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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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Catcher from U. of Miami is my prediction.

(Reposted from previous thread--I spent too much damn time on this post to have it stillborn at the end of the last thread.)

This post is something I've been thinking through for a while. It's not merely a defense of the Cliff Lee trade: it's an argument that it was the most rational thing to do, granting some very plausible assumptions which I believe Rube and the Phillies brass have made. It's relevant because of the current question about adding bullpen help.

Suppose you believe that there are three deficiencies most responsible for the Phillies' loss to the Yankees in 2009: (1) Starting pitching deficits in games 2,3 and 6. (2) A bullpen deficit in game 4. And (3) bench/DH deficits throughout the entirety of the WS. Suppose further you believe that resolving these problems will improve the team to the point that you feel you are now better than your closest rival (the Yankees). What should you do, and by these lights, has Rube acted rationally?

There were two attractive, but competing, ways to resolve problem 1 that presented themselves to Ruben in December: (a): Trade for Doc (slot him in games 1, 4, and 7), retain Cliff Lee (slot in games 2 and 5), and ignore Cole's likely rebound (slotting him wherever). (b) Trade for Doc (slot him in games 1,4, and 7), trust that Hamels would rebound (slotting him into games 2 and 5 of a seven game series), and trade Lee to aid in solving problem 2 and 3. The primary reason people have been angry about the trade of Lee is, I believe, recognition that the possibilities of a Hamels rebound and Lee's retention were not mutually exclusive. Why, then, not opt for (a)?

The reason, I think, is the belief that you'd have Blanton wasted in a bullpen role in the playoffs, insofar as Blanton's value in a playoff game is greatest as a starter. The same goes for JA Happ, making (b) the more rational move.

This may seem like fuzzy logic, but the argument is strengthened if you believe that choosing (b) makes it more likely that you'll be able to solve problem 2, the bullpen problem. Everyone has chided Amaro for "lying" when he indicated that restocking the system was the main reason for unloading Lee. The criticism, to paraphrase, has been: why go all in for Doc, and then trade Lee for future prospects? The mistake in this criticism is failing to see that future prospects are what get you current pieces to sure up your team, e.g. bullpen help when your top two relievers (in terms of salary) can't stay healthy, or a position player, like your all-star SS, say, pulls a muscle and misses the playoffs. Restocking the farm is something you have to do if you believe that unforeseen circumstances will arise (during a season) that themselves threaten your chances in the playoffs if unaddressed. In-season trades, made of necessity, cannot be made without minor league ammo (unless you have your eye on Bobby Abreu).

What about problem 3? The deficit between WS MVP Hideki Matsui and Matt Stairs, Greg Dobbs, Ben Francisco, etc? Hm. Ross Gload, anybody? Problem 3 is still a work in progress, I think. I hope. But, then again, it's not nearly as severe a problem as 1 and 2, which to me are intertwined.

They're desperate for a cathcer after trading d'Arnaud. I think so, too, BB, if he's still there.

I'd love to see a nice infield prospect. Is another Chase Utley too much to ask for?

Sobering line from Hagen:

4 How much concern should there be over shortstop Jimmy Rollins?

A lot. It's not just that he has strained his right calf twice now. It's that he has done it in mundane ways. Limbering up before a game. Running to first on a basehit. So even if he comes off the disabled list in 2 weeks and it doesn't bother him again all season, it's got to be in the back of the Phillies' minds that it could pop again at any time.

And everybody understands how much Rollins brings to the team.

Also, a reason to refrain from feel-good gestures like extending and resigning guys a year or 2 before necessary. Wait, too late.

If only Contreras had been pitching lights out with an era under 1 we wouldn't have to worry about Jenks or Putz. Oh wait.

Optimuspun: You are right this is very fuzzy logic. If you "slot Doc in games 1, 4 and 7". Youare assuming you will get to game 7 did not happen last year with Cliff Lee. Cannot happen without him because of your No. 3 disparity between a a real hitter the DH vs. a pinch hitter.

The solution of course has to be youneed both Lee and Doc. Here is why? As long as NL does not have a DH it is at an intrinsic disadvanatge of facing an extra real hitter for either 3 or has been recently the case 4 games. You don't need to be a graduate from Stanford to understnad the disadvantage you are in. TYhe only way to overcome this is to have overpowering pitching and a real platoon system whereby two good players are alternating a position and thus areregular hitters.

Everything else is pure gobblygook.

The DH attractive or unattractive has given the AL an advanatage that can only be rarely overcome.

Can the Phils put Brown on the roster, say August 31, bring him up in September, then hold on to him throughout the playoffs in order to have him DH in WS if we get there?

