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Monday, December 13, 2010

Comments

clout: Under an ecomonic model, which assesses a player's value based on what others players are getting, Pujols might well be worth $40M per year. From a baseball standpoint, no player is worth the massive drain on other areas of the team which a $40M per year contract would necessarily carry. I'll gladly take you up on that bet.

I've never had a problem with trading Cliff Lee. But when you compare what they gave up to get Halladay, with what they got for Lee, it's just insane.

mlbtr still links the phils to greinke. i'm still wondering why?

could this just be rube feeling out other gm's in an effort to get to know how they operate? perhaps for future trades??

BobbyD... you have to account for the fact that the Phils made the deal knowing they could lock up Halladay. They traded away 1 year of Cliff Lee. They traded for 4 years of Halladay.

Yes, from a straight propects perspective, they gave up more than they got. But man do I love 3 more years of reigning Cy Young Roy Halladay.

The pitching news seems especially enouraging. Regarding position players, I have read nothing but good things about Altherr; He might be the sleeper in the bunch.

quincy.mcneal: then you'd have to account for what Seattle got for a 1/2 season from Texas. Funny to look at Toronto's top 10 and see former Phillies all over it. It'll be interesting to see Houston's when it comes out.

Aaron Altherr: Another Phailed Phillies Toolshed or The Gose of Christmas Present?

As we all know the Phils have basically gutted their farm system in recent years. At least the upper levels of it anyway. Though it's early yet, none of the AAA guys has accomplished much. Cardenas, Carasco, Marson, Donald, Taylor. Those guys were pretty close to major league ready and none has had much of an impact on bad teams. I never expected Marson or Donald to much more than back ups but Taylor was the guy I was sorriest to see go. I know he had some injuries but he has to have been a big disappointment to the A's. Next up is Drabek. It's about time that he makes it to the show. I suppose that the Jays will give him that chance this year sometime. I don't know about you but I mostly root for these guys once they leave. Assuming they don't wind up direct rivals that is. Of course I would hate for any of them to wind up the next Ryne Sandberg.

If only one guy pops out of all the "toolsy" outfielders the Phillies have acquired, I think they (and I) would be pretty pleased. They may already be pretty happy since Gose turned into the centerpiece of the Oswalt deal.

BobbyD: It almost makes you wonder as if Amaro was forced to trade Lee as fast as possible and didn't truly shop him around doesn't it?

I raised that question at the time, but was assured that such a scenario was impossible.

clout: Probably a phailed guy but this is a big year for him. He has shown some ability to get hits but he needs to learn how to take a walk.

TTI: This is true. It wouldn't hurt to get his K rate down either. He projects about 100 Ks a year, which is too high for a non-power guy. But you have to like the big jump in AVG. Classic Phillies raw tools guy outfielder.

clout -- It always felt like once Halladay was inked, RAJ was at gunpoint to dump Clifton posthaste... I can just hear Montgomery whining/ yelling about "...elevated fan expectations..." and the horror of being seen as too cheap to negotiate with Lee at year's end.


Definition of BOUNTY
1
: something that is given generously
2
: liberality in giving : generosity


Definition of DRECK
: trash, rubbish

chat about Phillies prospects is going on now over at Baseball America.

Clout: what's really too bad is that we didn't have anyone on the Phillies staff who had ever worked for Seattle and knew their system backwards and forwards. . . (sarcasm)

Spot-on comment from Schmidt is his CSN article last Friday on the Werth deal:

"This is what puzzles me about this contract. Are the Nationals in a position to wager $126 million that he can do it all? In Philly, Jayson had men on base on a regular basis with proven players Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley stirring it up. He could stumble into 75 RBIs just by playing everyday, but he only drove in 85 last season"...

Joe Cowley: You realize that Werth hit .279/.407/.510 with RISP in 2009 and had 99 RBIs despite hitting 6th in the lineup?

Do you think something substantive happened happened between 2009 and 2010 that made Werth suddenly unable to hit with RISP? Or do you think its more likely it was just a fluke?

More important, how do we still have this conversation in 2010? I mean this is just insane.

