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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Comments

It would suck if Sandberg where to leave. I think he would make a good manager and seen that he personally coached some of AAA talent will make it better. I wonder if he is willing to stick around for another year.

They need to fire Charlie Manuel. Today.

but ugh @ two teams facing off in the NLCS with Lohse and Wolf facing each other, while we sit at home with Halladay, Lee, Hamels, and Oswalt

Considering that two players who tore their Achilles - Northwestern's Dan Persa (football) took 11 months before playing and Michigan State's Kalin Lucas (basketball) took almost a full year to get back to his previous level, I would be shocked if Howard was back in 5-6 months from a torn Achilles. Granted, it's baseball and he plays first base, but he's also much older than the other two and I just can't see him recovering in that short of a time.

Is the threat of Sandberg going to Chicago enough to get Cholly fired. I think not.Players love Cholly and 102 wins is hard to overlook even with PS failure.Don't really think Sandberg will get the job.Not enough friends in the right circles in Chicago.

They are not firing Charlie...unfortunately. Although I think if someone were smart enough to fire RA than of course UC would be gone as well but I can't imagine that happening.

It seems to me that Baltimore's prospects do just fine developing through the minors but then stall in the majors. I'm thinking of Markakis never developing power, Matusz falling apart this year, Wieters taking a few years in the majors to find himself after destroying the minors. . . Whoever makes the drafting decisions in Baltimore, that guy I don't want. But if you were looking to get a farm specialist I'd be poaching from Tampa Bay or Texas or LAD. They seem to have good systems

I think Amaro is playing coy so as not to get fleeced when scouting around for 1 year fill-in for Howard. I would imagine it's transparent to the other GMs.

Chase Utley does not heal fast.

He comes back from injury fast, only to play with nagging injuries at a much lower level than he usually does.

And now he has warning track power and caught-stealing-on-72mph-curveball speed, or in other words - mediocre.

I could see Dubee managing his hometown team. Don't he's on their list though.

While Chase Utley is one of those players who recovers quickly, I don't see Howard falling into that category in this case.

Sorry to be a humbug, but what exactly are the implications of that statement? I expect a lot better from BL.

Repost:

Coming off a season like this...

.238/.332/.462 (33 years old)

I wonder how many people considered this player done. Or how many would have expected him to post seasons like the following in the last 2 years.

.270/.370/.529 (34)
.309/.398/.554 (35)

But yeah, all OUR players are washed up and will never be productive or have improved seasons ever again.

Yet another thing that I like about the Phils organization. Unlike what's going on in Boston, they don't throw each other under the bus. That's BL's job.

So far I'm striking out one the last ex-Phillies question.

Bob Walk and Norm Charlton squared off against each other in the '90 NLCS but Charlton wouldn't pitch for the Phils until '92. I'm looking though.

Scotch Man - Dave Stewart and Willie Hernandez were dead ends for me.

Epstein tried to hire Sandberg as Pawtucket's manager last year. Yeah, there is history between the two.

"He (Utley) comes back from injury fast, only to play with nagging injuries at a much lower level than he usually does."

It's a fine line. The offense was in a bad way this season at the point he came back. While he was nowhere near 100% (let's say 75% purely for the sake of argument), the offense did improve upon his return.

Would they have been better off if he had rehabbed for another month or whatever? What level would he have come back at? And even if he had, would he still be operating a lower level than normal, say, 85%?

You just don't know, which is why these injuries are so hard to predict.

Anyone know Ryan Howard's contract is insured? Would the Phillies be able to collect any money if he misses all of 2012?

And the history, so far, is of Sandberg turning Epstein down.

I look forward to BLers doing their best Sen. Bill Frist impressions-guessing Howard's recovery time by looking at the video of the injury, and his body type.

"Contract insurance" is an idea whose existence is widely posited on Beerleaguer, but does anyone know if it actually exists? My common sense tells me that it probably doesn't. In my experience, insurance companies don't generally provide coverage out of the goodness of their hearts. They insure things when there's a profit to be made and a large enough client base to cover the risks of a huge payout. So how would that work if you could buy injury insurance for a single $20M contract? The premiums would have to be so colossal as to render the whole concept pointless.