****Can the Phils put Brown on the roster, say August 31, bring him up in September, then hold on to him throughout the playoffs in order to have him DH in WS if we get there? ****

Yes...they can also get around thet Aug 31 date by using the injury loophole if they set it up correctly. All they have to do is make sure they do that. They did it last year (set up the loophole by ensuring a 25 man guy was on the DL on 31 August) and could easily do it again. Getting Brown on the post-season roster is pretty easy.

Gsl, I tend to agree. Do I have concern that Contreras might break down after a while? Some. But it hasn't happend yet.

I'd like to see the Phils make a move at the deadline for a dh/pinchhitter like the Dodgers did with Thome. I thought that was pretty shrewd of them. . . luckily he never had the opportunity to DH, but it was good planning, I think.

Jbird - I agree...Having a DH type on the roster (and no, Matt Stairs didn't count) as of 8/31 would just be good planning.

And I'm not sure counting on Dom Brown, with no major league experience, to be that guy in the World Series is all that smart.

There's also this catcher from LSU, yeah?

Gsl - depth in the BP is always nice. How much will a guy like Putz cost?

RK--Interesting point that the only real way to overcome the DH advantage is with starting pitching advantages. I don't have too much of a feeling either way, though I will point out that on my view, you are improving SP and the BP by having Doc for three games and a rebounded Cole for two games, effectively doing exactly what you want. My plan b, what I believe was Rube's plan, WAS to improve the SP, just not as much as some people would have liked. The thing is that I don't believe Rube thought, and I don't think, it made sense to improve the starting pitching as much as people wanted to (with the retention of Lee), precisely because it would have inhibited the ability of the team to make in-season moves to patch up emerging holes.

Put it this way: If you believe you are equal to or better than your opponent at SP for three of the first five games of a series, and for five of seven, isn't it reasonable to try to improve other areas where you think you are at a disadvantage? In other words, is it optimal to try to have projected SP advantages for every game of a 7 game series, at the expense of deficiencies in the BP and bench?

I don't know about the move for an inflexible DH type. The Phils already have at least Ibanez as a guy who should be DHing in IL play. I don't think the Phils make a move for that type given the number of other options they have - guys who serve as defensive upgrades over Raul and have track records of productive offense. It's too early to quit on the entire bench.

I posted this on the last thread but with JW posting the flyers logo on this thread I felt the needs to repost. I'm curious how others root for the other Philly teams. And by the way, I do congratulate the flyers but will be rooting against them...

repost: call me a strange dude, but i actually root against all other philly teams. i've been doing this since i was a kid. i couldn't stand it when all the talk in the middle of july was eagles and so i started rooting against them. my dream was that the phillies would take over the town one day and while there is no doubt that a football championship would be a bigger deal than a baseball championship in philly, i'm glad that for the moment the phillies are on top.

while i don't hate the flyers as much as the eagles because they've been pretty harmless, i have to root against them in the finals. i want only the fightin's winning championships.


optimus - to what extent do you think GMs plan their rosters around 7-game World Series matchups? They must in some way, but I'm not sure they do to the extent you're imagining. The Lee-Halladay maneuver (subterfuge?) couldn't have been entirely a ploy to strengthen the team's chances in some 4-7 game series that they have a (here's guessing) 10-1 shot of making.

The whole Cliff Lee trade came down to $$$$. It started and ended there. You don't have to go much further then that.

Stairs was the right guy in 2008. What they need is someone who is getting regular at-bats right now and can be had for a marginal prospect. The guy will hit better because he is sharper then Dobbs, Gload and Francisco. Stairs was stale in 2009 and showed it.

Dukes - I am the same way about the Eagles, although I don't necessarily root against them (although the old Eagles chants you'd hear made me sometimes want to). My family's had Flyers season tix for some time, and I went to enough games at the Spectrum to know there are few sporting events that could beat the scene in that place.

What would a Flyers championship take away from the Phils? I don't really see the logic there. The Eagles, they were the city's team, so maybe there was some joy in taking those feckless folk down a peg. But the Flyers?

Rodeo - If the Phils thought that way, they would have never signed Gload to begin with. They'd just let some other team keep their future 9th fielder warm until mid-Summer.

Dukes: I have to tell you, that is bizarre.

I'm "all in" for the Flyers to win the Cup, and think Philly is more of a hockey town than people(especially outsiders) think.

****What would a Flyers championship take away from the Phils? I don't really see the logic there.****

If anything, it would strengthen Philly's image as a city of winning.

I root for 3 of the 4 Philly teams (not the Eagles) and would have no issues with the Flyers taking home the Cup. Philly is a huge hockey town and always has been...even if most dont realize it.

