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Friday, February 25, 2011


Even at this point if Durbin just wants say $1.3-$1.5M for a single year.

Hell a bum like Accardo got nearly $1.1M from the O's and Coffey (who is a good comp to Durbuin) got $1.35M from the Nats.

There certainly is a market even this late in the game for a proven reliever like Durbin. His insistence on getting a 2-yr deal is almost certainly what hindered his ability to get signed.

The team that really went the 'Value Village' route this offseason on relievers was the lowly M's. Signed Delcarmen, Ray, and J. Wright all to minor-league deals. My bet is they get decent value out of one of those signings this year.

someone mentioned Mathieson's splitter grip and wondered how it compared to Contreras' split/fork he throws.

Truck's grip is one of those in-human looking grips where he literally fits the entire ball down below the knuckle of his two fingers.

Without having seen Mathieson - I think its safe to say that his grip won't be as extreme and his pitch will probably have less velocity taken off of it and more of a running sink.

Contreras drops the entire bottom out of his pitch, but is thrown almost 10mph below his 4seam while more traditional splits/forks only lose about 5mph, which I'm guessing is what Mathieson will be.

When i throw a ball the way contreras throws his splitter, it comes out like one dirty 40mph knuckle ball... his hands must be freakishly large....

Cipper - They are and he has really long fingers. I remember them showing a picture of his hand last offseason. Sure it took alot of practice to perfect that grip but some of it is just simple anatomy.

Blanton to Cards?

Yeah the Indians are real contenders next season! I wish him well mopping up the mess that Fausto Carmona and Co. leave.

Who's Durbin's agent?

One of these days if I get bored, I'd like to do a statistical analysis to determine when is the best time to sign relief pitchers.

It seems that they land high contracts at the end of the year, then take a dramatic dip as the remaining pitchers take jobs where they can get them. Then, as spring gets closer, prices creep up for veteran relievers as needs arise and multiple teams get involved for the same reliever that no one was interested in a month ago.

Durbin went from having no suitors a month ago to interest from the Phillies, Rangers, Rays, Royals and Indians.

Which brings up another point: Is Durbin really that much less valuable than Contreras that one gets a 2 year contract in the millions while the younger and more consistent pitcher is hoping for a minor league contract?

I feel like with Orlanda Cabrera and possibly Durbin the Indians are stockpiling playoff-tested veterans to put a positive spin on their season but both will be on the market in July. It is exactly what I would do as Indians GM.

I usually don't like to pimp other blogs in this space, but you'll find a great article about balancing your significant other and the 2011 Phillies if you follow my link.

WS - It isn't true that Durbin had no suitors. It was just that no team wanted to sign him to a 2-yr deal at a base of more than he made last year.

I would be stunned if Durbin wasn't signed a month ago already if he simply had wanted a 1-yr deal at around what Coffey got from the Nats.

I do agree about the Contreras signing. In retrospect, it was Amaro's most foolish move this offseason hands down. Amaro just seems to really have no issue though with signing aging veterans to 2-year deals with an option though because he has handed out a ton of those types of deals already during his tenure.

Mr Zoomer: I don't know what prospects teams would give up for Durbin at the trade deadline, but you're right its not a bad strategy... worst case scenario they pay durbin his market value and best case some borderline contender panics and overpays in a trade...

MG: Very true. He had no suitors willing to meet his demands, but I agree that he would have been signed to a 1yr deal long ago.

Zoomer: If that's what Cleveland has in mind, I give them all the credit in the world. It's really quite brilliant.

That plan sounds great, but we're talking about Chad Durbin, and not Matt Capps(closer the Nats sign/flipped last year). They will likely be lucky to get a 2nd or 3rd tier prospect in return, and would likely be better off just using the Durbin money on a draft pick instead.

"Is Durbin really that much less valuable than Contreras that one gets a 2 year contract in the millions while the younger and more consistent pitcher is hoping for a minor league contract?

I think most agree that Durbin had his demands been lesser wouldn't be hoping for a minor league deal - but to answer yout question: Yes.

lorecore: Don't misunderstand, I'm glad to have Contreras, and at his best he's has much better stuff, but I don't see a significant dropoff from him to a younger, more consistent Durbin.

I don't see a million dollars worth of difference between the two.

Valid opinion - that Durbin is closer to the level of bigtruck than I think. Hard to really prove the marginal difference between the two.

Although I don't understand your consistency reasoning tho. Contreras has about 70IP of reliever experience so i'm not sure how he could be inconsistent in just those innings where he pitched very well.

