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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Comments

Great post. Couldn't agree more, JW.

I thought this was a family blog?

Agreed, seems to me you can pick up a journeyman reliever in the middle of the season. But we need something to fret about.

I keep trying to think about how often we use another lefty set up guy that it's something worth losing sleep over. Romero threw 36.2 innings as our main lefty out of the pen. Bastardo went 18.2 and Zugurski went 7.

My point is, if it becomes a problem (much like if Brown/Francisco does) It will most likely be addressed in a trade. If it was between signing Cliff Lee or Jeff Franceour and Scott Downs, I'd have taken Lee any day of the week as I'm sure we all would. I'll worry about lefty relief when I have to.

When I see KK pitch I think of Chad Durbin... as a starter he won't be lights out for 6 innings, but he has the stuff to get you out of an inning or two, he'd be my 6th and 7th inning guy, Bastardo will be my lefty specialist....

If the team stays as is and rolls with Worley as the 5th starter, Bastardo as the bullpen lefty, and Brown as the right-fielder, those are risks they can take, yes.

I find it amazing how many people are terrified to play youngsters like Bastardo and Brown, but are totally confident in 35+ players like Polanco and Ibanez. There's just as good a chance that those guys are drains on the team relative to their positions as the young guys.

can you imagine JW's life if we didn't love to bitch at each other? Sure wouldn't be a full time blogger - or at least a successfull one.

I guess that was a way of saying I wholeheartedly agree with this post.

The issues that remain on the team are largely unable to be addressed with more moves. Other than luck, the key issue is simply whether the aging offensive core can reverse last year's injury/performance decline. That's really the only issue that matters at this point. If they can, this team is poised to win close to 100 games and should be the WS favorite. If the injuries and offensive performance decline continue, then the team won't live up to the incredibly high expectations people have placed on them (though will still be quite a good team).

"I thought this was a family blog?"

Stop being a whiney little bitch.

The 2011 draft is supposed to be deep in catchers, one of our areas of need. Just as we did a few years back, I'd like to see the Phils spend a few of its early draft picks on catching. I also wouldn't mind seeing the Phils trade Blanton (along with a mid-level prospect or two) for someone like d'Arnaud or the Yanks' Romine. Romine looks at least good enough to fill the backup catcher role by 2013.

You'll never pry d'Arnaud from the Jays for Blanton(+). Romine could be interesting.

Jack, you couldn't be more right. 100% agreed. There is as much variability with the 35+ as there is with the 24+ 2nd years

JW, Amen! Happy Holidays Everybody.

Jack: You continually distort what others say here, which makes me think you feel your argument is weak.

No one is saying that players like Bastardo and Brown shouldn't be given a chance. What we are saying is that it is better to have a backup in place in case they need more development time.

I understand that you think there is no chance that Brown isn't ready right now and that Bastardo will be one of the great bullpen stars for the next decade. You've been saying that for 3 years now. Maybe eventually you'll be right.

But the fact is, on the off chance that you and phaithful and the other geniuses are wrong, you need a Plan B. And acting as those it's real easy to pick up a key part in mid-season is not a realistic Plan B.

Not to mention, the team needs TWO leftys in the pen, not one.

Jesus Sanchez signs with the Brewers.

And I must say it is still amusing to see Jack taking shots at Polanco. He bashed Polanco from the first mention of his name, saying he wouldn't make the transition to 3B, career winding down, couldn't hit .300 etc. etc.

At least he's consistent: Howard, Kendrick and Polly can do nothing right, Bastardo and Feliz can do nothing wrong.

Bret Favre contacted Rube last night. He told Junior that football is getting a bit rough, but he thinks that he could compete for the fifth starter position because 60 feet is not too far to throw and he's still accurate at that distance with a bit of zip on the ball. He knows that Cholly likes veteran players and that he can fit in nicely at Philly. He feels that he can't be any worse than KK!!

Jesus! Sanchez?

I would cease being a phan if they ever signed that narcissistic jackass Brett Favre*.


*I know you're joking. I'm not.

