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Sunday, January 02, 2011

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I already feel that the trade was worth it for an Oswalt trade and then Lee signing as a FA. If just one of those guys pans out, even more so.

Aumont as a reliever is probably the player who has the fastest path to the majors out of the 3 if he successful this year.

I see a nice movie in the works. Farm hard gets traded for Ace, does mediocre, picked up by the police with drugs. Perhaps a sad sort of after-school movie, maybe an MTV true Life doc or at best a combo of Summer Catch and The Hangover. We definitely need an appearance by Burrell as The Machine.

My money is on Ramirez as a reliever. Was this a good trade? TBD. Can't be called a success - these guys haven't even made it through a full season of AA.

"their inaugural campaigns ranged from disappointment to disaster."

Which one was the disapointment?

Ramirez was merely a disappointment. He's the only one that's Top 20 in the eyes of the scouting mags.

Scotch Man: I don't get the logic. Since they wound up with both Lee and Oswalt anyway, what makes you think they wouldn't have had they kept Lee all along?

Aumont was fine in relief, should never have been converted back to SP and because of that he lost a season of development. Luckily, the Phils finally got a clue and he will be a reliever in 2011.

Unlike virtually every other poster here, who swoons at Gilles' High Desert numbers, I'll repeat what I said before the 2010 season began: Ramirez will ultimately contribute the most and Gilles the least.

jw: I was being facetious. I knew you were talking about Ramirez.

clout: What would it take to impress you at High Desert? Even allowing for the fact that it's a strong hitting league, wouldn't you agree that a .341 average and .430 OBP are still impressive?

Gillies wasn't found in possession of coke. He was cleared of those charges.

I will say this for clout's point. If you go back over the last 6 years, and look at the guys who were in the top 10 in the California League in batting, it's absolutely shocking how few have even made the major leagues let alone turned into decent players. We're talking no more than 3 or 4 players out of the 60 guys who have been in the top 10 in hitting during that period. I haven't done a study, but I'd be very surprised if the same were true of other AA or AAA leagues. That seems like an incredibly low percentage and it does say something for the idea that stats in the Cal. League are to be taken with a serious grain of salt.

That said, I still stand impressed by a .341 average in any league. Plus, Gillies also hit well in Single A. I think he's a good bet to bounce back & post pretty good numbers this year.

Yes, that is correct. I'm added that he was cleared of those charges.

"I've" added ...

FWIW, Sickels just released his Phillies Top 20 Prospcts for 2011. Dom Brown is #1 and Singleton is #2. Thence Colvin, Cosart and May. Biddle, Valle, Santana, Worley and Julio Rodriguez round out the Top 10.

Neither Aumont nor Gilles are on the list. Two guys who've been getting off-season buzz and hit his list for the first time are Rodriguez and Aaron Altherr.

Rodriguez had nice numbers in Rookie ball in 2009, but he was an 8th rounder repeating the level and thus didn't warrant much notice. BA didn't include him on their 2010 Top 30 list.

In 2010 the Phils bumped him up to Low A and he was solid in 34 IP so they promoted him to the Sally (at age 19) and he was even better. Scouting reports said he's gaining velocity. He throws a rising fastball clocked as high as 93 with good hop. (You may recall that was Schilling's out pitch.) His curve is more of a slurve but he throws it for strikes. He will be tested at Clearwater at age 20, and if he passes could hit Reading by mid-season. That would send him up the prospect lists.

Altherr got some pub this season when Chuck Lamar gushed over him. He's one of the 2,365 raw, toolsy outfielders the Phils have drafted in the past 20 years. His story is kinda like Rodriguez. He sucked in Rookie ball at age 18 (although it was his first try unlike Rodriguez). He started at the same level this season and was sharply improved. And, like Rodriguez, when they promoted him a level (to Williamsport) he was even better. He too did not make the BA Top 30 last year. Similar tools to Brown, he's fast, good glove and has projectible power.

I was disappointed that my man Jiwan James was #17 on Sickels' list (he was ranked #7 on BA's 2011 list) but Sickels is more of a sabermetrics guy and BA is tools-biased, so it's understandable.

BAP: High Desert stats are a joke, but maybe .400 would impress me. Would you like to make a bet on Gilles?

BTW, also not making Sickels' Top 20 list: Freddy Galvis.

I am beginning to think whoever succeeds J-Roll, whenever that happens, will not be anyone currently employed by the Phillies.

I would be surprised if any of these guys contributes in a meaningful way the MLB level down the road for the Phils.

