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Monday, August 23, 2010

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I was just browsing the MLB stats page when I started noticing a pattern which I haven't really seen much coverage of.

Yes, Roy Halladay has been amazing this year, but I hadn't realized just how amazing!

He's in the top 5 in Wins (nr 4), Strikeouts (nr 3) and ERA (nr 3), and he's the only pitcher on all three of those lists. (The only other pitcher on more than one of those three major pitching indicators is Clay Buchholtz of the Red Sox, nr 5 on Wins and number 4 on ERA.)

The Doc is also nr 1 in Complete games (8), nr 1 in Shutouts (3), and nr 1 on Innings pitched and number 5 in WHIP!
And who can forget his perfect game???

Checking the almighty Wikipedia, I see that the last time a Phillies pitcher won the Cy Young Award was 1987, with closer Steve Bedrosian. The last time a Phillies starter won it was in 1983 with John Denny.

Halladay sure seems like a good candidate for it this year!
What do you guys think?

Go Phils!

If you look at the total package Halladay has to be the best pitcher in the league this year. His innings pitched is a leap ahead of the 2nd place guy, his era/whip/so/k/bb and pretty much any other pitching stat are all top 5 or close.

And I really didn't think Myers would keep up his stats all season but he has. Lots of IP, low ERA, his whip was higher earlier in the season but he got it down to 1.22 overall.

I wonder if it was change of scenery that relieved some pressure or maybe he was just due for a good year. I always thought we could of resigned him for a friendly deal.

It may be that Myers is finally fulfilling his "potential". IIRC he was slated to be a #1 - #3 when he was in the minors, depending on who was doing the evaluation.

Maybe getting shown the door in Philadelphia has focused him the way he should have been focused all along.

Or maybe he's just having a career year.

It looks like he is throwing his least amount of fastballs he ever has in a season. 44%, career average 53%. Which is probably good since his fastball has had a negative value in every season he's played.

Throwing more sliders than he ever has a few less curveballs.

27.5% sliders - career 10.7%
20.6% curveballs - career 24%

His biggest difference seems to be his slider which he is throwing more and seems to be more successful with than previous years. 10runs above average this year, negatives most other years.

Oh and his fastball is still 89.6 average, so I guess it wasn't a velocity thing all those years.

my take is that Myers is a headcase and can only focus on pitching when his team is double digits off the division for 90% of the season.

statstically - his HR/9 is finally good, something that plagued him in Philly. I can remember countless starts where he mowed down the opposition for the majority of the game, but always left a curveball up or tried to overpower someone with his low 90s fastball for a couple quick bombs to spoil his outing.

I bet there is a connection too - his mindset after being taken deep probably didnt help the rest of his start. Maybe keeping the ball in the yard keeps his head in the game as well.

At least I can watch the game without explaining to my wife why Myers is still on the Phillies.

Myers also had great stuff, but for some reason he couldn't put it all together in Philly. I remember two or three years ago Manny Ramirez commented after Myers struck him out that he had one of the nastiest curve balls in baseball.

I think Oswalt just really enjoys being in a pennant race on a playoff team again...and not having the pressure of NEVER getting any run support (worst run support in the league while he was in Houston). Now he at least gets mediocre run support as a Phillie.

Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt will make us damn tough to beat in a short series.

Not exactly a paragon of virtue in the sports world, but Deadspin has an article listing, along with .pdf files of the documents themselves, financial statements for MLB teams, most notably the Marlins and Pirates. It's a pretty interesting read, no idea how they got the statements. I know it's often discussed here, esp. during the offseason, how expenditures affect the operating costs of teams.
The info. was actually leaked to the AP, so it's pretty legit, and notably the Pirates were not delighted at all by this leak. I just used Deadspin because the docs. are easiest to read there.

http://deadspin.com/5615096/mlb-confidential-the-financial-documents-baseball-doesnt-want-you-to-see-part-1

Sorry for the seemingly contradicting statement, I obviously know how Deadspin got the info. (AP) but I don't know how the AP got the info. Still interesting.

I've got tickets to Wednesday's game and I'm getting pretty excited at the potential to see the full opening day lineup.


Although phillies.com currently has Roy Halladay as the probable pitcher for Wed AND Thurs. Maybe thats just wishful thinking?

http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/news/probable_pitchers/index.jsp?c_id=phi

Yeah, that same article is on ESPN...its completely legit and complete BS on the part of the Pirates ownership.

