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Thursday, January 21, 2010


Good move? No questions asked.

Wondering where this will leave Werth with all those young OF prospects looming?

Prospects could at least strive for left field. From everything that came out about the severity of Ibanez's groin injury, it's a position that could be wide open by the start of 2011.

As for the prospects, Vic didn't become a regular until he was 25. Gose is 18. Gillies, who will probably start at Double-A, is 21. Plenty of time and no reason to be discouraged.

Glad to hear it. Vic deserves it, and the team needs him!

Two excellent moves today.

The decision is hanging there. Howard or Werth.

I'd still make a strong effort to sign Werth. If he asks for (and can get) 5YR/$90 then you may have to let him go but I'd sign him if at all possible at the expense of losing a 32 y/o Howard in '12.

Of course it all depends on what the market looks like but that's how I see it for these guys...

Detailed numbers aside, this was the right thing to do. Winning organizations make moves like this. I give Amaro a great big A- overall.

Spark plug and chief instigator of the team. I don't think the Philliee could have replaced Victorino's intagibles let alone his bat or his glove. Great move, Ruben.

Good moves, Vic and Blanton. Sign Ruiz. Then it gets tough.

If the decision comes down to Howard or Werth, I'd trade Howard and keep all accounts Howard is looking for a record-breaking type of contract, and I don't see any logical reason for the Phils to tie up that much of their budget in 1 player.

Dom Brown will be ready sooner than later. Where does he fit based on the current OF situation?

Chris: How much difference in money do you think there will be between Werth and Howard if Werth were to repeat his 2009 stats?

Congrats Vic! Great to see another good guy and amazing competitor get locked up.

RE Howard: I remember the reports that he was going to go year to year to maximize his money then try to break the bank when he becomes a FA. Then he signed an extension with us that wasn't bank breaking. Maybe he has matured and realizes what he has here and that playing for another team wouldn't be the best move for his quality of life. Maybe he will surprise a few people and take a reasonable deal to stay. At least I hope so.

Congrats to Victorino. Glad he'll be around. He seems to bring good energy to the club.

Ibanez moves to 1b in 2011. Much rather give Werth 4/68 than Howard 5/100.

You do understand that Howard is signed through 2011 right? He becomes a Free Agent after that year...same as Ibanez.

Honestly, what is the real trade market for Howard? The Yankees are set at 1B for the next 8 seasons, the Red Sox might be interested but they have that Youkilis guy that they seem attached to...though Howard could DH of course. There aren't many teams in the market for a $20+ million a year 1B. I honestly doubt we'd get good value on trading him.

This,and the Blanton signing, tells me the FO thinks they can contend for another 3 least.

Also, I cannot believe, in light of the Vic and Blanton extensions, that the club did not have at least preliminary discussions with Werth's people about an extension.

I suspect that he's determined to see what free agency has in store.

clout, can I answer that?

Werth, if he repeats 2009, will get at least Jason Bay type money.

Similar skill set at the plate, but Werth is a better baserunner and a far, far better defensive player. Bay is considered a liability in LF, whereas Werth can play CF competently and is an above average corner OF.

I'm comfortable, not thrilled, about going into 2011 with Francisco in RF. Its not the optimal solution but we'll still score enough runs if he puts up a .270/.330/.440 line, 20 HRs and 60-70 RBI.

That's about what he would give us in a full season.

If it came down to Werth or Howard, I'd go Ryno if a 4 yr deal could be reached that is halfway reasonable. Werth has shown himself to be injury prone and there are no real 1b prospects in the system other than 18 yr old Jon Singleton. Werth's performance this year will dictate his value on the open market.

I don't think it's necessarily Howard vs. Werth. If Ibanez has another solid year, and Brown is ready for the majors, it would not surprise me to see us re-sign Werth and then trade Ibanez next winter (even a 38 year old who can hit 25-30 HR and is signed for "only" $11 M has a market). Maybe just a pipe dream, but...

I'd also keep Howard over Werth.