And even if such policies do exist, I can guarantee you that they must surely have parameters which are almost never met -- i.e., death, a career-ending injury or, at the very least, an injury that causes the player to miss the whole season. But, if the injury is career or season-ending, there would rarely be any way to know until after the fact. So even if the Phillies did have this semi-mythical injury insurance on Ryan Howard's contract (or other contracts), they wouldn't be able to cash in on that policy until a year down the road, if it turned out that he missed the entire season.

bap, I remember a major flap around Albert Belle and insurance with his free agent contract with the Orioles. I think the Os wanted to declare him out for the season and Belle said that he would be able to play some time that year. Like everything else since that time, I think that went bad for the Os.

@BAP: There is disability insurance that teams take out on their players: http://legalball.com/MLB-news.html

My understanding is that contract insurance has become prohibitively expensive and largely unavailable. The last player for whose injury I recall the Phillies making a claim on such a policy was Lenny Dykstra. I recall it being publicized because, insurance companies being in the business of collecting premiums and denying claims, there was litigation over whether Dykstra was rendered incapable of playing within the terms of that policy. I am no expert but, to the extent such coverage is still available, I doubt the product covers a situation like Howard's is shaping up as, even if he misses all of 2012.

Here is an article from BP.com that is behind a pay wall. It does a good job of explaining contract insurance and uses Cliff Lee as an example. Bottom line, Phillies probably won't get much salary relief.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13011

Checking the Numbers
Paying the Premium

by Eric Seidman

The Blue Jays' signing of Jose Bautista last week set off a frenzy of analysis in which authors attempted to determine whether or not his projected performance would live up to the value of his new contract. This is a common analytical template, as it allows the writer to determine whether the deal was more beneficial to the team or the player. From the standpoint of the player, as long as the performance-to-currency translation is sound, the calculation generally works. However, there are factors beyond the reported salary that influence whether or not the deal benefited the team. One of these factors is disability insurance. Granted, the amounts of the insurance premiums paid to take out a policy on a player are not common knowledge, but it is important to understand that a team is likely to pay more than meets the eye, and that the insurance introduces a new level of risk.

Why insure players? Well, they play a sport that can hobble them for the rest of their lives or require that they undergo risky surgeries. They also play a sport in which contracts are guaranteed, meaning that no matter what happens, players are going to be compensated. By signing a player, a team is already entering into multiple areas of risk—that the contract will prohibit it from making other moves, and that the player’s performance will not live up to the deal. The last thing a team wants to consider is that a player will not even stay on the field for the duration of his contract. Cue disability insurance, which comes into play under the notion that if a player is not physically fit to play, the team may not be liable for his salary during the period in question. So how does this all work?

For starters, what is insurance? At its most basic, insurance is a risk management technique designed to hedge against a contingent loss. In other words, insurance is a gamble—someone will pay a specific amount to take out a policy that will cover them should something extraordinary or unusual come to fruition. Ideally, the cost of the policy and its premiums will be less than the actual insured entity, so that the insurer can mitigate some of its risk and not incur a complete loss on its investment should these extraordinary circumstances arise. If nothing bad happens, the insurer will have an added cost on top of the face amount of the contract, which defines the risk; it is possible that the policy is unnecessary, but it is impossible to know that without the benefit of being Captain Hindsight. Accurately assessing the levels of risk associated with each player is the most integral part of the decision of whether or not to insure the deal.

We will use Cliff Lee as an example. The lefty signs an unexpected deal with the Mystery Team that will pay him $120 million over five years. Knowing that the position he plays is prone to injuries, the team decides to insure his contract. After he inks his name to the paper, the contract is shipped to an underwriter, whose job is to account for all of the relevant factors pertaining to Lee’s situation and craft a policy with premiums paid in based on the risk being undertaken by the insurance provider. Not every player carries the same levels of risk, and as a 32-year-old pitcher, Lee is going to be perceived to carry more risk than certain other players—the problem with 32-year-old pitchers is that they tend to break down, after all. In general, old players are riskier than younger ones; pitchers are riskier than non-pitchers; and catchers are riskier than other position players.

