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Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Sophist had a good post at the end of the last thread. The central point I gleaned from it was that, if we had kept all the prospects we've traded away over the last 5 years, things wouldn't necessarily look much rosier for 2015 than they do under the present state of affairs. They would certainly look a lot worse for 2012, though.

Yeah but the IronPigs might have won the AAA there's that. We betrayed Lehigh by focusing on the MLB club.

I know the Phillies will be in last place in 2015, but who is going to be in first?

It isn't the prospects. Its the contracts for 2014-15.

Any shot Madson will re-sign with Philly?
Any update on Ryan Howard?

Seriously, if the Nats land Prince, they're a real Wild Card contender next year. They would certainly scare me more than Atlanta, especially if they can get themselves a CF. Espinoza will most likely be better. A lot will depend on whether Werth can have a bounce back season, whether Morse really is for real, whether Zimmerman can stay healthy, whether Strasburg can stay healthy, when Bryce Harper is promoted and whether the bullpen can repeat their success in 2011. But they certainly are the team I'm most worried about next year.

Contracts are a separate question. I was speaking directly to clout's question re replacements for the core position players (2B, 3B, C, perhaps CF, SS to a lesser extent).

Phils are more or less committed to: Lee, Howard, Papelbohn, Rollins, and Doc (opt-out) in 2014. Outside of Howard's deal, I don't really get a huge cause for concern here. Again, there's a certain baseline level of concern that I have about 2014. I'm not feeling much worry beyond that.

Can the Nats ever become THE rivalry team for the Phils?
The Braves, for their many division championships, and Mets , for being the New F'in Yawk Mets, will be hard to supplant.

I think the Phils fans have become the enemy in DC minds with the invasion of their home park on a regular basis and in particular their homr opener. I don't think the same intensity of feeling exists in Phillies fans minds.

There are currently 3 guys under contract for 2015. 4 if we assume they will sign Hamels.

There is currently 63 million tied up in 3 guys, and maybe ~80 with Hamels. If the payroll is roughly where it is now that means we have about 100 million dollars to sign 21 guys. If it lowers it gets tougher. However, hard to say where the payroll will be then, or if the 3 guys under contract are still here.

Repeat after me: getting to the playoffs is all that matters. The Phils can suffer a *significant* fall-off in their regular season performance and not have an appreciably smaller chance at a WFC.

I personally think last year's dynamic made for unfun baseball. It's pointless to theorize about whether a down-to-the-wire fight for a playoff spot is better for a team than a lazy coast through September, but hot damn is it better for the fans. It's kind of sad that we can't rely on weak Nats and Fish teams anymore to help keep us afloat in the division during the coming rebuilding years, but at this point I'm ready for underdog status again. Everything just tastes so much sweeter that way.

Mets have financial troubles, but the Marlins and Nats seem to be on a path towards committing big money to their clubs (as the Angels and Rangers seem to be doing in the AL). Braves have more of a corporate structure, but their location and talent evaluation keep them in contention / a rival every year.

Not hard to imagine the NL east becoming a junior AL east in a relatively short time as far as payrolls are concerned. Luckily (or not) the Nats and the Marlins have lost at least as many FA auctions as they've won (Teixeira, Pujols, CJ Wilson).

The Howard deal will very likely be a huge albatross throughout the entire life of the contract. But, if the Phillies are a second-division team by 2014/2015, it won't be because of the Howard contract or other long-term commitments that management has already made (i.e., Rollins, Papelbon, Lee). It will be because key players like Vic, Utley, Halladay, Pence, and Hamels either left & were inadequately replaced, or were re-signed to big exensions well beyond their useful lives.

TTI - JRoll likely hits his vesting option for the 4th year though since it is such easy conditions and if they sign Hamels that gives them around $100M in '14 and '15 for just 5 guys who besides Hamels will all be in states of various decline.

If last year's draft and this year's draft turn out to be decent, they should be 'okay' and be able to fill in enough quality pieces but there just isn't a bunch of younger talent that is going to emerge this year or next.

What you'd want to do, to the extent it's worth the time (doubtful), is to establish a baseline. One way would be to look at the Phils "peers". I'd bet the Sox, Yankees, and Angels, say, have similar commitments in 2015.

Look at teams with similar success over a recent timeframe. It's apples and oranges to compare the Phils commitments to, say, the Nats or Braves.

One exception to this is the Cardinals, who only have Holliday and Garcia locked up long-term. Good on them, but they are the exception not the rule it seems. And I really don't mind having Doc and Lee locked up (Rollins to a lesser extent).