Its ashame that that is the situation as both are integral to the team but finding 1b that finish in the Top 5 of the MVP vote every year isn't exactly easy. Replacing Werth is difficult but not impossible as we already have a legit in house option in Francisco and about 475 OF prospects in the system.

Had we given up Brown instead of Taylor, this would not be an issue...Taylor would have been the perfect replacement.

Raul on a 1 year 11mm deal seems like the type of contract a few teams would take on if they didn't have to give up any significant prospects. As long as Raul has a decent year this year, which seems doable.

I would also keep Howard over Werth. Ryan's dedication to defense and weight loss has made him a lot less likely to see a steep decline. And you can not find a slugger like him anywhere.

With Ibanez signed until 2011(that happened before Werth's 2yr deal right?), just imagine how much better it would have been to sign Werth to a 3yr extension that took away 1year of free agency away.

He signed a $3M/$7M deal, but i wonder if they offered him a $3M/$7M/$10M 3yr deal and he accepted. At the time, him making $10M in a free agent year was probably a pretty nice number.

That 3rd year regardless of the number would have allowed them to have Ibanez and Werth's salaries both come off the books at the same time, and reward the best of the 2 with a market value deal while saving money at the other spot with one of their two corner OF prosecpts(Dom Brown as it turned out).

Lots of hindsight right there of course...~$10M more committed to 2011 might have changed a lot of things.

Actually Werth could have been a free agent going into 2010, so the Phils did buy a year out...dents my logic a little more I guess.

Dom Brown probably needs another year and a half to two to marinate anyway. Most reports on him are super talented and on the path from raw to skilled, but not there yet. I doubt he'd beat out Francisco for rf next year.

I agree with the contingent proposing that this makes Ibanez' year all the more important. Not only do I wish him a healthy and successful year for our 2010 hopes, but I also consider that a driving factor in whether or not Werth remains with the team. Raul's tradeability might become an important factor.

There is another angle to Werths future as a Phillie. It all depends on whether he is OK back loading his next contract. Remember Lidge and Ibanez come off after 2011 and free up $24MM. No way I give up a known 30+ HR right handed hitter on this team. The open outfield position for our minor league guys needs to be the Ibanez LF position and not Werths RF.

First I would like to say Congrats to Vic & Bam-Bam. I am glad they will be around for the next 3 years with contracts that are fair to both sides. Ruiz is next.

Next, I don't know why everyone know is saying "Werth Vs. Howard", because it is not that. As I said last week, Rube will have to be creative to keep everyone together, but it CAN happen. Here is how:

Next year our payroll is at about $131 million now, $133 after Ruiz is signed. Our payroll in 2010 is going to fall between 140-142 as Rube has said since November. I would expect our 2011 payroll with another successful season full of sell outs and merchandise flying off the racks will go up another 2-4 million. Therefore we are looking at a 2011 at "around" $144-146 million. That will give us $14 million to sign/re-sign Werth, Durbin, Dobbs (arb), KK (arb), Francisco (arb).

I would think KK and Francisco would get around $1 million each, Dobbs to get around $1.75 million and maybe let Durbin go. IF that is the case, we would still have about $10.25 million left. Subtract renewals out and you are at about $8 for arguments sake.

Do you think Werth would sign a 5 yr/68-72 million deal? Pay him $8 in 2011, $15-17 in 2012-2015.

If it were up to me, I would let Werth walk after this year to have money for those other guys after next season.

Weitzel's post on Blanton got quoted by Rob Neyer on this morning. So, Congrats?

awh: I agree. And Howard is signed for $20M for 2011. So, assuming Werth signs a Bay- like contract averaging $16.5M per year (and it could be higher), the difference between Howard's salary and Werth's is just $3.5M in 2011. If the Phils re-sign Werth, I don't think it's a necessity that they trade Howard before the 2011 season.

Weitzel's post got quoted? Which part, JBird? That's impressive!

although Werth v Howard might not be a definite decision, it is interesting to debate and see people's opinions.