From a policy premium standpoint, the worst thing to be is an older pitcher (save for an older pitcher who moonlights as an old catcher). The likelihood that the provider will have to make a payout—to pay for Lee’s salary in the event of a catastrophic injury—is also taken into account when determining the premiums, because it would not make sense to offer a team a small premium if the potential payout could wipe away the profits generated from hundreds of other clients.

Unfortunately, many upstart insurance providers traveled down this road simply because it was cool to be associated with Major League Baseball. Most of these companies went bankrupt and are no longer operating, so there is certainly risk on both sides. In some cases, especially those with big-money contracts, multiple insurance companies will bear the burden in different increments. The team will need to gauge its level of risk against that of the insurance provider, because if the latter assigns premiums that are too costly, it would eat away at the value of a potential payout and therefore not necessarily be worth the coverage offered in the policy.

To return to the case at hand, the underwriter sees Lee’s age and position, as well as his history of injuries, and determines that the Phillies will need to pay, let’s say, $4 million per year in order to be covered by this specific policy. If the Phillies agree—and as we will explore later, not all teams do—they will make these premium payments and become covered by the policy. Should something happen to Lee, they would then be eligible for a payout under the specific terms of the policy. And this is where games can be played and the situation can get tricky. The terms of the policy are obviously the key to the deal.

Back at the beginning of the decade, the entire duration of a deal could be insured and the teams could take out policies that covered 100 percent of the player’s salary. Nowadays, insurance policies are limited to two or three years, may cover only 50-80 percent of the player’s salary, have qualifying deductible waiting periods that last half of the season, and can include provisions that help the provider avoid having to cover the cost in certain circumstances. An example of one such provision would be to safeguard against a pre-existing injury.

For instance, Lee has had issues with his back in the past, so an underwriter might craft into the policy that the insurer would pay out 65 percent of his salary if Lee were deemed physically unfit to play at all during a year covered under the policy, unless the diagnosis of the injury pertains to a specific area on his back that has sidelined him from play in the past. In a case like this, the insurance provider would be protecting itself by drastically decreasing the likelihood that it would have to make a payout. The qualifying deductible is a waiting period of 90 days before the benefits kick in if a payout is deemed necessary, meaning that the team still covers the salary expense during that span. As we discussed in my articles on taxation in baseball, there are 220 duty days over the course of a baseball season, so the waiting period is a bit less than half of the year.

Quantifying this idea, let’s say that Lee is covered in the third, fourth, and fifth years of his deal per the duration restrictions on the policies. The Phillies pay in $4 million per year for coverage that will pay out 65 percent of Lee’s salary in a covered year if he suffers a debilitating injury that sidelines him for the entire season, as long as it does not involve his back. Prior to the fifth and final year of his deal, his foot falls off and he cannot pitch anymore. The team files a claim, and the provider agrees to pay the 65 percent. Only, it isn’t 65 percent of his $24 million salary in that season, but rather 65 percent of the $12 million remaining after the qualifying deductible period ends, less the major-league minimum of ~ $400,000. The Phillies recoup $7.5 million (65 percent of $11.6 million), but have already paid premiums totaling $12 million—$4 million per year for three years. At the end of the deal, they would have paid a total of $124.5 million for a contract with a face value of $120 million. Was it worth the cost in this hypothetical? How fun are word problems?

As you can see, there are many factors that can influence the decision to insure a player beyond his own injury history or salary. And even if a player meets all of the checkpoints necessary for an insurance payout there is still the very good possibility that the provider will not need to pay. Look no further than Jeff Bagwell to see all of this put together.

Bagwell had signed a five-year deal worth $85 million back at the beginning of the millennium, but had fallen prey to an arthritic right shoulder by the time his deal was about to end. He was set to earn $16 million during the 2006 campaign, the final guaranteed year of the deal. His shoulder had been bothering him since the 2005 season, in which the Astros lost to the White Sox in the World Series, and it seemed like a long shot that he would ever be able to throw a baseball again without discomfort. The insurance policy that the team took out on Bagwell was set to expire on January 31, 2006, and so the Astros sent their stalwart slugger to Dr. James Andrews on January 12 for an examination. When the exam had concluded, the Astros felt that Bagwell had been proven to be a disabled player who was not physically fit to remain on the roster.