Sophist- Who is out if Putz is in? I am in the group that doesn't want to lose Herndon.

dukes: Having lived in Northern California for virtually my whole life, I root for the 49ers and Warriors. Out of Philly loyalty, however, I do tend to root for the Eagles once the 49ers have been eliminated (in other words, once the regular season ends). As for hockey, I just root for the season to be over as soon as possible so the sports media can quit covering it & can devote all its attention to baseball.

Sophist - I don't think it's ordinary, or wise, for that matter, to plan pitching matchups for a seven game series very far in advance of actually making the playoffs. That said, I do think the calculation was made that Doc can give you one more game than Lee, and that this was a significant reason for acquiring him. Doc for three games, Cole for two (over seven) and Doc for two and Cole for one (over five) is just the sort of top heavy rotation that seems sufficient to beat even the best teams.

The pertinent question is what the value of third starters is in playoff series. (At most, they will pitch two games). If you win four of the five games pitched by your 1 and 2 (Doc and Cole, CC and Burnett), they have little (if any value). Last year, number 3 Andy Pettitte could have been the MVP of the series, as CC and Burnett each suffered losses.

If you win three of five games pitched by your 1 and 2, the third starter makes a bigger difference. If you only win two of the games started by your 1 and 2, you either need your third starter to win 2 (a la Andy Pettitte), or you lose the series.

Optimus--I don't think Hamels is th equal of LEE at least not now. The difference is that both Halladay and Lee are with few exceptions consistent game after game and year after year. Not so with Hamels (wish he waqs like them).

I think as others have written its about the money and as sophist points out a manager does not thiunk about just 7 post season games. BUt I really believe that had the Phils kept Lee the team would be a in the WS for a couple of years and that would have given us the abiolity to develop the talent and attractthe talent to go forward. I don't know that we got much andcertainly we won't know for a long time.

Gsl - Figgy? If Happ returns, Kendrick back to LV? I suppose the answer has always been Bastardo. If you (or They) want to keep Herndon.

optimus - I agree with you about the advantage Doc provides in a playoff series if he can go one more game. But even then your analysis above takes all this playoff-focus logic steps further. In any case, I don't think we should pretend that third starters have little value in the playoffs. As you noted, Pettite played a large role last year. Few teams think they have guaranteed wins from their 1-2 starters. If Amaro were out to win a WS this year, he would have kept Lee. Doc-Lee-Hamels.

snakeman, in his own dismissive sort of way, establishes a way to refute the view that the Lee deal was a financial, and not a game-theoretic, decision: if the Phils add anything close to the $9mil in salary that was "dumped" in the Lee trade, it should be taken as false that the move was financially motivated. If the Phils pick up Jenks at 7.5 mil, that, to me, would qualify. If they trade Gillies and Ramirez, say, to get him, then I think it would be undeniable that the Lee trade was not financially motivated.

BAP, the sports media quit covering hockey 10 years ago. I still question whether or not a Stanley Cup still counts as a "major sports title," considering Bettman has done all he can to ensure hockey's irrelevance.

Quick thought on Putz - no thanks. We have enough former Mets, and I'm ok with that. Still a bit cautious on his injury history, too. We don't need ANOTHER Lidge. We already have one.

I do think that Rube needs to remember that the core of this team is there. They've worked for years, cultivated home-grown talent, and spent a lot of money to ensure that the core of the team is in place for several more years (a Werth signing would help, too). That said, we don't need another commitment longer than the rest of this season. We need to supplement the injuries that have occurred this season. Rentals, minor league contracts, late season pro-rated signings - that's where I'd like to see us go. I don't want to give up any more prospects, no matter how marginal, for more salary burden outside of this season. Does the 'pen need help? Yep. But unless they're going to eat the rest of Lidge's contract and admit defeat, let's keep our "depleted" (Rube's words) farm system in tact and find a temporary alternative. Besides, I wouldn't want to be the clubhouse caterer with Blanton AND Jenks!

If they really really want to keep Herndon, they should just toss a marginal prospect at the Angels...its not as if he'd cost that much.

Sophist- Maybe I am mismanaging numbers in my head but it seems like someone would still be the odd man out if Madson and Lidge both come back. Although at this point, I might not be all that disappointed if Lidge doesn't return to his role as the closer.

Some said folks would forget the bunch of bad starts Lee had last year that had people worrying about him headed into the postseason.

Guess so.

Also, if you are of the school of thought that the bullpenn needs a long man than it is harder to get rid of figgy. I am not sure how necessary a long guy is, as evidenced by the lack of work put in by Nelson. But I guess you can't count on your starters always going as deep as they have in this current run.

I'm 4 for 4 as a Philly sports fan, but the Flyers lost me for a few years after the players backstabbed Barber around 2001.