I love the rotation, but the offense makes me nervous with all of its question marks. For instance, Werth's .921 OPS is going to be hard to replace with any combination of Brown, Francisco, and Gload; especially when you consider that Werth was the only source of right handed power. Other teams will be quick to exploit the lineup's left handedness, particularly in the playoffs. Am I the only one who's worried about this?

"I find it amazing how many people are terrified to play youngsters like Bastardo and Brown, but are totally confident in 35+ players like Polanco and Ibanez. There's just as good a chance that those guys are drains on the team relative to their positions as the young guys."

This I disagree with Jack. Polanco and Ibanez have had long succesful major league careers. They are proven major leaguers albeit aging ones. Brown and Bastardo (both of whom I am high on and can't wait to see them get their shots) have proven almost nothing at the major league level. You do NOT know that they can compete at the major league level. I guess you could say that they are less likely to get injured due to their youth, but that's about it. It is time for them to get their chances but who knows how they will do. The older guys are at least somewhat projectable.

How has Savery progressed in tems of hitting/fielding

Is he our new hidden gem for the OF?

Yeah the Phils are going to be the odds on favorite to get to the WS out of the NL although the Red Sox might be slightly larger favorites in the preseason to win the WS.

Amaro clearly saw that his team with losing Werth and a few veteran relievers was going to likely be a slightly weaker version than the team that finished the year. So, he followed his 'go big, go home' managerial strategy by signing Lee.

One area that I would have liked to see Amaro address this offseason was getting a legit middle utility INF. I guess Valdez will be brought back but I have little faith that Polanco, JRoll, and Utley will be able to all play 150+ games next year. If they do, this team likely wins pushes 95 or even exceeds it. No internal solutions here and the asking price at the deadline will be high if teams know the Phils need to address this spot.

As for the veteran lefty reliever, yeah it is a 'nice to have' but not an essential. Still, Amaro obviously thought it was a high-enough priority since he signed Reyes. The guy they should have signed was Choate but I still bet they bring in another veteran lefty reliever as their main move this offseason.

They also still Blanton dangling out there. Curious to see if they can actually get anything return for him to help the MLB team. Hope that they simply don't dump in a straight salary move especially if have to move money that prevents them from taking on any real additional payroll later this year.

Blanton as your 5th starter makes this team stronger for several reasons especially since you can move KK to the pen as your long-man, let Worley start the season at AAA to get stretched out as a starter, leave the likes of Herndon/Bonine at AAA to start the year, and the obvious one of not having two weaker starters in the rotation if one of the Big 4 goes down for a prolonged stretch.

clout: Making a prediction that something will happen doesnt mean "i dont have a plan B".

i.e. i've called for a RH platoon guy to help Brown and a vet loogy behind Bastardo every step of the way.

clout's plan A: If someone is good, then start them.

clout's plan B: If someone else is better, start them.

And you call Jack and I genius? Thats a stroke of brilliance by you.

When I was looking up Valle's numbers in his winter league I looked at the pitching stats as well.

Travis Blackley leading the league with a 2.01 ERA over +60IP.

I do wonder if the Phils now are going to be able to get a cheap veteran or two that might be willing to take something close to veteran league minimum in order to play with the Phils.

clout's final evaluation of the Monasterios deal, above, is hilarious. Excellent use of puntuation.

I'd still like a second lefty out there. Remember when you look at bullpen guys, appearances may be more important in terms of how often they are needed than innings.

Clout: FWIW, I completely agree on the second lefty. I've said consistently that while I'm high on Bastardo, even if he's great you still want a second lefty. So we're on the same page there.

About the Brown thing, I'm not sure what else there is to say. You want a "backup", but any backup you come up with is a guy who's likely to want to start somewhere. I'd rather start with Brown. If he's bad, then you have a capable "backup" plan in Ben Francisco, who is of the same quality of all the guys you keep throwing out there.

And about Polanco--a) he was great defensively, answering any questions I had about his capability to play there after a few years off. Any skepticism about it was clearly proven wrong, and I fully admit that; b)he didn't hit .300; And c) he's been a below-average hitter for the last 2 seasons (90 OPS+, 95 OPS+) and is turning 35.

I don't know what Polanco will do this season. I was just saying that it's odd how much concern there is about the risk of playing our young players, while there's no concern about the risk factor in our 35-year old 3rd baseman and 39-year old LF.