Phils really mucked up Aumont's development and Ramirez foolishly pitched hurt most of the year without disclosing his injury to the R-Phils.

Ramirez is also further away than people think too. Family friend who is a scout saw alot of Ramirez last year at Reading and he doesn't think there is even a puncher's chance that Ramirez has a future as an MLB starter.

Thinks though he can be a serviceable middle reliever/key organizational depth 'AAAA' guy by the end of 2012/start of 2013 if things break right for him including no more injury set backs which retard his development.

Everybody harps about Ramirez's lack of control on his slider but his fastball control is pretty erratic too. If he dials it up to 94+ it is quite wild. Better off forgetting about the radar gun and instead concentrating on hitting his spots with his fastball with better regularity at 91-92.

Also wondered if Ramirez was going to get in better shape because he had a slight gut by the end of the year at Reading. Big frame kid but a guy who clearly put on some pounds doing the season last year too.

He was also really surprised at how quickly Aumont wilted in the few times he saw start. Aumont was supposedly a guy who struggled with composure on the mound because he is hyper-competitive. He said the scouts saw a kid who was 'pitching scared' who really struggled at times with mound composure when he hit a bump in the road last year during one of his starts. Lost focus and his stuff in short order usually.

Why do various sites report different ages for Ramirez?

Baseball Cube has him being born in '86 and 23 last year.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/R/Juan-Ramirez-5.shtml

Baseball Reference has him being born in '88 and 21 last year.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=ramire006jua

If Ramirez really was born in '86, then this is really his 'make it or break it' year with the R-Phils.

MG:

You're treading into dangerous territory with that observation. I think Will's Google alert just tilted.

On Gillies:

- Coke is a bitch to quit. It isn't heroin (can't imagine a professional baseball player could ever be a heroin junkie and still play) but you really have to wonder if Gillies will be able to shake the habit. Hopefully he does regardless of how his baseball career turns out.

Phillies.com lists Aug 16, 1988 as J.C.'s DOB.

clout: If I won the bet, I wouldn't know where to find you to make you pay up.

All 3 of these guys are huge question marks and I certainly won't make any bold predictions about any of their futures. However, I'll make this modest prediction about Gillies: he will bounce back with good numbers at AA and, at this time next year, he'll be on most Top 10 lists when it comes to Phillies prospects.

RE: clout

Do you think they would have gotten Oswalt with Halladay-Lee-Hamels? I just don't see it. I'm not sure this rotation would happen without the dreaded trade. If it would have happend that we took these four into the '09 playoffs, we'll never know.

I was already told last year on April 1st that those three guys were useless. I think the book was already written.

People on Beerleaguer are never, ever wrong.

TTI - I figured you would chime in shortly with a pithy post.

If you were GM, how would you restock the farm while maintaining the integrity of this WS-contending team?

CJP: Haha! Well, if there really are two different years reported, it's certainly worth discussing.

Cliff: Other than hiring the best scouts that money can buy, what can be done? Draft well and hope for the best. Contenders don't trade productive major leaguers to restock the farm (and when they do, they regret it).

MG: Always good to have some constants in life.

Seriously though a trade is a marathon many times. Three guys who were 22 were immediately cast as failures. There is every chance they all fail and none amount to anything. But you have to give them a chance to fail.

TTI - I get your point but they were largely cast as 'failures' only in Sept last year and rightly so. It wasn't that they underachieved or struggled a bit last year. They were either awful or are dealing with some very serious off-the-field issues.

Basically you hope that it was a 'wipe the slate' clean for each guy including Ramirez who essentially pitched hurt last year. Aumont is the guy I was still most interested in at the time of the trade and I was pretty pissed when they said they were going to try to make him into a starter.

clout, Galvis' lack of development is the specific reason I made reference in the last thread to Rollins getting an extension. Galvis looks like his career might be similar to Wilson Valdez's - many years in the minors punctuated by short infrequent callups for defensive purposes, if that.

MG, I'm not taking sides, but that's revisionist history. The Lee Three were widely derided by many here from the time of the trade.

I think Rollins is the most likely guy to bat fifth,but I worry that that would cause him to overswing even more.

MG: I don't know that it was specifically you at the time in April but it was said over and over that the guys were busts very early in the season. Like awh said- you're playing revisionist with that statement you made.

Part of the labeling came from who they were traded for and there were always going to be massive expectations for them. However, many guys in the minors would have had trouble living up to those expectations. This year is a big one for them though because they have to show that last year was a blip and not a backward or stagnant trend. I'm not one to favor knee-jerk reactions so I wasn't ready to call them failures last April.