I would take Howard, even considering his drastic contract demands. I'd rather not pay him +$20M a year of course, but I think most people are dodging the question when they say they'd take Howard on a 'reasonable' contract. If you keep Howard, you're ponying up some serious payroll space. I can't imagine signing him for less than $20M/yr, and probably in the $22-23M range.

Although Howard is less of an all around type as Werth has shown to be, his power puts him in extremely rare company. His career ISO is 4th alltime (Ruth/McGwire/Bonds) at .307, making him the most dangerous active player when is hitting the ball. His 2009 had its faults, but quickly silenced the critics who thought he was contiuing to trend downwards for his career.

That type of power makes him a RBI machine, and although its a situational dependant stat, his situation with Rollins/(Polanco/Vic)/Utley usually in front of him for the next 3 years(at least) isn't going to change much. He had a great postseason, and continually comes to play down the stretch. He has even shown ability to trim down and play adequate defense at 1B, which helps his value out and is a good sign that his durability and conditioning are not high risk as some may have thought before.

Don't have much bad to say about Werth, I just think for the extra $7-8M/yr, you are getting a player with all-time great type power over a more all-around above average type in Werth.

Thephaithful: You are 100% correct. Howard is going to want a Tex type contract @ 22-23 mil per year. Also, Howard is a more "valuable" commodity to have come playoffs time, i.e. Game 4 of the NLDS against the Rockies. He is a MVP.

So IF the argument IS Werth vs. Howard, you have to go with Howard.

thephaithful: Excellent analysis of Howard situation.

Thanks for the Neyer BL-quote link, JBird.

Interestingly, Harold Reynolds and J.P. Ricciardi on the Network both do NOT like the Blanton deal, think the Phils overpaid. Ricciardi makes the oft-heard-from-fans argument, "If you're going to pay him that kind of money, why not keep Cliff Lee?" Although he does acknowledge that "The Phillies know their organization better than I do." Here's the link:

Are we undervaluing Werth here? Considering he was widely regarded as the most underated player last year. He has had times when he's powered the team to victory, if not downright carrying the team like Howard can do. And he's got a better skill-set.

How are his splits vs. RH-LH pitchers? How is he with men on base? How does his SO rate compare?

It's not that I disagree on who brings more value to the team, but I think it's gotta be a pretty close race, doesn't it?

thephaitful: you are comparing Howard's ISO in his prime years to guys who started their careers in their early 20's (pre-peak) and played to age 38+ (long post peak). Also, I'd like to see how Howard compares to Mark Reynolds and Richie Sexson "When hitting the ball" before declaring him the best in that category. He's obviously the better all around hitter than them, but Pujols is obviously a better hitter than Howard. That said, I like Howard and hope he stays for something closer to 18 million. Even at that number, I don't know that the Phillies keep him though.

GBrettfan: If you think Werth will duplicate his career year of last season for next 5 seasons going forward, then it is indeed a close call.

If you go by career stats, it's not a close call.

Positional value, anticipated salary demand, & base running all make the Howard-Werth debate pretty close. My preference is to keep both.

"My preference is to keep both"

That is my feelings as well. Although, in reality then you would be ok seeing J-Roll go after 2011? The Phillies can keep 2 of the 3. So you take your pick.

That is why I say let Werth walk.

Last I heard, Howard was going to be looking for a record-breaking deal...Since Pujols will most likely be signing some sort of extension with the Cards that sets a new record (for a 1B at least), my guess is Howard will look for a bigger contract than that one when he's up for FA. IF that is the case, I just don't see how you can justify tying that much of the budget up in 1 player. IF Howard's camp has backed off the new record contract talk, I'd definitely change my mind. But if they're looking for A-Rod money, it just doesn't make sense.

I'd rather have both of course, but I'd take Howard over Werth every time. Lets see what Werth does in 2010 before locking him up. Plus we really do have a viable replacement in Dom Brown, whereas Singleton just got out of high school.

MLBTradeRumors is reporting that the Mets are acquiring Gary Matthews Jr.

Let me be the first to say "Bwahahahaha!!!" Other than Bradley and Padilla, little Sarge is the perfect Met.