With the results of that test, the team filed a total disability insurance claim on January 27, looking to recoup $15.6 million—the $16 million less the minimum. The team also had to work around Bagwell’s desire to participate in spring training activities, because the policy clearly stated that if a player participated in playing or practices, benefits would be terminated. They found a loophole of sorts in that such participation would not trigger the cancellation of benefits if it was with the consent of the team physician. On March 13, Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. told the Astros that they were denying the claim on the basis of their opinion that nothing had changed between then and the end of the 2005 regular season, when Bagwell was still included on the roster. Outraged, owner Drayton McLane wondered what else it would take to show that Bagwell was totally disabled from playing, if a test by a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon who had reached the same conclusion didn’t do the trick.

Prior to Bagwell’s situation, the last big insurance payout went to the Baltimore Orioles, who had signed Albert Belle to a five-year, $65 million contract before the 1999 season. Belle played in the first two years of the deal, but suffered from a degenerative hip condition that kept him from performing during spring training of the following year. The Orioles successfully recouped between $27 and $35 million of the deal given the provisions of their policy. The situation with Belle began to scare teams, because even though the Orioles received a large payout, the disadvantages of big-dollar deals rushed to the forefront. Another example of a payout, albeit on a lesser scale—though the player in question certainly tipped some scales in his day—involved Mo Vaughn.

The Mets traded for the former MVP and the remaining three years and $70 million of his deal even though he was sidelined for the 2001 season with a torn biceps. He played in 2002, but saw his career come to an end in 2003 due to a knee condition. Fortunately for the Mets, his contract came with a disability policy, and while the team still had to pay most of his 2003 salary due to the aforementioned 90-day waiting period, the policy stood to cover 75 percent of whatever was left. Scarred by their situation with Vaughn, the Mets came up with a fairly creative offer to then-free-agent Vladimir Guerrero, which would pay $71 million over five years if he met several “stay-healthy” incentives.

The idea of insuring a contract had become increasingly prevalent with the skyrocketing salaries of players, but the trials and tribulations necessary to receive a payout made the decision to pay for insurance premiums less than clear-cut. This also led, in part, to the increased incidence of incentive-laden deals, as teams utilized this technique to protect themselves from guaranteeing large sums of money that might not be recoupable in an insurance claim. In these situations, the team might not pay in premiums to take out a policy on certain players, but these players would not earn their entire salary without staying healthy, a form of risk management similar to insurance.

Some teams, however, don’t use even this tactic and simply do not insure contracts. For instance, the San Francisco Giants opted not to insure the deals they agreed to with Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand, figuring that the contracts themselves carried enough risk. The Seattle Mariners are famous for not taking out disability insurance policies for their players, figuring that if underwriters would exempt the providers from payouts for injuries to a body part that was the specific reason they sought insurance, then why bother? When the team signed Richie Sexson in 2005, they shopped around for quotes, but every policy exempted coverage for his surgically repaired shoulder that had been injured the year before. Why take out a policy ifthe shoulder was the reason they began searching?

What everything boils down to is a team’s assessment and its tolerable level of risk. Some teams are willing to look past the restrictions and provisions of the policies, as well as the cost, if it means that they can cover themselves in some capacity. Others bypass disability insurance policies because they amount to substantial added costs for the strong unlikelihood of a payout, literally and figuratively. This means that certain teams will pay more for a player than others, even if they both offer the same deal. The costs of premiums are not known, and while that makes it difficult for us to factor them into the cost of a player, they are certainly a consideration on the part of the team, just as the market taxation is a consideration for the player.

The policies definitely exist, here is a link to a company offering one.

http://www.bwdgroup.com/sports/disability.asp

That being said, did the Phillies take one out when they signed Howard to the extension? Would it pay if he missed the whole year?

Hugh: it's also my understanding that contract insurance is very expensive and comes with a lot of exclusions like arm injuries for pitchers, which would make the insurance impractical. But, who knows?