Interesting that Sickels is higher than most on Jesse Biddle, and lower on Valle.

He does note, however, that Valle has an "intriguing defense and power combination". The issue with Valle does not appear to be his defense, which has been praised by every recent scouting report I've seen. It's his plate discipline.

While I'm somewhat higher on Gillies than he is (and he's obviously wrong on Valle's defense, where he's still clinging to scouting reports from two years ago), I will agree with Clout on JC Ramirez. Ramirez's K/BB numbers were much better than his ERA indicates at the A+ level, and it was acceptable at AA as well. I think he's being underrated by many.

****Coke is a bitch to quit. It isn't heroin (can't imagine a professional baseball player could ever be a heroin junkie and still play) but you really have to wonder if Gillies will be able to shake the habit. Hopefully he does regardless of how his baseball career turns out.
****

MG, you do know he tested negative for coke at the police station and has never failed a minor-league drug test (which also test for cocaine), right?

***I am beginning to think whoever succeeds J-Roll, whenever that happens, will not be anyone currently employed by the Phillies.***

I think Villar was the last hope of that happening. Galvis will never be a starter in Philadelphia. Unless they get lucky in the June draft (and they wont as good SS go early), it wont be from within.

Cliff - If I were the Phillies, I would focus on two areas immediately - C and 3B.

The 2011 draft is deep in catchers, and the Phils have two extra early draft picks. I would draft a few catchers early. I would also try to get a good catching prospect like Austin Romine from the Yanks for Blanton and maybe one or two mid-level prospects.

I have no specific solution to the 3B issue, but I would like to go young at 3B as soon as possible. That means drafting a top 3B prospect in 2011 and/or 2012 and/or trading one of our top prospects for another team's top 3B prospect. When Polanco's contract expires after 2012, we may have to pick up a veteran 3B for a couple of years until one of these newly acquired 3B prospects is ready.

I assume both Rollins and Utley have a few years left, but SS and 2B are big long-term problems.

I think the Phils are in good shape in the OF, 1B and at starting pitching.

Draft SS that can hit. Even if they dont make it as SS they tend to move to 3B or 2B. Drafting 3B is fairly hard to do anyway.

No more toolsy OFs please...at least not in the first couple rounds. We are pretty maxed out on roster space in the lower minors for the OF anyway.

NEPP - Are you sure that Gillies tested negative at the police station? The only thing I ever saw was Gillies' own claim that he passed a test shortly after the arrest.

Nepp I definitely agree...This team loves left handed OF's. They need to focus on other positions

Just based on feel, Gillies seems to have the most boom/bust potential while Aumont seems most likely to make an impact on the mlb team now that he's been moved back to the pen. JC Ramirez? I don't know, we'll see what he can do healthy.

Someone above mentioned how few "top hitters" from the Cal League turn out to be productive big leaguers, I think that tends to be more true across the board than one would think. MiLB leader boards are usually littered with players old for their league who have stayed at that level the entire year b/c they aren't really "prospects" while most players who make an impact for the parent clubs tend to be young to league appropriate and often change levels mid-season. It's actually kind of rare for a top prospect to lead a MiLB league in a statistical category eg Reading slugger Tagg Bozied led the Eastern League in hitting, Mike Spidale was 4th. Out of the top 10, 3 are considered top-ish prospects and probably only 1 has a high upside (Revere).

JBird: That's all absolutely true, & I knew that as I was looking through the last 6 years of batting leaders in the Cal. League. But, even with this knowledge, it still struck me that the percentage of obscurities on the list was even above and beyond what I would have expected to find.

If Texas signs Beltre, would the Phillies have any interest in Michael Young for 3b?

$16M a year through 2013, I know...

I wish the Phillies had an interest in a former 1B/OF, current accountant. I'd loved to get drafted to crunch numbers..

sammy: Replace our mid-30s 3rd baseman with someone else's? No thanks. The difference between Polly and Young on offense would be offset by the dropoff in defense.

And that's without even getting into the contract.

You don't draft MLB player by position. You take the guy you think is the best potential baseball player at that spot. It's a fool's errand trying to draft based on need when the guys are 2-5 years away no matter what.

Now, when deciding who is the best player at a draft spot there's a whole lot of variance in that decision (upside, chance of reaching that upside, ability right now, tools, etc), and the Phils obviously lean certain ways over others. But to decide ahead of time that you're going to draft specific positions no matter what is a dumb strategy.