Jack: We have this conversation because the contract that Werth signed is a measure of how overrated he was overall. The only thing that is making him look so valuable now is that the Phillies front office has done squat to replace him. Despite all his glowing stats, the fact is he hit 30 homers one time (in this park), never drove in 100 despite playing virtually every game for at least 2 seasons, and was the worst in baseball with RISP most of last season. It's the reason his contract has been mocked throughout the league and why he will never live up to it.

BobbyD: It almost makes you wonder as if Amaro was forced to trade Lee as fast as possible and didn't truly shop him around doesn't it?

I raised that question at the time, but was assured that such a scenario was impossible.

Posted by: clout
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Oh, that was you, Clout? You're the ONE who said that? And nobody agreed with you?

Hero complex much? I have a theory that everyone is the hero of his own stories. It's one of the rationalization mechanisms that allow we imperfect beings to live with our shortcomings. Apparently, you have taken this to heart. I clearly remember just about everyone complaining that Lee was dumped for too little return, and likely for economic reasons. But in the retrospectoscope, Clout invented that theory and had to defend it against a horde of ignoramuses.

Nice.

from the BA chat, "One of the more interesting nuggets I came across when talking to Phillies front office folks for the list was that Aumont officially is entering 2011 as a reliever."

I was hoping they would announce Aumont moving to 3rd base. He certainly has got the height.

Cipper: with Savery at 1b?

Savery could probably at least throw to first base. We'd be able to turn the dreaded 3-6-3 double play. Or, hell, just a 3-6 force out at second.

2nd base, sorry for the typo.

Joe Cowley: You apparently missed the point of my post.

What's insane is not debating Werth's value. It's using his one season's RISP average (when it was quite good the year before) and his RBI total as the method for evaluating his value.

Aumont fully being a reliever is the right move. They tried him as a starter (my guess partly just to get him innings with his new mechanics as much as anything), and when it didn't work, they've moved him to the pen.

Most people have given up on him, but as a reliever I think he still stands a chance to do something for the big-league team.

Joe: What do you think Werth will hit with RISP this year?

Shot in the dark for Werth vs. Philly in 2011:

18 GS, .732 AVG/.834 OBP/1.932 OPS, 21 2B, 17 HR, 57 RBI

Vs. everyone else:

144 GS, .242 AVG/.368 OBP/.857 OPS, 14 2B, 15 HRs, 32 RBI

Media types in twitter land saying (again) Phils (maybe) are the (possible) mystery team in on Cliff Lee.

If we signed Lee at this point to some ridiculously large contract, I'd probably break something.

how about using werth's numbers away from CBP:

2010

.999 ops at home
.838 ops on the road

he's not going to hit nearly as well playing half of his games in dc.

Werth has a .970 OPS in 100 PAs at Nationals Park. Its a smaller sample size but he's never had trouble hitting there before.

NEPP: Hopefully, you're referring to your hand b/c of high fiving too many people.

I am going to guess that part of the reason Werth hits well in nationals Park is that the guys throwing to him are wearing Nationals uniforms.

Been reading that, too, EastFallow...

Are there any ESPN Insiders that might copy and paste some of Stark's blog entry? I ain't paying cash money for that crap.

I think Hugh raises a valid point about Werth's success in Nationals Park.

NEPP: yeah, but he got to face the National's pitchers.

The Phils signing Lee now would be pretty hilarious.

Instead of paying him $9 million and trying to win a title with their core players at peak age in 2010, they would've brought him back for presumably $20 million plus a season and with their core players a year older and Werth gone.

That would be an interesting strategy. Some would question whether Amaro had a plan at all or is just completely flying by the seat of his pants.

Dollar bills falling from sky this winter
December, 10, 2010Dec 105:21PM ETEmailPrintComments12STRIKE ONE -- MONEY TALKS DEPT.
As Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford, Troy Tulowitzki and (very soon) Cliff Lee could gladly attest, it's suddenly snowing dollar bills in this sport.

One minute, everybody in baseball was crying poverty. The next, $100 million contracts started falling out of the sky.

Werth

Do we even need to recap? OK … $126 million for Werth … $142 million for Crawford … $139 million for Tulowitzki.

And right over the horizon, there's another nine-figure bonanza waiting for Lee … and another for Adrian Gonzalez … and maybe, if the Cardinals come to their senses, yet another for Albert Pujols.

