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Saturday, November 05, 2011


Glad to have a class act back on the team.

I rather go for Armaris this is all wrong. We already have our outfield. Why not go for Aramaris and put Polly as a sub for Ramirez and Utley and a pinch hitter. Pence, Shane and Mayberry doesnt sound bad to me.

Because of the costs and years required...

Count me as one more who's happy to see the move for Thome. Classy guy who I hated to see leave (although neccessary at the time). Not saying he is a panacea, but there were a number of times I was wishing for a Stairs type to pinch hit, or even for that type of presence to keep the other teams a bit more on their toes with respect to the bench. Any 1B defense he can provide is a plus.

I would love to see Cuddyer here. he could play some 3rd, Polly could play some second and Chase could play some 1st. I think Utley playing about 25-30% of the time at first would help keep him more healthy. You also have to think Cuddyer and Thome coming, makes it more J-Roll want to stay even more.

Once the big piece comes back he will start at 1st base 90% of the time. I dont see playing 1st base much if Howard is healthy. If they sing Cuddyer over Ramirez then me thinks they will probably trade Brown/Mayberry....Youth movement my nuts...

Yes the phils want to go youth movement, but with the Howard injury and pollys mess, and you can pick up Jim to be a emergency first basemen. I say yes. everyone was bitching about gload, and now we get him and people bitch again. Look he's only 1.25 mill, and gives you a dh now. The season is still young let the phils do what they have to do. I really think brown is a big part of pict. Cuddy will be a mike young type playing all over and letting brown and Mayberry develop in LF. I am not giving up on brow
he's got a lot of raw talent. And after watching berkman trotting around in outfield then hell Dom can't do no worse. Good pc in Philly news about him.

I can't see Thome playing 1B but, I love the chance to see him pinch hitting in Philly.

R.I.P. Bob Forsch, Philly killer in teh 70s.

I see Mike "wrong brother again" Maddux is interviewing for the Cubs and Red Sox openings. Who was the last major league pitcher to manage a major league team?

Bud black

Take a look at that BA top 10 minor league list and it's very apparent the only way this team keeps contending is with a steady stream of aging free agents. CBP will surpass Yankee Statium as Mercenary Central.

Amaro is well on his way to assembling 'Wheeze Kids 2' or '21st century W

'Wheeze Kids - 21st century edition'

Well said MG:

If the Phils pick up Cuddyer and say Joe Nathan, it'll be the equivalent of all those Reds player they picked up in '83!

Cuddyer is "only" 32, which may be why they prefer him over Aramis Ramirez, even though Ramirez is better. I do share Luis's view that, if we sign Cuddyer, Mayberry is going to be the odd man out once Howard returns. Cuddyer is an outfielder/1st baseman. He has played 3rd & 2nd, and can play both in a pinch, but you sure don't want him playing those positions on a regular basis.

Thome was quoted at the end of last season as saying he can no longer play in the field.

There is no way he will be starting one game a week at 1B. However, if the team got into a an extra inning situiation or an injury problem he could fill in for a few innings in an emergency.

That said, he is the first serious bench threat this team has had and will be very valuable if the Phillies make the World Series. You may recall the Phils 9th batter in the 2009 series was Ben Francisco, while the Yankee countered with Hideki Matsui. This move closes that yawning chasm considerably.

The fact that the Phillies went from signing Thome one moment to aggressively pursuing another 1st baseman/outfielder the next, is proof positive that they do not envision Thome as anything more than a pinch hitter.

Michael Cuddyer is a fine ballplayer, but he will add more strikeouts and a mediocre OB.

If you think OB and Ks haven't been a problem, then Cuddyer is fine. He's got good power, a decent AVG and is a fine defensive player in the corner OF spots.

He is a below average defensive player at 3B, however. His career UZR is -9.5, which probably puts him in the lowest 25% of defensive thirdbasemen.

Essentially, you'd have to decide whether replacing a Gold Glove thirdbaseman with low Ks, bad OB and no power to a bad defensive thirdbaseman with high Ks, mediocre OB and good power helps the team more than it hurts it.

Also worth noting: Cuddyer has a wide L/R split, hitting LHP far better than RHP.

bap, they're probably looking at Cuddyer as a LF who can also be a stopgap at 1B for a while.