Durbin's ERA last 3 years: 2.87, 4.39, 3.80. His BB/9 doubled in 2009 and his K/9 jumped from 6.5 to 8.3. He had a great start to 2008, slowed at the end, struggled during 09 and then bounced back in 2010 to finish off a strong year. I don't see why his consistency is something that should be used to make a case for him being comparable to Contreras.

Will: If by consistent you mean Durbin's .805 OPS vs. lefthanded hitters, you are correct.

The Phils got a steal in Contreras or only $1.5M last season. His pay this season, $2.75M, is not out of line with decent setup men.

Contreras, despite his age, has better stuff and a better track record than Durbin and pitches in more important spots.

For anyone that is interested the next 2 exhibition games with the Yankees on Saturday and Sunday will be on tv live at 1:00 on the Yes network. They will also have 2-3 replays of the games throughout the day and night. The negative is that you have to listen to the Yankee announcers. Saturday's game is also live on the MLB network and Sunday's game is on tape delay on MLB.

Nobody seems to have addressed this yet, but I will:

Durbin's offer got pulled because the Phillies have had a chance to see some of the young relievers in camp.

A logical conclusion is that they feel some of these guys can either individually or collectively adequately fill his role.

Sorry Chad, the Phillies want younger tuna.

Bay Slugga,

Thanks for the link, pretty funny. Last year was tough enough: "Geez, I mean Roy Halladay/Cole Hamels is pitching tonight. How can we not watch the game?"

This year doesn't leave a whole lot of wriggle room. Basically, one night out of five, the evening and the TV (might) not be dominated by the Phils with a Cy Young caliber pitcher/ace on the mound. What an incredible time to be a Phan.

Who thinks Contreras makes it through this year (let alone the next 2 years) without at least 1 trip to the 15-day DL where he misses at least a month or more?

If Lidge and Madson get hurt, I'd imagine the Phillies would rather have Contreras closing, not Durbin.
Anybody care to conduct a b00b comparison with all of the potential MLB relievers on the team?

"If Lidge and Madson get hurt, I'd imagine the Phillies would rather have Contreras closing, not Durbin."

I'd have to agree with that. In fact, I'd say there's a reasonable chance that Contreras is the 2012 closer if Madson signs elsewhere.

Clout/Lorecore: I stand corrected. I suppose my idea of Durbin's consistency is a product of three years of never having the thought "Oh crap, here comes Chad" when he comes out of the pen more than having any statistical basis. :) I agree that Contreras was the right one to keep of the two.

I have been told I've been too harsh on Durbin. Again, I like the guy. Seems like a solid citizen and a good teammate. Never turned down the ball that I know of. And never whined about not being the center of attention.

But I have the distinct impression that, like J.C. Romero often does, he came in to a number of games last season as the season drew on where he caused a mess, then had to be bailed out. I don't know how to quantify it, but I got the distinct impression that in the latter half of 2010, he was pretty bad. ERA and total season stats don't tell the entire story of a reliever. And maybe I'm mistaken, but there must be someone else who noticed that he took a nosedive as the season progressed.

Contreras definately has better stuff than durbin... be he's also 25-30 years older than durbin

smitty, he was on the DL at one point. IIRC, he didn't pitch as well after returning. I suspect injury had something to do with it.

In case you missed it, this is the WSJ's take on the offseason transactions:

MG: Contreras at 39 stayed more healthy than Lidge Madson Durbin Romero Bastardo last year.

So I agree that the odds big truck does down at elast once over the next two years are pretty good, I don't think they're much different than any other reliever we have.

SI_JonHeyman Jon Heyman
Phillies have asked nationals about OF michael morse, a righty hitter with power

Morse would be an interesting addition. I have to imagine they'd want something decent for him...

2010 Durbin pre-DL:

.237/.318/.366 against, .286 BAbip, 3.31 ERA, 1.217 WHIP, 3.05 BB/9, 7.87 K/9

201 Durbin post-DL:

.256/.343/.456 against, .311 BAbip, 4.32 ERA, 1.440 WHIP, 4.32 BB/9, 8.64 K/9

Kendrick for Morse? Rizotti and Mitchell for Morse.

This article is about the Phillies young relievers:

Boy, have things changed in Philly the last decade. Here's a quote from DeFratus:

"Other guys leave, and you expect the minor league guys to fill in. As far as there being a sense of urgency, no, not really, because you can get anybody to come to Philadelphia right now."

Think about this:.

" can get anybody to come to Philadelphia right now."

KK might be overpaying.

I was thinking Mathieson and another piece.

NEPP, color me crazy, but I'd be inclined to hold on to Mathieson right now.

I'd offer tham a similar prospect, maybe an OF at a lower level with potentially higher upside.