So that could be six contracts in one offseason worth more than 100 million bucks. Kinda makes you want to take the kids out in the back yard and teach them how to hit a curveball, doesn't it?

This is historic stuff we're talking about, in case you were wondering. And two of ESPN's awesome Stats and Research geniuses, Mark Simon and Katie Sharp, helped me prove it.

When the Lee deal goes down, that will make four $100 million-plus deals in a single offseason -- tied for the second-most in history, Simon reports. The current leaderboard:

• 2000-01 (5): (A-Rod, Manny Ramirez, Mike Hampton, Derek Jeter, Todd Helton)

• 2006-07 (4): (Barry Zito, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, Vernon Wells)

• 2007-08 (3): (A-Rod, Miguel Cabrera, Johan Santana)

But once the inevitable Gonzalez extension gets figured out, that will tie this winter for No. 1 all time. And if the Cardinals get Pujols done, or there's another stunner involving someone like Carlos Gonzalez, there's a great chance this offseason blows away the record for nine-figure contracts.

Down the road, once it's all official, maybe Alan Greenspan or somebody can explain to us beleaguered American taxpayers where all this money came from, when total revenues in the game aren't that different from where they were in previous years. But for now, it's time to work with Little Johnny on his bat speed.

STRIKE TWO -- LAND OF THE FREE DEPT.
All those contract notes above include all players, including extensions for players like Jeter, Wells and Helton who were already under contract to their current teams. So it allowed us to include Tulowitzki's mega-deal and factor that in.

But as you might have noticed, it's been an excellent winter so far to be a free agent, too. So now let's put just this winter's free-agent deals in perspective, thanks to some tremendous research by Sharp.

Lee

We've already seen two players -- Werth and Crawford -- agree to seven-year contracts. If Lee also gets seven years, that will tie the record for most seven-year free-agent deals (or longer) in one offseason. Here's that leaderboard:

• 2000-01 (3): A-Rod (10 years), Hampton (8), Manny (8)

• 2008-09 (2): CC Sabathia (7), Mark Teixeira (8)

• 2006-07 (2): Zito (7), Soriano (8)

• 1998-99 (2): Bernie Williams (7), Kevin Brown (7)

Or if we just want to talk dollar signs, this is only the fourth offseason in which at least two free agents signed $100 million contracts (of any length). Here are the other three:

• 2006-07 (3): Zito $126M, Soriano $136M, Lee $100M

• 2000-01 (3): A-Rod $252M, Manny $160M, Hampton $121M

• 2008-09 (2): Sabathia $161M, Teixeira $180M

But if we look at dollars and length, and Lee gets seven years, this will tie the A-Rod/Manny/Hampton winter of 2000-01 for most free-agent deals meeting both criteria -- seven guaranteed seasons (or more) and at least $100 million in guarantees. Yikes.

Since Gonzalez (trade) and Pujols (extension) aren't free agents, there's no chance of anyone else adding his name to this list (no, not even Alfredo Amezaga). But it's still, obviously, been a great winter to be a difference-making player sitting on those free-agent shelves.

STRIKE THREE -- IN OTHER NEWS
More free-agent fodder …

• Assuming Gonzalez gets his money, the Red Sox will become just the second team in history to give out two $100 million contracts in the same offseason. The other: the 2008-09 Yankees (Sabathia, Teixeira).

Crawford

• Only three players have ever stolen 50 bases in a season for the Red Sox -- Tris Speaker, Tommy Harper and Jacoby Ellsbury (twice). So that means, according to Lee Sinins' fabulous Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, that Crawford has done it more times himself (five) than all Red Sox players in history combined.

• By the way, as recently as 2005, the Red Sox didn't even steal 50 bases as a team all season (45).

• Only six other times in the last half-century have the Red Sox acquired a player who once swiped 50 bases in a season. Here's that list: Rickey Henderson (2002), Willie McGee (1995), Billy Hatcher (1992), Don Baylor (1986), Tommy Harper (1972) and Luis Aparicio (1971).

• According to Baseball-reference.com's fabulous Play Index, Crawford's 62 stolen bases against the Red Sox are the third-most against them in the live-ball era. Only Henderson (87) and Bert Campaneris (63) burgled more than Crawford.

