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Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Would the Phillies really commit $20MM to a 19 yr. old?

Thanks for the new thread header. I vote "no" on Pasada. I also vote "no" on spending $20 million on Soler. Who gets the $20 million, Fidel Castro?

Anyone know how the new CBA's draconian restrictions on international FA signing bonuses will affect Soler and Cespedes?

nevermind, I found my own answer. From Baseball America:

"The new CBA provides for a $2.9 million international cap for each team for the 2012-13 signing period, which doesn't start until July 2. As long as Soler signs before then, he won't be subject to the cap. And even if he were, he's talented enough and the penalties for busting the cap are so light (a 100-percent tax on the overage and a prohibition on signing any international player for more than $250,000 in the next signing period) that I bet several clubs would be willing to exceed the $2.9 million."

Here's something to chew on... does Utley have a chance to reach the Hall of Fame? How much work does he still have left to do?

John: How about chewing on the topic at hand instead of posting another exit link to your site?

Utley's late start and bad knees will keep him comfortably outside the Hall, unfortunately.

John Stolnis: No

Speaking of international signings, anyone else hear that Carlos Tocci is looking good? Sorry if that has been discussed as I am just now getting back into the swing of things.

I vote "of course" on getting Soler.

Good to see JW finally lay the hammer on Stolins.

Pretty ridiculous that Soler would command more upfront money than guys like Harper/Strasburg.

Sorry J. Weitzel, just thought this was a random stream of thought on this particular threat, stuck in a slow news cycle. Didn't mean to sneeze on the topics you mentioned at the top.

For once, I think taking a flier on Soler would be an interesting move. If this guy is a 5-tool player, I think it would be refreshing to get in the mix on a potential stud Latin player. We've missed out not having the Manny Ramirezes and Vlad Guerreros of the world over the years.

Meant to say, this particular thread... not threat. Doy.

Soler Power!!
We need more international signings. So we can say "The sun never sets on Ruben's empire."

stolnis: Manny was a 1st round draft pick and Vlad was signed by Montreal after leaving Dodger's camp in ST, and neither were 5 tool players(i think Vlad led the league in OF errors for about 6 straight years at one point) - so not sure that comparison to Soler compares in the slightest.

So Rizzo is planning to use Werth in CF full-time this year (think it will be a disaster in the making since Werth has lost a step already defensively in RF), use Morse in LF (another terrible defender), and Harper in RF?

That's going to be one bad defensive OF. Going to be interesting to see how that works for a starting staff that has some really fly-ball prone pitchers (especially Zimmerman/Detwiler/Gorzelanny).

Going to be hard for a GM to screw up badly with as much young talent as the Nats have right now & coming soon but I have faith in Rizzo. Just as I have faith in Fredi to blow games and destroy some of the Braves' fine young arms especially in their bullpen.

Forget to add that Strasburg is a bit fly-ball prone too although not really enough innings on him since his return to have a good picture & Wang isn't the GB machine he used to be either.

Going to be interesting to see how that works in a stadium with a slightly larger than average OF space.

Speaking of defense, my bet is Phils' will be a bit better next year defensively at the start of the year especially in the OF when Mayberry is in LF.

Got rid of some really bad defensive players including Ibanez (horrible defender the last 2 years in LF), Francisco (terrible year defensively last year), and Gload (no range last year due to the hip injury). Should also benefit from a full year of Utley at 2B and they won't take a hit at 1B with Howard out defensively.

If they start a lineup that includes Mayberry/Vic/Pence in the OF and an infield of Polanco/JRoll/Utley/Player X (Wiggington/Nix) and Chooch, that is a team that will have only one weak defensive player at 1B. Solid infield defensively and even Pence is at least an average RF eve if he doesn't win style points often.

Did anyone read the artcle linked on the right hand column: ?

What a baseless attack by a CSN writer on the hand that feeds them. Wow.