Now that virtually every player from that team is gone, I am happy to cheer for them again.

optimus - I get cross-eyed reading your initial post. You think the Phils traded for prospects to add to their bench and 'pen? And they moved Lee because having Happ or Blanton in the 'pen is a waste of resources? If the Phils wanted to improve their 'pen, having a guy like Happ in there would do just that.

The Phils have yet to use anything gained from the Lee trade to add parts. Gload, Castro, and Valdez would all be on this team anyway. You think Amaro turns around and trades Ramirez, Gillies, or Aumont after all his talk about making the move for the future? Your theory also assumes he's lying. Guys like Putz are available because they're gettable for a song.

I think Cole is having a resurgent year so far...and that he'll likely be a very solid #2 going forward.

Yeah, he's not Cliff Lee but he's under team control for the next few years and he has shown he can come up big when it counts.

Sophist-- I'd only take issue with two points. One, that Hamels has been more inconsistent than Lee. Since 2007, Cliff Lee's ERA+ is 123. Cole's is 122+. Each had a bad year (2007 for Lee, 2009 for Cole). As many noted, a Cole Hamels at his best performs very comparably to Cliff Lee at his.

Second, on the value of third starters in the playoffs: no, you can't expect your 1 and 2 to win every game. BUT if you expect them to win 1 of 5, then you expect to lose, regardless of your third starter. If you expect them to win 2 of 5, and you still want to win the series, then you expect your third starter to win 2 of 2 games, indicating that you trust your third starter more than your 1 and 2. It's rational, I think, to expect 3 wins out of the 5 games that your 1 and 2 are to pitch. Anything more is Schilling/Johnson-esque, anything less means you don't have a good enough 1-2. But regardless, you win playoff series, GENERALLY, and 2009 Andy Pettitte notwithstanding, on the strength of your 1-2.

Gsl - I don't know how they'd manage it, but maybe that makes the move less probable if Lidge is supposed to return. Maybe it only gets made if he does not.

NEPP-I hear you that they could make a trade to retain Herndon. However, part of me wonders if the fact that is hasn't happened yet means that the Angels might not be willing to accept as little as some people have speculated. Or maybe, the Phillies aren't as interested in keeping him as I am. Or maybe, their hand just hasn't been forced yet. Hard to know.

Sophist- It would be fun to sit in on a meeting where the possible scenarios are discussed. So much going on at all times that we are unaware of. I wonder how many crazy options, from all parts of the team, are discussed every year that we never hear about.

"if the Phils add anything close to the $9mil in salary that was "dumped" in the Lee trade, it should be taken as false that the move was financially motivated."

Actually, all it would show is that, when the Phillies set their budget, they quite reasonably factor in around $9 or $10M for mid-season moves, since they realize that a baseball season is unpredictable & additional needs are inevitably going to arise. Do you seriously believe that the Cliff Lee trade was NOT financially motivated?

The initial post was a bit confusing, but the central idea was that Lee was traded to restock the farm system so as to fill holes that emerge during a season. That does not mean that Gillies or Aumont or Ramirez must be included in any deal for BP help, or to strengthen the bench, or to act if Jimmy Rollins cannot stay healthy for a playoff run. But in order to make moves, if needs be (and, if Lidge and Rollins can't go, they be), the organization must have prospects it can deal.

The second point, on the value of (particularly) Blanton, if he's on your playoff roster, and he's not starting games for you, then you're not maximizing the value of that spot (because he's not ideally suited to be a reliever). If you think your rotation is sufficient to win a championship (four games out of Doc, Hamels, Blanton), then you ought to sell off any excess starting pitching for pieces that you may have to use later as pieces in a trade during the season.

I just noticed that Cliff Lee has issued just 1 walk in 36.2 IP this season. Pretty impressive.

EFF: I like to think of you as the timekeeper. You let us know when to look back and when to move on to the next topic of discussion :)

EF - thanks for the reality check by posting the thread that was posted in the midst of a few bad Lee starts. The best comment that I read on there was this one...

"Great, Lee has now turned into a complete piece of garbage. You got to be thinking Cole starts game 1. So much for wrapping up the division on the weekend."

Hilarious in hindsight.

optimus - stated that simply, I think I agree with you. When Lee was moved, I remember saying he was a luxury.

BAP - What, then, would count as falsifying evidence for the claim that the deal was primarily financially motivated? How much money would the organization have to spend? Suppose they go out and get Jenks, and pay him 7.5 this year. Suppose Rollins's calf is a problem all year, and the Phils make a move for someone better than Castro that they have to pay starter money. Suppose they ink Werth to an extension. It's always there for folks to say, "Well, the organization was still hoarding that 9 mill that could have gone to Lee." But, really, if there is no piece of evidence that would falsify the claim, then, why should we believe it?

mvptommyd said that the Phillies had a $140MM budget for this season, and that included any mid-season moves. The guru spoke, therefore it is.