I just have a feeling - nothing more - that Mathieson may contribute some decent innings in MLB this season.

I'm not saying the Indians would get much for Durbs but they could get something while still doing something to appease the fans. Also, he could be included in a move with O-Carbera as a sweetner.

If Durbin has a great season he could net a middle relief prospect. That's pretty good for giving up something that you don't have any real immediate use for.

Honestly, what is the real pricetag for a 28 year old corner OF with barely half a season of everyday ABs under his belt?

He was very good in that 293 PAs last year but its still just 293 PAs.

awh: You realize, of course, that their analysis is based on projected WAR.

is there an upgrade over Mayberry in terms of Morse? I dunno...

for what its worth - Morse's numbers are all legit last year. His xBABIP was .329 which happens to be his career BABIP .329. I got it from a pretty good read up on him at the end of last season.

As NEPP points out, its hard to put trade value on him but you gotta think a team like the Nationals will not part with him easily since he's cheap and shows promise.

I'd mentioned Michael Morse awhile ago, but Jack said he's not a major league player, so I dropped it.

Morse has shown he can hit both LH and RH pitchers...thus he is far far superior to Mayberry.

NEPP, the problem is Morse, while he doesn't have the track record, might be the second best OF on the Nats.

Here's who mlbtr lists as their other options:

"...Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, and Nyjer Morgan. Jerry Hairston Jr. can also play the outfield, and the Nats have both Matt Stairs and Laynce Nix in camp on minor league contracts."


Morse - .291 .353 .456 - 685 PA
Ankiel - .248 .312 .441 - 1393 PA
Bernadina - .241 .306 .364 - 552 PA
Morgan - .253 .319 .314 - 1403 PA
Hairston - .257 .325 .370 - 139
Stairs - 264 .357 .481 - 42 yrs old
Nix - .243 .286 .425 - 1449 PA

There is no way the Nats trade Morse to the Phillies - not a division rival - unless they felt they fleeced the Phillies in return. I'd rate the odds of them getting Morse at about the same as the Phillies trading for Pujols.

I dunno. I guess it's always possible that he's a late bloomer but, when you're judging a 28-year old player from a half season of stats, the first thing I want to see is what his minor league numbers looked like. And his minor league numbers aren't all that impressive.

On the other hand, he kills left-handed pitching & can play shortstop & 3rd base. He might make for a pretty good super-sub. Plus, he's 6'5".

clout, yes I realize it.

Are you implying I agree with their analysis?

lorecore - Not really. Contreras went through a dead arm period in June. Instead of putting him on the DL, he was able to work through it but he wasn nearly as effective down the stretch as we was in April/May.

Kind of reminded me of Rudy Seanez a few years ago although the wheels fell off for him because he got used alot by Cholly the first 2 months and got hurt.

Lidge was relatively fine once he came off the DL at the start of the season from a health perspective. Madson was only on the DL because he likes attacking inimiate metal objects.

Bastardo has been hurt at some point every year the last 3 years including a couple of issues with his elbow. Romero too has been injury-plagued the last 2 seasons since the PED suspension.

Clout's right that the Phils didn't overpay Contreras because the FA market did go up again this year including for middle relievers. Just hate seeing him signed to a 2-yr deal but if the Phils hadn't he likely would have gotten it from somebody else.

Morse was susp for steriods back in '03 - don't tell Schweitzer!


RAJ: "Mike, I'm calling asking whether you'd part with Mike Morse, and what you might want for him?"

Rizzo: "Hi, Rube...who would we want?... Jonathan Singleton."

RAJ: "C'mon, Mike, that's a pretty steep price for a guy who's 28 and hasn't played much."

Rizzo: "Well, if and when you're ready to meet it, give me a call. OK...bye."

Is his name Mike Morse or Miguel Morseno?

How do we really know he's 28?


Durbin isn't a guy though who will have any real trade value at the deadline. At best, he gets you a middle-tier package highlighted by a B-/C+ prospect.

Indians would just sign him because they have ton of question marks in their bullpen after C. Perez as their closer and R. Perez as their lefty specialist.

I would love for the Phils to pick up Morse but yeah it doesn't make sense for several reasons as others have pointed out for the Nats to trade him for the Phils right now.

but if the Phils hadn't he likely would have gotten it from somebody else."

MG, thanks for adding some sanity to the board.

It always drives me nuts when people here make comments that a GM "overpaid" for a player, or state unequivocaly that the GM gave a player too many years.

GM's don't operate in a vaccum, and do not have exclusive bargaining rights to FAs, yet many here seem to believe they do.

clout, I remember your bringing up Morse, but I stand by my post:

The Phillies won't get him without giving something of value up(something they might regret later on).