• Meanwhile, Werth had 75 extra-base hits last season. The only players in Nationals/Expos history who have ever had a season with that many extra-base hits: Vladimir Guerrero, Andre Dawson, Andres Galarraga, Alfonso Soriano, Jose Vidro, Adam Dunn and (of course!) Henry Rodriguez.

• Speaking of Dunn, according to the 2011 Bill James Handbook, he has a 43 percent chance of hitting 600 home runs and a 16 percent chance of hitting 700 home runs -- and he's made one All-Star team. Impossible!

• Finally, Carlos Pena batted .196 last year -- and still got a $10 million contract from the Cubs. My buddies at ESPN Stats & Info report -- and this will shock you -- that Pena has just broken the hallowed record for lowest batting average in a season by a player who then went out and got himself signed to a deal worth at least $10M a season. Previous record-holder: Andruw Jones. He got $36.2M for two years from the Dodgers after hitting .222 for the 2007 Braves. Just don't remind Jamie McCourt's psychic.

is that the one you were alluding to?

Joe: What do you think Werth will hit with RISP this year?

What's the difference? Unless he doubles in all his runs with all the All-Stars in that line-up getting on base his RISP numbers may not be much better. And call me crazy but 30-100 used to be the standard for a player having a decent season worthy of a spectacualr contract. Werth's contract has dumbed down that standard.

"Speaking of Dunn, according to the 2011 Bill James Handbook, he has a 43 percent chance of hitting 600 home runs and a 16 percent chance of hitting 700 home runs -- and he's made one All-Star team. Impossible!"

What are the chances of Werth going completely out of his mind and driving in 100 runs? or smacking 30 dingers? Chances of him being picked off of second or first in a testosterone-induced haze at least 4 times per season: 90%

Altherr had one good year. Another tool guy that needs to reach AA and acheive something before I'll believe it. Book's out on James, too.

DeFratus and Schwimer get overlooked because scouting magazines don't like relief pitchers. Good. They're like secret weapons.

Santana had a bad year but is ridiculously young and truly large. Worth watching.

Sounds like they left off Galvis, Garcia and (C.) Hernandez, too. What, they don't like the Phils' middle infielders?

Ya know, Conshy, Jason gets paid by his ads (I believe) for the number of posts, not the size. You coulda gotten him six or seven times the bang outta that thing.

"Werth's contract has dumbed down that standard."

Or, alternatively, perhaps the old standard was a dumb one & baseball people are finally coming to realize it.

And, in re: stolen bases...didn't the Sawx have Billy Hamilton after the Phils had him? I have to check.

Okay. Sorry. That was the Boston Braves.

Joe: So, let me get this straight. Werth will never get 100 RBIs because the Nationals' lineup stinks. Therefore, he's not all that good & the Nationals were stupid to sign him?

BAP: So we should continue to see overrated mediocrity for 30 year and older players being rewarded with ridiculous contracts? Glad that "baseball people" are coming to their senses. Then again these are the same people who put 2 franchises in Florida, built stadiums in Minnesota and Colorado with no dome, let Barry Bonds set the home run record, ended an All Star Game in a tie, allowed a deciding world series game to be played on 2 separate nights, let Mark McGuire back in the game, and let an owner become commissioner and earn nearly $20 million a year for the great job he's doing.

I stand corrected.

I'm pretty confident the Phillies are NOT the mystery team in on Cliff Lee. Chances are pretty good that there is no mystery team at all & that it's just something cooked up by Lee's agent in order to try to drive up the Rangers' offer.

All the talk of the mystery team in the Cliff Lee Sweepstakes has some believing there may not be one, but ESPN.com's Jayson Stark writes Monday that the Philadelphia Phillies could be that secret suitor.

"So there I was," Stark wrote, "running through all the possibilities with one executive -- Angels, Nationals, White Sox, Cardinals, Cubs -- when the Phillies came up." The executive replied to Stark's idea, "to be honest, they're my No. 1 suspect."