I've been a KK supporter for awhile now - but I don't follow some other supporters who seem content on proving that he's capable of being a MLB pitcher as some sort of success story.

No excuse to give up +5ER against the Nats, especially down the stretch. He's given up +5ER in 3 of his last 7 starts - that inconsistency shouldn't be shrugged off while trying to win a division.

I am not unhappy with his overall performance this season and do not think there are any better options in the minors - but it is irritating to see people blindly defend his poor performances with excuses.

And its usually the same people that bash CJ/others for his predictable defense of the front office/team in gerenal - they write off their comments since they're "homers", but then run out the same type of BS when poor kyle can't even give his team a shot to win after 4 innings.

i still got KK's back, but that doesnt mean i won't criticize him when he deservse it. Kid needs to wake up and get back on track or he is no longer valuable to the 2010 season.

Anyone else think that the MLBPA will be taking those leaked financials and ripping both Pittsburgh and the league a new one? They already filed and won a grievance against Florida in the off-season and forced them to spend. This will only add gasoline to the fire.

Why are we in the post-Oswalt era? Wouldn't that be after Oswalt is gone?

What's funny is that this team has three stoppers, and yet, more often than not, shouldn't be in need of a stopper, since it's hard to get on a losing streak when you are tossing H2O out there 3 out of every 5 games, and maybe 3 out of every 4 games down the stretch in September, since we have some off days to play with.

I had a feeling Myers would have a good year and was kinda hoping the Phillies would keep him for that reason. (But I'd rather have Oswalt.) My theory was he was playing injured for who knew how long, really, with that strange feeling in the hip - and that he would do much better post-surgery.

But I know a change of teams can also give a player new perspective and extra determination, so maybe that's all it is. I don't claim to know. Whatever it is, good for him.

I do think he'll be eager to pitch his best against his former team, so I expect a challenge. Hopefully, Blanton and the bats are up to it.

NEPP - I would assume the MLBPA will not take a kind view to this information. Especially with the news that some (possible) untoward financial transactions were made between the owners and partners. Even if it was completely on the up, as they say, it still looks bad, especially from the Pirates.
ESPN's article lists all the players they've dumped due to salary restrictions; it's basically an entire team!

One more reason to appreciate Chooch, quoted from phillies.com:

Catcher Carlos Ruiz said he has worked with Lidge on his mental approach, saying the 31-year-old closer had a tendency to let past mistakes linger on his mind.

"I tell him to be aggressive and whatever happens, happens," Ruiz said. "Don't think about what happened yesterday, just think about today. And right now we're working real good."

Correct, we are living in the Oswalt era. Who'd'thunk that Oswalt would be pitching better than (genuflect)Cliff Lee??!!!

Cody Ross to the Giants...not sure if this is old news or not.

The Pirates will contend that they have spent $31 M in the draft over the past 3 years along with some big Int'l signings and they are simply banking this money until its wise to invest it with an expanded payroll...and honestly, its a fairly strong argument. They spent $12 million in the June draft this year...they didn't have to do that.

Still, its a bit troubling to say the least...I wish someone would leak the Phillies numbers so we could see that at least.

Another reason for Brett Myers pitching well this year: to get a contract extension, which he received from the Astros a couple weeks ago. I don't say this as a slight, since it's only natural to work your hardest and performance your best when a clear cut reward is in sight, especially a monetary reward.

I have a hard time getting sentimental for Brett Myers. Good for him to be having a good year, but the Phillies were probably counting the seconds until his contract expired.

A little off topic, but Madson has really pitched well recently. Obviously Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt are a powerful force in the rotation, but Madson has been the stabilizer in the bullpen. We've talked about Lidge looking better and everything Durbin has done, but it sure would be nice to get Romero and/or Contreras pitching well again.

jason.tp, the defense of Kendrick yesterday was the defense of his continued use in the rotation, not that specific performance. Although, as bad as his first inning was, I'd be content if every "bad" contract outing were of a 6 IP, 5 R variety.

Myers' numbers aren't that different than they were in 08 with the Phils. His K9 is actually down from 08, but his BB9 is slightly down and his HR/FB is half what it was in 08. He seems to like pitching in Houston:

Home: 2.23 ERA / 3.28 FIP (.327 BAbip) / 4.2 HR/FB
Away: 3.96 ERA / 4.36 FIP (.257 BAbip) / 11.1 HR/FB

Against the Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs: 69.4 IP, 15 ER (2 HR), 62 K, 14 BB

Looks like he likes his new home in Houston/NL Central.