MG, the Phillies outfield (Mayberry/Vic/Pence) should be really adept at keeping teams from taking extra bases. You'll probably see a lot more teams holding runners at 3rd on singles to the corners, and a lot less players going 1st to 3rd than you saw last year. While this might seem small, with how difficult it is to advance runners against Doc/Lee/Cole, having that luxury in the outfield to inhibit the opponent taking extra bases is going to be huge.

I surely hope that Mayberry does enough offensively in ST and early on to grab hold of the LF spot for more than just a platoon role, since his defense in LF will be a huge luxury, and having Vic book-ended by Pence and Mayberry should make him even more of a good defender in LF (as he won't have to cover as much range).

a Cuban sandwich sounds good right about now...

Bubba - Freeney does have a point that it is hard to value intrinsic qualities as such leadership/desire and that sometimes 'change is needed for change' sake but he really seems to overshot here.

More likely, this was just a filler article during a slow week & nothing more. I generally try to avoid most op-ed pages/articles nowadays because of limited time and crappy content.

SSS, of course, but Juan Perez's BB/9 of 9 gave me pause.

Jiwan James is also a 5 tool player. Ditto Anthony Hewitt.

MG: I suspect Werth is about league average in CF, but Harper & Morse are brutal.

Plus the Nats ballpark is not a good place to have a poor defensive OF. You could get away with it in CBP, but not there.

Bubba: One of the great things about the internet and 1000 cable channels is that any clueless moron gets to have his say.

MG & Clout- Thanks. it's just hard to believe CSN would allow such drivel, when they make so much money off the Phillies.
Stupid writing & stupid business.

I vote YAY on the Soler System

clout: as long as hitting a baseball in any way, shape, or form is even half a tool, Jiwan and Hewitt aren't 5 tool players

(sometime in 2012 in the Phillies booth)
Jim Jackson:Another jack by Soler...there it goes...number 38 on the season
Wheels and Sgt: Aye Dios Mio!!!!!!!
Tmac: And the call to the bullpen is made...Mets 11 Phils nothing....

re: Perez

the first person to do something since Andy Ashby is never a good thing, even when its a good thing.

Clout - In no universe are Jiwan James and Hewitt five tool players.

And if Soler is a true five tooler, the Phillies should definitly pay whatever the market rate is. It won't count against the luxury tax and it won't count against the international signing cap. Soler may be in the best sweet spot in the history of sports, getting in just before the international cap takes place.

Of course we've never seen the guy play. But if he's as talented as people are saying on the interwebs, then the Phillies should consider it on par with having a free shot at Bryce Harper with money being the only thing it costs. They won't be in that position again for a long time if they keep winning.

No comments on Bailey going to the Bo Sox's?? I'm really looking forward to seeing Madson's deal now. Does he fire Boras??

aksmith: "we should definitely pay whatever the market rate is...of course we never seen the guy play".


anyway, Soler is not being compared to Bryce Harper - they are just saying that at 19 he may more upside than Cespedes who is already 26. I'm not against the Phils making a play, but could understand if they are unwilling to top all other offers for a 19yr old if it meant having to guarantee more money than any other mlb draft pick has ever got. The notion of $20M not going towards the luxury tax is true, but I dont think that means it doesnt go against Ruben's budget, so I wouldnt just act like its a free play.

lorecore: your right. the notion that the money is in play just because it doesn't count against the luxury tax, is silly. If only the phils could borrow from the fed discount window.

An outfield of Morse-Werth-Harper would be an absolutely awful defensive outfield. They all need to have excellent offensive years to justify the terrible defense. As clout points out, Nationals Park will not be very forgiving to those three guys.

Has there been an "official" announcement from the Nats that Harper is going to start in RF in '12? Or is this all internet speculation?

Don't know what the Phillies are willing to spend outside the regular payroll, but look at it this way. If one of the top five players in the major league draft was a college sophomore of Soler's talent, he'd likely get a couple of million signing bonus. Put that same player on the open market for any team to bid on, and 20 million may be reasonable. It's a completely different situation. And it's not 20 million up front necessarily. It may be 20 million for 5-7 years of service time. If he's as good a prospect as they say, that's pretty reasonable. They're saying he's better and younger than Leonys Martin, who got over 15 mil from the Rangers. Seems like 20 may be reasonable considering that.

pb, I just saw the story on mlbtr.