Stark makes it clear that the thought has not been confirmed by the Phillies, nor by anyone familiar with the club's thinking, but Lee was open to an extension with the team last winter before being traded to Seattle, and despite having Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt in their rotation, there is always room for a pitcher like Lee.

The Phillies do have contracts falling off the books after 2011, which could aid in their attempts to pay Lee market value, including Raul Ibanez, Oswalt and Jimmy Rollins.

We have to wonder, however, if the Phillies don't look to move some of that payroll sooner than free agency will do the job. Ibanez may be tough to trade, however, since his bat is declining and his defense has been considered below-average for years.

"Joe: So, let me get this straight. Werth will never get 100 RBIs because the Nationals' lineup stinks. Therefore, he's not all that good & the Nationals were stupid to sign him?"

No, Werth never got 100RBI with a team as good as the Phillies, so will have NO shot to drive in 100 with the Nats.

Good point on the Nats hitters.

And that stiff Howard with the bat perpetually on his shoulders will drive in 130 in an off year.

He's no Jayson Werth.

Joe: Werth is not worth that contract, but it's not because of RBIs.

Werth hasn't dumbed down contract values. Teams are a lot smarter about judging players outside of stats like RBIs which don't tell you nearly as much as plenty of other measures.

I really cannot believe we're still having this conversation on an intelligent baseball blog in 2010.

aksmith: English is clearly your second or third language so I'll break it down for you:

When I wrote, "It almost makes you wonder as if Amaro was forced to trade Lee as fast as possible and didn't truly shop him around doesn't it?"

That refers to whether Lee was shopped around, not what the board's opinion ws about the prospects.

And when I said
"I raised that question at the time, but was assured that such a scenario was impossible."

That does not mean everyone else assured this.

You may now resume your childish distortions and ignorant observations.

Jack: What else should we talk about, the Korean peninsula?

It is totally fair and reasonable for teams to consider other factors beyond pure HR-RBI totals with regard to contracts, but does that still justify $126 million to Werth? Or Tulo's contract? or Gonzalez? Or Crawford? None of these players possess these underrated intangibles that people keep bringing up.

Joe: I am NOT questioning your opinion that the Nationals are out of their mind for giving 7 years and $126M to Jayson Werth. I am questioning the incoherent way which you arrived at that opinion: that, no matter what his overall stat line says, he can't be a top player unless he knocks in 100 runs.

And to be honest maybe the conversations wouldn't be so redundant if the Phillies actually gave us something new and exciting to talk about.

@Alex -- Thanks for the short note from Stark.

I found it funny, Stark sitting in his office, with a deadline, when all of sudden he had is epiphany about the Phils being linked to Cliff Lee -- No source, no corroboration, 100% completely made up. That right there friends is journalism at its finest.

Joe: In 2009, he fell 1 RBI short of your magical 100 plateau, despite hitting 36 homeruns, while batting .279 and slugging .510 with RISP. So if he's hitting lots of homers & hitting well with RISP, there can only be one possible explanation for his lack of RBIs: that he isn't getting a huge number of RBI opportunities. That's what happens when nearly 40% of your ABs come out of the 2-hole or the 6th spot, as was the case with Werth in 2009. If a stat is so dependent on what others around the player are doing, how on earth can it be any sort of benchmark as to how good the player is?

Here's another screwy idea for a OF trade:

Mike Cameron.

With Carl Crawford signed for the Red Sox, Cameron is now an expensive 4th outfielder, between Elsbury and Drew and Crawford patrolling the confines of Fenway. He's due 7.25 million for 2011 and is a free agent for 2012.

STATS (AVG/OPB/SLG)
Career stat line
.250/.340/.447

Last 3 years average (2008-2010):
2008-2009 with MIL: .247/.337/.464
2010 with BOS (180PA): .259/.328/.401

Obviously Boston can certainly "eat" his salary this year to ride the bench. And the real question is what could the Phillies offer to get him. Their starting pitching, bullpen, and now their lineup are all very good. Really it would have to be prospects.

So could Mike Cameron fill in as our starting RF? Just thought I'd post and see what you guys think (before posting my own thoughts).

Ibanez may be tough to trade, however, since his bat is declining and his defense has been considered below-average for years.

Not according to his UZR.

Any chance some front office types are big Dave Cameron fans?
For once, FanGraphs [sic] could do something nice for the BL faithful.