Andy: Good Point. Why would I not be suprised if Romero had more Appearences than IP last year?

And even further, how many appearences ended up being 0IP?

What I read from the Romero comments is that he won't take a minor league deal with some guaranteed MLB salary guarantee if he makes the MLB roster at some point during the season.

He is a guy worth spending a guaranteed $1M or so on though next year? Probably not.

Given that Counsell somehow just got a $1.4M deal from the Brewers, I would imagine that Valdez is going to have a slightly more expensive price tag than the Phils are prepared to spend.

Wonder if they are going to go veteran retread and try to sign Lugo or if they would have any interest in trading for a guy who has is no longer considered a prospect (Joaquin Arias who was just designated for assignment by the Royals)?

Re: Valez. Isn't that why they got Martinez in Rule 5?

The entire Lehigh Valley bullpen(+DeFratus) deserves a shot in the show. They're cheap, have high upside and the book isn't out on them yet. Bastardo, and yes, Zagurski can help from the left side, and another veteran LOOGY can come off the scrap heap.

In a perfect world, a recent college pick with wicked stuff like Bryan Morgado could fly through the minors and help the big club in a hurry, and that must've been the idea(+cheap sign) behind rolling the dice on him in the 4th round. With so many open spots in the bullpen, basically every minor league reliever with an impressive K/BB ratio can potentially help the big club in 2011. While plenty of right-handers fit that description, the lefties can be counted on one hand, which is why left-handed pitching depth was an organizational focus in the 2010 draft.

Jack: I'm basically on your side when it comes to the youth v. veterans dilemma. But I think you oversell the point when you say that a 37-year old player who has a long track record of excellence is "just as" likely to be a drain on the team as a totally unproven young guy with good minor league numbers.

Aging players have plenty of risks, including injuries & diminishing performance. But, at the same time, performance tends to diminish gradually & some players can remain very good to a very old age. So if a guy was good last year, there's a better than 50-50 chance that he'll be good next year too -- no matter how old he is. On the other hand, there are tons of guys who are good in the minors & can't hit major league pitching -- particularly in their first year or two.

Domonic Brown certainly COULD be very good this year, but the odds that he'll be very bad are considerably higher than the odds that Ibanez will be very bad.

BB - Good point. Forget all about him.

Baxter - Yeah and you would lose some games unnecessarily. Zagurski isn't a MLB-caliber pitcher. Neither is Mathieson unless he learns that splitter. On a team like the Pirates which is desperately for pitching, you might give these guys a real look for a spot in the pen out of spring training. Not a team that trying to win a WS.

How can you forget about a guy the Nats didn't think highly enough to put on their roster?!

bap: I should clarify what I meant. I meant relative to skill, position and importance. Obviously, Raul Ibanez will likely be a better contributor to the team than Bastardo, no matter how much he declines or how great Bastardo is, just because even a declining Ibanez is more valuable as an everyday LF than a lefty reliever who will pitch 40 innings.

I didn't mean that Polanco or Ibanez would be "worse" than Brown. I meant that there seems to me to be a risk of decline in those guys as much as (or at least comparable to) there is risk that Brown can't play adequately, and that isn't really being accounted for here. Those guys may still be better overall, but you might see a significant loss in production as compared to last year from them. That's all I'm trying to point out.

I think there's legitimate concern about the young guys, but personally I have concern about the old guys as well.

Clout~ You're right. They need a plan "B". I've been a advocate of Keeping Blanton as the #5 and moving KK to the 'pen. There would be no need to bring back Durbin in that case. Blanton and KK could start in the rotation suffers an injury.

There is no sense in moving Blanton if we have to pay half his remaining salary and get nothing back. If you can get a decent RH bat for him, then move him.

We still need bench help (RH bat etc.) no matter who's in RF. I have no idea on who'll they'll bring in for the 'pen except that it won't be Fuentes.

BB~ You're also correct. If Martinez were any good the Nats would have protected him. He won't stick here and will be offered back, thus he was a wasted pick in the R-5 draft.

Yes, Amaro made one hige monumental splash this off-season, but there's still work to be done.

I wonder if Kendrick will gain weight now that he's married and probably back from the honeymoon? He may come to ST looking like Blanton with a 93.7 mph cutting fastball.

Jason, I forgot to write "great thread header". I wholeheartedly agree with you. I vote for, the "when in doubt, fill the position with a young guy" way of thinking for these bench and bullpen open positions.

FWIW: Seth Everett on 610 says the Yankees are seriously interested in Blanton.

As much as I would prefer to keep Blanton, if he has to go somewhere there would be something poetically amazing about sending him to NYY. Especially if the Phils can get them to overspend for him in desperation.

And another FWIW, Buzz Biss and Glen Mac, kept saying "good, dump him", or something along those lines. I don't know if I understand the "dump blanton" chorus. I'm assuming they'll have to eat some of his salary, but I'd want something for him, even if it's a couple 2nd tier prospects, reliever type. There's no reason to just throw him away.

They also said someone else is interested in Blanton, but I couldn't hear who they said.

polanco was seriously effected by that elbow injury that he had surgery on. that took away any power he had and he became a singles hitter. and that injury was fluky because hudson hit him on the elbow. i expect he'll be ok this year

I don't get the dump Blanton sentiment either. If we have to eat a substantial amount of his salary (like half) I'd just as soon keep him. Best 5th starter ever. If we would get real salary relief or something of value in return I could see moving him.

You're also forgetting that the older guys are considerably more likely to get hurt than a younger one, contributing to a lower WAR.

The Valdez thing is something that hasn't gotten any attention, but is worth a discussion.

Given how good a fielder he was at SS last season and the fact that he was at least passable on offense vs. RHP, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him get an offer that the Phillies won't match.

From everything I've read Martinez's glove is average at best. On offense, his career minor league OPS of .683 speaks for itself.

So, the question is, if Valdez signs elsewhere, who is the Phillies' utilty guy?

st: Ok. If Polanco's injury explains his year last year, what explains the year before that, when he was even worse?

Clout: I agree. Interested to see who gets the utility IF job. Posters say this every year and I usually dismiss it, but the bench is actually more important than normal this year.

With big questions in the OF and injuries as big (or bigger) a concern than ever at 3B, SS and 2B, the allocation of the final few resources w/ regards to the bench is going to be really interesting.

The Phils are in perfect position with Blanton. There's no reason to "dump him" since he'd be the best 5th starter in baseball and every team needs a 5th starter.

However, there are great reasons to trade him. The Phils do not operate on an unlimited budget and he's making a solid salary the next couple seasons. Plus, there will be a need for pitchers like Blanton and where there is a need, the Phils should be able to get something in return.

I'm not saying Blanton gets flipped for a top prospect, but there are certainly mid-level prospects that would be worth getting back.

And the idea at the start that the Phils would be forced to eat salary when trading Blanton? As laughable today as it was then. They'll only eat salary if it means getting a better prospect.

Valdez isn't a free agent. He's not even arbitration eligible.

i don't know. all i know is he was trending towards a very good year and then gets hit in the elbow and it never recovers. that's all

Utility IF, RH OF bat, LH specialist

Those are the three question marks moving forward, in my opinion. But Jason is right in the larger point that these are small considerations thanks to the huge Cliff Lee signing.

I think the Phils bring back Valdez relatively cheaply. I think some overestimate his value league-wide.

I think the Phils start the season with Bastardo as the only lefty in the bullpen.

I think the Phils work to find a cheap RH OF bat to bring into camp. But I think that answer is found in July.

What about that Robertson guy?

Meh, whatever.

Jack doing his classic hedging-job with Polanco, not taking a position either way so he can say "I never said he'd do poorly" if he ends up being productive this year, and so he can do his "I told you so" dance if he has a down season.

Iceman: Do you ever post except in response to me? It's kind of weird.

And I'm not hedging on Polanco just to hedge. I'm hedging because I'm apparently the only one willing to acknowledge on here that a 35-year old without power coming off an injury-riddled season represents a risk of lesser production.

And before Clout says anything, yes, Polanco is far, far better than Pedro Feliz, or frankly any other 3rd baseman we've had since Rolen. But he's not some demi-god. He's an average hitter who doesn't walk and has no power, and is 35. This idea that he's a perfect 2-hitter ignores that he's likely to post only an average OBP, like he has the last two seasons.

Jack: Anyone who says he's a "perfect" 2-hole hitter is either lying, wrong or exaggerating. I'd prefer him lower in the lineup, but with the lineup the Phils are likely to put out this year, he'll probably fall back into the 2-hole. He's certainly not the worst 2-hole hitter based on his ability to make contact, but I'd sure like to see him walk more.

Of course, who's going to be our leadoff hitter? Will J-Roll re-establish himself? I'd guess yes... meaning we have a less-than-perfect lead-off hitter as well. Not having Werth likely necessitates all of this (Vic and Brown will be lower).

The Phils should get rid of Blanton for an outfielder or lefty reliever along with prospect. Then take on a flyer incentive laden contract with Brandon Webb as a 5th starter. The Phils are probably the only team that can bring him on slowly in 5th starter role. If he returns to anything close to his former self then the return of investment would be astronomical.

T-dub: Brandon Webb will get more money from someone than the Phils will offer. In fact, the Phils won't even look that direction. If Blanton is dealt, they have at least 2 cheap alternatives for 5th starter in house.

Valdez was so valuable that he passed through waivers last year and no one even sniffed at him.

And, as JW says, he's under team control and will be renewed automatically.

Webb was supposedly topping out at 81 in the instructional league this fall and basically hasn't pitched it two years...there's a reason nobody wants to take a shot on him despite the fact that he was the best pitcher in the NL just a couple years ago. His shoulder is SHOT.

I'd be concerned about trading for a reliever mid-season versus signing one now. The prices (in players) get steep for decent bullpen lefties in July.

They shouldn't rush to trade Blanton. With two years on his contract he isn't making far and away what he would sign for on the open market and there are a lot of teams left who need starting pitching. This isn't Jon Lieber we are talking about. Remember the last time the Phillies had six starting pitchers this time of year? Freddy Garcia, Jon Lieber, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels and Adam Eaton.

Boy how times have changed.

re: Valdez

Im confused - he's under team control by the Phillies correct?

Or is his minor league service time somehow make him a free agent? I never heard of that being true, but think I've seen posters reference something along those lines.

"Iceman: Do you ever post except in response to me? It's kind of weird."

Funny you should say that because I thought he only posted in response to me.

CJ: I think you're conflating the issues of baseball & economics when you suggest that there's no urgency to trade Blanton.

From a baseball standpoint, there is absolutely no urgency to trade Blanton unless they can a return that is of sufficient value to offset the drop-off from Blanton to KK. But, since the motive for trading Blanton has nothing to do with baseball, & everything to do with going over budget to sign Cliff Lee, I strongly suspect that Amaro & ownership DO see an urgency to trading Blanton even if the return is less than stellar.

Starting the season with Blanton as their 5th starter would be great from a baseball standpoint, but it would leave ownership pretty unhappy about the overall payroll. Of course, Amaro would be a fool if he were to publicly acknowledge the urgency to trade Blanton. So the public line, of course, is that they would be happy to start the season with him as their 5th starter. But I seriously doubt that these are the actual marching orders which ownership is giving to Amaro.

They don't have to pay Blanton until opening day, right? or is it when pitchers report?

bap: There are absolute financial considerations... but none kick in until Opening Day... so it's hard to argue there's any urgency when financial considerations are 4 months away.

I think that Ryan Howard has not lived up to expectations. Yes, he may have good numbers, but when it really counts, he just does not produce!

Maybe he has gotten lazy since he won the big contract?

Don't feed the trolls.

BB...players, unless they negotiate it in, do not get paid until Opening Day.

A few players, like Sabathia I believe, negotiated it in where they get paid every other week all year long (standard 26 paychecks a year that most corporations use)

Financial considerations will change between now and opening day, based on the needs the club still has. I believe that players are paid a "per diem" rate in ST. Maybe some players with larger contracts get paid year-round, I don't know.

The urgency right now, IMO, is not to trade Blanton, but the other needs, as we all know. Who knows waht's going to shake out or what RAJ has up his sleeve. I feel confident the the needs will be addressed. he knows what he nneds to do. It's just a question of when and whom.

CJ: Agreed about that. There is no urgency to trade him immediately and it certainly behooves Amaro to string things out for awhile & let other teams become more & more desperate for starting pitcing. If he strings it out too long, though, then time will cease to be on his side since the organization very definitely feels an urgency to trade him before they have to start paying his 2011 salary.

No more Jesus Sanchez? I suppose we should rule the Abreu/Lidle fire sale a failure.

Yeah, you could say that trade was basically the equivalent of a plane crash.

The Abreu trade lead to a WFC. I can't see how it's a failure!

Oh dear.

Bed Beard: I hope you recognized my sarcasm... ;-) Anything to boost JW's traffic!

Oye. It begins.

bap: Yes, I agree... there's a line there that will become finer the closer we get to Opening Day. But it sure beats a panic deal the day we traded for Roy Halladay!

How much money would it take to woo Billy Wagner from retirement? What did he rip - a groin?

Meyer: The Phils will be trading for Bobby Abreu before they'll sign Billy Wagner!!

that was below the belt, NEPP. haha

No way in hell Wags comes back. The hatred between both parties is mutual.

David Bell would be a decent bat/glvoe off the bench, if we could get him for the right price.

I figure Phillies will sign some lefty reliever before the season. I think they need a right handed hitting Dobbs-clone. A decent bench 3B/OF would give Polanco and Utley some rest. I'd be willing to give Mayberry a shot as the 5th OF if Brown stays in the minors.

Josh Fields would have been a good target. He was a top prospect that finally ran out of options and was signed to a minor league deal by the Pirates. He has some power and is still relatively young. With Alvarez at 3B I doubt Fields has a chance at a starting gig there. He would have a shot at a roster spot with Phils.

A right handed Dobbs-clone? You mean Erik Bruntlett?

I have a question...when the Phils signed Cliff Lee, did they lose their own 1st round pick or the pick they got from the Nats for Werth? I'm thinking it's the former but I'm not sure.

Wow, this is what I've been saying for months. Just the addition of Oswalt for a full season made this true; Lee only amplifies it: time to see if the youngsters can step up.

Also, something to consider. The the starting staff we have, Charlie could opt to come north with 6 relief pitchers and 6 bench players i/o 7 & 5. This would give him a lot more possibilities with platooning and pinch hitting which otherwise could limit him.

It wouldn't surprise me if, unless he tears it up in ST, Dom starts the year in AAA. This would give him plenty of AB's every day and keep his clock from starting. Not predicting it...just won't be surprised.

A-Train: They lose their own 1st rd pick. 33 pick overall. They gained the Nats 2nd round pick+a Comp pick.

"the bench is actually more important than normal this year."

Jack, not to bust your chops(OK, maybe just a little) but I didn't know you were clairevoyant(sp?).

How do you know that "the bench is actually more important than normal this year."?

Can you see into the future.

I could just as easily take the position that the bench will be less important, given the top four starters on the team. IF they all go 200+ IP (and they could go 900 IP if they all stay healthy) it's possible the bench will be less consewuantial than in 2010.

err "consequential".

With Lee back,I nominate B____ A____ as the new "he who shall not be named,debated,alluded to,hinted at,talked about,or discussed."
Unless,of course,we are talking about his innate ability to avoid walls and fences.

Brady Anderson?

Hardcore Fans Only -->http://goo.gl/xQGXR

awh: Who is our starting RF? Is he an everyday player? How about our starting LF--was he platooned last year and should he be this year?

Those questions are why the bench is more important. From mid-2008 (when Werth established himself) through mid-2010 (when it Ibanez began being platooned), the everyday 8 wrote itself in to the lineup when they were healthy. That is no longer the case.

awh: The rotation is CAPABLE of pitching 100 CG,but if the team is not scoring,they will be pinch-hit for in the late innings.

Meyer --

Wagner left the ’10 first round NL Playoffs against the Giants with an oblique strain. Unless he's Farve-like crazy, I'm pretty sure the 40 YO fireballing reliever is probably going to hang it up. Wagner announced his retirement several times before season's end.

On the other hand, what a LOOGY…

I just didn't hear his name at all with all this Long-of-Tooth Loogy banter and threw it out during crazy talk hour.

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