If the offense plays well, this team is as scary as the New York Yankees. With the big 3, we should be heavily favored to win 3 out of every 5 games, which would put us at 93 wins, even if Blanton and Kyle are totally ineffective the rest of the way. That may or may not win the NL East, but will absolutely get us into the playoffs. Good times!

NEPP, I would hope you would want to see the Phillies' books for curiosity's sake only. The Phillies are spending 140+ M on this squad, and that should be MORE than enough to field a championship caliber team (and wouldn't you know, it is doing just that). I wouldn't feel the least bit annoyed if I saw that the Phillies were not spending quite as much as they could and keeping a lot for profit. They have that right, since they do own a business, and if the fans feel tha the Phillies haven't been spending money, trying to put the best product out on the field for the fans, they obviously haven't been to CBP and haven't watched many Phillies games.

By the way NEPP, I don't assume that you think the Phillies are cheap, I just wanted to put this general statement out there.

NEPP, I can't complain about the Phils spending. They are bringing in lots of revenue (103 consecutive sellouts), but they also have spent +$140M on payroll. Granted the Lee trade was all about money but they admitted that mistake by trading for Oswalt. And I'll bet they make a legit offer to keep Werth after this season. Ownership should benefit by making a reasonable profit.

Sort of weird but Myers has avoided the Reds so far this year. He's gone against the Brewers 3 times with mixed results: 18 IP, 13 R.

Myers has had a great season, only had really 1 bad start all year, but it looks like he's feasting on the NL Central (outside his three starts against the Brewers). NL Central is the weakest offensive division in the NL, esp. once you consider that he hasn't faced the Reds and he hasn't pitched well against the Brewers, the only two good offenses in that division.

@benjamin -- I think you are ignoring one Adam Wainwright. The Cy Young is going to come down to if you are leading the league in any categories. Especially the Big 3. It is a horse race. A real horse race. I think if the Cards fail to make the playoffs and the Phillies finish strong with a division win, its Halladay's Cy Young. Otherwise I think Wainwright is the guy right now.

Wainwright
W 1st (tie)
ERA 1st
K 4th

Halladay
W 2nd
ERA 3rd
K 1st

Other categories because there are more saber guys getting on board each year:

WHIP
W: 1st
H: 4th

WAR
W: 2nd
H: 1st

WAR for pitchers
W: 4th
H: 1st

CG:
W: 2nd
H: 1st

SHO:
W: 2nd (tie)
H: 1st

ERA+
W: 1st
H: 2nd

WPA
W: 2nd
H: 1st

****NEPP, I would hope you would want to see the Phillies' books for curiosity's sake only.****

Purely curiosity...and to shut up the people that continually rip them for being "cheap". They are Top 3 (I believe) in spending in MLB...I'd love for it to be leaked out just so everyone could move on from that cyclical discussion that comes up everytime they actually have to make a tough financial decision.

NEPP - I get what you're saying, $31 M in 3 years is nothing to glance over. But the Pirates generated nearly $77 M in revenue, and received nearly $70 M in revenue from MLB, in the last year of published figures. The Pirates are essentially operating as a higher-priced AAA team. If the player doesn't pan out, oh well; if he does, then they can flip him for three more younger, lesser paid versions of him. Is there any doubt that the likes of McCutcheon and Tabata will spend more than the next few years in a Pirates uniform before being traded? It's one thing to operate for profit, any company does the same, and I would be foolish if I didn't agree with that. But it's clear the Pirates, using today's numbers, make more money by losing they they would by winning, and that's not ok.

I agree Ismael...but that will be the argument they make (and are making from what I've been reading this morning).

Neyer has a good response to this Pirates stuff.

Go back and re-read the names in that third paragraph ... Got 'em?

Now, which of those talented young men would you want on your roster right now if you were running the Pirates?

Without checking every one of them, I think the correct answer might be ZERO of them. Just for fun, click on each of those former All-Stars, see how they're doing this year. No time for that? Well, I'll tell you that Sanchez is the only one who's actually playing right now. And he's not playing nearly as well as Neil Walker (the Pirates' current second baseman).

OK, maybe I'll give you Adam LaRoche. He's earning just $6 million this season, and he's having a better season than Garrett Jones. But Garrett Jones was one of the few good things about the Pirates last year. Would anyone have argued, three months ago, that the Pirates would have been better off with LaRoche? Particularly given the $5.5 million difference between their 2010 salaries?