Sophist -- Good good. I didn't get the impression that we were on very different pages.

I'm a 4 for 4 guy.

I cringe at others who aren't especially if they have division rivals as their sports replacements.

Since beerleaguer has a huge percentage of Phans who come from the Phillies viewing market, but overlap with other sports teams I see how folks can be fans of other teams. I lived in Wilkes-Barre for a time, so I understand the dissonance. Well... I use the term "understand" loosely.

At the end of the day, when I say I'm from Philadelphia (lived inside the city limits for 34 of my almost 37 years), that carries a great burden that someone who wears a Phillies cap while living in Northern California just doesn't quite have. Won't make me think any less of your support... but it certainly "colors" my perception of the phandom.

** especially when some jerk from Cherry Hill:

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/37336004/ns/sports-baseball/

ruining it for all of us**

EFF: Awesome link. The archives of Beerleaguer are full of such gems. The instant analysis of a blog and constant commenting leads to many of these kinds of declarations. It doesn't make them wrong in a snapshot, but makes many of them laughable when looking back.

HammRadio: I'm a born and raised Washington Capitals fan. I used to hate the Flyers with a passion that burned deep inside, but, frankly, that rivalry has waned in favor of the Penguins. I've never rooted for the Flyers before, but I figure Philly deserves a parade more than Chicago.

My love for the Caps is only slightly behind my love for the Phillies and Eagles (I'm not an NBA fan, but I'd root for the Sixers if they still played basketball).

The people who cry about the Lee trade always seem to forget that Lee's agent made it clear to the Phillies that they weren't going to sign him past this year, in the same way he's made it abundantly clear to the Mariners.

The trade was 1 year of Lee and a supplemental pick for three prospects and 9 million in extra cash this season.

We won't know if this trade was good or not for a few seasons. To evaluate the trade we will need to know what the Phillies do with that extra payroll room (ie. signing midseason help) and if Aumont, Gillies, or Ramirez turn into big league producers.

The Phillies didn't think they needed a Halladay/Lee 1-2 punch because they got to the WS the previous two years with a weaker rotation than they currently have. You may disagree with the assumption but Amaro traded overkill now for more depth 2011 and beyond.

IN re: the roster if Putz/Jenks is signed

KK should go to LV.
A glance at his numbers against LHBs demonstrates that a blind squirrel would do better. There is no rule against having two LHPs in the bullpen. And Herndon has a realistic possibility of becoming a major league pitcher some day.

Optimus: I like your assessment.

In re: the Lee trade
My problem was not THAT Junior traded Lee, it was what he got when he traded Lee. The three guys who never played much above A ball were all such unknown quantities that it was kinda like they might not really even make it in AA. Of course that theory has been disproven by the huge start all three of them have had at Reading, right?

JW's 11.14AM post should be re-read by everyone. It's a problem that only promises to become more relevant as this season (& next) progresses. So far, there is no viable solution, or even a hint of one, in place.

"But in order to make moves, if needs be (and, if Lidge and Rollins can't go, they be), the organization must have prospects it can deal."

True, but those prospects must also be attractive & potentially valuable to other teams. In the cases of Aumont, Gillies & Ramirez, that is a conspicuously debatable point.

"I'm a 4 for 4 guy. I cringe at others who aren't especially if they have division rivals as their sports replacements."

Same here. And as a soccer fan, I'll even go so far as to extend that to 6 for 6. I admit, however, that I am a lapsed Sixers fan (I've never gotten over Barkley -- my favorite player when I was a kid -- being traded, & the ever-increasing unwatchability of the NBA in general), & I absolutely HATED the Eagles chants at Phillies games. Even so, I cannot & do not root against Philadelphia's other teams, no matter how much or how often they piss me off ... & throughout my life that has been "very" & "frequently".

Andy, why keep Figgy over Kendrick?

Love the Phillies phar and above all else, but also the Sixers and Flyers. I grew up in the Schmidt, Dr. J., Bobby Clarke era. Don't have much interest in the Eagles. Don't hate 'em, but they're not my football team. I grew up in Central Jersey and live in Boston now.

The Cliff Lee trade was financially motivated, but not with respect to 2010. If all the Phils cared about was 2010, they would have keep Lee and just not offered arb to Blanton (who is making like $7MM this year). On the other hand, Blanton will obvioulsy be significantly cheaper than Lee in 2011 and beyond.

Hysteria is the fuel that powers Beer Leaguer.

And for the record I'm a 4-4 guy. Phils/Eagles are 1 and 1a, then the Flyers, and then a very distant Sixers simply because I find basketball to be torturously boring to watch.