If we're still in a recession in 2011, salaries will come down and we will have overpaid for both Vic and Blanton, then we'll be able to sign all the guys we want, i.e., Howard, Werth, J-Roll and Cliff Lee.

BeerLeaguer is the place to go to get your Phillies news and insight and Rob Neyer knows it.

Baseball news is hard to come by in the south as all the talk is about Manning, Brees and Favre. Nobody down here gives a rip about the Jets. Jason, thanks for being a source of all the news I need to know.

Tommy: J-Roll's at the precipice of his decline phase, he probably doesn't get another big money contract in 2 years. Maybe you can keep all three if you run the developmental table with Brown replacing Ibanez in LF, Aumont/Mathieson/Madson replacing Lidge at CL, Savery replacing Moyer as teh #5, and Gose/Gillies ready to replace Vic in CF. That's some serious cost savings if all those guys can contribute to that level or close to it. Of course the likelihood. . .

What a fantastic pickup by the Mets. Go Omar!!!

Clout, in re: Werth's year last year vs. career, I guess I'm remembering Charlie saying he thinks Werth can get even better. But you're right that Howard has a more established track record and has been consistent in HRs and RBIs, if memory serves me.

Wow...Heyman's claiming that the Mets view Matthews as a replacement for Beltran in CF until he recovers from surgery.

I don't remember off the top of my head, but wasn't Matthews epically bad in the OF last year?

NEPP - The only reason the Mets don't dominate the NL East (or the entire NL for that matter) on a regular basis is Omar Minaya. They are the only NL franchise that has the financial wherewithal to compete with the Yanks and BoSox, and while they spend that money year after year the results keep getting worse and worse.

It's a really fun trainwreck to watch.

Why does Omar still have a job?

Are the Mets going for the record for the number of bad contracts they can collect on a team at one time?

The trade doesn't even involve Castillo (according to MetsBlog). What is he thinking????

That depends you consider the following bad:


CF: -37.8 in 435 innings.

****Why does Omar still have a job?****

I assume the Dark Lord is involved somehow. Personally I think he's the best GM the Phillies have ever had.

Gary Matthews Jr.!?!?!?

I love Omar Minaya.



"Why does Omar still have a job?"

Because the Mets can't afford to fire him at this point? I don't really think there is a rational explanation anymore.

So that would make Matthews a terrible CF or a historically terrible CF? Just trying to wrap my mind around the decision to use him as a fill-in for Beltran in that to Bay. Do they have a RF who can cover 2/3 of the OF? That might work then...

Clout is right that if Werth had a career year last year, then he isn't as good a long-term bet as Howard.

But if he has another big year this year, I actually think, depending on their money demands, Werth may be the more valuable player. Werth for 15 million a year vs. Howard for 22 million a year? The difference in money is more than the difference in baseball value. Ergo, Werth is the better player to sign.

I just think a guy who hits .270/.365/.500 with 30 HRs/20SBs and plus defense in right field isn't that much less valuable than .270/.360/.560 with 45 HRs and mediocre defense at first base. WAR (Fangraphs) probably overstates some of Werth's defensive value, but they've had him as more valuable than Howard over the last two years. I'm not sure I'd say that for certain, but I would say that I think the difference in their baseball value is probably less than the difference in their money demands.

I'm sure with the fleet footed Jason Bay in LF that there will be no balls falling in at Citi Field come April.

They'd have been better off simply using Angel Pagan in CF till Beltran is healthy. Also, doesnt this make you wonder how accurate the Beltran "ready by early May" predictions are?

"Also, doesnt this make you wonder how accurate the Beltran "ready by early May" predictions are?"

Beltran was suffering from Ostoarthritis and had microfracture surgery...the typical recovery time for microfracture surgery is 12+ months...I would be shocked to see him in the OF before the All-Star break, to be honest.

ESPN's Trade Rumors section postulates that Werth may be gone, ending with this,

"Add it up, and Werth is looking more and more like possible trade bait, or worse, a future free agent."