NEPP - I didn't realize that. Thanks. If that is the case, it makes things alot easier to just have to deal with his potential drinking issues. Hopefully Dickie Noles was able to work with him to get things straightened out.

Jack: I agree 100% - but are you saying that if you were the Phillies, you'd spend your top picks on toolsy OFs if you thought they were the best available players?

If I really liked one I might pull the trigger, but at this point I dont see how you can use your best picks for such a redundant position/skill set in your system again.

jason: Because not all those guys are going to pan out and the Phils understand that. The whole idea behind the strategy is to stockpile those lottery tickets and hope that a few pan out. So yeah, Greg Golson and Quintin Berry didn't work out--but Dom Brown has (at least so far).

So out of Jiwan James, Aaron Altherr, Kelly Dugan, etc., one of them might make it to AAA as a legit prospect. So you draft 3 new ones this year and hope one of them makes it too.

I think Gillies issues are being 21/22 and in the limelight(though, minor league).

How exactly do you get cleared of cocaine possession charges when the police find you in possession of cocaine.

No. Really, I want to know.

You might not draft on position but there is always other options out there. Its not as if there is only toolsy OF prospects in the draft. Considering the potential log-jam building in the lower minors at that position, its not smart to toss a bunch more into the mix at this point.

I think I'd take a lesser lottery ticket on a toolsy OF and maybe try to get lucky elsewhere first for at elast the next season or two. Not saying you can't draft anymore OF, but I think I would wait until later rounds.

NEPP: The good thing about a logjam in the low minors is that it usually works itself out with the best players advancing. Not really a big deal to me.

***How exactly do you get cleared of cocaine possession charges when the police find you in possession of cocaine.****

Well, first you dont have any fingerprints on the bag of coke itself. Second, you test negative for the drug at the police station. Third, you have no priors. The DA looked at the evidence (or the lack there of) and dismissed the charges...most likely Nolle Prosequi if I remember the latin term correctly.

Circumstantially, if you were in possession of a bag of coke, would you wave down a police cruiser for a ride home? I mean, yeah its possible but I dont thing any of us would do so.

****The good thing about a logjam in the low minors is that it usually works itself out with the best players advancing. Not really a big deal to me. ****

I agree that it does but at the moment, we have plenty of toolsy outfielders in the system. I'd rather they avoid that route unless they are absolutely blown away by a guy.

NEPP: I agree, whenever I'm in possession of drugs I use a taxi.

There's no reason the Phillies can't put a slight premium on infielders without overdrafting. (I'm still annoyed we didn't draft Castellanos). Even the one high-end infield prospect the Phillies do have is moving to the outfield (Singleton).

Mathematical equation relative to the Lee Three:

1/(Gillies+Aumont+Ramirez) ≈ ∞

"So yeah, Greg Golson and Quintin Berry didn't work out . . ."

Or Anthony Hewitt. Or Moose Mattair. Or D'Arby Myers. Or Zach Collier.

There's a lot of rounds to a baseball draft & 95% of the guys you draft will never sniff the major leagues. So I have absolutely no problem with drafting guys like this & hoping they develop baseball skills. I do have a problem with drafting guys like this in the early rounds, when there are far more polished prospects out there.

C'mon, bap, isn't Moose coming back for another chance? (j/k)

But the list of names you offer is also why I wonder why so many people think Jiwan James is the second coming of Willie Mays Hayes.

When we drafted Gose, Collier & Hewitt in the first 3 rounds of the 08 draft, I was actually hopeful that one of them would turn out. Honestly looks like none of the 3 will ever be good MLB players. Gose is the only one that looks like he has a shot and his upside is limited.

On Jiwan James...I've seen him play several times and I just dont see what people are excited about. He's just another in a long line of good defensive but poor hitting toolsheds. The love he gets over on PhuturePhillies is ridiculous. Its up there with the ridiculous praise that Matt Rizzotti gets.

My primary pondering from last year's draft was about how much effort was placed into actually signing their 50th round pick (Damek Tomscha), who appears to have lots of baseball skills (as a HSer) and ended up going to Junior College. I'm guessing, since he was still around, that he was very serious about not signing with any team yet and probably would have required a big bust of slot. But still, a kid who's shown ability to hit, with power and speed, who's big and plays good third base would be a better guy to try to develop than, say, someone like Hewitt.

NEPP - with you completely on James.