I don't understand rooting against one Philadelphia team versus another. It smacks of petty jealousy and small-minded thinking. This isn't Portland, or Pittsburgh or New Orleans where it's a struggle to support multiple teams. This region is large enough and wealthy enough to spend on four teams. In an age of free agency in every sport, any sporting success is valuable advertising to potential signings. The bigger Philly is as a sports town the better each teams chances at free agents. That alone is worth your support, without even factoring the relative goldmine of civic publicity a championship brings. Cities spend millions on foreign travel ads to get a fraction of the press that a single NFL, NHL, or NBA championship would bring.

Case in point, Philadelphia's Olympic bid was one of the strongest the US has ever produced except for one area. Worldwide sporting recognition. People in Sweden and Thailand and Nigeria know the name Chicago. They don't know the name Philadelphia.

optimus: Let's use our common sense. You're a contending team. Your GM has publically stated that he expects 2010 payroll to be around $140M. In Cliff Lee, you have a $9M pitcher who is one of the top 15 starting pitchers in baseball. And oh, by the way, you just acquired Roy Halladay, who is an even better starting pitcher, but who carries a 2010 price tag of $16M. What other motive could you possibly have for trading Cliff Lee except a financial one?

There is literally nothing that could happen which would "falsify" something that is as plain as day. If the Phillies go out and spend $10M in a mid-season trade, it would prove either that they've become more financially flexible as new needs have arisen, or (more plausibly) that their original budget always leaves aside a certain amount of money for the mid-season acquisitions which will inevitably be necessary in any season. And if they were to resign Werth in mid-season, it would also prove nothing, since Werth's new contract would have nothing to do with the 2010 budget.

optimuspun: I understand the logic of your post, but option #3 fails for this reason: The Phillies, due to injuries, DO need additonal help: In the bullpen and on the bench (SS). The rationale for dealing Lee, according to you, is to have prospects to deal for major league talent, when needed.

The talent IS needed. So why no trades? Because your assumption for option #3 is FALSE. The prospects weren't acquired to be dealt. They were acquired to be kept, so that the team can be a contender 5-6 years down the road. And if that costs them the championship this year, they don't care. It's all about putting fannies in the seats.

"All about the money".

I think a lot of phans hear that phrase regarding the Lee trade and assume it means the owners simply want to put that $9million in their pockets. I'm sure they do, but having that $9million (or a portion of that) to fill needs in-season is extremely important.

Prospects in return: I wonder if CLE fans are complaining as well? The Aumont-Gillies-Ramirez triumvirate isn't looking too hot right now, but can they have some time before they're busts?

Phillies would have happily paid Lee 9million this year. It's the 23million+ after that that his agent is demanding that they balked at.

Ironically trading Lee might have increased our chances of signing him as a free agent. Lee liked it here. If they Phils go back to the WS or better yet win it this year while he suffers through a miserable season in Seattle he might take a discount to comeback that he wouldn't have taken had he stayed.

sophist: Andy is long on record as saying KK cannot possibly be successful at the major league level. Every day that KK is up is a refutation of Andy's prediction. He is desperate for KK to be sent down or released.

Lincoln: I think the chance of Lee returning via trade or FA signing is as close to 0 as it possibly can be.

1. Trading for him again makes little sense-wouldn't the outcry be "Why did they trade him in the first place?".
2. FA: If they can't resign Werth, how can they afford Lee?

Andy - I like the point (a criticism of the prospects actually acquired). With respect to that, I'm silent.

BAP - Since when do the BL elite espouse commonsense? Elite sense, or nothing else.

Really, though: If you have a surplus of starting pitching, and you can turn around and acquire capital with which you might use to patch holes on a contending team, isn't that the best thing to do? (Now, whether there is such a thing as a surplus of starting pitching is an empirical question. I think the answer is yes, given how little, relative to your 1-2 starters, you should expect out of your 3 in a playoff series).

clout - You might be right about the idea that the talent was not acquired to make trades. The best evidence for this is that B Morrow was, allegedly, not sought after by the Phils, and surely he would have been more valuable toward landing major league talent in a trade.

Nevertheless: it's still early (have any noteworthy trades been made yet, in the entire league?). Suppose Lidge comes back strong, and the JRoll is fine, and no reinforcements are necessary. Then no trades are likely. But if Gose is packaged for Bobby Jenks, or whomever, then it will sure look as though a trade will have been facilitated by the fact that Gillies and Gose make one another redundant.

Optimuspun,

Wouldn't the PHillies have had more ammo to pull off a trade had they kept Lee? I suppose you'd get a better closer by trading Lee than a few AA prospects?