I think it speaks more to their distrust of Dom Brown ever developing and Mayberry being for real.

***Essentially, you'd have to decide whether replacing a Gold Glove thirdbaseman with low Ks, bad OB and no power to a bad defensive thirdbaseman with high Ks, mediocre OB and good power helps the team more than it hurts it.***

Use Polly as a defensive replacement in later innings.

Cuddyer and Mayberry will find at bats regardless of where people are on opening day and who is the "starter". Polanco will not play 140 games this year. Howard will not play 110. Utley will not play 130. That is a pile of games for Cuddyer and Mayber to get into. Howard sits Cuddyer at 1st, Mayberry in LF. Polanco out Cuddyer at 3rd. Utley out Polanco at 2b and Cuddyer at 3rd. Cuddyer won't be playing over a healthy Polanco or Mayberry. He'll be getting his time at the expense of Vladez and Martinez. He'll take the place of those guys, Gload and Ibanez. It'll be cool.

@ Clout

I think if they're going after Cuddyer it's to establish a bunch of platoons, or at least set up a rotation to rest their regulars more. In other words, you use Cuddyer or Polanco regularly but you move them around to a bunch of positions. So Cuddyer would be at LF one day, RF another, 1B a third, 3B a 4th, and so on. Polly bounces around the infield. That kind of stuff. They're both super utility guys.

It's a good system if you want to rest a bunch of your regulars as they get banged up. Given Utley's chronic knee problems, Polanco's/Pence's hernia, Howards Achilles, and a host of other nagging injuries, it could keep their lineup healthier down the stretch and in the playoffs.

As for Mayberry, I wouldn't be concerned. He'll get plenty of playing time at 1B and LF this year (trust me, Howard won't be back on Opening Day). It's Brown and the 3B position after 2012. Signing Cuddyer means you're going to let Polanco go, and that means a big defensive downgrade at the hot corner as you've pointed out. Dom Brown will also be shut out of a roster spot if they make this move.

clout: In fairness, Cuddyer's OBP was .346 last year; his career OBP is .343. League average across all of baseball was .320 last year. So Cuddyer's OBP is better than mediocre. It is well above average, though certainly not great.

Offensively, Cuddyer's the kind of guy who does almost everything pretty well, but nothing really well. If the idea is for him to displace Polanco, he would be a vast improvement on offense, though I would have serious doubts whether he can handle the job defensively. If the idea is for him to displace Mayberry, it would be an upgrade only in the sense that Cuddyer is a more proven commodity that Mayberry. But, given what Mayberry did last year, I don't know that finding a LF upgrade would be worth the prohibitive cost. I'd rather upgrade in other areas and simply find a left-handed complement to Mayberry -- perhaps someone like David DeJesus.

Gobay has the right idea. Amaro is clearly building a Voltron line up that can change and reform easily depending on the circumstances.

With this many ageing contracts, it's the most sensible approach.

I think this is about extracting the last mile out of an aging team. Very disapointing.

RK: Which part do you fiond disappopinting? You'd rather they NOT extract the last mile out of an aging team and just start rebuilding for 2018?

Willingham and Betemit

Guess if you look at being Cuddyer and Thome vs Ibanez and Gload then Amaro has upgraded the team offensively.

like just about everyone else, i like the Thome signing. low risk move that nicely upgrades the bench.

lots of Dom talk, was Murphy's latest article on him linked? if not:

"I think this is about extracting the last mile out of an aging team. Very disapointing."

I cannot comprehend how miserable you have to be to think this way. Replacing can't-play-the-field Gload with can't-play-the-field Thome for less money is a bad move because Thome is 41 and Gload is a young 36? What?

((( Reyes can Play 3b would? ))) he play SS on mets he use 3b and Rollins SS Utley 2B Thome 1b when Howard back!!! SO Reyes Keep alots hitter and runner make extra rollins would fire up with philles team!!!?