BAP - Contract insurance for professional athletes doesn't exist anymore. You use to have various firms doing it but the risk/profit margins just didn't bare it out.

I have seen where athletes in college though will get a contract risk contract at for a relatively small amount though in lieu of a larger portion of their future earnings.

brad: Thanks. Almost doesn't sound worth the cost of the premiums -- which is precisely what I figured.

Too bad they don't offer insurance against a player stinking it up relative to his salary. If they did, the Phillies would be flush with cash heading into the off-season.

Seriously this:

"but ugh @ two teams facing off in the NLCS with Lohse and Wolf facing each other, while we sit at home with Halladay, Lee, Hamels, and Oswalt"

In case anyone is interested, I just did the Top 10 Worst Losses in Phillies history on The Felske Files. Did I miss any? http://jstolnis.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/10-worst-losses-in-phillies-history/

Okay so it fails under disability insurance. That makes sense.

I bet top dollar that the underwriter to the policy spreads the risk out as the article states to several additional firms and that those firms likely take out a CDS from another firm to ensure themselves against the risk they actually have to payout.

You have to love the modern world of finance that literally hasn't contributed a truly worthwhile innovation in arguably the last 25-30 years except increasing complexity.

If the Yanks-Phils were going to play in the 'Sad World Series,' I would have to take the Yanks especially if they had home field with the DH.

http://www.onionsportsnetwork.com/articles/yankees-phillies-playing-sad-little-world-series-o,26355/

Bob: "It's a fine line. The offense was in a bad way this season at the point he came back. While he was nowhere near 100% (let's say 75% purely for the sake of argument), the offense did improve upon his return.

Would they have been better off if he had rehabbed for another month or whatever? What level would he have come back at? And even if he had, would he still be operating a lower level than normal, say, 85%? "

Phils were definitely better with Chase coming back from injury and I am glad he came back early since the alternative is Valdez/Martinez.

I just took offense to the comment that Utley heals fast and Howard might not, not the decision for Utley to retunr when he did. And of course, inject some remaining bitterness into the comment from this long lasting sting from their early exit.

You guys are right, I guess it won't make a difference between this offer being a big league managerial job in the national league city where his star power was created and an American league triple AAA job in Pawtucket, right? Yeah, Sandberg will wait it out, no hurry to a competitive spirit.

ESPN trade rumors reported on the Phillies 3b situation. The gist was, well, that Aramis Ramirez and Wilson Betemit are free agents but the Phillies haven't been linked to either. That was it.

You have to love how the Rangers are winning. Looks an awful lot like the '08 Phils:

- Good enough starting pitching although they don't go deep

- Bullpen that locks down the game from the 6th/7th inning on that is 4-5 deep.

- Power through out the lineup

Seems like Betemit has been available one or another the last 5 offseasons, and the Phils have never been linked to him.

One area in which Charlie & the FO seem to be in agreement is that they have near endless patience w/ veterans, & almost no patience w/ younger players. Dream all you want, but if Polanco is able to propel himself onto the field in '12, he's gonna be the 3B.

lorecore,

I hear that. Based on his track record, I think Howard will work incredibly hard at rehab, and it will be what it will be.

Talking about bitter, Howard played hurt for a while, and who knows, that may have contributed to his injury. He didn't have a good series the last four games to say the least, but what a way to end up the season. Bad series, bad final game, makes an out to end the final game, and now a very serious injury on top of it. Cannot even imagine his mindset right now.

Anyway, if we didn't still have some bitterness after this season's end left, we wouldn't be alive.

John Stolnis, Great List! Not that it matters, but Chico Ruiz was an infielder (2B/3B) and not a catcher. That was the beginning of my Phillies pessimism. Also interesting was Paul Molitor's comment on not trying to hit a game winning HR because the odds were too great. I wish our Phils would have thought that way.

If Howard's contract is insured then surely Polanco is eligible for Medicare.

Wolf vs. Loshe = me still being livid over how this season turned out.

Betamit is terrible. I saw him here in Richmond when he played @ AAA. How old is Ramirez? 35+? it doesn't appear that there are a lot of options. I wish we'd gotten Beltre but...

