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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Comments

Nice use of bold, Jason. Whomever suggested that Ruben is the master of the shell game might be on to something. We were looking at Sabathia?

Kinda makes you wonder who will be the next surprise.

The anatomy of a deal...rather amazing.

What has struck me as strange is that St. Louis balks at dealing Wallace for Halladay...but later includes him in a deal for what is seemingly a one yr rental of Holliday.

The A's then deal Wallace a player that they seemingly coveted in the moving of a very valuable piece in Holliday and deal him for Taylor.

Are we to summise that Micheal Taylor could have headlined a deal between the Phils and A's for Holliday. Many BL's preferred a Holliday scenario in LF to any other options after 2008. I wouldn't have thought that to be true until now...

Or did the A's not value Wallace's bat as much as others seem to? Obviously, the knew prior to acquiring him for Halladay that he was most likely not a 3B prospect.

Damn eggnog...and too many Hollidays and Halladays...

last paragraph- subtract Holliday and add Halladay please...

oh nevermind...

I really hope that Gose has a better career than Taylor.

Remember when the Phils' organization was a mess that could do no good?

Where are those guys now, in Ed Wade's trunk?

NEPP - Are you suggesting TOR would have taken a deal of Drabek, Gose, D'Arnaud?

Is Gose starting the year in A?

NEPP - What chance do you think there is of that happening? I, personally, wouldn't stake too much on it.

Well, it sounded like they really wanted Gose and we basically refused to give him up repeatedly...perhaps a Gose in lieu of Taylor swap might have worked.

Gose should start the year in Clearwater. He more held his own in Lakewood last year at Age 18...might as well challenge him again. Though he'll only be in his Age 19 season so they could conceivably start him off in Lakewood again. My money would be on him going to Clearwater with Gillies in AA as the starting CF.

To Andy: I see Taylor as a much surer bet personally. Though I am not paid to make such assessments...unfortunately.

Duchscherer signed with Oakland for a base of $2M with incentives such as 30 game starts and 200 IP that could lead to a salary of $5.5M.

We'll see how this turns out, but I'd imagine this is a ridiculous bargain.

A shame we couldn't/didn't match that offer.

Hard to believe the Phils could have substituted Gose for Taylor and they didn't do it. It would have made a great deal of sense to let Werth walk after 2010. Now, the only internal replacement is Francisco and that's a sure step down. Taylor would have continued to be cheap, and I think productive, for quite a long time. Howard and Halladay are going to cost a lot every season they are in Philly together. Would have been nice to slip Taylor into right and the year after, Brown into left.

I just can't believe Toronto would have done that. Although, they appear to have no great projection for Taylor, since they shipped him for a third baseman who can't play third base. Just hard to believe all around.

Maybe the Phils are still hoping Gose will consent to being a pitcher. Yes, that's a joke.

Taylor was also a RH bat in a minor league system full of LH OF bats.

Making it a tougher losss.

Well, so much for the genius theory that Duchscherer wanted to be closer to his son. Maybe he doesn't like the kid afterall.

aksmith - so how much better do you think Taylor will be than Francisco over the next two years? how much of a 'sure step down' will that be?

I doubt Taylor outproduces Francisco on a per-PA basis.

I think it may be somewhat close. I think Francisco is very much an unfinished product. He makes baserunning and fielding mistakes at a rate that puts him more in line with the Nats than the Phillies. I'm hoping he is coachable and they give him a lot of attention this offseason.

I know Taylor is coachable. And I think his upside may be similar. But the key distinction is that Francisco will start becoming expensive a whole lot sooner than Taylor. He hits arb after next season, no? And if he plays well when given time, his second arb season could be too much for the Phils to handle of they're still on a tight budget.

Gose has 4 years to get his OPS from .676 to .944 (and cut his K/BB from 110/35 to 70/48). I doubt that happens despite his age. I see it unlikely that he will develop plate discipline and even more unlikely that he'll develop the power that comes with a 6' 6" frame. (Plus, if we thought so much of Gose, then why get Gillies as the OF prospect from SEA to "restock the system.")

If TOR would've taken Gose instead of Taylor, we shoulda pulled THAT trigger.

aksmith:
Ben Fransisco at age 25, in AAA, his best minor league year, had 12 HRs in 425 PAs and an OPS of .878. He stole 22 out of 30 bases.

Last year, at age 23, between AA and AAA, Michael Taylor hit 20 HR in 491 PAs with an OPS of .944. He stole 21 out of 26 bases.

Long term I'd take Taylor. Personally, I think he's gonna be a monster and Ricciardi is laughing like hell right now.

Yes, BF hits arbitration next year. However, he's going to be in a limited role playing behind the 3 AS outfielders. If Dobbs' settlement is any indication, Francisco will probably make a little over a million in his first arbitration year. That is not bad, although still more expensive than Taylor, for a dependable 4th outfielder who can play all three outfield positions and likely be at least a candidate to take over RF in 2011.

But the bottom line is that, over the next two years, the relevant time period in which the team may transition in RF, Francisco isn't likely to be significantly outperformed by Taylor, if at all.

Andy quoted the numbers. I'll make one observation. Francisco is an extreme pull hitter, which will likely limit his effectiveness. Seems to me that with his approach at the plate, he will get himself out a lot by allowing teams to cut the field in half.