That's most of what I wanted to say about that. Except it doesn't bother me when a team doesn't spend every last cent -- or every last $10 million -- the moment it arrives. I believe the Pirates are, in their fashion, going to spend what they've got on trying to improve their fortunes on the field. Wealthy men don't buy into baseball teams to make money. With the exception of the New York Yankees and perhaps another franchise or two, that just wouldn't be a smart business decision.

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/4933/parsing-pittsburghs-ps-and-ls

Re: Kyle Kendrick

We didn't learn anything new about him in the Nats game. As a 5th starter, his margin of error continues to be small. He clearly didn't have his control the first inning. Had he been able to get Pudge out in the 1st, he might get out of the game giving up just 3 runs (not that it ended up mattering since the Phils only scored one).

KK is what he is... a right around league average starter. The only good thing about this last start is that despite his first inning troubles, he still managed to give the Phils 5.2 IP. I was worried he was going to be pulled in the 2nd, giving the bullpen a long day.

I also shudder to think with the rumors of the new bargaining agreement (maybe?) and the International Draft, will MLB really put in place a system to trade draft picks ala the NFL? Can you imagine what the Pirates would look like then? I'm sure I'm being facetious, but what would stop them from trading those perennial #1 picks, drafting international players for less than market value, and continuing this trend?

I would think that any type of change to teh draft would include an int'l draft of some sort.

Sophist, I don't know about the Neyer post, either. I seem to recall Jose Bautista leading the league in something. Matt Capps has filled in admirably for the Twins so far. The Phils themselves could've used Jack Wilson if not for his injuries. And we personally saw the effect Nyjer Morgan had for the Nats this past weekend. The Pirates didn't trade an All-Star roster, I don't think that's the point of the article. The Pirates traded their roster, a roster that would be getting more expensive in the coming years, and refused to pay for it.

/Did not mean to sound Clout-ish in my post, hope you don't take it that way.

IMHO, the accusations of cheapness on the part of the Phil's management don't stem from the last few years. For the most part, people's opinions were formed during many of the down years of the 80s and 90s. For the most part, those were very down, lean years (with the exception of course being the WS appearance.) The Phils didn't have very many good players at all and you could certainly make accusations of cheapness with some justification.

People who have been conditioned to 2 decades of cheapness aren't going to wake up one day and recognize that maybe the FO isn't so cheap because of 3-4 years of spending...maybe after like 2 decades of spending and winning, (or an equal time to the cheapness/losing period) people's attitudes will change.

Just my $.02

Re Halladay and Wainwright: These are definitely the top guns in the National League. VORP has Wainwright at 1, slightly ahead of Halladay. I actually think that the nominal margin could be due to Wainwright being a superior offensive player, but I think Halladay is the superior pitcher ot Wainwright. Outside of the our top 3, Wainwright is my favorite pitcher in the majors; he's a horse, has a great curveball, and he's huge...just fun to watch.

But Halladay gets the edge because he's put up comparable numbers in every respect to Wainwright over significantly more innings. That counts for something, because if you think that they are of equal value each innings they take the mound, yet if Halladay steps on the mound that many more times, he's that much more valuable.

Pirates spent $6.5M alone on their first round pick this year. Is that a wise financial decision? Phils get hounded for passing on these big signings by some (although picking late first round helps), but it makes no sense to me to grab a high schooler for that money instead of finding a guy who'll sign for 1st round slot and spending money on quantity/quality later in the draft unless you've got a sure thing. Easy now to say that David Price was worth $5.6M I guess, but Aumont was picked 10 spots later (not that the book on him is anywhere near closed).

CMI, Morgan is hitting .265/.322/.330 this year. That he had a good weekend slapping the ball around (while his team got shut out in 2/3 games) isn't all that important.

Sophist - I get that, but with the system they have in place, the Praites would've had to do something, right? I guess what I mean is, what was their alternative, if we buy into the Pirate conspiracy theories? Honest question, since I don't know a ton about the workings of the draft.

CMI - Jack Wilson? Did you look at his numbers? He had a 51 OPS+ in Seattle last year and a 65 OPS+ this year. He was hitting 267/.304/.387 for the Pirates when they dumped him, and is a .267/.309/.372 career hitter. The guy made $7.4M for the Pirates. Do you really think that was a wise investment and the Pirates should have kept him on?

Phils could have used that and they found that production in Valdez, whom they paid a minor league contract.