Jim will be a quality power off bench. Enough about aging crap. They didn't sign him 3 year 35 million. Done move on. Team will start to put young pieces in and sign players who are 27-31. The Ped time is done live with the modern day players and move on. Start with pitching and go from there. The Dom article I stated earlier is really good. And maybe Jim can help him with the high hands and get him going. The key to Dom is gonna be the opposite field. They will go away away then bust him inside. If he starts and shows that he can go other way then that pitch won't be effective as now. Let's sign Reyes and Albert and have Albert play third and Reyes LF. At least 20 teams would love to be where we are right now!

My head hurts from reading this.

" you use Cuddyer or Polanco regularly but you move them around to a bunch of positions. So Cuddyer would be at LF one day, RF another, 1B a third, 3B a 4th, and so on. Polly bounces around the infield."

Oh the Phillies got a new manager??? I missed that announcement.

Mick O: This is all apart of Ruben's Plan to get LaRussa to join the phillies. "Look Tony, look at all the parts you'll get to tinker with!".

Son, how you feel about playing shortstop today?

Charlie, I guess if you want I can give it a shot.

What's the problem?

I'm the closer.

BAP: I understand bringing Thime in but not toplay first base. And I have been pointing out on sevceral occasions that since the world series each year we have missed another level (WS, NLCS, NDLs) why wait. WHat makes anyone think that adding Thome and another oldster is going to improve our chances.

This is just the first of probably many moves by RAJ this off-season. As I've said before, he has a lot to do. Thome is a major upgrade over Gload and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

If Thome helps get Cuddyer here (and maybe Nathan too??), then there's nothing wrong with that either. This move was easy and that's why it got done qauickly. Don't take it for more than what it is.

There will be much more to talk about later on. But for now this is an excellent move for the bench.

RK: Ah, so you're employing the, "It isn't an impact move; therefore, it's a bad move" logic.

What could possibly be bad about upgrading Ross Gload's position, which is what this move essentially does?

This move might be a sign that Rube is shedding the syndrome that affects so many commenters here--the idea that every player signed must be a current candidate for the Silver Slugger, Golden Glove, or Cy Young award, and that there's no quality differences between bench players (seriously, I saw one commenter on Phillies Nation proclaim that the "too-old" Thome would be little better than Mini-Mart). I think this signing is great for the team, and I hope that the Cards have taught Rube that bench quality does matter (despite what some of our blogging GMs think).

The comparisons to the Wheeze Kids (named by Conlin) are interesting, but this team isn't that old and has far better pitching.

The core of that '83 team was Rose (42), Morgan (39), Schmidt (33), Maddox (33), Carlton (38) and McGraw (38).

The back end of the rotation (Charlie Hudson, Marty Bystrom and a very young Kevin Gross) was barely mediocre.

They did have a solid bench with Greg Gross (113 OPS+), Jim Lefebvre (157), Tony Perez (91) and speed/defense guy Bob Dernier, all of whom had more than 220 ABs.

The bullpen was also solid with Al Holland, Ron Reed and Willie Hernandez all pitching 95+ IP and Tug McGraw giving them a decent 55 IP.

If that's a model, the acquisition of Thome is a step in the direction, as would be the signing of Cuddyer. What would be missing would be the 4 veteran bullpen guys. But with this rotation maybe you can get by with two.

"Oh the Phillies got a new manager??? I missed that announcement."

I knew this was coming. People act like Charlie has never moved players around. Did he not win in 07 and 08 with players splitting time at 3B and RF? Didn't he move Ibanez and Mayberry rather seamlessly into a platoon?

You can't get on him for not making moves this year when he had nobody to work with on the bench. What did you want? More Valdez and Martinez? Did you want Polanco to play second so they could have Valdez at third? Oh creative managing moving guys for no reason.

Also on the topic of Cuddyer, I wouuld enjoy having him on the Phillies but as a baseball fan and a human being I can not root for him to leave the Twins. He has been there for all 6 of thier division titles over the years and that means something.

You can also say Cuddyer should move on b/c he's been there for 6 division titles and nothing else beyond that. Needs a "fresh start".

Is it true that if we sign Cuddyer we have to surrender our first round pick in the MLB Amateur Draft?

I believe the old CBA has just expired. We won't know what the cost of signing free agents will be until there is a new CBA.

rich: Assuming Minnesota offers him arbitration -- as they surely will -- yes. However, I also assume we'll offer Rollins & Madson arbitration and that at least one of the two will leave. If so, we'll get a first round pick back.