Trade Bait?? So the tongue in cheek comparison's to the Lee situation not so far off base?

Jack: You think Howard is still mediocre in the field? I thought most people considered him at least average in 2009. He certainly improved his defense.

Your larger point may be valid, depending on the year Werth has... but I think it's also worth considering which player is more important to the team and which would be easiest to replace.

CJ - I tend to think the ONLY RH power bat in a lefty-heavy lineup is pretty important to the team...otherwise we're looking at a lineup that is pretty much worthless against LHPs.

Ooh...we should trade Werth to Seattle for Cliff Lee and $5 million. We could also throw in Brown, Aumont and Gillies to sweeten the deal for them....

Beltran didn't have micro-fracture surgery...he just had it scoped. His current projected return date is early May...

Chris: Even if Beltran comes back, do you put him in CF after knee surgery? Amare Stoudemire missed a whole season with the Suns after the microfracture surgery. From Wikipedia:

Current studies have shown a success rate of 75 to 80 percent among patients 45 years of age or younger, even among professional athletes.[9][11] With the help of physical therapy, patients can often return to sports (or other intense activities) in about four months. However, this is a best-case scenario and depends on the severity of the cartilage damage (and any other conditions existing in the knee). Normal patients and professional athletes who play at the highest level however are quite different, as Chris Webber, who underwent the surgery, has stated that a full recovery in four months is nearly impossible.

JBird: Good point on Howard vs. other all time greats like Gehrig, Ted Williams, Hank Greenberg, etc... so I don't mean to say he is better than them.

My main point was to show that in categories as important as run production, which ISO is very closely related, Howard is in company of hall of famers while Werth's best years put him more along the line of all star level players, and I think thats worth that extra money that it would take to sign Ryno.

I think that the farm system could be factored in a bit as others have stated, with OF looking like the Phils position of strength, your "replacement cost" for Werth is looking to be ~$400k while the replacement for Howard may have to be another MLB player who is already making millions.

Beltran DID NOT have micro-fracture surgery. That was an unfounded rumor...he had a normal arthroscopic knee surgery to clean off loose cartilage.

On Fox Sports' home page there is a telling story re: the Mets' idiot doctors and Boras' lyin' bout Beltran's surgery. Gary Jr. has been absolutely horrible since 2006 when he signed for 50-60 mill for 5 yrs. (.250/.336/.361 last year)

NEPP - according to a post on Monday in the Hardball Times, he had microfracture...

I know earlier reports said it was only arthroscopic...Either the Hardball times is incorrect or they found more damage than they expected when they cut him open.

Either way, osteoarthritis is not a condition that gets better over time, so I would expect him to slow down quite a bit.

CJ: No question the fact that we have Dom Brown but no legit 1B prospect comes into play.

But yes, I consider Howard's defense mediocre, which really means the same thing as "average". It's in the middle, not terrible, but not really good either. He flashes athleticism, but still can't throw for his life, and doesn't have great range. He's pretty good on balls in the dirt, but most MLB 1B are at this point.

NEPP-- There are rumors that Beltran's recovery will take longer. closer to mid-season..Hence, Lil' Sarge.

wow, did not factor in handedness - that is actually a pretty big deal...makes the decision a little more close in my mind now.

****NEPP - according to a post on Monday in the Hardball Times, he had microfracture...***

Yeah, I read that too but Boras and Beltran were adament at the time that it was just a scope. There were plenty of rumors going on that it was micro fracture so my guess is that maybe Hardball (which doesnt have inside sources) went off them.

The problem for Howard getting a big contract in 2011 is that the 1b class is pretty stacked and the Yankees already got a 1b and the Sox might have Adrian Gonzalez by then. Free agents include Konerko, Lee, Pena and Berkman and Pujols with options.

I wonder if the Angels go and sign Damon now...

Mets traded for Sarge Junior?

*Stands up and Claps*

Bravo! You just gave the Phillies the NL East Crown for 2011 as well.

