of Utz at third are 0%.

PP said he is comfortable at third. Plus he has played there in the majors before.That is where he will be.

Did you watch Utley last year? He was one of the best defensive 2B. He was GG worthy (not that a GG means you are the best defender at your position).

I don't think Polanco in 2012 necessarily cripples the team financially.

Ideally, by then Taylor and Brown will be up and will be making somewhere in the neighborhood of a million dollars. Also, hopefully Drabek would be up to by then which fills a pitching spot.

I can see us being a team with some young guys filtering in and we are giving middle aged players (28-32) the big money free agent deal.

That's why a great farm system is imperative for sustained success. You cna filter cheap guy in and save money for other spots.

Would have preferred Beltre but my guess is that he would've been out of their price range. Polanco is a good plan B and certainly better than DeRosa. 2007 was a fluke for Polanco, but he's slightly better than he showed last year and should be a significant improvement over Feliz, at least at the plate. Moving to a hitter friendly NL park will also help his numbers.

Welcome back, Placido. The ground underneath Yankee Stadium ain't shakin' because of this signing, but it's a good move nonetheless.

Now, let's shake Queens by acquiring a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.

CY: just do a google search of: "beerleaguer.com" AND "poster's name". The first entry should allow you to pull down all of the posts either my the individual or post's mentioning the individual.

My question didn't mean to imply that I was questioning your bona fides, I was just curious as I didn't recall seeing your posting name previously.

MPN - I'm not that memorable, lol. Maybe now though.

And thanks for that. pretty cool.

Not a fan of the Polanco signing. 3 years 18mill shocks me.

I live out in Michigan now and watching the Tigers, I don't think Polanco's .270 can be called a fluke. He has a lot less gap power, especially to opposite field now. So, I think his average decreased mainly off of defensive positioning adjusting to him better.

OK, I just did a google search of my posts and it turns out I need another hobby. A bunch of other sports sites popped up.

In my quick search I was reminded of this other Utley gem from 2008: "Get the rubber duck out of your butt."

I guess they didn't have them for this WS?

Will: Chase Utley has been one of the top 3 position players in all of baseball over the last couple years. You just don't mess with that kind of success.

Why would we move Utley to third instead of Polanco? That doesn't make sense.

Great 2 hole hitter. Now move pop up Jimmy to 7th. Yea, that'll be the day.

We should move Ruiz to 3B, Werth to C, Utley to RF, and Polanco to 2B.


Too easy.

Hibachi - Then how did Polanco get better over the course of 2009? Did they forget what they learned? Check out his 1st half, 2nd half splits. He hit .315 in the last 73 games of last season.

It's great that when the irrelevant team in town is set to make the headlines by welcoming back a former player, the most relevant team in town does the same thing. Sixers execs must be pissed.

ozark: While it doesn't make the Sixers any better and Allen is in decline, Iverson was a much, much bigger superstar in his prime than Placido. They don't quite compare. A.I. will still get more press than the Phillies right now.

hh, but do anybody but hard core Sixer fans really care about the Great Ballhog?

I haven't watched a Sixers' game yet this year. He'll make me less likely. The NBA is a bad and boring product right now.

I'd rather watch reruns of "Project Runway".

AI's signing guarantees that there will be at least 4 more spectators at every Sixers game this year...the 4 guys he's on the court with at any given time.

regular season basketball is like watching whales mate. you know what i mean.

awh: Like it or not (I personally don't, which is why I prefer college BB), the NBA is now a superstar league. You don't have one, people are less likely to watch, even when you are good. A.I. was a superstar and still has cache, even if he was/is a major ballhog and won't come off of the bench for a contending team. People will watch for the same reasons there are so many Yankees fans in the world.

"I know that it didn't take in AAA, but I wonder if Utley would consider a move to 3B in spring training."

Here's another thought. The Rays are dying to trade Pat Burrell, who played 3rd base in college. Maybe we could reacquire him & move him to 3rd base. Then we could use Polanco in a utility role.

As for the Braves bullpen signings, well see if those relievers bounce back. Remember, 2009 they were injured or returning from injury. No guarantee they'll be 100%. Especially with Wagner's age.