Keep in mind that something like half of all first round picks never play a day in the major leagues. A 1st round pick in the MLB Draft does has about the same value as a middle round pick in the NFL draft.

If Oswalt and either Madson or Rollins leave do we get first rounds picks for them as well?

Luis: Again . . . only if we offer them arbitration. I assume we will offer arbitration to Madson & Rollins, since we know they'll decline and, in the unlikely event that they accepted, we'd be all too happy to have either of them on a one-year deal. I assume we WON'T offer arbitration to Oswalt because we won't want to pay him what the arbitrator would award him -- which would probably be somewhere close to the $14M we already rejected.

The Phils have a need for a strong bench in 2012 more than ever.

Polanco and Utley easily could miss a combined 60 games in 2012. If Rollins is brought back, that total could be 90 games.

Howard could miss most of the season, and he may not be back to 100% at any point in the season.

So, the Phils need good bench guys to play the infield and to provide power.

Thome can be expected to provide some power as a PH and as a DH in half the inter-league games and the WS. I'm doubtful, but maybe he can even play 1B once or twice each week. Depending on what role he actually plays, Thome could provide 5-12 homers and a good OBP.

To fill out the rest of the bench, I'd like to see the Phils add either Callaspo or Izturis from the LAA and Andruw Jones.

Callaspo plays 3B, 2B and some SS. Izturis plays the same positions and has a lot of experience at SS. Both players are good defensively and solid offensively, but without much power.

Jones would give the Phils more power off the bench and could fill in on defense in the OF.

To round out the bench, I would bring Valdez back and add a backup C.

Thome's age or the age of any bench guy or secondary bullpen guy is not very important. Very old, but productive, bench guys are good to have because they are cheap. Very old or very young secondary bullpen guys are good to have because they are also cheap.

I like to think shortly RAJ will know the time table on Howard's return. They have the best doctor's and rehab personnel available to them. Although RAJ will not say that exact amount of time only quote general timetables. Any signing of a 1B (besides Thome) will indicate he will miss a good part of the season. If Howard is only going to miss 2 or 3 weeks then it makes better sense for them to bring up Overbeck and platoon him with Mayberry. This will be the logical then to do but who knows.

I was mistaken about the old CBA having already expired. It expires December 11.

There has been some talk about the elimination of compensation for losing free agents in the next CBA.

For this reason, it would be a good idea for Type A free agents like Cuddyer to wait for the new CBA before they sign with a new team. If teams do not lose draft picks by signing free agents, more teams may be willing to make offers to players who were Type A free agents heretofore.

Is anybody certain that the Phils can offer Oswalt arbitration?

Not that the Phils should want to offer him arbitration, but it is possible that, under the terms of Oswalt's contract, the Phils cannot offer him arbitration.

One question since raul is gone, doesn't that mean that raul's grandpa should go to?

The hook: when your kids finally leave home, do you as well?

If Cuddyer comes to the Phillies I can only assume it's because he wants a chance to exit the Postseason in the NLDS rather than the ALDS.

What you're all missing with Cuddyer is his strength as a potential bullpen arm. His 2011 ERA tops all four of the aces, which is consistent with his career numbers. He has a problem with his BB/9, but so do most of the better Phils relievers. With Gload gone and Valdez currently standing as the leading candidate for opening day SS, the role of 8th bullpen arm is not to be neglected, and I suspect this is one of the main factors behind the Phils' interest in bringing Cuddyer over.

epic - PLus, it is nice to have Valdez and Cuddyer as a powerful 1-2 punch (rather 9-10 punch) for the 19th and 20th innings.

bay area phan: Thanks for responding. Glad to get clarification that the potential signing of Cuddyer does not come without cost.

I agree, more than any other team sport, the MLB baseball draft is a crapshoot.

the hook: raul's grandpa is a Type A fan and would require compensation by another team wanting him. He's not going anywhere as a result.

derekcarstairs: Are you saying that any Type A free agents who sign a deal with a new team after Dec. 11 might not potentially require compensation (in the form of a draft pick) by the signing team - in the advent of a new CBA?