Bad news for Mad Dog.

If he truly did have a 4/44 deal on the table from the Phillies and Boras tried to shop it, and THAT is what blew the deal up, then Boras really screwed the pooch for hsi client and Mad dog should fire him and take the best one-year closer deal he can get to build some more value heading into next offseason.

Unless, of course, Boras pulls a rabbit out of a hat, but what teams are left that will give Madson the huge deal he seeks?

Unless they foolishly bid against themselves I don't see one.

lorecore and smitty, I'll let clout speak for himslef, but I think he was being sarcastic.

aksmith: You clearly don't know the difference between tools and skills.

mm - Middleton is a billionaire with a B. He doesn't need the discount window. And of course it's real money, but there's no penalty for overspending on this kid. They won't have to give up draft picks or miss out on international free agents in the future. All he costs is money. And it's not even like the posting system, where you have to pay double because the Japanese team is taking half the money. And he may even make up for the Phillies losing their first round pick next year.

lorecore: Ditto for you.

Clout - He's not a high school kid with rudimentary tools. He's a 19 year old Cuban who has apparently played against top international competition.

On the international market, you pay for tools in a 19 year old, and skills in a 36 year old.

Maybe you can look into your magic Eight ball and tell me what any top five first round pick would have been worth in the same situation. No draft spending cap and no luxury tax implications.

Oh, and you should quick call up the Rangers and tell them what asshats they are for signing Martin, who is not as good, for over 15 million.

aksmith: My semi-sarcastic post was meant to convey the idea that not every 5 tool prospect lives up to the hype.

Clout - You need to become familiar with the [/Sarcasm] alert symbol.

aksmith: ah, ya missed the joke, you know, i was just commenting on how our system of finance allows for people to make billion dollar gambles for next to nothing but i gotta pay 8-25% to buy a washer on credit .

Anyway, personal wealth aside, not everyone spends ALL of their money on their hobby, which to the 'billionaires' as you put, who own baseball teams, owning one is. Even for a billionaire(and middleton would be one the poorer of that group, since he's only in the 1-2 range), you wouldn't stay rich for long if you handed every hot handed cuban kid 20 mm for putting together a great promotional video.

Not to mention, there's still the matter of cole hamels to attend to this season. Seems like a better use of that 20mm then another "can't miss" cuban prospect.

Soler isn't the kid with the promotional video. That's Cespedes. Soler is the kid who has a higher ceiling than the internet video guy.

If it comes down to a choice between Hamels and Soler, of course you sign Hamels. But I don't think that's the choice. And signing Hamels has luxury tax implications that signing Soler does not.

I've been instructed many times that I cannot know the face of god or the Phillies' payroll. Well, the face of god looks a lot like Rick Perry (or so he says) but the Phillies payroll is a mystery.

Rotoworld reporting a SF Chronicle story saying the Phils are expected to bid on Soler.

Maybe that's why they didn't so anything beyond re-sign Jimmy?

clout: not sure why im even responding to your semi-sarcastic post, but included in those 5 tools are hitting for average and hitting for power(along with speed, glove, arm).

johnstolnis never posts anything here other than a link to his site. Therefore, I have never visited his site.

It would actually wind up being cheaper than $20M, since they would be eligible for a Soler tax credit ;)

This Christmas I spent 5 hours with my penis stuck in a dustbuster. I plan to write an 800 page epic about it. NBC Universal has already optioned the rights.

By my count, this thread is up to at least 12 tools at his point.

lorecore: That's right, the physical tools to be able to hit for AVG and power. Are you saying James doesn't have those? Scouts disagree.

@raul's grandpa, lol, that was great.

grandpa - I'll admit it. Nobody else will. Maybe Buzz Bissinger, but his tool was in a dust buster.

All I could think of when reading this was the old 80s arcade game, Gauntlet, and instead of 'Warrior needs food badly' was 'Mets need cash badly' with picture of a Wilpon being beset by teeming hordes of creditors

Posada - no way. Soler - way, after all it's only money, and not my money at that.