As for Polanco, well, like NEPP points out they're filling perceived needs and leaving themselves plenty of cash to repair the bullpen. As for starting pitching, so far you have Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, the kids in the farm system (Kendrick, Drabek, Mathieson), and Moyer. Personally I say take a flyer on another guy see what happens. Randy Wolf would be pretty nice, assuming he'll come cheap.

That's the key phrase here: CHEAP. Any money they spend on an expensive starting pitcher is probably better spent on their bullpen. Why? Because they're looking for a Number 5 starter, NOT a #3-4 guy. So they don't need to spend even 8 million a year. If they spend 5/6 million on a very good setup man, I'll be happy.

While we're at it, move Jayson Werth back behind home, Chooch can move to third because he spent that one inning there that one time and Utley can play right.

Don't forget, Cholly used to be an infielder. Get his butt out of the dugout and have him backup J-Rol! He'll be better than Castro, honest!

Gillick always said that Werth could catch in an emergency, but he has never actually done it in a major league game. Ibanez, on the other hand, DOES have major league catching experience. He caught for 4 innings in 1999 & made 4 putouts in 4 chances.

I think the Phillies should only sign a starter if they think his upside potential would be starting game 3 of a playoff series (meaning better than Happ and Blanton). 5th starter can be filled effectively enough with guys they already have on the roster, and I really don't think the other teams in the division are going to close the gap considering we have a full year of Cliff Lee. If they roll the dice on a guy like Sheets or Harden I can get behind that, but please no mediocrities like Jon Garland (or even Randy Wolf).

I keep reading posts about Polanco's steady decline but then I see posts with his stats, which show nothing of the sort.

FWIW, here's Fangraphs on Polly's "decline":

"Polanco turned 34 a few weeks back and posted his lowest batting average since 1999. Coincidentally, he also encountered a BABIP that falls well below his career norms. Outside of that, Polanco was the same batter as his 2008 self. His walk rate in 2008 was 5.7%; 5.5% in 2009. He posted 7.4% strikeouts in both seasons and ISO of .110 and .112. He hit 0.4% more homers per fly balls in 2009, as well. Literally the only difference between the seasons is a deflated average on balls in play."

Jonesman - Couldn't agree more...The rotation is set 1-4, so anyone else they bring in is going to be the #5. In the playoffs, the #5 starter is completely irrelevant and in many cases won't even make the roster. If they're going to go out and get another starter, it has to be a very good one...In other words, "if it's not Halladay, it's crap!" or something like that...

Whats good about this move is the Polly can spell Utley and allow Dobbs to get some ABs at 3rd. That's flexibility we didnt have last year.

"We should move Ruiz to 3B, Werth to C, Utley to RF, and Polanco to 2B.


Too easy."
NEPP

"While we're at it, move Jayson Werth back behind home, Chooch can move to third because he spent that one inning there that one time and Utley can play right."
JW

Scary

From Buster Olney today:

"2. As colleague Jayson Stark reports, the Phillies are targeting Placido Polanco to play third base, and if they sign him, it'll be interesting to see where they hit him in their lineup. Seventh, behind Raul Ibanez? Second, behind Jimmy Rollins, with the more powerful Shane Victorino (62 extra-base hits last year) sliding to the middle of the order? My guess would be that they would hit Polanco eighth, and Carlos Ruiz seventh, given Polanco's on-base percentage. By pursuing Polanco, the Phillies are placing a high priority on defense, for sure."

I certainly hope it turns out that Polanco was the cheapest of Figgins, Beltre, Glaus, DeRosa and Tejada. I'm not thrilled at the number of years; Polanco seems to have somehow raised his asking price from $11M/2 yrs. to $18/3. Is the upgrade from Feliz worth $1.5M? And can that extra $1.5M be worth an extra $5M in value? I think he'll provide a total of at least $10M, which is the threshold I believe would put them in the zip code (not ballpark) as the Red Sox and Yankees. Moreover, if Polanco is the cheapest option to likely provide at least $10M in value, then Amaro Jr. deserves a lot of credit.

Does anyone know if U. Urbina is still rotting in a Venezuelan prison?

Stark, in each of his reports, says the plan is to bat Polanco second behind Rollins. No word on impact that would have on Vic, but I bet he's 7th.