But that Type A free agents who sign before that date would?

rich: The current CBA is still in effect, and therefore all its policies still apply, until it is replaced by the new CBA.

I'm sure that if the new CBA changes what you suggest, it would not apply to this off-season. That would be too disruptive.

goody: That makes an awful lot of sense.

Cody Overbeck starting at 1B: What could possibly go wrong?

As a short term solution yes to Ovebeck. I dont see the Phils going with him as a long term solution. The guy only had 1 year in AAA the Phils(last few years) dont generally go with unproven minor leaguer to fulfill a starting pos spot. They would rather make Juan Samuel start than to that...Lol...

"This is a song about a superhero named Thome... It's called 'Thome's Theme!'"

New Pixies song?

I can't figure out who wants me to go.

I got no place else to go. (doing push ups in the rain)

rich - The main point I was making is that we won't know what the compensation is for free agents until we see the new CBA. The current CBA expires December 11.

Compensation should be the same for free agents regardless of when they sign.

I gave the wrong impression when I said that Type A free agents should wait for the new CBA before they sign. Teams have until December 1 to offer players arbitration, and players have until December 7 to accept. That means that there will not be much activity before December 7, by which time the terms of the new CBA may be known.

So Conlin's solution is to resign JRoll/Madson/Ibanez/Oswalt and either move Mayberry 3rd or acquire a 3B? So basically the same identical team from last year except moving Polanco to 2nd and Utley to 1st?

'Doctor' Conlin's diagnosis is fairly apt but his treatment (continue to eat rich foods) is ill-advised for the patient.

I do like Murphy's review of the Thome acquisition. His blog/pieces have dramatically improved in both analysis and rigor over the last 2 years.

"From this vantage point, the Thome move only makes sense in the following scenarios:

1. The Phillies keep their usual five bench players, but upgrade the utility position so that it features a hitter who is a more reliable hitter than Michael Martinez or Wilson Valdez (Jamey Carroll, Jerry Hairston, Punto, or perhaps Polanco, if the Phillies upgrade at third base). OR the Phillies keep an extra bench player but upgrade the front of the bullpen so that it more resembles the 2008 unit, which featured veterans like Chad Durbin, J.C. Romero and Scott Eyre in front of Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge.

2. The Phillies add a second left-handed bat who is more versatile than Thome, both offensively (hitting for contact) and defensively (the ability to play the field).

3. The Phillies do not allow the of spending $1.25 million on 125 or 150 plate appearances to become inefficient by allowing it to affect the amount of money they spend on the bullpen and the rest of the bench.

4. Thome is comfortable and effective in his new role as pinch-hitter.

5. Thome remains healthy all season.

Like the chances of scenarios 2 & 4 playing out. Don't think scenarios 1 or 3 play out this offseason nor do I think Thom remains healthy all season (scenario 5).

Welcome back Jim Thome!

I like the move as an upgrade in power. Thome is what Thome is: a player at teh end of his career who still wants a ring and is going where he thinks he may have a shot.

MG: If the Phillies sign Cuddyer, another utility player wouldn't really be necessary. Cuddyer's value is that he is a solid hitter and can potentially play any position on the field except shortstop, CF, & catcher. So, as long as Howard's out, he & Mayberry can cover 1st base & LF. If Cholly wants to give Thome a start, Cuddyer can play LF or he can move over to 3rd base. When Polanco and Utley have their inevitable stints on the DL, he can fill in for them. When Vic goes down, Mayberry can move to CF & Cuddyer can play LF.

We know the Phillies value versatility but, too often, they've valued it at the expense of offense. Unlike guys like Mini-Mart & Bruntlett, Cuddyer would bring the kind of versatility that is actually valuable since he can not only play lots of positions, but he can do it while making positive contributions at the plate. Plus, as free agents go, he's actually on the younger side. If you lock him up for 3 or 4 years, there's a decent chance that he might still be decent in the final year of his contract.

***Cody Overbeck starting at 1B: What could possibly go wrong?***

Well...I could specifically list all the different things that COULD go wrong but how about a short summary instead:

A Lot.

The Phillies are paying Jim Thome 1.25 million. How is this not a good signing even if he is just a LH power bat off the bench?