I would guess that there was little effort to sign Tomscha. It was likely one of those standard "Hey kid, just so you know, we're watching you and we like what we see so far gestures" that teams sometimes do with later picks. I wouldn't be shocked if we draft him again in a couple years but much higher (assuming he develops in JC ball)

His name is Jiwan James!! That name just screams tools. He sounds like a Free Safety/Kick Returner or maybe a 2 gaurd at a mid-major. Gotta grab guys like that.

I think the DA also looked at the fact that the bag of coke was not found ON Gillies, but was found in the cruiser after he left it. No fingerprints. No coke in his system. Unable to actually connect him to the coke. Seems like a good non-prosecution.

And just for giggles, Gillies is a bit dark skinned, and the cops have sometimes not been shy about planting evidence on a drunk guy of his coloration. Not saying they did. But the DA had to be aware that the drug war has turned some cops a bit overzealous.

For that matter, I also have serious doubts about the fundamental premise which underlies the Phillies' drafting philosophy: that, because a guy possesses all 5 tools, he somehow has more hypothetical upside than a less athletic player who can absolutely rake. Carl Crawford and Alex Rios are your classic 5-tool players. Would anyone ever claim that either is a better player than Albert Pujols or Joey Votto, because they can do more things?

NEPP - You forgot the man-crush on Mathieson.

"because a guy possesses all 5 tools, he somehow has more hypothetical upside"

That depends on your definition of upside.

If such a prospect is valued by other teams, with or without merit, to allow the club to trade for established major league talent on a regular basis, that's worth having.

The upside of Marson and Donald was Cliff Lee. I'll take it.

Yeah, because nobody has ever thrown a flat, no movement 98-99mph fastball before. I mean, that's unheard of??? I eagerly await Kyle Farnsworth's induction into the HoF.

Could you imagine the amount of excitement that a young Kyle Farnsworth would generate if he was in our system? Imagine the ridiculousness that Mathieson gets only multiplied by about a million.

I'd call up Schwimer before Mathieson if we needed a RH reliever. At least Schwim has a good slider.

****The upside of Marson and Donald was Cliff Lee. I'll take it.****

The irony is that Marson, a supposed good bat, no defense catcher turned into a no bat, good defense catcher in his first MLB season. And he had a very good CS% on top of his defense behind the plate. Sure, he batted under the Mendoza line but I bet he is the backup in Cleveland next year regardless. They apparently really liked his defense last year.

Donald is a good bat, no defense utility guy who will kill you defensively at 2B and SS...basically what we all thought he'd be when we traded him...so there's that.

I'd argue that the Indians actually got good value for Lee. Carrasco will be a full-time starter for them next year and they got two other bench pieces...3 of the 25 spots on their roster filled by a guy they had no hope of competing with or resigning. And even Jason Knapp is back, healthy and posting ridiculous K/9 totals in their lower minors.

For the record I am holding onto my Mathieson mancrush.

Will: Marson & Donald aren't the kind of players I'm talking about. They're not "toolsy."

I'm not talking about upside, as defined by what other teams value. I'm talking about upside as defined by actual major league production. I just don't follow the line of logic that, because a guy is fast, strong & has a good throwing arm, he has more potential upside than a guy who is a terrific hitter but possesses only average speed & a poor throwing arm.

I mean, I suppose if you really stretch your imagination, then Jiwan James has the physical tools to become Willie Mays, which would probably make him the best player in baseball. But I'm talking about upside projections which are actually plausible (not even necessarily realistic; just plausible).

NEPP: there is good availablity of a backup no-hit catchers, and are cheap. The same goes for a poor fielding, not even league average offensive middle infielder. The value there is like $3M tops. So they're getting them for about $800k.. not sure that extra $2M/ is really the value they were looking when trading Cliff Lee. If Knapp and Carrasco end up in the middle of their rotation than I guess you might be right.

It'll be interesting in like 4-5 years to go back and look at the 3 Cliff Lee Packages and compare.

NEPP: Yeah, Knapp/Carrasco are the keys to that deal, not Marson and Donald. Carrasco had a solid stretch last season, tossing a 3.83 ERA with a 2.71 K/BB ratio in 7 starts. He still projects to be a solid 3rd starter for the next few years, and will still only be 24 this year.

Knapp obviously has a ton of upside. He's struck out hitters every time he's taken the mound. If he can stay healthy, he's got the stuff to pitch in the majors, either as a starter or a reliever. Much like Jarred Cosart and Trevor May for us, he's just a guy you pray stays healthy and improves some command, because the stuff is filthy and that's reflected in the absurd K rates.