There are HOW many free agent outfielders available still? Only Jermaine Dye, Damon, Xavier Nady, Garret Anderson, Randy Winn, and Jim Edmonds. Yeah, they all suck. But they wouldn't cost you 23 million for 2 years!

Godfather: The Angels will be paying most of Matthews' salary.

The Angels are reportedly picking up $20 million of the $24 million owed. So its a 2 year, $4 million deal for Matthews...which is still more than he's worth.

Oh. Okay. Then that makes more sense.

Sarge Jr. isn't a starter. He's more athletic than the available options out there, and the Mets don't have to pay his salary.

So the Angels are paying Gary Matthews 23 million to ride the bench in New York for two years. Can I at least make fun of them?

For the Angels, they just saved $4 million, got a prospect, and got rid of a guy that wanted out of LA and wanted to start. That's a pure win for them.

Also, they now have some cash to sign a guy like Damon to DH for them...and occasionally play LF.

The Angels improved themselves through this deal.

From Jerry Crasnick: "Gary Matthews Jr. was 1st among 107 MLB outfielders in FanGraphs' UZR/150 rankings in 2002. Last year, he was 109th out of 115 OF."

On the Werth- Howard discussion,I think the 2010 season ball will be a huge factor in the outcome.
If the Phils go deep into to post season, or with the whole thing again, the players will be more likely to want to stay and Rube will have more more ability to spend freely enough to keep both.
If 2010 does not live up to our very high expectations ,the players will be more willing to test the market and Rube will not have the bucks to make two huge offers.
Which one stays ?
right now I'd take Howard

Vic deals makes sense to extend the window of this team through '11.

Really that has been the modus operandi of Amaro's regime since Day 1 at the end of the 2008 season - keep the core & ancillary pieces together as much as possible and extend the window to maximize the chances of this team winning through 2011.

Essentially, Phils' fans will have seen almost entirely the same team from 2007-11 with a few notable exceptions. That is pretty rare in today's game.

Now the question is this team good enough to win it all again - I say yes and a big part of that is because they play in the NL. If this current team played in the AL, I have real doubts they would have made the World Series either of the past 2 years. Fortunately, they don't and the NL looks as wide open this year as it did last year. It also helps the Phils are play in the NL East too that is historically weak. Likely 89-90 wins punches the Phils' ticket to the postseason again this year too and that is what really matters.

This is a price to be paid though in that it has often required Gillick/Amaro to give FA an extra year on their contracts in lieu of slightly higher dollars and it has required Gillick/Amaro to trade away a ton of the higher-rated prospects the last 3 years.

Some tout this system as "loaded" but it is more likely that there won't be much in the ways of contributions to the MLB club this year again from the minor league system. Phils essentially have been have riding some historically great results of their high-round draft picks from late 90s/early 2000s the last couple of seasons. Don't see the organization crashing after 2011 but a return to being more of a wild-card contender than World Series contender is probably in the cards too so enjoy the next 2 seasons while they last.

How does this deal make any sense for the Mets?

Is Sarge Jr. better than Angel Pagan as a fill-in until Beltran returns?

And Brian Stokes (who they dealt away) isn't exactly worthless.

Another no brainer Shane plays hard, plays well, seems like he is having a hell of a good time and looks like the consumate teammate. Left field will be open after next year, see what happens then.

Sarge Jr shows that the Mets FO is "trying" to improve...right?

I agree on Pagan as he is a better defender and a better hitter than Matthews. What a weird off the wall trade.

MG - the system was loaded before the Halladay trade. Now it's kinda middling with most of the exciting guys in A ball (aside from Brown).

There is almost no way that Pagan is worse than Matthews, but I guess the possibility exists.

Wasn't Matthews one of the Mitchell Report HGH guys? And didn't he sign his big deal with LAA right before that report came out? And wasn't his best season, the one right before FA, with Texas (which just seems to be the epicenter of the PED controversy over the last several years)?

I think it's pretty obvious who Sarge Jr. really is as a ballplayer...