Mayberry has been an elite hitter when he's positioned at 1B. Turn him loose - no platoon. Cuddyer can play LF until Pence has his knee problem then they switch positions. Howard will be the bench coach/extra hitting instructor while his achillies heals.

***Mayberry has been an elite hitter when he's positioned at 1B. Turn him loose - no platoon. Cuddyer can play LF until Pence has his knee problem then they switch positions.***

If we had both Mayberry and Cuddyer, wouldn't it make more sense to put Mayberry in the outfield since he's the better defender?

***extra hitting instructor while his achillies heals. ***

Howard as a hitting coach? Yeah, that should go well:

"Okay Chase, your swing is way too need to stretch that thing out...make it loopier. Also, swing wildly at every pitch 3 feet outside...stop making it so hard on the opposing pitchers."

I read somewhere that Cuddyer was an above average RF - his natural position and I really don't want to see Pence at 1B when he starts limping. Thome and Howard can split bench coach duties. Not sure which one will be the disciplinarian.

Too many unknowns at the point. Anyone have any further thoughts on the collective bargaining agreement affecting the Cuddyer acquisition? Does Cuddyer benefit from waiting out for the new CBA?

If Cuddyer can be had at all at this point? With a healthy Joe Mauer, why wouldn't the Twins try to resign Cuddyer for a "worst to first" run?

From MLBTradeRumors:

One official told Olney that the Phillies' interest in Michael Cuddyer is so ardent that if wants to play with the Phillies, the deal is inevitable as the club will make it happen. The expectation within the industry is that the veteran will get at least a three-year deal.

Since this is coming from Olney, I will just assume that Cuddyer has already resigned with the Twins.

NEPP -- Touché!

Late to the game, I know...

I like the Thome signing, but anyone who thinks that he will get any significant time at 1B "until Howard is back," is absolutely kidding themselves. Expect Mayberry to get a lot of reps at 1B in Spring Training.

I like Cuddyer, but forgot that he will be 33 years old this season. I don't like him at 3B, though.

I refuse to give up on Dom at this point. I just hope the organization hasn't done irreversible harm to his development. By their own admission, the Phillies botched that one big-time.

When this team needs to get younger, it just keeps getting older.

Apparently Cuddyer is also deaf in his left ear so it makes playing any positions but 1B and RF rather difficult for him.

Something to consider if we want to toss him at LF or 3B for significant periods of time.

I'm not super-excited about Cuddyer for 3 years, like Olney speculated. But the Phillies do need a semi-affordable bat in a thin market.

Would the Cuddyer deal be similiar to the Ibanez deal, which I believe was 3 years @ 32 million??? If that is the case then I would pass. He brings alot to the table but does he actually have a "set" position?? I really never had the chance to watch him play, so I don't know too much about him, except that he is a professionaly hitter, and a great clubhouse guy.

Dom Brown is brutal in the field, however, I really liked his approach (compared to other Phillies hitters last year) when he had the chance to play! He will be 24 next year, give him time to work on his defense, then call him up in the middle of season, or sooner depending on injuries and what not. Thoughts?

Cuddyer for 3 yr at probably ~$10M+ annually for a guy who will be entering his mid-30s? Ugh. Kind of deal that teams almost inevitably end up regretting.

3/$30 for Cuddyer sounds a bit pricy, but he would really add a lot of value for this club.

super utility for 2011 (or everyday 1B if Howard is out for an extended period).

starting 3B in 2012, and beyond, perhaps.

if Rube gets Cuddyer, does that mean he is out on Reyes? that would be dissappointing, to me at least.

Like everyone else, I want the Phillies to get younger too. But I also want them to get better and one of the key ways to do that is through free agency.

Fact is, you have to play 6 years to become a free agent &, if a player is any good, his team will probably lock him up for 2 or 3 years beyond those first 6. Hence, the nature of free agency is that 90% of the guys are in their 30s. And the ones who are younger are usually guys who were non-tendered and probably aren't any good in the first place.

33 isn't 36. If you sign Cuddyer for 3 years, there's a 50-50 chance you'll get 3 good years out of him.

Yes, getting "younger" sounds nice, but getting "better" is more important to me.

How about the report the Phils are in on the Cuban defector-OF?

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