IF that's what he is, he will come nowhere near Werth's performance because Werth has rare opposite field power and is at his best when using the entire field. He is very tough to defense.

I've seen Taylor go the other way, even though I've only seen him a few times. But I can't remember a single time seeing Francisco hit the ball with any authority the other way.

Maybe that adds up to nothing. But I would have liked to see Taylor play in Philly if all it meant was Gose heading to Toronto.

As Ricciardi was fired and is generally considered the laughing stock of the league these days, I don't think he's laughing.

From another perspective, it seems like the organization values Gose higher than we do, and considering they know more about him than we do, that's probably a good thing.

If it wasn't clear, I don't believe TOR would have taken Drabek, D'Arnaud and Gose. No way.

****see it unlikely that he will develop plate discipline and even more unlikely that he'll develop the power that comes with a 6' 6" frame. (Plus, if we thought so much of Gose, then why get Gillies as the OF prospect from SEA to "restock the system.")****

Well, here's the split from his first pro season:

BB%
1st half - 4.8%
2nd half - 8.0%

SO%
1st half - 23.2%
2nd half - 17.2%

Personally, I look at that as solid improvement all things considered. If he can maintain or even build on those 2nd half numberd then you've got a solid player as far as plate discipline.

He's 18 in A ball...give him time.

Unikruk - my bad on Ricciardi. (Serious brain fart on my part - there's a haiku in that statement somewhere.)

Actually, Billy Beane might be the one laughing because Toronto flipped Taylor for Wallace. And if that's the case Ricciardi, who's friends with Beane may very well be laughing at Toronto anyway.

There is no way on earth the inclusion of Anthony Gose held up any Halladay deal. It had to be Happ, since the Phillies needed him to get to the playoffs at the time.

If the Phillies valued Happ so highly they would've kept him in the rotation, especially for the playoffs.

"If the Phillies valued Happ so highly they would've kept him in the rotation, especially for the playoffs." - Baxter

That's a question that I've oftened pondered, the Phillies' value of Happ.

From Toronto here, one thing about the source, if Bob Elliott says it happened, it almost certainly did. As for Ricciardi, he is well gone from Toronto and good riddance to him. Still, we're going to be heavy with good-hit no-field guys. Enjoy the Doc, although we were asking the same question here, how could the Phillies get rid of Cliff Lee?

Great thread, makes a nice Christmas treat.

A few thoughts:
1. The most fascinating part of the Elliott piece is that the Phillies insisted on Gillies in the deal, not Saunders. I've never seen a single scouting report from any source that rated Gillies above Saunders. Maybe the Phils have inside info.

2. Gose will never, ever be the offensive player that Michael Taylor will be. But Taylor will never, ever be the valuable speed and defense package that Gose will be. Remember, CF is a more important spot than corner OF. Gose could easily be another Michael Bourn.

3. The idea that Ben Francisco=Michael Taylor is one of the most laughable posts I've seen in awhile. Look at the stats for goodness sakes. Completely different players. Francisco is a solid, all-around league average player who will never be a star. Taylor projects better than that.

In re: #1
Exactly. If we're restocking a system now without Taylor but with Gose, why get the most Gose-like prospect above the more Taylor-like one. I do not get it.

In re: #2
In a position prospect, I'll take strike zone recognition and ability to hit above speed and defense just about every time. Gose having just 35 BBs to 110 Ks at a sub-AA level, even at 18, is kinda scary in a semi-Golsonesque (though nowhere as bad) kinda way. Too often players never learn to see the strike zone any better nor plate discipline. (Which is why I find Jonathan Singleton's start especially encouraging.) Taylor may never be the valuable speed and defense guy, but Gose will never be the MORE valuable OBP and SLG guy that Taylor is.

In re: #3
Completely, totally agree. Francisco is a good bench player. Taylor is a future monster.

I keep fairly good tabs on the Phils' minor leagues, but until David Murphy's article yesterday, I had never heard of RP Brian Rosenberg. So I looked him up. He is old for his level, and altogether unspectacular.

Is he really a legitimate internal candidate for the ML bullpen?

Bonehead: they like him because he's really really tall; what else do you need in a pitcher?

clout - so you think that Taylor is going to significantly outproduce Francisco on an plate-appearance basis over the next two years? that's laughable.

A little more on Saunders originally being part of the Lee trade (the author's take on the Phillies' outfield is cockeyed though):

Saunders

And the Mariners GM torpedoes Cameron's absurd theory:

"One of the first things I asked him was whether this had anything to do with the Cliff Lee deal of last week.

Zduriencik replied that he and Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos had been discussing this deal for over a month. That's long before the Lee trade even popped on the radar. "

Morrow trade

Rosenberg was a 13th rounder out of U of Louisville, a typical late round pick of a decent college player who doesn't project much upside, but has enough baseball skill (great control of a 92 mph fastball and an improving slider) to be a decent organization guy and, if you're lucky, maybe actually help at the major league level.

He blew everyone away in the Sally league, but his K/BB ratio plunged dramatically when he moved up to Reading (albeit only 10 IP).

If he can come close to duplicating his 6.5 Sally League K/BB in a half season at Reading, you'll see him in Philly before season's end.