I do have hypothetical question I'd like someone to answer. Let's say Howard hits the ball out and injures his achilles while rounding the bases and is unable to continue. What happens? Is the HR declared null?

DPatrone: I was wondering that myself. Would he have to crawl around the bases? I'm pretty sure he would not be allowed to receive help rounding the bases. What an odd home run trot that would be.

@BOB: tis true that ryan must be in a terrible mindset. But at least he has a palace in Florida to plan and decorate to get his mind off of things...

DH~ I didn't think he'd be allowed to receive help either. I wonder if that scenario ever happened.

I mean Gibson had to hobble around basically on one leg.

TK: My feelings on the end end of the Phillies' '11 season have progressed more along the line of disgust than lividity, but I know exactly what you mean. I want them BOTH to lose.

I don't think I can watch Lohse v. Wolf. That's a cruel joke.

Hopefully Howard will return at some point. I wouldn't put much stock into next year though. Bobby Tolan was never the same after he suffered the same injury. Of course, scope of medicine has changed greatly over the years. Maybe Ryan can come back in better shape based on the fact he's done in the past, and remain a great power threat. All we can do is hope and pray. If he could, what a great story it would be.

I think Mayberry can do an adequate job but I really think he's ticketed for LF. RAJ will bring in someone to play 1st. I think he brings back Jimmy and brings in a closer. It'll be an interesting off-season to say the least.

Without our boys there, I don't care to watch it at all. It just doesn't matter.

I think you pretty much have to bring in a half competent, decent hit 1B just in case. You don't want to pigeonhole yourself ala Werth leaving and hoping for fransisco to pan out, only to then have to scramble and pickup someone in the middle of the year and overpay. Not to say that the phillies overpaid for pence, i'm not taking a stance on that deal, just avoiding that scenario is a good one. If howard comes back healthy, then you always have a decent bench option in the 1b you signed or, a piece to move at the deadline for some other area of need.

Or basically, i'm fine with JMJ, but what if both brown and howard are busts next year. He can't play LF & 1b at the same time.

DPat and DH

Did you hear about this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVlKtI7yd_s

They will pick up Gaby Sanchez when Albert Pooholes signs with the Marlins.

I once read a heartwarming story of a college softball pitcher who helped the opposing team's player around the bases after that girl hit the winning HR but blew out her knee on her way 'round the bases. Ump said she had to complete the trip around the bases for the HR to count, and that her own team was not allowed to help her. So the opposing pitcher (I think she was the pitcher) went over to help the injured rival. Assisted by another of her teammates, they supported the hurt batter around the bases, making sure she touched each base.

So yes, while rules are different, I'm sure Howard would have been required to touch each base for a HR to count. Not sure he could have done it.

mm - that's what the trade deadline is for.

Rube expects Howard back early, possibly for opening day. i highly doubt he goes after a starting caliber 1B this offseason. Mayberry will be fine at first, and it may give us a chance to see how Dom fares in full-time LF duty.

GBrett, that's the video I posted.

Rube's fibbing about the Opening Day comment. I am sure he would be thrilled if Howard was back by June 1st.

Not the first time or the last that Amaro will say that about an injury.

Ah, Cyclic, I didn't realize. Will watch your linked video. I hope I got the details right.

MG: You're prob. right RE: Amaro's thoughts on Howard's return. Even so, I believe Utley has come back too soon each time he has been injured. If we start hearing about Howard's "remarkably fast recovery", panic.

Yeah, you pretty much got it right. I don't see Pujols helping Howie around the bases on the game tying HR.

too bad surgery to repair an Achilles isn't like Tommy John. Howard could come back next year and steal 25 bases and win a gold glove!

I did get some details wrong, but the basic truth is that the player was carried around the bases by the opposing team, and that this game's outcome determined playoffs. Here's the link on espn.com (I read it originally in SI, where it was written to be dramatic and heartwarming; it's more bare-bones here, but still...) http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/columns/story?columnist=hays_graham&id=3372631

Also, apparently the umps were wrong, and the rules did allow for a pinch runner.