I see many BLers are still buying Rube's propaganda. Do you understand that Lee was shopped to just ONE team - Seattle. And that Seattle wasn't even asked to give us any of their top prospects - merely disposable and damaged Single A bodies.

I didn't say they were, or that it was likely. Only that I thought it was possible that trading him increased the chances. Specifically by making him wish he was here instead of Seattle.

I guess it tells you how little I think their chances of signing him were before he left. Which is also why I think Amaro made the right, if unpopular, move. The Phillies didn't trade him because they couldn't afford to pay him, but because they didn't think he was worth the amount he(his agent) was demanding.

Also, they will sign Werth. As long as he agrees to backload the deal they have the money to do it.

Why would the Phillies keep Lee only to trade him for a closer, when they theoretically kept Lee to help put the Phils over the top (Lee/halladay/Hamels)?

curt: Phils allegedly turned down, or didn't ask for top Seattle prospect OF Saunders.

A-train: In short, no. The most valuable commodity in baseball is major league ready talent that does not yet have service time. This is in fact what enabled the Phils to get Lee (and Halladay) despite the fact that the Dodgers were reportedly offering one of Billingsly or Kershaw. Rebuilding teams want prospects whose clocks have not started.

If the Phils had kept Lee, looking to trade him during the season (on the back of Hamels's resurgence making his presence a luxury), they would certainly not have been able to trade him to a team out of contention. But no team in contention is going to give you players who could help you now (because those players are likely responsible for their being in contention).

(I do apologize for raising this issue, as it may seem stale to some. But as I said, I think it pertains to questions about how the team is to move forward given questions about the BP, the bench, and JRoll's health.)

I think the fact that they traded Lee could make it impossible to sign him as a free agent. My guess is he's mad as a hornet at the Phillies and would love to stick it to them. And I think the chance that the Phillies would even pursue him is non-existent. Of course we haven't had a game in almost 48 hours and work can be boring, so it's as good a topic as any. Again.

Endless Lee recycling:

- It did involve money. Amaro is 100% full of crap when he insisted it didn't matter. $9M erases a nice portion of their net income this year.

- If the Phils win another WS this year, people will completely forget about the Lee trade. If the Phils falter in the playoffs largely because of their starting pitching (especially Hamels/Blanton), Amaro will never hear the end of Lee his entire tenure here.

- My gripe at the time was that the trade with Seattle for these particular prospects was largely based on Benny Looper's input & evaluation. Amaro said as much & placed a lot of faith in a guy who was demote/run out of town in Seattle. Won't have a good idea on whether or not these guys are 'busts' at the earliest until the end of next year but I have a feeling that Amaro's faith in Looper will largely have been unwarranted.

"curt: Phils allegedly turned down, or didn't ask for top Seattle prospect OF Saunders. "

Given the hurried way the Phils went about dumping Lee, nothing about the transaction would be surprising. The prime objective was to get rid of Lee immediately, before media and fans began fantasizing about a Halladay/Lee 1/2.

Curt you rail against propaganda by spouting it? That article doesn't prove anything about how many teams the Phillies approached. All it says is that the Phillies did approach the Mariners which makes sense because trades don't spontaneously pop out of the ether. Someone has to make the first move.

If you were writing my biography and you wrote that I slept with my wife before we got married does that prove she was the ONLY woman I had slept with before marriage???? ...uh, no. It wouldn't.

I agree that I wanted them to get more for Lee, but I think fans over-estimate his worth based on his post-season. He was only 13-14 last season, and got shelled a few times while with us. Hell, Hamels had a better 2008 postseason than Lee's 2009, and his career numbers are equal or better than Lee's. But we treat him like he's tradebait.

And your assertion that we got back nothing of value is propaganda is and of itself. Gillies is a future gem, and I have high hopes for Ramirez. Aumont I'm iffy about.

Bed Beard: Excellent point. I remember posting at the time my puzzlement at the report that the Phils could've had Saunders but chose Gillies instead, which made no sense. There was a lot about the Lee deal to Seattle that was pretty funky.

Hawkes: "Gillies is a future gem."

What is your definition of "gem."

Isn't this a draft thread?

MG: You have repeatedly said Looper was "run out of town" in SEA. He was with the club for 23 years, and was asked to take a different position (yeah, typically called a demotion) by the new GM who predictably wanted his own people in place. That is normal front office behavior in baseball, sports and business in general.

Gillick thought well enough of Looper to refer him to Amaro. I think that's a pretty damn good endorsement. I think Amaro had faith that Looper knew these guys, and certainly knew more about them then Amaro/LaMar did. The guys we got back weren't exactly no names.

Looper's role in the whole Lee thing get underplayed and you really hear from him at all in the media since he was hired right after the '08 WS in early Nov. Just the occasional article on prospects updates mid-season.