@HammRadio
Oh, yeah, missed Wainwright. I guess if things continue like they have for the rest of the season, then it comes down to Wainwright or Halladay.
Halladay should win it, though, because he's a Phillie. That's my completely unbiased opinion...

After reading some of the names the Pirates gor rid of, I think they did the right thing.

CMI - re the draft, that was exactly my point. You "shuddered" at the thought of the Pirate trading draft picks (10.24 post above), but trading high-priced draft picks may actually be to a team's advantage.

On the other hand, nothing stops them from drafting a late first round/supplemental guy with the 2nd overall and giving him first round slot money and spending the difference elsewhere. Nothing but their own determinations and peer/fanbase pressure.

The Pirates paid Wilson $7.4M in 09 alone! They guy made $25M+ while with the team hitting .269/.311/.376 (79 OPS+).

If the Phils get to the playoffs, Halladay wins the Cy Young, esp. if he's perceived as the one who carried us there...

Pirates biggest problem appears to be their inability to draft good starting pitching. Maybe Taillon and Allie will turn that around.

Although I do think Neyer overlooks the Capps situation. He's right that the Pirates have no need for a closer, but it would have been wise to run him out there like the Nats did for half a season and see what kind of trade you could get for a successful closer at the deadline. Guess they just thought he was cooked.

There was an article on Fangraphs the other week taking a look at the futility of the Pirate's first round picks for the last decade or so. It really is terrible, which begs the question...their scouting dept. can't be that bad, can it? It really seems to me it is far more likely to be a systemic failure of scouting + lack of proper development....

Which means the Pirates can't be fixed simply by spending more...they need to get the right people in place or they're just flushing money down the drain.

That's true, I didn't even think to compare the two (Wilson and Valdez), I just went with the injury stuff the Phils dealt with. I'm just having a difficult time reconciling this, I guess. The Pirates began rebuilding in '92. 18 years later, there's no end to the rebuilding in sight: it's like they hired PennDOT to do the rebuilding for them. Shedding payroll since 2001, trading players for prospects, many of whom haven't seen the field, it may be a way to run a business, but not a baseball team, and it's evident by the fan base's anger.

I just don't think the issue is "shedding payroll" but simply poor scouting and drafting (although they seem to be good at recognizing when their own guys are done).

To cut payroll, the Pirates have shed former All-Stars Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez, Nate McLouth and Jack Wilson in trades, along with nearly every other player who was arbitration eligible — or close to it — or free agency: Tom Gorzelanny, Ian Snell, John Grabow, Xavier Nady, Adam LaRoche, Damaso Marte, Nyjer Morgan, Ronny Paulino and Sean Burnett.

They also dealt slugger Jose Bautista to Toronto for a backup catcher who has since left their system, and cut NL All-Star closer Matt Capps without getting anything in return because he sought a $500,000 raise.

I repeat, this is utter nonsense. Tom Gorzelanny will not be arbitration eligible until after this season. Nyjer Morgan will be eligible after the 2011 season, if he is still in the majors. Ronny Paulino was traded after the 2008 season, still a year away from arbitration. Sean Burnett was earning close to league minimum when he was traded. With the Nationals, he received a giant raise to $775,000 this season. Using any of these players as evidence of payroll shedding is either ill-advised or disingenuous. Also, saying that the Pirates “dealt slugger Jose Bautista…for a backup catcher” is completely twisting the facts. There are 13 players listed in this section as evidence of management’s salary dumps. Two are now in Triple-A. Only about five are performing at anything approaching competency this year.

http://pittsburghlumberco.com/?p=4205

I don't necessarily shudder at the thought of any team trading draft picks, it's a fairly successful way to do business (see New England Patriots). I do, however, shudder to think that the Pirates could operate like this. When I see that as an option, I think of the NY Knicks, trading picks for lesser talents in the hopes of one day striking it big once the ability to dump big contracts comes up.

I just don't see how the payroll-shedding argument can be dismissed. The Pirates used advanced scouting/metrics, assumed the players were at their peaks, and traded them, almost uniformly for minor leaguers (at the time). They traded a static stock for an up-and-coming IPO, in other words. That doesn't mean it didn't have the desired effect of shedding payroll. I could get behind the idea that the Pirates were trying to catch lightning in a bottle with a few prospects, but an entire rosters-worth of players? For 18 years? Einstein's quote comes to mind; the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

The Pirates of the last 3 years - the Coonelly era - are a different team than they were under McClatchy and previously. They still spend penuriously, but, their decisions have a definite merit to them from a baseball standpoint in comparison to decisions made in hte era from 1992-2007. I'm pessimistic that they'll ever spend much on the team but, for now, their moves make a lot more sense, baseball-wise, than they did for hte majority of this long period of losing. The biggest hole they have is in starting pitching, which has been eroding for years.