Earlier MVPTommy and I were discussing the revenue increase that the Phils will get from increasing ticket prices. MVP estimates that the revenue increase will be between $3 million and $4 million, but says the Phils won't get all of it because they'll have to pay the umpires, etc. But aren't they already paying them? Isn't that expense already budgeted? Do they have to pay the umpires, etc. more just because they're making more? Enlighten me.

Oh, and I love all your takes on the Polanco deal. One think I keep thinking about... I know it's kind of irrational, but I can't think of any time when a player returns to a former team that it works out well. I'm sure you all will have at least one example, but right now I can't think of one. (And even if there isn't one, that doesn't mean that Polanco's return will have the same outcome. I told you it was kind of irrational.)

TTI: I saw the SI.com article. It feels good to know our club has a potentially bright future. It's depth we know we need, however, once a few of our current core head toward the market.

It's also nice to see the rest of our division isn't as well filled out. The Braves were ranked 6th, but the Mets and Nats are bottom-barrel. Hooray!

"$8.15 million down. I suspect another starter and a reliever are still to be had."


Why does everyone assume another starter "HAS" to be added? We already have 4 very competent major league starters. Do we truly need to spend more money (more money then we truly need to, most likely) on a 5th starter?

We have Kendrick. We can start the season with him. Drabek could be ready by mid-season (and if he is, he will be much more then a 5th starter). As we saw last year, if we have to, we can always go out and find another starter in June or July (heck, we added 2 this year mid-season).

I just don't see the urgency to add a old, expensive back-end starter in this off-season.

What we DESPERATELY need to do, is add a guy who can possibly take Lidge's spot, if and when he implodes. A Soriano or Putz type, would be perfect. The rest of the pen is about set and a few very promising youngsters will be pushing for bullpen spots in ST.

Go after that bullpen piece and forget about the starter. Don't need that.

BTW, I love the Polanco signing. Just the kind of hitter this team needs. Plays the game the right way and knows Philly. Still productive and will be a more consistant upgrade over Feliz. Plus he could be a guy who can spell Utley at 2nd (with Dobbs playing 3rd) on occasion. If he can transition back to 3rd, this is a home run signing.

Kutztown Fan - How about Andy Petitte?

I'm happy to see the Phils loading up on aging players with expensive contracts. Obviously guys like Ibanez, Lidge and Polanco can still offer a lot of production, but the likelihood for breakdown is much higher.

Amaro really seems to be going with the short-sighted win now approach. How Omaresque.

Could this be the writing on the wall that Ryan Howard is gone after 2010. Utley slides to first, Polanco back at 2nd and we are looking for a 3rd basement next offseason too. If Polanco returns to form (a big if) it would sure be nice having a 310 hitter, especially ahead of the big 4, Utz, Howard, Werth & Ibanez.

Bottom line: For a few million dollars more than what Feliz would have cost, we've upgraded the position for 2010.

We can argue about the rest of contract when the time comes, just as we'll argue about Ibanez.

This team wants to win a WFC in 2010. We're now better at 3B. We're now better at backup catcher. We've made little movement with the rest of our bench. We've made no movement with any of our pitching.

I'll be interested to see where we go from here.

TNA: Why the need to compare us with the Red Sox and Yankees before the season even starts? I know Philly (the city in general) has some sort of complex when it comes to the northeast corridor, but it's not necessary to place BOS and NYY on the pedestal at this point.

ESPN will do that for us beginning sometime after March Madness but before Spring Training.

There isn't a chance they'd take Ruiz out of that eight hole. Polanco will fit in the lineup right where Feliz was, without question.

Take a look at Polanco's expression in that picture above. Ever see that kind of intensity from Feliz, even once? I like this signing a lot. He's an upgrade over Feliz in so many ways - most notably, in his approach to the game that makes him a far better fit for the makeup of this team. I don't even think they stand to lose all that much defensively. I see no reason to imagine Polanco wouldn't be a competent enough third baseman. Not much range, but he can catch and throw just fine.

Kutz: b/c it may not have happened before doesn't mean it can't happen this time.

As usual, a Phillies signing never goes without a certain amount of the following criteria:

doubt
fear
bitching
whining
second guessing
(visual) eye rolling

The list is a long one. It doesn't immediatley bring visions of a 3'rd straight WS appearance to me, but I don't hate it. I do think a couple of the other prospects they were considering (Mark DeRosa, Miguel Tejada) would not only be strong choices, but also might actually have had all of us marking our 2010 calendars with some more of that October baseball we've all gotten so accustomed to the past two seasons. I'm split on this decision actually.