But yes, I agree, no way would the Cardinals have helped Howard around the bases. I'm just glad we didn't have to witness a HR become an out due to his injury; that would have been the worst feeling, I think.

Nice find.

" i highly doubt he goes after a starting caliber 1B this offseason. Mayberry will be fine at first, and it may give us a chance to see how Dom fares in full-time LF duty."

This will be one of the more interesting dilemmas of the off season. I got the impression from what has been said that Mayberry will get a chance to pay full time and earn the job in left.

So where does that leave Dom? Trade bait or late season replacement for Mayberry if Mayberry proves he can't be an everyday starter? Do you toss Dom a first baseman's glove and let him try it on for size? (Remember when you flame this idea, bay_area_phan said it first) If you put Mayberry at first you deprive yourself of some good defense in the outfield, and then what do you do when Howard comes back if Mayberry has grown into the job?

This could be a time to test two potentially good young players and find out what they can and cannot do - hopefully definitively. But you could really screw things up for the team and for these two players if you work this wrong. Glad Rube's making these calls.

Just read a quote from our new director of player development, Joe Jordan: "I'm a basball guy more than anything." Can someone please tell me what that means? Sounds pretty vague to me.

Bob: Here's what I see happening - Mayberry struggles. Someone tosses Dom a First Baseman's glove. He drops it, falls down & leaves a huge divot in the turf. We decide Mayberry's not so bad after all.

jr., were you being facetious about Sandberg not having enough friends in the right circles...in Chicago?

Should I even be asking this question?

One of the few guys I like on the Mets is Daniel Murphy. I wouldn't mind seeing if he was available through trade.

He can play 1B and his natural position is 3B. He's a LH hitter, high average, high OBP, low strikeout guy. And he seems to have a real toughness to him (un-like some of the other Mets).

So, basically, when Detroit doesn't have Benoit or Valverde available, they try to make their starter go 8 innings? Sounds like Leyland has no confidence in his BP, even with a 5 run lead.

I would not put it past Rube to resign Gload after his hip surgery and put him at first base for a couple months with Mayberry in left.

But I'd look into acquiring Jason Giambi instead. He could sub at first for a while, then become the lefthanded bat off the bench. It would be nice to replace Gload with someone who has Matt Stairs type pop. That was clearly missing from the Phils this season.

Even a guy like Matsui might be able to fill in at first, then become the lefty off the bench. Or Damon. There are a whole bunch of outfield defense challenged guys who could probably cover first for a couple of months and have some pretty good numbers at the plate.

It's also possible that Rube goes inexpensive and brings up a Rizz or similar from the minors, or takes a flier on Bowker at first, assuming he can get by until Howard comes back.

But like I said, I'd go after Giambi. He's the guy I wanted them to bring in at the trade deadline, and it's possible they had a deal for him in place before he got injured. He's not a full season answer, but he's probably a half season answer.

"One of the few guys I like on the Mets is Daniel Murphy. I wouldn't mind seeing if he was available through trade."

Yeah, you prepared to offer Worley or Kendrick or Dom Brown?

Didn't think so rty. Didn't think so.

"Just read a quote from our new director of player development, Joe Jordan: "I'm a basball guy more than anything." Can someone please tell me what that means? Sounds pretty vague to me."

A baseball guy more than a coin collector?


Ha ha ha rty!!! So funny I forgot to laugh.

Now do people see what I mean about his posts?

I give up. Fine. I won't post here anymore. I admit some or many people post some really thought out, well written posts here. And mine probably do not compare to those. I am not a good writer like others here. I am a Phillies fan and liked coming here to add the occasional comment.

But someone seems to have a thing with what I say so that's that.

I hope the Phils do well this offseason. I think we'll be OK next year. More uncertainty for sure going into 2012 than previous years but I thik we'll weather it and make the postseason and once there anything is possible.

Go Phillies! And let's hope for some good news and additions on the team this offseason that will help "us" win next year.

If I ever need to find Rich within a 30-second window, I know exactly what to do: just write a post on Beerleaguer pretending to be rty.