What is the consensus on Soler? He's 19. If he signs, is he big-league ready?

I think the consensus is he needs ~2 years in the minors, but could possibly develop into an MVP-caliber player eventually.

Pblunts-- consensus is High A ball right now.

Gimme Soler power. The Phillies love 5 tool OF's. Plus we lost our 1st round pick. This would make perfect sense. My vote is YAY.

I would feel better about if the ESPN Deportes baseball beat guy would interview Poppa Soler and he looked and acted like a healthy 39 year old who revealed video footage of his kid doing wind sprints and knocking the ball over a fence 400 ft away.

Bailey trade seals Madson's fate. 1 yr/$7-8M deal is what lies in his future as he tries to wait until next offseason to get a multiyear deal at big dollars.

Going to be fascinating to see how Amaro's strategy in the pen works out where he paid a real premium for Papelbon instead of making a trade/signing a slightly lesser arm to close and trying to grab another veteran setup man instead too.

Breaking: Ryan Madson Fires Scott Boras: Madson "I always knew that guy was an ass-clown".

clout: any scout that said James is capable of hitting for power certainly is not sticking by that statement. Maybe when he was about 17 and some 'projected' that he could fill out and hit for power, but that never happened.

lorecore: And that is because most prospects are unable to transform their tools into skills.

You can have great strength but be unable to hit for power. You can have great speed but be unable to steal bases.

Does anybody have a spare room in their basement or a cheap storage unit where a guy taller than 6 ft could sleep? I think my wife just kicked me out.

Boras in the New Year!

Fielder will get paid by somebody. Just a question if he gets more than 5 yrs.

He already cost Madson a huge payday. Every indication too that Pena isn't going to get a big deal either. At most a 2-yr deal at modest dollars. Maybe even a 1-yr deal with a vesting option. If Jackson doesn't only signs a 2-yr at modest dollars or even a 1-yr deal, it will have been a pretty disastrous offseason for Boras.

Saw a report last night that Fielder is willing to consider a 3 year deal now? Has Boras spent the last 2 months chasing cocktail waitresses or something? Dude's got a 3 egg omelet all over his face. I always thought he was a bad agent for lesser players like Madson, but if Fielder is left out in the cold he would really look the fool.

donc - Fielder will get paid at the end of the day and it will be more than 3 yrs. If some team signs him for 4 years at $18-20M, they will get an absolute steal.

MG: I'm sure you are right, but if someone gets a steal it means the agent did a bad job. It looks like he's waited too long and the duration of the deal may be shorter than originally anticipated. For a guy of his body type, I would think he'd want to sign one of those 7 year mega deals. Who knows how gracefully he will age? I saw Gammons this morning on MLB and he said the Rangers and Cubs were once interested but are now apparently out of the running. There aren't many chairs left and the music is about to stop.

If the Rangers and Cubs are out of it now then the only team still in the running would be the Mariners, from what I can gather. And they were never willing to go for as long and as many dollars as Fielder was seeking...

So he may be SOL at this point.

donc - Definitely. Boras tries to wait out the market as long as he can with his clients. That's nothing new although this offseason it looks like a potential disaster because a bunch of teams that had a lot of cash to spend already did so (Fish, Angels) and a ton of big-market teams just didn't have cash to spend this year (Red Sox, Yanks, Mets, Dodgers). Maybe throw in both Chicago teams too since they are both starting to undergo various rebuilding phases too.

Other teams that look like they might be big spenders including Blue Jays and Mariners never materialized for different reasons.

Derrick Mitchell is the only current five tool player in the minor league system. D-Mitch is hitting .333 with two homers, two steals, one outfield assist and a .998 (OPS) after his first 10 games in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Yeah, its getting hard to see where he is going to break the bank. I think that is a huge miscalculation then. Of course it was always obvious that the biggest spenders Sawx, Yankees and Phillies were not going to be in on Fielder as they were set at first base. Maybe Boras shouldn't have been so cavalier about Fielder's prospects. One interesting landing place could be LA. What if the potential buyers said to McCourt go get Fielder and we'll make it worth your while? I heard it proposed on the MLB channel last night too. Makes sense though I'm not sure how Selig would feel about it. Especially with his conflict of interest.