I'm a Roger Bernadina fan. I think he's starter material eventually.


If the Phillies are asking about Morse, they may not be happy with what they've seen from Francisco.


They may think Brown needs more time in AAA, and would start him there in 2011. T

his would, of course, deeply shock and depress Jack, who might become so catatonic at his loss of BL credibility that he stopped posting altogether for fear of being constantly mocked and reminded by clout.

When we boo him b/c we gave up Mathieson to get him, we could call it the "Morse code".

I find it hard to beleive the Nats wouldn't trade him to the Phillies for the right return. He's not an All-Star and the Nats aren't going to be competing for the division.

JBird, Bernadina is also 26 yrs old. With his track record he'd be the 5th OF on the Phillies - behind Ben Fran.

Brown will be starting opening day vs brett myers. We need to get over that.

Lets deal one of our toolsed OFs(except Santana), they've got even a less chance than Morse of being good. I feel like the Nats would jump on a 19yr old with huge upside.

Hopefully no phuturephillies readers are here or they'd want to kill me for even considering.

Morse will be 29 next month. He's only 5 moonths younger than Ben Fran.

Lorecore: So, are you saying that you're in favor of adding someone who's already had a PED suspension before reaching the major league level?

For the age similarities and differences in ML experience alone, I'd just as soon keep BenFran. Unnecessary move.

awh: I didn't say he'd start for a championship contending team. Just that he's not so bad. he had solid milb numbers. his last full season in the minors at 24 he ops'd .891 and stole 41 bases. I think he can be a 2nd division starter and 4th OF on a 1st division club.

In fairness, Morse is a horrible fielder in the OF, a below-average fielder elsewhere.

Good power, though.

Bernandina is a speed/defense guy who can neither hit nor get on base.

awh: That list of Nats outfielders makes me realize how serious a blow it was to them when Elijah Dukes lost his chit.

Bernandina had a milb career obp of .352, and he was better in AA and AAA than the lower levels. He's not terrible.

Lohse, Lee and Durbin-- if you dont take Rubes first offer he gets pissed and yanks it off the table. I think Durbin is better than any of the middle relievers we have.
I know he is better than Baez, hope they are not making a mistake.

hah i was just kidding about the roids, obviously its not something you'd prefer to see.

Will I am sure many Beerleaguer's can't wait for you to release your statistical analysis of when is the best time to sign relief pitchers.
When your done that please do a statistical analysis of why it is benifical to lie about your age if your a MLB player.

Ted, do not assume that Baez will break camp with the Phillies if the younger arms are more impressive. He has 2011 left on his contract, and is a sunk cost.

The Phillies have walked away from more than the $2.75 MM that they owe Baez.

For references see: Eaton, Adam; Jenkins, Geoff.

clout, Dukes and Milledge would BOTH be candidates for playing time in the Nats OF tis season.

what if a team could put together an outfield of Dukes, Milledge, and Milton Bradley. That would be epic.

The word scrappy doesnt come to mind.

Only if Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn was available to pitch. Sheen might actually be crazier than all 3 of those dudes.

AWH~ Agreed. Gnats will not trade Morse to the Phils unless we overpay. RAJ is finally realizing that he may need to fond a better RH bat than we we already have. But it may be too late in the game for that. He should have adressed the issue sooner and probably through FA.

Heyman an hour after the first tweet:

#nationals disinclined to trade morse to #phillies (or anywhere). see potential, esp w/ work rick eckstein's done w/ him

He isn't going anywhere and we're stuck with the Ben Francisco show.

Not overly concerned about getting a RH bat, some combo of brown,Francisco,mayberry,Ibanez will be fine in the of. Don't think there is anything worth picking up right now anyway.

Francisco is a solid 4th OF and platoon guy. Not great but solid. We'll survive.

He's 58th among OFs in wOBA since 2008.

He'd be a starter on at least a handful of teams. He's a decent stopgap solution and that's what he'll be this year when he's spotting Ibanez in LF and starting in RF from time to time.

Bowlcut, through the 2009 season Morse posted this:

.293/.355/.409, 106 OPS+ in 392 PA

Francisco did this during through 2009:

.263/.330,.446, 106 OPS+ in 1024 PA

More had a good season in 2010 posting this:

.289/.352/.519, 133 OPS+ in 293 PA

Francisco posted this in 2010:

.268/.327/.441. 104 OPS+ in 197 PA

Morse has had one season (or a half-season, really) where he outperformed Francisco at the plate, and as clout noted above, he's more of a defensive liability than Francisco.

As a result, despite a clearly superior year offensively in 2010, he was only .5 WAR better (, and some of that probably had to do with the additional 100 PA.