TNA: I'm not sure how Taylor will fare in his first taste at the big league level. But I am certain his OPS+ will exceed Francisco's after his first 2 or 3 years and far exceed it once their careers are done.

Do you think Francisco will have a better career than Taylor? If so, why?

I wouldn't be surprised if Taylor has a better career than Francisco when all is said and done. However, over the course of the possible transition in the Phillies RF in the next two years, Francisco is more likely to be a more productive asset than Taylor. That's all that was stated in the post that you deemed laughable.

I got a nice cliff lee jersey for Christmas and didn't know what to do, my mom bought it before the trade and despite his absence gave it anyway.

Got my maroon Halladay shirt from my daughter, and I'm wearing it to a family get-together in Yankees country.

Life is good.

Merry Christmas to all!

AL - Keep it. Wear it. Treasure it. It is destined to be as classic as an Edsel.

TNA: I read your original post too quickly and missed the "two years" part. It sounded like (to me and Andy as well) you were saying Francisco was a better player than Taylor.

If you're strictly talking 2010 and 2011, then you could be right, althought that's an odd time frame since Werth will be with the team next year. There's no need for a replacement before 2011 and by then, your two-year view becomes a one year view.

I also wonder if, after one more year in the high minors, Taylor will not out perform Francisco in 2011. He probably won't in Oakland, of course, because it's a lousy hitters' park. But I'd kinda like to see how a 2011 Taylor in CBP would fare.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year everyone!!!! WS again in '10!!!

Interesting chat today with a family friend who is doing some scouting for several teams right now in the Mid-Atlantic as an independent part-timer.

1. Scouts the NYPL and saw Hewitt a few times this year. His remark was "Greg Golson-lite." Said the Phils wasted $1.3M and can't believe that they took a kid in the 1st round so devoid of any actual baseball skills. Always time to develop but he was brutal at the plate and poor in the field at 3B.

2. He saw the RPhils an awful lot and said it was the best level of talent they have had there in a long, long time. Maybe 15-20 years. Still, he said losing Drabek & Taylor was huge because they were the two guys (he didn't see as much of Dom Brown) who were really capable of helping this club in the next 2 years. Rest are secondary/fringe secondary guys although he does think there are 2-3 pitchers on the roster last year are eventually capable of pitching at the MLB level.

Really liked what he saw of Mathieson too - better than his pre-injury form. Down on Savery (got out to a hot early start because of strong run-support and holding batters with RISP under .200 for a while. Best was a backend/long-man bullpen type.

3. Made an interesting point that it take a really long, long time to turn around a franchise via the draft in baseball. Said the Phils did it by nailing everyone of their top draft picks from 96-02.

Looked it up and said he was right.

96 - Eaton (1st), Rollins (2nd)
97 - Drew (1st), Wolf (2nd)
98 - Burrell (1st), Madson (9th)
99 - Myers (1st)
00 - Utley (1st)
01 - Floyd (1st), Howard (5th)
02 - Hamels (1st)

Really the only guys who haven't been key contributors and weren't drafted in the 1st/2nd round were Howard and Madson. Rest were top draft picks that Arbuckle really nailed.

Friend also brought up the point that the Phils really haven't spend any large amounts of money in the draft on signing a single player since Floyd ($4.2) and Hamels ($2.0). Since then, they have almost exclusively stuck to players who will sign at the slotted amount or very close to it.

4. Last point he made was that others don't teams necessarily don't think the Phils have as strong a farm system right now even with the prospect the Phils got back from the Lee trade because Gillick/Amaro really have raided the fridge the last 2 years and traded away a ton of high-draft choices:

Here is a sample:

2003 - Bourn (4th) No 1st or 2nd rounder
2004 - Golson (1st), Jamarillo (2nd), Marson (4th)
2005 - Constanzo (2nd), Maloney (3rd) No 1st rounder
2006 - Drabek (1st), Cardenas (1st), Donald (3rd)
2007 - D'Arnaud (1st)
2008 - Knapp (1st)

Phils essentially have traded away every high pick they made from 2003-06 and other teams think the Phils are going to take a real step back as a result in 2 years because they won't have the low-cost talent coming through to replace some of their current aging & expensive stars.

MG: Eaton was garbage both times he was with us. Drew didn't sign here and we ended up selecting Burrell in the following draft. Floyd had minimal success here in Philly (be it from jerking him around or not).

I wouldn't say those draft picks were, "nailed."


All that list does is drive home the crapshoot nature of draft picks. Madson in the 9th probably wasn't expected to be a huge deal coming out that year. I would imagine scouts didn't think he would develop into a very reliable and effective 8th inning guy.

Howard was passed over by a bunch of teams because he went the full 4 years to college. Teams felt he was going to be a guy who would get to the show late in his prime. He vaulted through the minors.

Also, I would disagree with your friend that the Phillies don't have low-cost talent. they have talent it's just a matter of whether it develops. and contributes. It many ways though, that is the nature of draft picks. Like I said a few times during this endless debate of what we got in the Lee deal- a year is a long time with prospects. Our system could look vastly different (better or worse) in a year. If Gillies, Aumont, or Ramirez has a strong year at Double A the haul back will be viewed differently.

The only thing I see we lost with Drabek and Taylor is two close to sure things. We traded those back and got potential impact guys. But again, that's the nature of draft picks.