A shocking thing ot contemplate, though, is the Pirates historical record. Even after shattering the Phils' record for consecutive losing seasons, they remain an above .500 franchise, all-time.

Next year's draft will be a huge milestone in judging the Pirates 'commitment to winning.' 2 years ago, they passed on Matt Wieters because of the price tag. They're shaping up to have their losingest season since hte 50s this year - almost certainly hte No. 1 pick overall. If they go cheap again, there should be significant fall out in hte fan base that remains.

Sophist - You can't really make any valid assessments about the Phils and their spending in the draft because you have no idea what they spend in International development especially in Latin America compared to other clubs.

Sophist - Neyer needs to take some basic finance courses and review the ROI/CAGR in rich men because his 'Wealthy men don't buy into baseball teams to make money' is bunk.

I would be willing that buying/selling a MLB baseball the last 25-30 years or so has held up very favorably against just about any type of investment class especially given that almost all equity classes have done nothing the past 10 years.

Financial documents are just more proof that the worst part of MLB today isn't the teams like the Yanks/Red Sox spending loads of money it is teams like the Royals and Pirates that carry around a tin cup for spare change and cry poverty yet pocket dollars bills through all kinds of direct and indirect subsidies.

Sophist, Jack Wilson = Wilson Valdez?

That makes me ask: "What's in a name?"


Sreiouslym though, Jack Wilson put up .282 .323 .401 (OPS+ 89) for 5 yrs in his 26 - 20 yr old seasons. Tha's why he got the contract. Was it wise to award him with it? Obviously not, especially since it seems no one took into consideration a potential decline.

Wilson Valdez: .245 .278 .352 with 4 HR and 28 RBI.

So far, a good signing by RAJ.

I know people were saying how they felt bad for the Mets fans, but I feel for the Pirates fans, both of them (kidding, but not about the feeling bad part). It's been a long time since they've had something to cheer about, other than fireworks and the Steelers. Off my soapbox now, I've quadrupled the amount of my normal postings in one day.

MG, what are you responding to? My only point about the draft is that the Pirates failures have little to do with spending committed to the draft. Phils spent $6.5M on the entire 2008 draft (the amount the Pirates spent on their first pick this year). They spent ~$2.5M signing Drabek, Taylor, and d'Arnaud, the keys to the Halladay trade.

Many think Brown, Colvin, Cosart, and Singleton are the Phils top 4 prospects. Phils spent $1.65 in signing bonuses on these 5 players combined. Brown is a top prospect; Colvin, Cosart and Singleton are among the best prospects in A-ball.

Point is simply that comparing these track records, and the outcomes of their trades above and the fact that they're only operating at a $5M profit this year, reveals that the Pirates failures have little to do with "cheapness" and more to do with past failures in scouting and development. Although they seem to be good at deciding when their own guys are cooked.

CMI, "assumed they were at their peaks"? I think you're the one making assumptions. The Pirates traded away a bunch of their players. Which ones were they wrong about?

"Sreiouslym though, Jack Wilson put up .282 .323 .401 (OPS+ 89) for 5 yrs in his 26 - 20 yr old seasons"

Especially since he got younger as time went by, a la Benjamin Button. He must be what, 14 years old by now? I kid, I kid.

MG: I think the point is that rich men don't buy baseball teams to make money on a year-to-year basis. It's absolutely designed to make money as an investment by buying the team, holding on to it, and then selling it at a much higher price.

MG, read the documents. The Pirates are operating at a $5M profit this year. Where are they pocketing money? I'll grant you that buying/selling the team is where the "real" money is, but that is not as relevant to the current discussion, which is about year to year profit and spending.

I wonder if CSN realizes what JW has brought with him in terms of baseball knowledge with this site's frequent contributers ; if you compare the comments section of BL with the moronic ramblings of talk radio or the too gross to be readable comments sections of some other blogs, BL is like an on-line degree program for would be GM's.

awh - right. they weren't being cheap when they gave him the contract, nor where they being cheap when they got rid of him. He's a vastly overpriced utility player.