Jiwan doesnt have great strength or great hand-eye, period. He's not 5 tool even if you are trying to be sarcastic.

Dull: Mitchell just played his first prolonged season at CF, which comes in about his 7th year as a minor leaguer, but from what I've read actually played it pretty well. Something to keep an eye on, but not really consider a future MLB player. His best case is probably a half-fast Drew Stubbs.

Before anyone here pronounces Boras or any of his clients DOA, SOL or anything of that sort, keep in mind that Boras has a history of being able to get teams to bid against themselves or vastly overpay for a player for whom there is a very limited market.

As evidence I ask the following question:

How many of us saw the Jayson Werth/Nats deal coming?

I'm sure the "anonymous" Nats player Heyman 'quoted' who said the Nats were " the market. We're still shooting for him," is probably Werth, who is either trying to throw Boras a bone by putting pressure on ownership, or does have some inside knowledge of the 'talks' that are occuring.

The question is, what does being "in the market" mean? Are they willing to go 10/254 which is what Boras is reportedly aking for? Or, ahve they make a 5/125 offer similar to Howards? If there's no way Boras/Fielder will take 5/125, then they're really not "in the market".

Still, don't underestimate Boras. He's gotten some guys deals that boggle the mind.

Look no further than Werth and Ollie Perez as evidnce that Boras can get some teams to hallucinate about a player's actual value.

AWH: No doubt you could be right. It could all work out in the end, but MLB network reported last night that Fielder would consider a 3 year deal. Two months ago he would have spit on that. Now, if MLB is to be believed, he's softening his stance. It may be a BS report but if Prince Fielder ends up with only a 3 or 4 year deal I will believe that Boras badly misjudged the market for his client. It will be very interesting because there don't appear to be too many possible landing places out there for him at this point. At least not ones willing to pony up $25 million per.

donc, I'm not saying Boras WILL pull a rabbit from a hat.

All I'm saying is that in the past he has done it on occasion.

He has also been accused of conflicts of interest - i.e. having 2 or 3 players at the same position available at the same time and using one against the other - and has also failed certain clients as well, but he does have a record of getting some teams to do stupid things.

For instance, do you think the Yankees regret the ARoid contract? The fools in the Yankees FO basically bid against themselves. When ARod opted out of his deal they should have told him to go test the market and made a take-it-or-leave-it deal. Instead, Boras snookered tham with talks of the "Home run Record" and "accomplishments" like that that have basically been rendered meaningless by ARoid's PED use.

But the point is: Boras has gotten certain teams to bid against themselves and do stupid things.

AWH: I agree completely. He has pulled off some incredible slight of hand in the past. I've always thought he's not the guy I'd want negotiating for me if I wasn't a superstar. I've got to think a guy like Madson might pay a price for using him. If it comes down to Madson and say Heath Bell (which it did recently), and Bell is represented by an agent who doesn't ooze oil from every poor who would you go after. Obviously, if you are ARoid or someone like that, he's your guy. No matter how much of a creep your agent is, the big money clubs will come calling. Edwin Jackson? Not so much. He's probably not worth having to reupholster the couch in the GM's office. In fact just discussing Boras makes me want to go take a shower.

lorecore: Not to belabor the point, but scouting reports on James said his eye/hand was excellent and he had good bat speed.

Again, I'm talking about tools, not skills. How James was perceived before he signed, not his subsequent performance.

awh - Didn't ARod negotiate his own contract after he opted out? I seem to remember that he went to the Yankees personally because he wasn't getting any offers on the open market. Also the Yanks FO was refusing to work with him due to the crap he pulled on TV during the WS that year.

Personally if Madson doesn't get a contract better than Bell's, he should fire Boras on the spot. That situation was very mismanaged from an client's standpoint.

"Personally if Madson doesn't get a contract better than Bell's, he should fire Boras on the spot. That situation was very mismanaged from an client's standpoint."


jiwan james was drafted as a pitcher. . . .