It should also be pointed out that Cardenas did not have a great season at Triple A this past year. He looked pretty average actually by scouting accounts. He was one of the guys (similar to Bourn) that was a high draft pick traded that was not going to come to the big club or be a huge piece.

Bourn was a contributor and in many ways could have been helpful but he had good trade value and got us an important piece of the puzzle we needed.

TTI - His point was that it is really tough to have a run of 4-5 straight drafts without having much of that talent develop and succeed at the MLB level.

You can make a pretty strong case because of the trades, etc that the Phils might never have that much talent from the 2003-07 drafts play for them and help them win at the MLB level.

Personally, I don't necessarily agree with his perspective especially if the Phils keep their payroll among the top 7-8 in MLB but it isn't hard to see this team slipping back down to the 80-85 win range either beyond 2 years.

Also forgot to add that he was really interested to see Gose likely play at Reading (maybe late next summer) because the reports on him vary so much. Some say he is a great CF & leadoff prospect because of his speed/defense and other say he is a hacker who is likely nothing more than a backup bench OF who plays good D and has speed off the bench.

TTI: Wait, let me get this straight. Picks for Eaton, Drew and Floyd weren't "nailed" because they had their best performances on other teams?

A pick is nailed if he turns out to be a productive major leaguer regardless of what team he plays for. MG's post is one of the more astute posts I've ever seen on here. The Phils had a tremendous draft run 96-02 and the facts support it.

And they've also emptied the cupboard of their top draft picks 03-08. The facts also support that. Whether that was a mistake or not depends on how well the team does this year and next and whether those traded turn out to be productive major leaguers. I have my doubts about a few of them.

MG: Sounds like your scout friend knows his stuff. Reading is going to be a place this season where prospects get separated from suspects.

BTW, the comparison I will be watching this summer isn't Halladay vs. Lee. It will be Michael Saunders vs. Tyson Gillies. The report that the Phils didn't want Saunders, but insisted on Gillies was the most astonishing part of the Lee trade.

I mentioned this the other day and have done some subsequent research into these two since then. I can find nothing to suggest Gillies' projects a better upside than Saunders. Saunders was rated higher by everyone, BA, Sickels, Scout.com. He was rated by scouts as the 4th best prospect in the PCL, behind only Buster Posey, Neftali Perez and Travis Snider and ahead of Brett Wallace and Alcides Escobar. A couple of the reports compared him to Randy Winn.

Gillies, if he keeps his OB high thru the next 3 levels (a big if), could be a nice leadoff/defense/speed CF. Michael Bourn maybe? Who would you rather have, Randy Winn in his prime or Michael Bourn?

Of course that's assuming Gillies pans out at all. Here's what one report said, "A slap-hitting speedy outfielder with low upside."

That strikes me as harsh, but his season at Reading will tell us a lot, I believe.

clout: Adam Eaton has never had an ERA in a season below 4. For his career he is a .500 pitcher giving up almost 5 runs per game.

To play your game I have to ask: And you think that is the definition of nailing a first round pick?


Interesting....

Drew is more of an interesting case in how you want to present your argument. Good player, no doubt. But there was talk before the draft that he was going to be tough to sign and anyone who drafted him was risking a battle. The Phillies publicly downplayed the difficulty and drafted him. They were unable to sign him. They got the pick the following year and took Burrell. So it's a matter of how integral you want to say Pat Burrell was to our success as a franchise.

But I wouldn't say nailed on that pick only because the Phillies knew what his demands would be and still signed him never intending to meet them, or foolishly thinking they could talk Boras off them.

Gavin Floyd- He's been ok the past two seasons and I did say the Phillies probably messed him up some by jerking him around so much. But it wasn't like he has been integral to our success. And he wasn't traded for anything that ended up being helpful.

Look at that list of draft picks from 96-02. How many of them are true superstars in the game? How many of them are nice pieces? It's unusual that the Phillies have so many in those two categories. Many teams don't hit like that.

Also, Rollins (2nd), Madson (9th) and Howard (5th) have been as important if not more important to the teams success as anyone picked in the first round during that time.

Also, clout I didn't discount that the Phillie traded a bunch of their guys from the most recent drafts. My point again though was it's too soon to tell how that will affect the team. Plus there is some talent left from the two most recent drafts that could turn out to be good players.

Also one little fix on MG's list- Jason Knapp was a second round pick in 2008. Hewitt and Collier were 1st round guys, and Gose was selected ahead of Knapp in the 2nd.

400 IP, 117 ERA+, 1.245 WHIP at ages 25 and 26 is more than a little ok. He made less than $1.2M in both seasons combined. Phils didn't mess him up. He was just a kid. Let's not relive the Garcia trade though.

TTI: "And you think that is the definition of nailing a first round pick?"

You bet I do. Adam Eaton was a 10-year major leaguer 71-68, 4.94 (a number than jumped from 4.40 because of how awful he was the past 3 seasons) after being picked 12th in the 1st round in 1996.

If you can get a back-end rotation who is better than league average for 4th or 5th starters for a period of 5 or 6 years, as Eaton was, then you nailed that pick.

MG's post was quite simple: Did Arbuckle & company nail those picks (i.e. did they turn out to be productive major leaguers) the answer is obviously yes.