I like that the Phils went after a baseball guy first and foremost.

b_a_p: I once made a post in the guise of a 35-year-old position player w/ rapidly declining offensive numbers & a troubling history of injuries. r00b faxed me an offer sheet for a 3 yr/$60 million deal w/in the hour.

GTown: If I were you, I'd hold out for an option year, with a $2.5M buyout.

b_a_p: I'll work that into my contract demands once FA hits. 5 years sounds about right ...

rty and Rich are the same person. Yeah, I said it.

RTTMM: I've been hoping that would prove to be the deal all along. Would make for a fascinating case study. Wasn't there a guy here a few years ago that actually claimed his participation in Beerleaguer was for the purpose of research? Dude should come back & get in touch w/ rty-Rich.

After a HBP or a HR, the ball is dead, and a team can substitute a runner for a batter who is unable to continue. This is the gist of Rule 3.03 (I think that's the rule number.).

So, had Howard hit one out and crumbled to the ground, a pinch runner would have run the bases.

Really, derek? Thanks. Good to know. If only....

What would have happened if Howard hit a home run and every fan in attendance fainted and fell to the ground and was unable to applaud??

We need the Red Sox to offer the job to Mackanin so we can quickly offer the bench coach gig to Sandberg.

Advantage Lohse through 3 innings in The Playoff Battle of Ex Phillies Pitching Mediocrity

What is the ERA of starting pitchers so far in the playoffs? It can't be good in this "Year of the Pitcher".

"rty and Rich are the same person. Yeah, I said it."

Please don't insult me.

I can't decide if I want to see the Cards win out, thereby getting some consolation that the Phils were beaten by the team that won it all.

Or route for another team altogether.
Well routing for a team is probably the wrong word I guess. More like favoring a team.

It looks like the Padres are going to decline their options on Brad Hawpe and Chad Qualls this off-season.

Both of those guys could be worth a flier- Qualls especially. Hawpe has struggled the past two years and did have Tommy John surgery this past season. If he is healthy to start the year he may be worth picking up and stashing on the bench or to replace Howard in a pinch. Qualls rebounded pretty nicely last year after a nasty 2010. Relievers are notoriously hard to predict but if he can give you something resembling this season he would be a nice addition to the bullpen. if you go with a young bullpen he would be a nice back-up in case the closer falters.

On the Howard injury FWIW- the doctor they spoke with on ESPN also said the Howard ankle injury would be 6 months to heal. That puts you in April. It may be worth keeping Howard out until mid May or June 1st though to give him some time to regain some strength in his ankle. The Phillies are known for being a second half team so a healthy Howard for the latter half of the year would be a nice problem.

On Joe Jordan- I read a few Orioles sites and opinions are mixed on him. He has led to the drafting of quite a few good players and has missed on some. I think that is par for the course for a scouting director though considering it is really hard to know exactly how a guy will perform once they get to the majors.

OK, route route route for the correct spelling.

I'm rooting for the Cards. Basically because Nyjer Morgan is on the Brewers.

I'm rooting for the earth to open up & swallow St. Louis whole. Basically because it's a festering sh*tsmear of a town. And also because I can't stand the Brewers, either.

I'm closer to GTown on this one I think.

rty - You get discouraged by one guy? If that was the case, then resident troll Clout would have driven off 90% of the 'idiots'/poster

I thought that was an odd/puzzling quote too by Jordan.

"OK, route route route for the correct spelling."

Is that you rty? I thought you were gone?

To turn the conversation back to insurance, after several minutes of Googling, it looks like there are brokers that advertise temporary disability insurance sold to teams to pay benefits for disability of professional athletes. See http://www.hcc.com/About/OperatingCompanies/UnderwritingAgencies/HCCSpecialty/Products/HighLimitDisabilityProtection/Athletes/TemporaryTotalDisability.aspx as an example. I gather that these policies can be underwritten through Lloyd's. Likely several different syndicates underwriting a single policy, and/or reinsuring of different tranches or the like through different reinsurers. I wouldn't be surprised if the Phillies had such coverage for Howard's contract, but I also wouldn't be surprised if the payout is far short what the team needs to pay Howard for the missed time.

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EST. 2005

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