Looper oversees the scouting and player development areas, including minor league staff hirings and both professional and amateur scouting assignments. He also supposedly provided some key input on what prospects the Phils should move in the Lee & Halladay trades.

Obviously Looper got his position because of his prior relationship with Gillick. No way he gets it on merit because the Seattle farm system largely ran around under his tenure. It was an 'Old Boys' network hire that happens all the time in baseball.

Maybe I am wrong but Looper strikes me more as Fredo than Sonny or Michael.

Curt: I agree that the need to move Lee before the fanbase got to fantasizing was a huge part of why they accepted the Seattle deal but it's not the prime objective of the trade.

Donc: That's a possibility. But from some of the inconsistencies between what Lee said and what his agent said and the blatant way his agent has soured things with the Mariners FO and fanbase, I suspect Lee is probally more annoyed at his agent than the Phillies. Maybe that's wishful thinking, but it's all conjecture at this point.

BB - Looper was a high-level VP and was asked to become a regional scout. That is a huge demotion.

Just need to see the writing on the wall. Standard practice to get rid of an sr. level executive is stone wall or make him take a clear demotion. He gets the message & resigns instead of being fired outright. Happens all the time.

Lincoln - Rube met with Lee's agent Dec. 9, and offered him to Seattle the next day. I suppose he could tried to make a deal with the other 28 teams overnight, and failed to tell the writer of his nocturnal activity.

curt: You could add to that Lee's agent's statement that money was never discussed at that 12/9 meeting and that both he and Lee were shocked at the trade, since long-term contract talks had barely begun.

Clout: I'm nowhere near the first to say this, but I think Gillies is more or less on a Victorino-type career arc. Not only is his skillset similar, his numbers to age in the minors are very close to Vic's. With time and some polishing, I see him as a contributing starter with borderline AS potential.

I have no reason to believe the report that the Phillies chose Saunders over Gillies. It just doesn't make much sense, and believing that requires a belief in every single one-off anonymously reported rumor that gets put in baseball columns. I refuse to do that. I believe the things which are corroborated and pass a common-sense test. That report was neither.

Why anyone would believe that, I don't know, but it says more about that person's view of the Lee trade than anything else--people who believe it are the people who want to discredit Amaro for the deal.

That's not to say I support the deal--my thoughts on it have been posted many times before. But I have no reason to believe the Saunders-Gillies report.

BB - Looper also wasn't allowed to make his case either to Zduriencik either. Zduriencik offered him the regional scout deal. That's it. Like going from the manager at McDonald's to the fry cook.

That is the polite way in upper management as saying 'f@ck-off' but allows each party to save a little face instead of having to fire Looper out right as the Mariners did with some other when Zduriencik came in.

MG: I don't claim to know anything about Looper or Seattle, but it seems to me like you have no idea what you're talking about either.

If you were a newly hired GM, wouldn't you want your hand picked brain trust?

Curt: Lee was traded as far away as possible, and to a team they had connections to. Rightly or wrongly.

Clout: I find it hard to believe money wasn't discussed at a meeting between a GM and an Agent for a guy who was going to be a FA after the next year.

Even if specific dollars were not discussed, I still think common sense indicates that Amaro got the impression (either from that meeting or from previous ones) that it was going to cost a lot of money to re-sign Lee--more than they were willing to sign him for. You may have heard of their inclination against signing pitchers to long-term deals.

MG: You're taking your theory and running with it. It can be described as realistically as the new GM wanting a new team in place. I have no idea if Looper is a good scout or not, I just think you're overstating it. 23 years with one organization is a lot of time.

Linc:Your point is a good one too. My feeling has always been that Lee's agent came on a little too strong to Rube and Rube instantly determined that Lee would never stay. My guess is Lee never, ever wanted the Phillies to think that, because he absolutely wanted to be here above all else. In interviews that I heard with my own ears, the agent denies that he played hardball. My guess is Lee believes him. If he didn't, he would almost certainly be his ex-agent. All of this is speculation, of course. I just have a feeling that Rube got a bad vibe from that initial meeting. He may have read the tea leaves incorrectly or the agent may have overplayed his hand. Either way it is sure that Lee is very unhappy about the way it turned out. If he was pissed at his agent, I would think that he would have made a change. That only leaves the Phillies to be mad at. That's my guess anyway.

I cheer for all Philly teams. I do admit that I only really care about Hockey and Basketball when those teams are in the playoffs mostly because 1/2 the league makes the playoffs in those sports. I used to be really into the Flyers, but then Hockey had that disastrous strike. I lost interest after that.

Of course just because he's pissed at the Phillies, doesn't mean he would NEVER sign here. It just makes it extremely unlikely. It's all a moot point, however. They will not be pursuing him.

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