Sophist- I wasn't using "ok" to put the guy down.

And the Phillies really did rattle his confidence with the way they jerked him around.

He has showed flashes though the past two years of why people were high on him, but I wouldn't be ready to call him a home run in the first round yet. He still may very well turn out that way though. I think his potential right now shows 3rd or 4th starter in a rotation and there is nothing wrong with that. plenty of guys in MLB have made a comfortable living that way.

I didn't know we could cherry pick years out of a guy's career to boost his numbers. I'll remember that for the future. Also, you're adjusting for Eaton based off what he ended up being and not what he was drafted to be.

he was drafted to be a top of the rotation guy, not a 4th or 5th starter.

MG said his friend's point was it takes a while to turn a franchise around through the draft and the Phillies did it by nailing every pick in the first round from 96-02. That's a conditional statement. The thought was the Phillies turned it around by nailing every first round pick. Eaton, Drew, and Floyd didn't help this franchise turn around. Unless I missed some big contribution from one of the three of them to the team.

Had his friend said- the Phillies nailed every first round pick from 96-02 that's a different statement and closer to the truth. The Phillies franchise was turned around by nailing a majority of their first round picks from 96-02 would be a far more accurate statement.

And I said it twice but in your haste to nitpick my point you missed it. I've given the crew credit twice for nailing the picks that weren't in the first round. For me, that's more important than nailing a first round guy. Strength in any draft, for any sport, comes from being able to go through scouting reports and nail a guy a little further down the draft boards. It's a crapshoot in many ways for all picks but good scouting helps far more in the later rounds than in the early ones.

You give them credit for nailing every first round pick- I would quibble that some of them were nailed but would never say they didn't do their homework on some of the non-first round guys. I'm far more impressed with getting Madson in the 9th than Eaton in the 1st.

JW: Thanks for that very concise synopsis of the whole chain of events that lead to one (or two) of the biggest deals in Phillies history. That really is interesting and informative. Some of your best work I think. Also, thanks to MG. Some really good "dirt" from your buddy. Very interesting.
And I was thinking the same thing as clout about Saunders vs Gillies. Rarely is there such a clear cut case for one prospect vs. another. The decision to ask for Gillies over Saunders has the hand of Looper all of over it. It will take a few years of course but if Saunders contributes for somebody at the big league level and Gillies is a bust, or vice versa, one would think it would greatly impact Looper's standing in the organization.

I have a feeling we're gonna be ripping that decision in a couple years.

Sure sounds like it. Sounds like he really stuck his neck out.

TTI - First round picks in the MLB draft have a pretty high washout rate especially if they are 17 or 18 year old kids. Even if you get a guy who turns out to be a credible MLB starter for several years (not even an, you "nailed" the pick because the economic return to the team is much greater than outlays or the likely replacement they would have had to acquire at MLB level.

I would consider any 1st round pick who is a starter and puts up even league average numbers for 4-5 years a 'success' given the high failure rate.

I would definitely be surprised if the Phillies actually did choose Gillies instead of Saunders. While I like Gillies more than some on here (and Saunders is far from a sure thing), there did seem to be consensus among scouts and experts that Saunders is the better player.

That said, the real comparison to watch this year is not Halladay vs. Lee. It's Lee vs. Moyer or Kendrick, because that is essentially what Amaro traded when he got rid of Lee for this season. He replaced Lee in the rotation with one of those two guys, in order to save 9 million dollars and bring back 3 prospects. For 2010, the difference on the team because of the Lee deal is the performance difference between Lee and whoever our 5th starter is (Moyer or Kendrick presumably).

As much as Clout loves Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick, even he would have to agree that this will likely be a big difference.

Considering there was zero chance of a Halladay/Lee/Hamels/Blanton/Happ rotation, I would say the real comparison is Lee vs Blanton plus the Sea prospects.

wallace will dominate, taylor will dominate, difference is , toronto needed a first baseman. end of story.

Jack: Nah, I don't love 'em. I just try to balance the book when idiots like you say they're washed up, can't possibly be successful at the major league level etc. On Beerleaguer, most posters think a 5th starter must have an ERA of 4.00 or he's worthless. The reality, as always, is different.

Jim: Agreed, it is Blanton/new prospects versus a proven world series ace in Cliff Lee. Obviously it'll take more then a year to evaluate but we should get a good sense of it by the end of the season.

The thing that is so dumbfounding is why trade away guys who are going to potentially help you next year (Drabek/Taylor) and bring in longer term (and riskier) prospects when it's so crystal clear the window is the next two seasons. I don't think any of the three guys brought in will extend that window. We might have been better off grabbing the 2 picks for when Lee leaves.

The question I pose is instead of trading Lee (or Blanton) what if we had done the Halladay deal and included Brown instead of Taylor (maybe keeping the C prospect). Then we trade Ilbanez (eating a bit of salary) which could have netted a nice return of prospects (though not as good as for Lee) and cut $8MM off this year and next.

This year we start B. Fransisco in the OF and eventually call up Taylor. I think the offense of the other guys could cover the drop in production.

As for 2011 Hopefully we can resign Werth or at worst play BF or a cheap veteran. I doubt a 2011 Ilbanez would be that much better and besides that's our strength. Doesn't it make so much more sense to deal an aging 6 hole hitter in a loaded lineup then an ace?