To weigh in on the "tools" vs. "skills" issue because I find it interesting. Debating the semantics of the terms "tools" and "skills" is futile. The common baseball lexicon has been developed to use "tools" to describe one's ability within a certain aspect of the game, not their potential.

I don't think a player has "tools" when it has been reported that a player's "eye/hand was excellent and he had good bat speed". What does that mean? That he has the potential to hit for average and power? So what?

When I think of a Five Tool Player, I think of someone like Willie Mays. Mays hit for power, hit for average, was an excellent defender, had an outstanding arm and was fast as can be. It wasn't based on speculation, scouting or potential. It was what the player was able to do. If a player bats at .250 and hits a few HRs, I don't care what his potential is, he does not possess those "tools."

After RA Dickey climbs those mountains the sherpas aren't going to be able to hit a normal looking fastball for a week.

Does anybody have the contact info for John Stolnis's website? We are trying to promote our exclusive online toilet cleaning training program.

JBird: James was a pitcher-OF in HS, showed superb hitting and pitching skills at the World Showcase before the draft. Phils did indeed try him first as a pitcher, but he was not simply "a pitcher."

Billingsley: You've completely confused tools with skills.

Billingsley: scouting is all about projection. Players are graded on their speed, strength, arm strength (throws), hand speed through the strike zone, body type etc.

It's impossible to know how a 17-year-old will be able to harness these raw tools.

"The common baseball lexicon has been developed to use "tools" to describe one's ability within a certain aspect of the game, not their potential."

RBill, I disagree.

Speed is considered a "tool". The ability to steal bases - especially proficiently (high success rate) is considered a "skill".

There are a lot of very fast players who are not very good base stealers. OTOH, there are a lot of good base stealers who wouldn't win many hundred-yard dashes. Chase Utley comes to mind. He's the only player in MLB history who has stolen 20 or more bases in a single season and not been caught stealing that season. While I think Utley is 'fast', he's no Jimmy Rollins, much less Michael Bourne, both of whom get caught at a much higher rate than does Utley.

To wit: In the last 4 seasons Chase Utley has attempted to steal 68 times. He has been caught stealing on 4 occasions. That is a success rate of 94%. There is more than just speed involved, no?

awh: Good post. Another skill that a lot of 5 tool players fail to acquire is strikezone recognition.

clout: so wouldn't that make him a 10 tool prospect.

Hey, if Fielder signs for three or four years, should we be enjoined from once again bringing up the massive overpay Ruben bestowed upon RyHow?

Madson and Fielder are flailing on the open market. And if Rube hadn't jumped the gun on Paps and Howard, he may have gotten some really nice bargains this offseason.

But that's just hindsight, except for the fact that lots of us were saying not to set the market for power hitting first basemen years ago, and closers this year.

It's funny, but we non-professionals might have gotten some really good deals with more payroll flexibility built in than the professional guy with the degree from Stanford.

However, he made the deal he had to make with Cliff Lee. He did not set the market there. So, please don't throw that up as any kind of proof that setting the market makes sense.

Does anybody want to buy a giant yacht or private island in the Carolinas? I bought them before the market was set. Kinda got buyer's remorse. Lidge said he would give me $200 for the yacht. I think he is making fun of me.

Here's a (chilling) thought: Sooner than later, it becomes clear that Boras is regarded league-wide as a buffoon, and can't sell water to man dying of thirst. Ryan Madson texts RAJ and offers to “come home” for a $3.5mm, one year deal. Sold.

Here’s the creepy part. Papelbon loses his effectiveness mid-July and can't get anyone out. Rumors abound about shoulder or elbow issues. Madson comes in from his 8th inning role and goes 30 for 30 in the 2nd half of the season – relying on a plus fastball, devastating change, and a rarely-used but wicked cutter that locks right hand hitters. The Phils march yet again into the playoffs; with Mr. Ryan Madson as closer. Bye-bye $50mm. Yuck.

The team being linked to Fielder the last couple of days is Washington.

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