Ishmael, LOL.. talk about a lousy typo. Good pickup.

I'll assume every knows I meant 25 - 30.

I'll be the contrarian viewpoint on the disclosure of the Pirates financial sheets and NEPP's desire to see the Phillies financial info. Personally, I think it's none of our business. It reminds me of the current controversy about WikiLeaks posting classified U.S. military documents regarding Afganistan. For WikiLeaks, I view the revelations as treason. For the Pirates info, this is violating the rights of the Pirates to keep their financials confidential. I work for a company and I'm not supposed to make their financials public knowledge. If I did, I'd lose my job.

The numbers the public fan wants to see is wins vs. losses. In that regard, the Pirates are failures. I don't care if they make money or not. I'd prefer that they make money. I hope that all teams make money, so that MLB can continue as an ongoing endeavor for my entertainment.

Sophist - The Pirates would not have traded the players if they couldn't receive adequate compensation in their view, right? So they traded them at the time in order to maximize profit. The alternative would have been that the trades were about money, to dump contracts, just what Neyer said was NOT the case. Is there a third option?

Pirates = irrelevant.
Mark Cuban should buy them. That would make them interesting again.

****I'll be the contrarian viewpoint on the disclosure of the Pirates financial sheets and NEPP's desire to see the Phillies financial info. Personally, I think it's none of our business. ****

I totally agree that its none of our business...unless one of us is part of the 5-way ownership group that is...still, I'd LOVE to see the numbers.

Lake Fred, stop making sense.

Don't you understand, according to some supposed fans, no baseball ownership group is ALLOWED to make money. They MUST spend every last nickel of revenue on player salaries in order to prove that they're trying to win, and lose money every year. If they don't then, according to said fans, they must not be trying to win.

Never mind if eventually, because of the losses, the product on the field, the stadium maintenance and ambiance, and everything else along with it begins to suffer.

Damn it, they ain't trying to win if they ain't spendin' ALL the money.

Sophist - Not enough data there to say the Pirates failure have to do with spending on the draft. Yeah Littlefield and the Pirates shortcoming were well highlighted with their scouting failures.

Need say the last 10 years of spending for the Pirates, readily available figures to compare other teams, and then devise a metric for comparsion (WAR/dollar) to get a better comparison to see how the Pirates stack up vs. other MLB teams. Never going to get that data though.

CMI - when the Pirates traded Morgan and Burnett for Milledge and Hanrahan were they dumping/shedding salary? Were they getting rid of highly productive players? Take your time.

The salary difference between the guys they got rid of and the guys they took on was about $300K, nothing in baseball terms (and Milledge and Hanrahan are closer to arbitration than Morgan and Burnett). Milledge also has way more upside, and Morgan has had a terrible season.

Shouldn't this discussion be moved over to www.Beerleaguer-Pittsburgh.com?

re: anything put the irrelevant pirates

I expect Myers to be extremely amped up for his start in Philly tonight, which is a good thing. I think a solid stadium full of boos and insults would def throw him off his game.

Sophist - As for the $5M in operating income, which document were you pulling that from?

I did find it was interesting that there was a ~$20M 'Distribution to Partners' charge under Financing Activities in '08.

I would imagine alot of other MLB teams do the same and dip into the revenues to skim off a nice portion of cream since you really don't have to worry that much about making an annual profit.

I was also interested to see that their 'Deferred Compensation' was at $25M in 2008 under Liabilities. Wouldn't have thought it was that high for the Pirates.

This kind of stuff is really interesting.

MG, the Pirates have spent more than any other team on their draft signing bonuses in the last 3 years:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10230/1080766-63.stm

If those drafts don't work out, there's a good argument that the failure has little to do with cheapness or lack of spending on the draft, our inability to have all possible relevant information aside.

****I did find it was interesting that there was a ~$20M 'Distribution to Partners' charge under Financing Activities in '08.****

The Pirates explanation for that is that it was the repayment of a loan given by one of its ownership Partners to the team a few years back when they (the team) couldn't get credit from a bank...it actually sounds pretty legit. It wasn't a dividend payment if you believe them.

MG, according to Coonelly, the 20MM distribution was a loan repayment from a time the Bucs couldn't get credit and one of the partners pumped in some cash.

Hypothetical question: If the Astros and Pirates were to merge right now, would they be able to form a competitive team (competitive meaning in the playoff hunt)?