And I think a good return for Ilbanez is realistic. If we'd eat 2MM a year a team would be looking at paying 2/17 for a guy that hit 34HR last year. Doesn't that make more sense to the Yankees/Cards/Mets/Braves then Jason Bay at 4/65 or Halliday at 7/120?

TTI: i agree with all of those arguing against you.

Howry to the D'Backs.

Great article, excellent read. It sounds like we could have gotten away with giving the Jays a little less, considering what else was being offered. This deal will be analyzed for years.

One thing is if all these toolsey players develop, or even 2/3 of them (which is still far from a sure thing), this will be a fun team to watch!

One of our best signings this offseason was Rodney to the Angels.

My point is not to disparage the draft picks from 96-02 which is how I think some are taking it.

I'm less than impressed with the picks of Floyd and Eaton in the first round and I wouldn't call either of them nailed picks. I'm very impressed with them finding Rollins, Madson, and Howard outside the first round. I'm especially impressed with them ignoring the conventional wisdom that was going around about Howard at the time and drafting him anyway.

I'm impressed with the drafts from that time period but not because of the entire group of first round picks. The importance of the draft is hitting on more than just the first round picks. Also, just because I don't think they nailed Eaton, Drew, and Floyd doesn't mean I think they did poorly. that would leave Utley, Burrell, Hamels, and Myers (and I wouldn't argue with anyone who thinks Myers is a miss). 4 out of 7 in the first round is an excellent percentage for the MLB draft.

"Saunders vs Gillies. Rarely is there such a clear cut case for one prospect vs. another. The decision to ask for Gillies over Saunders..."


Saunders age 20
2007 High Desert Calif
HR 14 SB 27 avg .299 obp .392 slg .473 ops 865

Gillies age 20
2009 High Desert Calif
HR 9 SB 44 avg .341 obp .430 slg .486 ops 916

Mike77, that kind of informed counter-argument, with relavant data, is not allowed on beerleaguer, especially when refuting the point of a BL Elite Member.

Smoky: Then BA, Scout.com, Sickels et al are wrong and mikes77 is right? Because of a comparison of one season?

Interesting.

Clout: No, I think those guys have certainly come to a consensus that Saunders is a better prospect than Gillies. But Mikes77 is making a valid point, that the difference might not be as great as people are making it out to be, and also that there is a lot of variance in prospect evaluations, especially when it comes to scouting reports and statistics. It's just really tough to tell until everything plays out.

There was consensus, after all, back in the day that Marlon Byrd was a better Phillies prospect than Chase Utley. Or that Josh Outman was better than JA Happ. And so on, and so on.

Looks like Domonic Brown will be around no. 13 on BA's list of best prospects in all of baseball.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=7425

Not to take one side or the other, but it is hard to say what Sickels, BA, etc. think about comparing Gillies to Saunders because none of them had released their Mariners prospect lists before the trade. Gillies had his 'breakout' year this year, so I would imagine his stock has gone up, while Saunders struggled a bit in his first taste of ML action (small sample of 129 PAs), but raked during his time in AAA this year, so who knows what his standing is now.

Sickels had this about Gillies a week ago:

"8) Tyson Gillies, OF, Grade C+: Draws walks, steals bases with outstanding speed, good glove, fun to watch. Most of his power came at High Desert; Double-A production could raise him to a B- or even a B. Could rank as high as fifth if you want to value his polish over pure upside of Gose, Valle, and Santana."

And wrote this about Saunders on August 13 (before his late season struggles):

"6) Michael Saunders, OF, Grade B-: Hit .310/.378/.544 for Triple-A Tacoma, currently hitting .260/.315/.320 in 15 games for the Mariners. Hasn't shown power against major league pitching yet, but sample is very small."

clout, I'm interested to see if BP/BA/Sickels move Gillies up considerably based on last year's performance. High draft picks start out higher on prospect lists, and move down slowly if they don't perform, while low draft picks tend to move up slowly on the lists even if they out-perform. I believe it took a little while for Brown/Drabek/Taylor to reach the top 25, or top 50 for that fact. Drabek because of teh arm issues, the OFs because they weren't drafted high. What did BA/BP/Sickel rank Taylor & Brown in 2007 or start of 2008?

also, clout, one season won't be enough, but Gillies did very well in an age appropriate league. This year will be the key. Just like Taylor's second half of his first year could have been termed a fluke, it was his follow up the next year at AA that made hime legit. The same will be true for Gillies. If he puts up ~ .390 OBP in Reading and steals a good chunk of bases and plays good CF, I think the reports will all change. In fact, if he puts up somewhere around a .400 OBP, I would think that the Phillies may adjust there outfield strategy for 2011, especially in terms of Vic.

"On Beerleaguer, most posters think a 5th starter must have an ERA of 4.00 or he's worthless. The reality, as always, is different.

Posted by: clout"


clout, I think someone posted that the average guy in the 5th starter spot in MLB had a 6.24 ERA.

Now, I can understand the argument that the 5th starter on a championship team should be better than that, but if MLB average R/G for SP is 4.80, 4.65 and 4.61 ('07 - '09) - about .4 R higher than ERA, then, IMHO, it stands to reason that a decent 5th starter on a good team should be somewhere around that number.