As an all-around player, Morse doesn't appear to be THAT much of an upgrade over Francisco.

JBird: He's definitely not terrible. He's an excellent defensive outfielder, above average in CF and has excellent speed.

But his slash line in 552 MLB PAs is .241/.306/.364 and he turns age 27 this season. I do not think you will see those numbers rise much regardless of what he did in the high minors at age 24.

What would be wrong with getting Morse in addition to Francisco? Shouldn't we be looking at Morse Vs. Mayberry?

BedBeard: Well, first you'd have to look at what it would take to get Morse, no? And if that price is equal to whatever improvement Morse would be over Mayberry.

There's room for Morse & Francisco on the same roster, but only temporarily & only if Domonic Brown starts the season at AAA. If we did get Morse, Francisco would eventually be traded to clear room for Brown. But that might not happen until mid-season.

It's probably moot, as I don't see the Nationals easily parting with Morse.

There's room for Morse & Francisco on the same roster, but only temporarily & only if Domonic Brown starts the season at AAA. If we did get Morse, Francisco would eventually be traded to clear room for Brown. But that might not happen until mid-season.

It's probably moot, as I don't see the Nationals easily parting with Morse.

There's room for Morse & Francisco on the same roster, but only temporarily & only if Domonic Brown starts the season at AAA. If we did get Morse, Francisco would eventually be traded to clear room for Brown. But that might not happen until mid-season.

It's probably moot, as I don't see the Nationals easily parting with Morse.

BAP, if you're gonna keep screaming at us then the argument will surely be moot. I heard you the first time. j/k

Hey, a crazy thought just occurred to me: I'll bet there's room for Morse & Francisco on the same roster . . .

Sorry about that triple post. I have no idea how that happened.

I'd rather just keep BenFran.

here's a sample of the article

The Phils have had a longstanding interest in Morse. In fact, they inquired about Morse’s availability in December. According to sources, the Nationals asked for Domonic Brown in return and the talks never materialized

Phils should throw in Utley.


phillengood: Was there a point to that last post, or do you just like arguing in general?

"What would be wrong with getting Morse in addition to Francisco? Shouldn't we be looking at Morse Vs. Mayberry?"

Bed Beard~ Answers to your questions are: Nothing and yes. Ben Fran was already here. Mayberry has to make the team. I have been preaching all winter as you know for a RH bat. I have been lambasted here for my opinion on this issue. Brown and Ben Fran could be fine. But what is the plan if they don't pan out? That has been my whole point of contention the entire off-season.

Is it finally coming to pass that the powers that be are realizing that another RH bat is needed based on what they have? Why is this happening NOW? Why not sooner?

That's why I say RAJ isn't done. But who's he gonna get and for what price? I'd rather have Blanton as my #5 than KK. I don't trade Joe unless I can get the bat I need. But I don't rade KK eother. He provides a much-needed insurance policy if one of our starters goes down a la Wainwright. Again, RAJ should have adressed this issue in FA'cy. He didn't and it looks like they're scrambling now.

Now matter who is pitching, the offense has to consistantly hit for them to win. The pitchers are not perfect. There has to be a feared, balanced lineup and decent bats off the bench.

I knew dpat was gonna love this rumor.

I wouldn't say RAJ is scrambling, he is doing what good GMs do, continuously looking for ways to improve his club.

why would he scramble? they haven't even played a freakin game yet

"Major League Baseball provided $25 million to the owners of the Mets as they struggled to deal with a cash shortfall last fall and a looming lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s vast Ponzi scheme, according to two people briefed on the arrangement."

The Mets are welfare queens?

I'd say it might be possible that the Phils have done some scouting on Morse and think he could be a higher upside player on a buy low opportunity b/c of the nats OF "depth" (using term loosely). He is battling for a starting job on a weak team. It also might show the Phils aren't that high on Mayberry and maybe even Benny Frank, which isn't the biggest surprise. Good teams look to improve when they can.

Because of one tiny rumor about Mike Morse, Rube looks like he's scrambling? That's rich.

Here's another theory: he knows that the starting pitching on this team is good enough to win this division by itself, so Amaro is going to give the RF situation a few months to iron itself out and see if the offense can get by with what they have on the roster (unless he gets blown away with an offer for Blanton). If the lineup is still an issue in June/July, he makes a move for a bat. When you have built a starting rotation like this, you can afford to be patient.

I also like that the Nats asked for Domonic Brown in return for Morse. That is the exact opposite of what Rube means by 'laying groundwork' for a deal- it's Mike Rizzo saying "F*** you, go shop someplace else."

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