Additional comment:

By "their starting pitching, bullpen, and now their lineup are all very good," I mean the Red Sox.

Joe: Wait, what?

What intangibles do Werth, Tulo, Crawford and Gonzalez all lack? I have no clue on Earth what you're talking about here.

And the answer is no, looking at everything outside of RBIs does NOT justify Werth's contract. It's a bad contract. But because of those other things, not because of RBIs.

Brown is going to be a bust. Wish we could trade him now while he's got value.

The mystery team that only offered Lee a four or five year contract must be the Phillies.

Ruben Amaro basically admitted the Lee trade was a bad one when he traded for Oswalt. If he resigns Lee (as long as it's not a 6+ year deal), I will be thrilled.

There are a lot of things to not like about Amaro's personality, but if the Phillies are the "mystery team" and he brings Lee back, I'd give him credit for making the right decision despite it making a previous wrong decision look terrible.

That said, I don't actually think a "mystery team" exists, and I seriously doubt Lee takes something like 5/110 from the Phillies over 7/160 from the Yankees. If he did, I'd be happy.

Joe Cowley: All the mentions of Werth never hitting 100 RBIs, but no mention of him hitting 99 last year?

I like the idea that if he had one more sacrifice fly, he'd be well worth the $126M because he'd be a great player, and great players hit 30/100, but at 36/99, he sucks.

Clout - So, childish and ignorant, am I?

My post did accurately address yours, by QUOTING it. What are you, five years old?

Don't forget that Werth was up with 99 ribbies and men on base before being intentionally walked. HE WAS NEVER GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEEDD!!!1

Lost in Werth's BA struggles with RISP was the fact that he was 3rd in the NL in Sac Flies, which of course drive in a run but don't count towards someone's BA with RISP.

But I know, he's so inherently un-clutch.

My guess is the phillies are the mystery team - any other team would have been dropped now but SI's Heyman tweets the mystery team is one Lee loved playing for - Cleveland and Seattle don't have the cash that leaves the Rangers ((who are not a mystery team) and the Phillies as teams he has played for. My guess is it is a contract that vests and can continue. You look at the rangers or even the yanks and I'm thinking the Phillies look like a team that could look pretty good. My guess is somewhat similar to Halladay's contract.

Rube has been saying moon-shots but low likelihood. That is Greinke, Lee, etc.

Per MLBTradereumors.com

"•There are still rumblings about a third team, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The mystery team's offer appears to be significantly lower than the Yankees' proposal, but it's from a place Lee "loves."

Lee always did like it here and said so when he left. But yet he wouldn't take the same basic deal the Phils offered to Doc. The Phils offer would be significantly lower than the Yanks. I wonder if Lee had a change of heart. That could explain why the Phils might be trying to move Blanton. Did this rumor just pop up out of nowhere? I find that interesting.

On Brown: Yes hew still is taleted and a litle green, but once Raul is gone he will/could be a part of this lineup to be reckoned with.

On Howard: Remember that he played the later part of the season with a bad ankle. With all due respect to Mike Schmidt, who in my opinion is the greatest Phillie of all time, Ryan Howard is the most pure slugger the Phils have had sine Richie Allen. That's part of the reason why he got the contract he got. And remember, Thome got traded to make room for him.

Also remember that most players who are signed to mega-contracts are signed to those deals based on past deeds. We cannot assume that a player will put up numbers equivalent to any past great season in any future one. Any large contract given to any player is a crapshoot. It may take 3 years of a 5-year deal to place a judgement on whether or not a player has lived up to a deal. If Howard hits 180-200 HR's, with 500-700 RBI over the next five years, we can say he's lived up to his deal.

In the cases of Zito, Mike Hampton, Denny Nagle, absolutely not. But in Pujols' case, he will get a contract based on what he's done his entire career. Based on that alone, he deserves it.

If I were Amaro, I wouldn't be off the phone with Tampa/Garza long enough to even discuss Cliff Lee.

3 years of Garza under team control at a reasonable cost? I'd take that over Grenkie's 2 years or paying top dollar for Lee.