Of course, the posters who think a decent 5th starter should put up BETTER than MLB average ERA [4.32, 4.32 , 4.61 ('07 - '09)] DO have a misplaced sense of reality, and a misplaced level of expectations.


On another note, with so much emphasis on quality starts by MLB teams and coaches, I was surprised at this particular cutoff:

Number of MLB pichers starting at least one game:

2007 337
2008 337
2009 350

Number of pitchers who had at least 50% quality starts:

2007 70
2008 72
2009 71

So, only slightly more than 2 pitchers per MLB team were able to go 6 IP with

The other 250+ each season had LESS than half of their starts reach the "quality" level.

That should have said:

"So, only slightly more than 2 pitchers per MLB team were able to go 6 IP with

Boy, I must be making an html error.

Once again:

"So, only slightly more than 2 pitchers per MLB team were able to go 6 IP with less than or equal to 3 runs."


(I guess the symbols for "less than/equal to" cause a problem.)

****There was consensus, after all, back in the day that Marlon Byrd was a better Phillies prospect than Chase Utley. Or that Josh Outman was better than JA Happ. And so on, and so on.****

Well, Outman hasn't exactly been a slouch in the Majors. Other than getting injured, he was actually pitching pretty well.

It will be interesting to see how he comes back from TJ surgery. If he comes back 100%, he'll be one of a handful of LHP that can regularly throw in the mid-90s as a starter.

On Chase, I completely agree. As late as 2004, reports still had him pegged as a utility guy due to issues with his defense. Ironically he's now one of the best defenders in the game due to his hard work.

SmokyJoe: I would think that the Phillies may adjust there outfield strategy for 2011, especially in terms of Vic.

Why? They could just toss Gillies in LF or even move Vic back there. There's no law that says that a corner OF can't be a speedy OBP type player. (see Carl Crawford for example).

NEPP - Only way a corner OF (especially LF) can be a speedy OBP type is if you have above average power to compensate from other positions.

NL's team got an average line of .271/.342/.439 with an average of 20 HRs.

In 2008, .271/.350/.452 with an average of 23 HRs.

In 2007, .277/.357/.477 with an average of 27 HRs.

Teams are already getting decent OBP (.340-.350ish) and power (20-25 HRs).

The likelihood of this happening is very slim, but I really wish the Phillies could grab another starter like Washburn, Garland, or Sheets for the backend with a 1 year deal.

That or put some money together and sign a Valverde type who's market is getting small.

"Then BA, Scout.com, Sickels et al are wrong (about Saunders and Gillies?)"

From BA 2009:
"Michael Saunders... is a good fastball hitter... willingness to use the opposite field suggest that he will be at least and average hitter... strikes out a lot... chases offspeed pitches out of the zone... he could develope into a 20 HR hitter... added bulk could augment his power, but detract from his speed and range.
"Tyson Gillies... an 80 runner on 20-80 scale... stolen base threat... plus-plus range in centerfield... plus arm... chance to be above average hitter because of his feel for the strike zone... bunting skills... sturdy built... future as a top of the order batter.

Saunders sounds a little like Ryan Church. Where is the upside that suggests that Gillies' will be THAT much worse than him? A 20 HR Leftfielder or a High OBP, Center Fielder who steals bases?

A lot of smoke, mirrors and obfuscation about a very simple concept: Every scout I've seen has rated Saunders higher than Gillies.

That's all I said. And I was puzzled about what the Phillies know to make them think different.

Let's review some of the nonsense posts here:

Jonesman: "it is hard to say what Sickels, BA, etc. think about comparing Gillies to Saunders because none of them had released their Mariners prospect lists before the trade."

Sickels post-season rated Saunders a B- and Gillies a C+.

Jack: "It's just really tough to tell until everything plays out."

The "Well, Duh!" post of the day!

SmokyJoe: "one season won't be enough, but Gillies did very well in an age appropriate league. This year will be the key."

Thanks for supporting exactly what I said.

mikes77: "Saunders sounds a little like Ryan Church. Where is the upside that suggests that Gillies' will be THAT much worse than him?"

No one (except mikes77) has compared him to Ryan Church. Several scouts did compare him to Randy Winn. Nice straw man on the second sentence. No one has said anything like that. I simply said what I noted above: That Saunders was rated higher. You seemed to disagree, but have been unable to post a single fact to support your position. As always.

Clout- Sickels has yet to give Saunders a post-season grade. As I posted, that B- was given in mid-August, and Saunders struggled the last two months of the season in Seattle. Not saying that would definitely change his rating, but what I said is true, none of the sources you mentioned have rated the two in relation to each other after the season.

On a completely different note...

I personally feel Happ struggled a little after the trading deadline, in part because of the uncertainty surrounding the trade rumors. I wonder how Blanton will respond this year knowing that the Phillies tried to basically give him away with no takers? My hope is that he works his butt off to be in the best shape of his career, stays away from the cheeseburgers and doughnuts, and comes in about 20 pounds lighter and ready to show everyone the proverbial finger in his walk year. If he could keep his fitness up so as to be able to stay stronger through games and later into the season, it would be a big lift for the Phil's rotation and BP.