Drafting the best available talent, rather than by position, is the approach they preach in basketball and football, not so much in baseball. Baseball talent is often harder to judge, particularly at the prep level. Financial considerations also come into play, so that teams pass over big-time talents who are looking for big bonuses or have agents like Boras. Drafting for need is the right approach when you have a bunch of prospects that are rated similarly and one of them plays a position where your system is weak.

NEPP: You could make an argument that Crawford is as good as Votto when you adjust for position and depending on how much strength you put in defensive evaluation and its relative worth. It wouldn't fly this season, probably, but I think you could at least say they're comparable. For 2009-2010, Votto had 13.1 WAR and Crawford had 12.6 WAR.

Another example is a guy like Werth, whose value is in doing a lot of things really well. The only "tool" he doesn't have is hitting for average, but he makes up for that with great plate discipline. When you draft "toolsy" athletes, you're hoping they turn into great all-around players like Crawford, Werth, etc. Obviously athletes like Crawford (PG offer at UCLA, QB offer at Nebraska) don't come around often, but that's the idea.

Sorry, that last comment was directed at bap, not NEPP.

Gose's upside turned into Oswalt. He's a toolsy guy.

***Gose's upside turned into Oswalt. He's a toolsy guy.***

Yeah, that was nice.

Jack: I guess what it comes down to is that, at least for everyday players, these concepts of "upsides" and "ceilings" are awfully arbitrary. All "tools" are not created equal. If speed & a strong throwing arm were as important as hitting, then Greg Golson would be a major league All Star & Manny Ramirez would be a AAA lifer. I'd rather have one Jonathan Singleton, who can rake but does little else, than 10 Anthony Hewitts & Greg Golsons.

Shouldn't that tool now be named "gets on base a lot" instead of "hits for average"?

Hitting for average is still a tool while getting on base/plate discipline is probably more a skill.

I must have missed this until now - but Arthur Rhodes set to make $8M over 2 years with the Rangers(if his 2012 option vests).

His foot problem and declining numbers in the second half didnt seem to hurt him too much, I really thought he'd be signing for less.

Well, I just hope whatever Gillies demons are that they are tamed soon. I mean whatever he does it can't be as raging as Hamilton's habit and look how he turned it around.
I wonder if the cops mishandling the statement of a deaf drunk French Canadian guy was part of the tossing of case.

Dodgers sign Tim Redding. Book another shut out this season.

rp: "Alors, je suis messed up touts le temps...."

Sickels has Cesar Hernandez ranked 11, (the real Little Cesar) way ahead of Harold Garcia.


Hey, Grandpa. Happy New Year.

Really, Hamilton hasn't turned anything around. He is treated like a child. If his handlers aren't surrounding him 24/7, he's right back at the bar and worse.

Were he not earning millions as a high profile ballplayer, he'd be dead in a ditch somewhere by now. So, lucky for him. But the day his career ends, everyone around him had better realize he's hopeless and make sure he's chained to a designated fun killer every day for the rest of his life.

You and yours too, Ak.
I was hoping that wasn't the case but the interviews and Media lovefest with him over the last few years sorta looked slightly more positive. But I guess the guy who holds his wallet for him and personal driver and the gingerale thing, all kind of add up to that.
I wonder if it is more prevalent. I couldn't believe what a big mess (can't remember name of exYanks catcher who admitted to drunk hit and run this year) he was.

jason/phaithful: Totally agree with you on Rhodes. He's not a closer, a good LOOGY and I figured $2.5M a year at best. The Rangers way overpaid.

BAP: I doubt Gilles makes the Top 10 next season, but that will depend on what other prospects do. What I would bet is that Gilles contributes less to the team in the loong run than Ramirez or Aumont.

Jack: I don't want to repeat the same thred from awhile back in which I posted recent reports and stats that showed concern with Valle's defense. The reports were from the past season, not 2 years ago. Valle's defense has certainly improved and can continue to improve, but there are problems with it right now.

****BAP: I doubt Gilles makes the Top 10 next season, but that will depend on what other prospects do. ****

Well, maybe Rube makes a couple blockbuster trades clearing out the farm....that would give him a good shot at the Top 10.

NEPP: Exactly right.

Jim Leyritz was the Yankees catcher. I would hope Hamilton's future isn't as bleak as you guys are making it sound. Can you just imagine what kind of player he would have been without the junk? Mind boggling.

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