I love the irony of Jack scolding a person for using a one year anomaly as a point in their favor, when he was earlier today trying to punch a hold in the Howard defense by pointing to his career low in ISO this season.

For the record, I think it's always silly to use one year as a reason for an argument, but it's sillier for one person to think it's rational when it behooves them and insane when it doesn't.

Truth: You're comparing apples & oranges.

Jack's point was that the entire statistic of batting average with RISP is meaningless and, hence, subject to wild swings from year to year. The same is not true of homeruns or ISO. A significant one-year drop can be either a short-term anomaly or the beginning of a trend, but it is certainly not meaningless. Besides, I believe Jack was focusing on a 5-year downward trend, not just what happened in 2010.

Confirmed: #Phillies involved in pursuit of Lee. http://bit.ly/hJdYim #Rangers #Yankees #MLB

Will~

On Garza: I would explore that too, but I believe the Phils do not match up with mosat teams in a trade because they don't have the prospects, save Brown.

As I mentioned in a post last week, the RAJ must has gotten the approval to spend the money he offered to Werth, and the money could not have just 'disappeared now that they didn't re-sign him. I t could be that they are going after Lee with that money.

Also, think about this. Didn't the Yanks offer 7 years, 140 million minimum? Why wouldn't Lee take that? And the Rangers offer? Why wouldn't he take that? Texas is close to his home in Arkasas.

Maybe Rube is trying to finalize what his entire pitching staff is going to be before he brings in a bat. While I disagree with him not bringing a bat on board at the meetings, I now certainly understand his logic as to why he didn't. Even if he doesn't get Lee, I understand it. Now if he happens to land Lee, because of the starting staff, he could afford to hand the starting RF job to Ben Fran.

BAP: Jack was clearly trying to focus on the steep dropoff to this past season.

And still he was just throwing stats out there and not looking at anything surrounding them. And my last point still stands- points are not good or bad depending on when you need them to support you. I also implicitly agreed with Jack pointing that out about the post regarding Werth's RISP. You ignored that part.

Also you termed it as an anomaly the same way I did. You know sometimes it's good to read someone's post and not just disagree with what they say out of hand.

I have no problem with the All-Star game ending in a tie. This is a very minor comment, I know. But I wouldn't use that as an argument in favor of the stupidity of those in charge of MLB. I'd prefer a tied All-Star game to the 15-inning ASG where Lidge is warmed up 6 times, and where the exhibition game is used to determine home-field advantage for the WS.

Werth's a very good player. Only time will tell whether he can be good for 7 years.

I would be surprised if we re-acquired Lee.

And I'm not convinced our hitting is going to come back as strong as we liked it, although I'm not convinced it won't, either. I can, as usual, envision things going either way.

Truth: I read your whole post. I was simply focused on your attempt to find hypocrisy in Jack's comments. I see neither hypocrisy, nor inconsistency, in pointing out that Werth's 2010 numbers with RISP are far off his career norms, while noting that Howard's 2010 drop in ISO could be a red flag. The point of the first comparison was to show that hitting with RISP is not an individual or repeatable skill; the point of the 2nd was to show that Howard had a fall-off in something that IS an individual and repeatable skill.

i agree patrone....if rube pulls of Cliff Lee, I think it means 3 things:

1.)Ben Fran will be starting in RF
2.)Joe Blanton is gone (prob not much salary relief, but I am sure they will take whatever they can get)
3.)Ruben will be crowned king of the world in a ceremony before opening day 2011

GBreet: On Lee: So would I.

Agreed with Lee as number 1, 2 or 3? and then H2O - we could trade Blanton and go with a RF platoon. The bullpen would be much stronger with the 12-15 minimum complete games these 4 starters give you.

BTW - this is kinda typical phillies - real quiet and then the rumor starts to break. My guess is we know in 24 hours, one way or another.

I keep wondering who Rosenthal's source is for this.

Think about the timing: Lee should have made a decision by now. And there's no way Amaro's offering a 7 or even a 6 year deal for Cliff Lee. If Amaro wanted to do that, he would have signed the guy to an extension last year, not traded him.

This sounds like Lee's agent leaking details of the last team to be involved. Why? To drive up the Yankees' and Rangers' offers, that's why. It's gamesmanship: well there's actually 3 teams involved, not just you two. So now what are you going to offer?