Blanton looks fat, but by all accounts is a very hard worker. He apparently hits the conditioning very hard and is in great shape. Some people are just shaped like that. When he first came to the Phillies, I too thought he was fat and out of shape. Pancakes Blanton. But that is not the case. He is simply a league average pitcher who looks fat but is in pretty good physical condition.

And no matter what he thinks of the trade rumors, he is in a walk year and pitching for his next contract. If that doesn't motivate a guy, then not much will.

aksmith, I think MG would disagree with you. He has written in the past that the book on Blanton when he was with the A's was that he had fitness issues, and MG also threw out some stats that showed how Blanton wore down after about 70 pitches in a game.

"He is simply a league average pitcher"


smitty, what exactly is your definition of a "league average" pitcher?

Do you just look at ERA+, or do you delve deeper into stats like IP and QS% when you make you evaluation?

SmokyJoe - Yeah I have posted that and Blanton has tended to notably struggle in the 5th/6th innings in his career. Numbers bear that out.

He also had averaged the following IP/GS in this career:

2005 - 6.09 (little over 6 IP/start)
2006 - 6.21
2007 - 6.76
2008 - 5.96
2009 - 6.29

Career - 6.26 IP/GS

The only year that Blanton was really a "workhorse" was in 2007. Otherwise, he generally has been more typical of other starters.

Beane and the A's did rip Blanton on his training and regimen especially during 2008 especially in trading camp when Blanton showed up looking like he had added some extra weight when he showed up in Arizona. It was cited as one of the reasons that Beane was so willing to trade him.

Career numbers:
Hamels - 6.34 IP/GS
Halladay - 6.93 IP/GS
Moyer - 6.21 IP/GS
Happ - 6.15 IP/GS

Our lineup would be fine with 2 speedy CF types in the OF (1 in CF & 1 in RF). Granted, a guy like Werth is the optimal RF (very good power and plus speed and defense) but there are very few of those in baseball. Name the top 5 RFs in the NL...the dropoff is very sudden:

By WAR for 2009:

1. Werth
2. Upton
3. Pence
4. Ethier
5. Fukodome

needless to say, moving Vic back to RF and starting a cheap rookie CF would not be the end of the world...Vic would still be pretty high on this list as far as top NL RFs go and his defense in RF was phenomenal when he was there.

Losing Werth will be a major blow no matter what but its gonna happen.

Nothing to add to the topic at hand, but I wanted to wish everyone a (belated) Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.

Thank you to Jason and everyone who makes this site the first place I go in the morning and the last place I go at night. And about 500 times during the day.

My New Years Resolution? To post more on Beerleaguer.

NEPP: Agree with your theory that logically Werth won't be here next year. But of course, I have to throw a scenario out there.

Do we agree that Werth is looking at anywhere from $15-17 mil?

If so, with Moyer coming off the books after this year along with Blanton. That is potentially $13.50 million coming off the books.

Would you be satisfied with signing Werth with that money and replacing Moyer/Blanton with younger guys?

Or would you rather let Werth walk and replace Moyer with Kendrick along with signing a replacement for Blanton with the money?

Jonesman: Yeah, I should've made the distinction between Gillies post-season and Saunders mid-August. But I doubt that Saunders grade would've changed much since he was called up soon after. His OPS in Triple A at age 22 last season was .922. Let's see if Gillies can do that and also make The Show at age 22.

Giving Werth $15 million for 2011 would put our salary at $126 million to 11 players...I don't see it happening. You'd have to fill 13 roster spots with maybe $15 million...and that's not counting Arb raises to Vic, Ruiz, etc that will push that $126 million to $140 million and still leave us with multiple holes.

Unless the FO gets to massively increase payroll, Werth won't be back. The money simply isnt there.

Tommy- in terms of budget, the Phillies only have to account for the increase in Werth's salary from this year to next, so if he makes 15M next year, that is an extra 8M in the budget. They could then use the Moyer money to sign a pitcher.

The problem then becomes the built in raises and arb raises (which actually shouldn't be too huge next year due to the way the contracts are structured). The Phillies do have a really cheap buyout on Romero that would save them 4M if they drop him (hopefully the young bullpen guys will step up this year and make him expendable). And if they are able to resign Werth, they could try to deal Vic or Ibanez and let Brown and/or Francisco take the other outfield spot.

NEPP- what are the multiple holes? Obviously they will need a starting pitcher (or two), but the lineup and bench are pretty well set through '11 aren't they? Are you counting Romero in your 11 players?

Well, we'll need a couple starters, a RF, bullpen/bench help again.

10 signed players counting to $111 million:

Howard - $20 million
Halladay - $20 million
Utley - $15 million
Ibanez - $12 million
Lidge - $12 million
Hamels - $9.5 million
Rollins - $8.5 million
Polanco - $5.4 million
Madson - $4.8 million
Schneider - $1.6 million
Gload - $1.6 million

Then add in Arbitration raises to Vic, Ruiz, Dobbs (if he's not nontendered), Kendrick and Francisco.

That leaves some pretty good holes there. Some people really better step up from the minors but its a long-shot to assume anyone will be able to step in and play RF or be a good 3/4 starter or a late reliever in place of Romero. You can't go cheap on all of those and you'd have to if you resign Werth at $15-17 million per. Getting 2 starters on the cheap will not work well.

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