Overall, I think PP's signability along with his sure handedness and comfortable pice tag were deal makers in the end. I do not think Amaro wanted to go too long without knowing who would be manning the hot corner this season. He seemingly felt that any bidding wars for some of those other player's services might prove a distraction concerning his other goals. Time shall tell on this signing I'm afraid. We can only hope Rube's Midas touch continues.

ChrisinVT - Pettite!! Dammit, why didn't I think of that?

Bed's Beard - Yeah, I know. I even wrote that in my post. But I've been a Phillie fan since I could walk (1960's), so I have the paranoid/things will implode at any second jitters when it comes to anything related to the Phillies.

I liked Polanco when he was with the Phillies before. I guess I was kind of hoping for a surprise along the lines of the Lee trade. You know - that somehow Figgins was acquired for a handful of beans or something.

"but says the Phils won't get all of it because they'll have to pay the umpires, etc. But aren't they already paying them? Isn't that expense already budgeted? Do they have to pay the umpires, etc. more just because they're making more? Enlighten me."

Tuned back in just in time. To shed more light on this interesting topic. I read an article in the NY Post I believe earlier in the year with a guy who works the MLB offices. He explained that the teams do not keep the full gate sales because some of the money gets deposited into the players and umpires union accounts that is used to pay for their pensions. I am searching for the article as we type. I would think the expense is already budgeted but am not sure.

How many more games do people think the Phils win in 2010 with the Polanco upgrade?

MVP - IF it turns out that the umpires get a percentage of the gate receipts rather than a flat rate, I would think they'd be doing audits o'plenty to make sure that no shenanigans occur. Ya know?

Met Fan: Except Amaro's plan also says "win" on it.

Old Phan: I think we win 4 games more in 2010. Not because of Polanco though. Instead because of a full year of Lee and Hamels reverted back to win 15-18 games.

Kutztown: Well I think it is a flat rate. That is what I am saying. The rate is figured out as if every game sells out though. So that no shenanigans can occur. For the Phillies every game does sell out, so the Phillies make out well on the deal. However, for teams like the Nats and Pirates obviously they lose. We aren't talking about a lot of money here in the grand scheme of things. But both the players' and umpires unions get the same amount that is awarded towards pension plans.

"Drabek could be ready by mid-season (and if he is, he will be much more then a 5th starter)."

denny, your evidence for the above comment is waht, exactly?


" I see no reason to imagine Polanco wouldn't be a competent enough third baseman. Not much range, but he can catch and throw just fine."

RSB, "Not much range"? The last I checked 2B required more range than 3B. Polanco just won his 2nd GG at 2B.

Are you serious? Really?

Thanks, MVP. Now, will you do some research for my grad school class? :-)

"It doesn't immediatley bring visions of a 3'rd straight WS appearance to me, but I don't hate it."

Mr. Mack, trading for Roy Halladay or Feliz Hernandez 'would' give me those visions. Actually, if they signed Gonzalez and Soriano in the pen it might do the same thing. :)

Oh well, I can always dream......

yo, new thread.

The revenue-sharing agreement requires all teams to pay 31% (I've seen this number as 34% elsewhere) of gate receipts into a common pot. That money is then distributed evenly among all the teams. I would think the umpire salaries, since they're shared by the leagues and make annual salaries, are deducted from this pool prior to disbursement.

RSB? No question that he will slide into the 7 hole?

Everyone seems to be saying that he is the ideal 2 hole hitter. And vic to 7 where he has more XBHs and will bring some speed to the bottom.

Personally, I would rather leadoff Vic and move Jroll to 7.

In any event, there is certainly at least some question as to where PP will hit.

Range is a nonissue, as awh correctly notes. The only worry would be Polly's arm and everything I've read said his arm remains very good. Remember, he was a SS when he came up.

FWIW, I completely agree with denny b's analysis. Amarao has said as much: There will be no SP added this winter. There WILL be a seriously improved bullpen. I expect what's left of the money goes for that. Which means we're talking about a Brandon Lyon or Rafael Soriano, either of whom could be strong setup or closer should either Madson or Lidge fail, while providing insurance against Romero's failure to recover from injury.

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