The Phillies realistically have no chance, unless Lee is willing to take significantly less years and money (which doesn't seem to be the case).

BAP: So you won't mind making a friendly wager on Howard's ISO number for next season? I mean because it's clearly impossible for that down number to be tied to anything other than just being an outlier.

Again, my point is that in both instances it's silly to focus on one year. However, it's silly in both cases- not just one because on that issue it behooves you to do that. Jack was using that number to say that Howard has dropped off and implied it was his new ceiling.

I can't envision a scenario where Amaro signs Cliff Lee. I'd love to be wrong on that but I think this smacks of Lee's agent trying to wring a couple more dollars in a deal.

Godfather - I like your logic and agree the leak has to be from Lee's camp but could it be to push the phillies to increase their offer. He has got 7 from the yankees, 6 with a vesting from the Rangers but only 4 years probably vesting for 5 from Phillies. By leaking it - it gets the Cliff Lee hype in Philly going and maybe pushes RAJ to move a little toward Lees camp.

SI_JonHeyman Jon Heyman
hearing #phillies looking for takers for blanton. looks like theyre trying to come up with loot. @ken_rosenthal ID'd them as #mysteryteam

I'm ready to predict Phillies get Lee. It has taken this long for Lee to decide because he is letting Phillies work the numbers

What if it is MLB official that reviews and approves contracts or the players association. If later then the pressure is to move Lee to take highest offer. If the former woo hoo!

JSalisburyCSN Jim Salisbury
Well placed source says Lee deciision is close and Philsi are finalist w Yanks and Rangers.

Truth: My guess is that Howard's power numbers will be back to normal next year. Nonetheless, I don't see anything "silly" about focusing on what a guy did last year -- unless, that is, the whole stat is silly & subject to wild one-year swings in the first place, as with BA with RISP.

In any event, I don't feel like going back to find Jack's original post, but I'm pretty sure he focused on last year only to make the point that it was the lowest year in what has been a 5-year downward trend.

holy crap

I don't disagree with Lee's agent's logic at all. Nor do I think we've got a snowball's chance in you-know-where to sign him.

The Phils never offer more than 3 guaranteed years to a pitcher, not even Doc. I can't see them breaking that for Lee.

But RAJ has been mum on the subject (as he should). Maybe he's got a plan. If he does add a legit starter (not a back-end guy), one could understand the plan. KK could be moved to the 'pen (maybe why they haven't yet re-signed Durbin). There's lot of money comimg off the books in '11 and '12. So who knows?

I've always said that if we hit, we win. Well, last year we didn't hit at the right time and we didn't win. So maybe Rube is trying another tact.

But if Rube doesn't augment the pitching, that brings me back to what to do about the gaping hole as far as a RH thumper. I don't think it'll be Mags. At 37, 2 years 20 million? We have that scenario already with Ibanez.

Dear Mrs. Lee, I know the deciding vote is but a whisper away. Just say the magic words.

haha what the hell man, Phils are really finalist for Lee? This is crazy and not sure how i feel about it right now....but this new world we live in still doesnt seem right even going into the 3rd year after the WFC.

If we get Lee, then you're all right. Howard is overpaid - because we wont need any offense to begin with!

Phillies among three finalists to land Cliff Lee
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Monday, December 13, 2010
Posted: 8:05 p.m.

By Jim Salisbury
CSNPhilly.com

Free-agent pitcher Cliff Lee is close to a decision on selecting a new team and the Phillies are one of three finalists along with the Yankees and the Rangers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Lee pitched for the Phillies during the 2009 season and enjoyed his time with the club. Sources say his positive experience with the Phillies is working strongly in the team’s favor.

Right from the beginning of this offseason the Phillies had monitored Lee’s free agency, hoping that his cost would not be prohibitive. The Phillies’ payroll is already bulging above $150 million for the upcoming season. If Lee signs with the Phils the team may have to look to move some salary.

(More coming...)

BAP: You're memory is correct, but it underlines how worthless Jack's point was: Howard was hurt last season. And Jack's attempt to glean a trend from previous seasons failed miserably since the prior 2 years to him being hurt were identical.

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