Chris - I'm surprised the Angel's didn't try to void the contract. (or that no other team has tried this)

JBird -
I don't know that you could...I know that the NBA and NFL have morality clauses in their contracts, but does MLB? The MLBPA is such a powerful union that it would probably end up a very protracted legal battle that an MLB club wouldn't be able to win.

Not to mention Angels (and possibly MLB)executives would have to testify under oath about everything they knew about PEDs in baseball up to that point, and I'm pretty sure Mr. Selig doesn't want ANY of that coming to's easier to just pay their over-inflated contracts.

Chris, exactly. To steal material from JW, "does Kurt Radomski come with the deal?"

Does this mean that Sarge won't do the Mets games? (please be yes, please be yes, . . . . )

The Mitchell report would never stand up in court. Most of it was 2nd hand hearsay and guesses. Even a Public Defender would rip it to shreds. Besides which, much of the chronicled steroid use came before steroids were officially banned.

I think sending him to the Mets is a far worse punishment than cutting him.

I think there is a clause because the Rockies talked about voiding Denny Neagle's contract after he was stopped for speeding and found in possession of a prostitute with his zipper down.

Didnt the Rockies actually use that clause on Neagle?

I doubt the morality clause would include PED use...just guessing.

"you are comparing Howard's ISO in his prime years to guys who started their careers in their early 20's (pre-peak) and played to age 38+ (long post peak)."

I was curious as well.

I looked at the total ISO number for players over their age 24 - age 29 seasons (which covers Howard's career). His .307 value is the 6th best all time, behind (from the top) Babe Ruth, Hank Greenberg, Ken Griffey Jr, Jimmie Foxx & Lou Gehrig). That's some nice company.

I also checked from age 25 - age 29 (as Howard only played in 19 games during his age 24 season), and that raised him up to 4th on the list (behind the same top 3).

NEPP - I'm pretty sure a real lawyer with subpoena power could find the evidence linking those players to HGH/steroid use just by going through their financial records, although the Mitchell Report itself was just a bunch of hearsay.

But it was pretty obvious once they instituted testing which players were juicing and which weren't.

****NEPP - I'm pretty sure a real lawyer with subpoena power could find the evidence linking those players to HGH/steroid use just by going through their financial records, although the Mitchell Report itself was just a bunch of hearsay****

Probably...but nobody in MLB or the fanbase wants that. Do we really need to open up that can of worms?

It'd be as weird as the Spring that Abreu showed up to Clearwater sporting 35 lbs of new muscle that he gained working out all winter in Venezuela. Its completely obvious now that he was a juicer...we just didn't want to see it.

Though it does make a guy like Howard look that much more impressive as he's a throwback to the truly great sluggers.

This story makes me think Howard isn't going anywhere.

In the wee small hours of Thursday morning, Frank Sinatra was still singing at Yankee Stadium, and John Middleton was going from player to player in the Phillies' clubhouse, shaking their hands, thanking them, spending a few seconds with each of them, until he came to Ryan Howard's locker.

Howard was seated and, having showered and changed, was slipping on a pair of white sneakers. He had carried the Phillies through the first two rounds of the playoffs only to hit .174 with a record 13 strikeouts in the World Series, and now Middleton crouched down in front of him and spoke to him in a half-whisper for a while. Middleton was supportive and encouraging and grateful to Howard for the way he performed this season, and he delivered even his most striking two sentences with that supportive, encouraging, grateful tone.

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

Remember that report from few years ago, that the Phillies could be for sale in a couple years? Claire Betz & the Buck brothers are all in their 80s or 90s and the 55 year old Middleton would like to buy them out. Obviously, they still have a say (Cliff Lee trade) but given their age, they could start listening to offers to cash out. Remember, the Phillies were valued at 400something million a few years ago, but I'm sure two trips to the World Series has pushed up the price tag. If they're really looking at this as an unsustainable peak for this franchise, they'll look to cash out before the window closes. I'm sure their children will be even more eager to sell, because (besides Middleton) most of their equity is in the club.

NEPP: The Rockies tried to void Neagle's contract for his solicitation conviction in Denver, but the MLBPA would have none of it and the void attempt was voided.

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