My honest guess would be no.

can't wait to see the Phils financials. That would settle a few arguments about how they can't afford...

Acc. to the Pirates, half the $20M was for interest on a loan from the Nuttings. (Principal amount of that loan is undisclosed) The other half was a tax distribution demanded by minority owners who wanted cash to pay taxes on book profits.

I would bet that the Phillies are barely pulling a net profit at their current payroll obligations.

I would also venture that if we dont make the playoffs this year that they'll be in the red or just barely even.


Look at the Angels financials (in link). No one would accuse Moreno of being cheap and he is barely breaking even ($5 million a year or so of net profit)...that's nothing really when you think about the numbers involved.

rk: Has anyone with the Phillies ever suggested that they couldn't afford Cliff Lee? There's a difference between having a budget and being able to "afford" something. I can currently afford a cruise to the Bahamas, but it's not appropriate for my budget.

The Cliff Lee deal may have been a mistake on many different levels, but even if a review of the financials showed a $9M positive balance in operating income, it wouldn't change the discussion.

If we had kept Lee, we wouldn't have Oswalt for this year and next...would anyone really trade our 2011 rotation of Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt, Blanton for the alternative?

awh, unless I am misreading it, I see a contradiction in your 11:43 post, because it seems like you are saying that ownership doesn't have to spend money if they don't want to but then you mention all of the reasons why they should.
Of course the owners have a "right" to make a profit, but owning a sports franchise is not the same as other businesses. Different rules apply.

I think people are missing the bigger picture on this one. There are two ways to make money in baseball. 1.) Net Income 2.)Equity earned from the sale of the club. Some people (Steinbrenner) understand that the economics of baseball are such that a net income of $0.00 is substantially better than a net income of $14-15 million per year (Pirates). At the end of the day Steinbrenner increased his personal wealth by 3,584.81% from 10 million (adj. to $29 mil to compensate for inflation) to an est 1.1 billion over a 37 year period. He could afford making $0.00 net profit from year to year because he had the foresight to see that his family would be set for the rest of its existence. At some point grandchildren will get restless and either sell or decrease costs to get a piece of the action. At the end of the day, maybe the pirates ownership can't afford to not make anything on a year to year basis. The business strategy and decisions are theirs alone. We have no right to tell them how to run their business. If they don't put up, the club will eventually go bankrupt or they will sell to someone who will try to build a winner (probably at a discount from the projected value thus maybe losing some of the earning compiled over the years of ownership).

If the Phillies could merge with any team, what team would you choose, considering chemistry, synergy, etc.

Oh and NEPP. I read somewhere (can't remember where i think it was in forbes) that the Phillies pulled an operating profit of about $14 mil in 2008. I'd have to assume that while there has been an increase in payroll, there has also been a significant increase in merchandise sales and ballpark revenue...so maybe the Phils are making some money...but who cares? They have the best top 3 in baseball and an allstar line-up (when healthy)....let the owners reap the rewards of their successes.

Shawn: I always like the way the Twins do business. I respect the way they play the game. I'm not looking at personnel at all... but I'd pick the Twins. Guess we'd have to move Mauer from behind the plate, because we already have Chooch.

"I'll be the contrarian viewpoint on the disclosure of the Pirates financial sheets and NEPP's desire to see the Phillies financial info. Personally, I think it's none of our business"

If they weren't sucking on the public teat (stadiums), then I'd agree. But they are, so I have a right to see.

steven, according to the recent reports, the Pirates made about $14-15M in profits in 08 as well.

Myers is pitching no differently then he did with the Phils. He was prone to long periods of success, and then was guaranteed to have consecutive starts where he was knocked all over the park, or couldnt find the strike zone. And he could never pitch his way out of a bad inning without further damage. The at bat in the playoffs in 2008 ahead of the Shane slam gained him way more admiration then he deserved. Forgetting about the off-field nonsense, he never matured on the mound.

"Personally, I think it's none of our business. It reminds me of the current controversy about WikiLeaks posting classified U.S. military documents regarding Afganistan. For WikiLeaks, I view the revelations as treason. For the Pirates info, this is violating the rights of the Pirates to keep their financials confidential."

This is literally the worst thing I've read on Beerleaguer all season. Congrats Lake Fred.

steve, as long as they are in the Top 5 in payroll (commensurate with their market size basically) I could care less. I, for one, think they are doing more than their share to put a competitive team on the field.

Difference in payroll for 2008 to PRES: Increase of about $40 million. Can't complain about that.

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