MG: Not sure I get your handwringing about contracts in 2015. My point was about replacing the core, which has to be done from within or via trade by dealing prospects.

Not even the Yankees replace 8 position players with free agents. If you don't have quality position players down on the farm, you are not going to be able to replace your core and that means some lean years ahead.

"A lot will depend on whether Werth can have a bounce back season, whether Morse really is for real, whether Zimmerman can stay healthy, whether Strasburg can stay healthy, when Bryce Harper is promoted and whether the bullpen can repeat their success in 2011."

Felske, you do realize that in your sentence I quote above you can replace the word "whether" with the word "if".

I point that out not as any type of commentary on your post per se, but because many, many here engage in hand wringing, pants wetting, whining, tantrums and all sorts of ridiculous posting behavior because of......

all of the "if's" that the Phillies have going into the 2012 season and beyond.

I just want to point out how refreshing it is to see someone here actually acknowledge that other teams also have "if's".

"If the payroll is roughly where it is now"

TTI, surely the players' union negotiated a rising luxury tax threshhold, no?

Can anyone shed some light on that?

If so, and if the "threshhold" is the Phillies de facto salary cap, then won't it be a bit higher in 2015?

"Repeat after me: getting to the playoffs is all that matters. The Phils can suffer a *significant* fall-off in their regular season performance and not have an appreciably smaller chance at a WFC."
fumphis -- Exactly.

Regarding a tighter race being better for the fans, it's only better if your team actually wins the tight race. A tight race increases the chances your team won't make it in, so as a fan I'll take an easy September every time.

Couple quick points to stop the bloodletting:

1. The Phillies tv deal will be up for renewal by 2015.
2. The Phillies play in the 5th largest market in the country and 2nd largest market in the country with just 1 MLB club.
3. The Luxury cap will likely be a bit higher then too.

Odds are the Phillies will have a much, much larger revenue stream by then as a result of that renegotiation. Look at what the Angels just got with their new deal ($150 million per YEAR for 20 years). Estimates have the Phillies currently getting $20-35 million a year from Comcast...that number could easily triple and all this whining about our contract issues becomes a moot point.

Stop worrying about 3 years down the line. There are far too many variables for the average fan freak to even figure out to worry about it.

Staying the same? We got Ty Wigginton! Come on people, get on board for '12!

Two points:

1. I'm puzzled by how the Angels got $150m per year in TV revenue. Does anyone care about or watch baseball teams west of the Appalachian Mountains? I know I don't.

2. I'm not worried about 2015 b/c by then Zimbabwe/Weimer-style hyper-inflation will have hit and we'll be paying Ryan Howard the equivalent of $2.75 in "real dollars", as the economists say.

Worrying about how future contracts/players will affect the franchise is perfectly normal - but I'm with NEPP when he says that the amount of variables at play are way too overwhelming for posters to try and pinpoint the 'closing window'.

And when the Phils dont make the playoffs one of these next 15 years, it'll be Ryan Howard's fault anyway.

Jbird, it's "Weimar" for our non-German speaking friends.

"...but there just isn't a bunch of younger talent that is going to emerge this year or next."

MG, I see you're clairvoyant now.

I generally enjoy your posts, but that post is just a bunch of unmitigated sh8t.

If I'm wrong and you do have this amazing power, please demonstrate to us your power's past performance by pointing out where you predicted the following:

1) the emergence of Singleton as a prospect before he played in Lakewood
2) the emergence and success level of Bastardo
3) the emergence, promotion, and initial success of Stutes,
4) the mediocrity of Brown in 2011
5) the death and demotion defying continued success of Kendrick
6) Vance Worley

While you're at it, how will Biddle and May do in 2012, and will Rizzotti continue to create buzz, will Derrick Mitchell become a late bloomer who finally plays his way into being considered a legit prospect, and will Carlos Alonso be able to sustain his initial success at Lakewood as he's promoted up the organizational ladder?

I await your reply with bated breath!

"Does anyone care about or watch baseball teams west of the Appalachian Mountains?"

You may be surprised to learn, as I was, that there are millions of baseball fans in the Pacific time zone who actually watch teams like the Angels, A's, Mariners, etc. I think the presence of these 'people' accounts for the Angels TV contract.

Have the details on Rollins' vesting options been revealed yet?

OMG the sky is falling.

I like to think if the lineup is healthy, we will be a g-dam good team this year.
F Washington. I hate them as much as I hate anyone else in the NL East.

Brett: I haven't seen it. THis is from cots regarding Rollins' deal:

- 3 years/$33M (2012-14), plus 2015 vesting option
- 2015 option may become guaranteed at $11M based on performance
- if option does not vest, