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Wednesday, December 15, 2010


****First, in reference to the line about zombies eating appendages, it should be stated that necks and torsos are a zombie's meal of choice.****

Its this type of quality verbiage that makes Beerleaguer my first stop in the morning for Phillies news.

You know, I was almost looking forward to a quiet off-season to recharge. Now, for about the 5th winter in a row, it's just a feverish daze until April

Recliner GM said it best yesterday. They both took under market deals to pitch in Philadelphia. Therefore, they both deserve lifetime free passes in this town.

No question, JW.

Halladay is still the best pitcher on the staff.

I am, however, looking forward to the friendly competition between the four of them.

Oswalt and Hamels are not the types of personalites who like being overlooked, and Halladay and Lee stand to get most of the attention going into the season.

IMHO, I can see Roy and Cole working their asses off and actually having better seasons than Doc and Cliff.

They have the talent. Should be fun.

Clifton and Doc drink for free for the rest of their lives in Philly.

Oh, and one more thing:

When you went to a Phillies game in 2009 and 2010, before the trade deadline, depending on how the rotation was set you had a pretty fair chance of seeing one of these guys pitch:

2008: Blanton, Moyer, Kendrick, Eaton, Myers

2009: Blanton, Moyer, Myers, Kendrick

Ass-u-ming they all stay healthy, you have an 80% chance of seeing a #1 pitcher take the hill when you go to the ballpark.

Pretty awesome.

While I hate making predictions, I will predict that darn near every home game is sold out - before the season even starts.

Oops, screwed the dates up. Should be 2008 and 2009.

Not surprising news on Blanton:

"Multiple GMs confirmed to Olney that the Phillies will have to eat some of Joe Blanton’s salary if they decide to move him. The right-hander will earn $17MM over the course of the next two seasons."

Buster-thanks for "reporting" stuff everyone already knew.

They pay reporters to come up with that stuff? #whytwittersucks.

Ironically, as a consistant "2 Win" pitcher, Blanton's supposed market value is $8-10 million per year. Considering his current salary is just $8.5 million, you'd think there'd be someone out there that would assume a good bit of that in exchange for not having to give up prospects. The free agent pitcher market is pretty thin at this point.

BTW: couldn't find a better Halladay picture?

Hilariuos Halladay picture.

While Doc is the best pitcher on the staff, who has the best pitch on the staff?


Cole Hamels' changeup
Roy Halladay's Cutter
Cliff Lee's Cutter
Oswalt's tailing fastball
Ryan Madson's changeup
Brad Lidge's slider
Dark Horse: Jose Contreras' splitter

I'd go with Madson's changeup. A sometimes 14 MPH difference is just lethal, especially when the bottom just drops out.

But that's just opinion. Thoughts?

I agree with Paul Hagen. Sure the payroll is an issue but why does it make any sense to 'eat' Blanton's salary when he can be used as a 5th starter and kendrick and worley can fill middle relief roles? Am I being too naive? I just don't understand how a team could force the Phillies to take on Blanton's salary for him to not pitch for them when he could be used.

A good correction/footnote, Jason. Can you imagine what it would be like to be another Phillies pitcher and be able to soak in the talent, knowledge and committment of these four guys? Will Moyer be on the bench as well for even more tribal knowledge and perspective? If some of that didn't rub off on you, there would be little hope.

I think Madson's changeup beats out Hamels changeup at this point...just based on how effective he is with locating it down in the zone and using his fastball to set it up.

Oswalt's curveball is also vicious.

I'm not sure why Blanton wouldn't be wanted by teams out there considering a guy like Pavano...He's signed for less money and years than Pavano will want, he's 5 years younger, and almost the same pitcher.

Blanton (for his career): 99 ERA+, 1.34 WHIP, 5.8 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9

Pavano (for his career): 98 ERA+, 1.33 WHIP, 5.7 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9

Why would someone want to sign Pavano for 3 years and 30 mil (his supposed asking price) when they could have Blanton for 2/17?

The euphoria of the Phils signing Cliff Lee is unbelievable. All day yesterday, I was explaining to all my non-baseball fan friends how happy I was. I went into long detailed descriptions of how long I have been a Phillies fan and how long I suffered with really poorly performing teams. Then, I describe the drama of the Cliff Lee journey to Philly, Seattle, Texas and back to Philly via the the NY Yankees flight path. It is so wonderful!

In experiencing this great joy, I now realize how much Cliff Lee was loved in Philly and how disappointed we were when Rube traded him away. In a perverted way, Rube's trade gave Cliff a way to compare teams: Seattle (and unintendedly Dallas) vs. Philly. Cliff knew that pitching for Philly would be special, again. He also realized that with Roy, Roy and Cole, the pressure will be a lot less. A relaxed Cliff Lee can flourish in the Philly environment.

We have talked for years on BL about the great clubhouse attitude and atmosphere in Philly. Cliff Lee remarked about it back then in 2009 and, again, now. Pedro remarked about it. I think a lot of the credit for this goes to Uncle Cholly. Old Foghorn rules a happy henhouse.

NEPP, it's because the Fa market for pitching is thin that, IMHO, the Phillies should wait to move Blanton.

There's no hurry. I don't care if they wait until ST to see what shakes out. The pressure on the other contenders will only increase as time marches on.

The Yankees have already indicated that they won't be trading for Greinke. They don't think he can handle NY. Pavano? Cashman didn't rule it out, but he represents a bit of a PR problem given his history there.

There are also a lot of other teams that could use a pitcher like Blanton. 2010 was the first time in his career he spent any time on the DL - and it wasn't an arm problem. Before that, he was a virtual lock to give you 190+ IP with a league average ERA. That's still an extremely valuable piece for any rotation as it adds stability.

Other teams seem to be saying that the Phils would have to eat some of Blanton's salary to trade him because the Phillies will be "desperate", or at least highly motivated to move the salary. I'm not so sure. If Phil Hughes or Sabbathia got hurt in ST, do you think the Yankees would worry about the $17 MM owed to Blanton the next 2 years? How about if Weaver got hurt in LAA? Would Moreno worry about the dough? I don't think so.

Be patient Ruben, be patient.

quincy.mcneal: Here is what Lee's agent said at the time of the trade to Seattle (vuia Zolecki):

Braunecker said he had talks with the Phillies last week at the Winter Meetings about a contract extension.

"It's been very preliminary dialogue," Braunecker said. "I wouldn't characterize our discussions at this point as negotiations. But I think it's inaccurate to say whatever dialogue we've had to this point as being anything other than positive and constructive."

That would seem to contradict the notion of a formal offer being exchanged and negotiations breaking down because Lee's demands were too high, no?

Sounds like a good poll question.

That Halladay picture is celebration post perfect game. That picture is awesome, as far as I'm concerned.

Also, unless someone takes on the vast majority of Blanton's contract, or they give a fairly good player in return to the Phillies, he'll be the 5th starter next year, and damn, to have Blanton as your 5th starter...well I'm not sure how we won't win 100 games.

****First, in reference to the line about zombies eating appendages, it should be stated that necks and torsos are a zombie's meal of choice.****

I know this is true. I saw this happen recently on The Walking Dead. One of the reasons I come to this board is its accuracy.

Fatalotti, according to Fangraphs, Ryan Madson's changeup generates the highest percentage of "swings-and-misses" of any pitch in MLB.

I'd go with Madson's change #1 and Lidge's 2008 slider #2.

I just remember MVPTommyD or someone of his ilk linking to that picture and commenting on how "gay" he looks. Just didn't think it goes well with a piece praising Halladay. Moving on...

****NEPP, it's because the Fa market for pitching is thin that, IMHO, the Phillies should wait to move Blanton.****

I agree...hell, I'd even consider waiting till Apr/May to move him if possible. Wait till some guys breakdown and teams get desperate. His salary is only $1.4 M a month...small price to pay really. And we dont start paying him till Mar 30th (or whenever Opening Day is this year)

****That would seem to contradict the notion of a formal offer being exchanged and negotiations breaking down because Lee's demands were too high, no?****

I still think Lee's agent flubbed the whole thing by giving Rube a bad vibe on what it would take to lock him up. We know now that Lee really likes Philly and wanted to stay. I think his agent pushed too hard in that preliminary discussion and Rube basically panicked pushing through the Doc trade (which has all worked out in the end anyway).

I wonder who's pitch generates the highest number of "outs" as opposed to "swings-and-misses"?

I have a difficult time figuring out trades or trade values anymore. Blanton is a good pitcher; he's only 30; and he's not over-paid. If you trade Blanton, you should be able to get something for him without eating any salary. If the Phils do eat salary, they should get something good in return.

I would like the Phils to trade Blanton to the Yankees for August Romine, a Yanks' top 10 prospect who is their third highest rated catching prospect. What would it take to get this done?

****I'd go with Madson's change #1 and Lidge's 2008 slider #2.****

What are two pitches that are completely unhittable?

Thanks awh, I guess it makes sense that relievers have the best single pitchers, while starters are the best at using multiple pitches to give many innings of work.

I think the "eating salary" comment included the caveat, if they want anything of value back. If he's a salary dump, then teams will take him, no probs. If the Phillies are asking for a RH bat that would crack our lineup or an upper level prospect, they'd probably have to kick in some dollar bills. Blanton for someone like Cameron or Quentin makes sense (for us, maybe not the sox of multi-colors). Blanton for Lorenzo Cain? probably not going to happen.

One reason teams might sign Pavano instead of trading for Blanton is it would only cost money and no prospects. They may also believe that Pavano is a better pitcher, or is more likely to pitch better over the next couple years.

Another point that should be made here... the Phillies aren't going to give Blanton away for literally nothing. Scenario one is to trade him for some valuable piece (maybe a B prospect) and pay most or all of his salary. Scenario two is they trade him for a non-prospect and pay only a portion of the salary.

Since they'd only trade him for salary relief, scenario two is much more likely. But let's not pretend that we're going to pay 16 of the 17 million for Blanton to play for someone else and get no value in return. If that somehow happened, it would be even worse than the Abreu/Lidle trade because at least the Yankees took on that salary.

Different type of pitches. I'd go with Halladay's cutter myself.

Chris: "Why would someone want to sign Pavano for 3 years and 30 mil (his supposed asking price) when they could have Blanton for 2/17?"

I don't think Pavano will get 3/30. But I can see why some teams might choose him over Blanton.

1. Because Pavano had a better year.

2. Because you won't have to give up any players to get him.

The Phils pitching staff could easily be the staff for the All Star game.

I have confidence that Ruben will handle the Blanton situation in such a way that will make the Phillies a stronger team going into 2011. And according to Bill Baer at, Cliff Lee was worth more WAR than Jayson Werth last year, so the direct swap between Werth and Lee actually makes us a better team that last year (since Dennys Reyes and JC Romero are the same player, haha)...

most seem to think that Pavano is headed back to Minnesota though, so once that happens. . .

If the Phils really just want to clear all his salary off the books and aren't worried about getting value back, why wouldn't some team take him for a PTBNL? Almost everything I've read says the Phils will HAVE to eat some of his salary to move him, and that's what I'm confused by. If they just want to dump his contract, there should be several teams interested.

"Why would someone want to sign Pavano for 3 years and 30 mil (his supposed asking price) when they could have Blanton for 2/17?"

Chris, the only reason is that they wouldn't want to give up prospects - or at least decent prospects.

As I noted, a pitcher like Blanton is valuable. If he wasn't, he wouldn't have gotten the contract from the Phillies in the first place.

Be patient, RAJ.

Pavano has an ERA+ of 93 over the last 5 years with just 1 good season. Yeah, that's worth a 3 year, $30+ million deal.

I'd be wary of even giving him a 2 year deal based on his past behavior/performance and the absolutely terrible reputation he has for conditioning (from both his days in NY and FL). If I had to bet, I'd say Blanton has the better numbers over the next 3 years than Pavano. If there was ever a fluke season by a pitcher, Pavano's 2010 was it.

His peripherals basically SCREAM regression.

NEPP: That is certainly one interpretation. The other theory floated at the time is that when Amaro became aware he could get Halladay, he was told the budget couldn't accommodate both. For PR reasons he had to move Lee before making the Halladay deal. This haste produced the weak return and stories about how Lee was never shopped around to other teams.

If it were simply a case of Lee's agent making it clear he wouldn't settle for close to what the Phillies wanted, why not shop him around the league and see what you could get?

JBird: From what I've read, the Brewers are keeping Cain and looking to move Carlos Gomez.

Why do people think it's so unlikely the Phillies will have to throw in money to get a real prospect back for Blanton?

The Astros sent 10 million dollars along with ViceRoy and the players they acquired (before trading with Toronto) were a left-handed pitcher with poor peripherals, a super-fast centerfielder with contact issues and a defensively skilled shortstop with on base and contact issues.

I don't think Blanton should be, or will be , moved purely for salary relief. If a trade can be made that benefits the Phils from a talent and money perspective - great.
But there are still going to 5 starters in the rotation, and just like last year we need 6 starters going into the season to allow for injuries , wear and tear , double-headers and pitching slumps.
Keep Joe right where he is unless a deal is really beneficial.

Going by WAR (yes clout, I am aware of the issues with it...but using the sabermetric argument), we swapped out a 5 Win RF with a 7 Win SP

2008-2010 WAR:
Werth: 15
Lee: 20.9

awh: I think that's right. And I think the quality of prospect the Phillies can get for him will be determined by how much salary they eat. The more salary they eat, the better the prospect they get back.

I want to bring up the point I made yesterday because I feel like it at least warrants some discussion. Everyone keeps talking about trading Blanton because he's not one of the (insert staff name cliche here), and he is making pretty good money. Let's say we don't find any good offers for Blanton, then what?

What if we take a different approach and trade Hamels for a very valuable piece in an area of need? The proposal I made yesterday was Hamels for Justin Upton, involving additional pieces or a third team as needed. Basically, we would be dealing from a position of great strength in order to bring back a very valuable piece that would notably improve the team in a different area.

Upton in particular is under contract for quite a few years, is young, and has superstar potential. Hamels is a young stud with big game experience and is under control for 2 more years. Upton is probably more valuable, but Hamels certainly has significant value himself. Thoughts?

****NEPP: That is certainly one interpretation. The other theory floated at the time is that when Amaro became aware he could get Halladay, he was told the budget couldn't accommodate both. For PR reasons he had to move Lee before making the Halladay deal. This haste produced the weak return and stories about how Lee was never shopped around to other teams.****

I pretty much agree with this theory and my comment:

Basically, Rube met with Lee's agent, heard the price, panicked...realized that Doc was still available and much more amenable to extend, went to ownership and was told "Pick 1" and went with his White Whale over Lee. I also agree that he couldn't hold onto Lee (unlike Blanton now) and get the best offer as the PR hit would have been brutal. Still, the PR aspect massively backfired as he misread the fanbase (who 99% LOVED Lee and hated to see him go...not that we didn't WANT Doc but we all wanted both).

Clout: Carlos Gomez isn't good for much other than a defensive replacement and pinch runner. Just another overhyped NY prospect they duped the twins into taking for Johan Santana.

I agree that it's to the Phillies' advantage to be patient with Blanton. While Amaro probably understands that, I have concerns that ownership, which is currently over budget, will be in a hurry to recoup some of those monies. They may put pressure on Amaro to just get Blanton's salary off the books ASAP.

Obviously, I'm not the one writing the checks but, from a fan's perspective, there's absolutely no desperation to trade Blanton. The worst case scenario is that he's back as our No. 5 next year -- which isn't a particularly bad worst case scenario.

Zombies fav food is obviously brains. "its the only thing that eases the pain of being dead"

Good point JW made about Halladay taking the bigger sacrifice to come here. Yes, the Phillies had the leverage because they had the prospects the Blue Jays wanted and because this was the team Halladay wanted to play for. Still, Halladay showed in a much bigger way that he was not about the money than Lee did. If Halladay only would have waited, his contract would rival Lee's by a large margin.

While this shouldn't be a competition about who made the bigger sacrifice to come here, I do envision the general fan believing that Lee was the guy who sacrificed more when when in fact Halladay did.

BAP, I don't know that ownership is definitely over budget. At this point, I think there budget is:

Be the Best Team in Baseball.

Kind of the same budget that the Yankees and Red Sox work with.

Fatalotti-I like the way you talk, your giving me shivers.

Noah: Oswalt was able to say were he wanted to go, so the Phillies were bargaining from a stronger position because of the limited market. Blanton can't tell the Phillies where he wants to be traded, and his lower salary and the fact that all teams are still contenders this time of year means his market is larger than Oswalts. That said, I wouldn't expect a big return if the Phillies look for young, controlled players. If they want to swap contracts, I think they can do ok.

Question on the does the league count Oswalt's salary when it calculates our overall team salary towards the Luxury tax? Are we getting charged the full $16 million or is the money from Houston subtracted? If its the former, then we're much closer to the Luxury Tax than previously thought...theoretically, if this is the case, I think we might be right at the cap. That could be another reason Lee is only getting $11 million in 2011.

I like the drama of Oswalt's hook.

NEPP: Pavano essentally lost 2005-08 to injury. He didn't play a full season in any of those years. Throw those out.

If you want to play WAR, here's his last 3 healthy seasons: 4.6, 0.8, 5.1.
Blanton: -0.7, 2.7, 0.6.

Phillies apparently checked in on Pedro at the winter meetings. Though likely a route to have been explored had the team not signed Cliff Lee, one wonders if Ruben just can't help himself and wants to add Pedro to the mix. Who knows, maybe Pedro will sign cheap just for the opportunity to put one more tale in his legendary story.

Jbird: Totally agree. But, man, does he have tools.

NEPP: So, Oswalt is gone in 2012?

Fat: Well, if that were the case, why would it be so widely reported that they're shopping Blanton? Because there's really no reason to trade him, other than salary relief.

From a strictly money perspective, yes Doc sacrificed more, and both definitley sacrificed (no tears from me, though, since they're both making $20M+ a year).

But while Doc sacrificed the money, he did get a lucrative free agent contract A YEAR BEFORE actually becoming a free agent. Say Doc stays in Toronto last year, waiting for free agency, and then tears an ACL or something really serious. Suddenly, his value plummets, and he doesn't get that big free agent contract at the end of 2010. So, while he did sacrifice in potential, he aslo guaranteed a nice free agent contract before he was actually a free agent. Not to undermine his sacrifice, but it does mitigate it a bit.

Lee actually went all the way through to free agency, which is risky, for the reason stated above, and when he got there, and had finally earned his chance to grab every dollar comming his way, he did leave between $13-30M on the table. So, both a huge sacrifices, but for different reasons.

****NEPP: Pavano essentally lost 2005-08 to injury. He didn't play a full season in any of those years. Throw those out.****

Um...Personally, I'd count those injury years AGAINST him when thinking about giving a 35 year old pitcher a 3 year deal...but I'm weird like that. Saying he had a good year back when he was 28/29 is a bit disingenuous, dont you think?

Clout: where'd you get Blanton's WAR? Fangraphs has it at 2.1, 2.0, 1.9

****Blanton: -0.7, 2.7, 0.6. ****

Are you using or FG?

FG has him at 2.1, 2.0, 1.9 over the last 3 seasons. Essentially a "2 win" starter...pretty consistent and definite value from a inning eating perspective.

I was using B-R WAR

****Jbird: Totally agree. But, man, does he have tools.***

I'd love to have Gomez on the roster as a 5th OF...

clout, nowhere in your quotes (from before the trade) does it say no contract was offered. Yet yesterday you assured us that we were liars as Lee himself said that RAJ never offered a contract.

****I was using B-R WAR****

That explains the confusion then.

One way I could see the Phillies enticing another team to take on all -- or nearly all -- of Blanton's contract would be to throw KK into the trade, as well. If Blanton's salary is somewhat on the high end for a pitcher of his caliber, KK's is certainly on the low end. So the net result is that the trading partner gets 2 starting pitchers for an overall below market price.

Couple of ways you can use to evaluate the Phils' pitchers 'best pitch':

Me I would use the simple 'swing and miss' criterion and that means that Madson's changeup would be the winner although I don't have time to look up the numbers right now.

Most underrated pitch is Oswalt '12-6' curveball and it is my favorite on the team besides Contreras' splitter when he has a good feel for it.

I cringe at the notion of trading Hamels. It would be like finally finishing building the house of your dreams,then dousing it with gasoline and burning it down. The 4 starters should remain for years. If you must trade a pitcher, trade Joe.

I'll throw a nickname in the pot -- Strike Four, otherwise known as K4

NEPP: I tend to dicount performance that is caused by injury. That doesn't mean you discount the injury. A guy who's injured frequently has to be devalued. But players perform far differently (obviously) when they're healthy than when they're injured. If you say Paveno's injury years are typical of his performance then you have to say the same thing about Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, no?

BAP, I haven't heard an official Phillies release that they're shopping Blanton. The story could have come form the media, who naturally assumes that the Phillies need salary relief, but as Paul Hagen pointed out on DNL yesterday, getting Lee didn't sell more tickets for the Phillies...they were going to be sold anyway. This was a sign that the Phillies just wanted the best team in baseball, salary be damned. Sure, if they can get a nice deal for Blanton, one that will help the team and clear salary space, they would do it (who wouldn't?), but the notion that they HAVE to trade Blanton to recoup dollars; I'm just not sure I believe that anymore. Not when the team has upped their payroll almost $80M over the last few years.

Blanton is a No. 3 for many teams and a No. 4 for good teams like the Yankees. He is not old; and he is not over-paid.

If I am the Phillies and I take the position that I will eat none of Blanton's salary, but I want something back, are some of you saying the Phils get nothing back of value if the Phils won't eat salary? If so, please explain your rationale.

****NEPP: So, Oswalt is gone in 2012?****

Depends on the rest of our obligations...Ibanez and Lidge go away so there's $25 million freed up right there. Rube & Co will have to decide whether giving Oswalt a 1 year, $14 million deal (he has a $2 million buyout of his contract) is a good idea next winter. If he's healthy and productive, its almost a no brainer to keep him...even if we do it simply to trade him during the 2011 off season/2012 1st half. Oswalt has averaged 3.73 Wins the last 3 years...he's worth $14 million on a 1 year deal for us.

BAP: I've read so much stuff on this the past 2 days I can't remember where I saw it, but I read somewhere that if the Phils don't trade Blanton, they are right at the revenue sharing limit.

baxter quoting Return of the Living Dead should not be overlooked.

****If you say Paveno's injury years are typical of his performance then you have to say the same thing about Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, no?****

I would definitely take their injuries into account when deciding to lock them up long-term. If Jimmy has another injury plagued season in 2012, I'd be very wary of giving him a 3-4 year deal in the off-season...especially if its the same issues with his legs again.

Given Pavano's past injuries, his reputation of laziness during rehab stints, I'd probably pass on giving him a multi-year deal if I were a GM.

"Question on the does the league count Oswalt's salary when it calculates our overall team salary towards the Luxury tax? Are we getting charged the full $16 million or is the money from Houston subtracted? If its the former, then we're much closer to the Luxury Tax than previously thought...theoretically, if this is the case, I think we might be right at the cap. That could be another reason Lee is only getting $11 million in 2011."

I would think this is also the reason the Phils need to dump Blanton's contract before opening day and they may take a non-prospect back to make it happen. Luxury tax numbers are calculated based entirely on opening day payroll. So even if they were to trade Blanton mid-season for more value, if his salary put them over the $178 million dollar threshold as of opening day they'd still be paying the tax. I will never refer to the Phils' ownership as being cheap, but I can guarantee they want no part of the "Yankee tax."

Stephanie: Honey, what do you think of Cliff Lee being back with the team?

Kyle: You better keep your day job, cupcake, as your new hubby has just been relegated to occasional long inning mop up duty out of the ‘pen in lopsided games.

Stephanie: Well, they’ll still be paying you the same, right? That’s all that counts. We’ll still be going to World Series and stuff like that, right?

Kyle: You may want to keep a hold of your enthusiasm, my perky one. Career wise, the best thing for me would be to be traded to someone that needs a starter. I’m cheaper than Blanton. The only way we’ll be going to a World Series will be if I’m lucky enough to be traded to a contender, like the pitching poor Yankees.

Stephanie: I’ll like shopping on Fifth Avenue.

Kyle: More likely, sweet lips, you’ll be shopping at the Oak Park Mall, in Lenexa, Kansas. I hear that they have a Nordstrom’s there and you can eat lunch at Chick Fil-A.

Stephanie: Do they have a beach near Lenexa?

Kyle: You’ll have to have your bikini beach days lake style near Kansas City, while I toil in Royal blue. Oh, woe is me!

I completely agree that RAJ should be patient on moving Blanton. He's not a bad pitcher. He has some terrific outings, and some mediocre starts, and some terrible starts. He's a team player, too. I don't see why we should eat some of his salary, when there isn't much pitching out there, and pitching is always at a premium. Unless, as others suggest, we're eating some of his salary in order to get a better return.

I do not like the idea of moving Hamels. He's the youngest of the four. But I would not be surprised if, should Blanton fail to secure the desired return, Hamels - or someone else - gets shopped around.

Give up Hamels, and we're a team with 3 outstanding pitchers again.

quincy: You keep speaking for the blog as if someone elected you. I can assure you, you speak only for yourself.

The point of my original post is that there were no formal negotiations over a contract. Thus the theory that you put forth that Amaro was forced to trade Lee because of his outrageous demands, is false in my opinion.

**** but I read somewhere that if the Phils don't trade Blanton, they are right at the revenue sharing limit.****

We're currently at approximately 146.9 million in salary before Lee and the arb/renewals. IF Oswalt's full salary is counted, add another $7 million...add $11 million for Lee and that brings us to $164.9 million before the Arb/renewals. KK and BenFran will both go to Arb...I'm guessing about $4 million total between we have to renew 4 other roster spots (assuming we dont sign anyone else) Figure about $400-450K for each of those spots so that's another $1.8 million give or take. That puts us at $170.7 Million with the Luxury Tax for 2011 at $178 million supposedly.

Now, that assumes a bit (the Oswalt contract cost, the Arb decisions (I guessed about $2 million for each guy) and the renewals.


derekcastor: I think the argument is the Phillies aren't going to get a good, cheap player (Lorenzo Cain, Travis Snider, etc). But, if they are looking for a contract swap (ie cameron), or a salary dump then they can probably make something work. they might get a B-ish grade prospect far away from the show if they want to eat salary (someone like Jason Knapp was for us). But, that's just my opinion.

NEPP - That also assumes no RH bat to add to the lineup...Which is probably the most likely scenario all things considered.

If you're not going to get a legit prospect for Blanton because of his salary, then it makes more sense to try and get a complementary major-league piece (like the RH bat we've been discussing ad nauseam) instead of a couple questionable prospects.

Correction, I used Blanton's cost of $10.5 million (Cots adds the signing bonus to each year) so its actually 168.7 million, not $170.7 Million.

I'm guessing we're close to it but still a good amount (several million) under.

Could we trade Blanton, Kendrick and maybe May or Lidge or someone for Soria?

Devil's Advocate:

- I keep hearing about how much money Lee left on the table to come to Philly. He initially did but if the 6th year automatically vests he didn't at all. His AAV is also the highest with the Phils.

He had crazy money staring at him in 3 places and choose the place where he probably has the best chance to win given the Yanks playing in a tougher division against a reloaded divisional foe.

- I keep hearing this nutty talk of the Phils' top 4 starters winning 80+ games alone next year. Even if they all stay healthy, my bet is that it will be around 70 games plus or minus a game.

That's still dominant but even the '93 Braves top 4 only won 75 games and something like the '71 O's with four 20-game winners is clearly a historical oddity in baseball.

- Even with the talk about Lee's back issues the past few days, I would still imagine that Oswalt's back is a much bigger potential issue going into next year.

I will be surprised if the Phils do indeed get 200+ IP and 30+ starts from their big 4 given their age and the chances for injury.

- It really is kind of depressing to go back and look at teams with historically great rotations. While it is rare they miss the playoffs entirely, it is also pretty uncommon that they win it all either.

I would take the under on 70 wins if I were a betting man. 60 is more likely.

Consider that Hamels has averaged 13 wins a year for the last 4 years despite pitching 813 innings (over 200 a year) and his highest win total was 15 (back in 2007). Mind you, the Phillies averaged 92.75 wins a year over that period.

G.R.A.B.- why would KC want those contracts when they aren't going to contend for 3 more years. If I'm KC, I want a couple of near-in B+ ish prospect who play up the middle for Soria.

MG, good points.

As far as money "left on the table", if the 6th year vests, then it's only $13M left on the table, given what the Yankees were going to give him. The point, though, is that "if". IF he everything goes according to plan, he only left $13M on the table (nothing to sneeze at, by the way), but things may not go according to plan. What he sacrificed was guaranteed money and years. Again, he gets no tears from me, since he just signed an absurd contract, but he could have signed an aburd-er contract.

That's my take on it, at least.

Have the Phils ever had 4 starters who threw 200+ IP in season?

The closest I found without really looking back was the '93 Phils who had Schilling, Jackson, and Greene with Mulholland just missing the mark (191 IP).

Over the past decade (2001-2010), the Phillies have averaged 88.2 wins a year and they have a .544 winning percentage. It's been a good decade for us I think.

NEPP - It will be higher than 60. My bet the other night was 68.5 or so sounding reasonable.

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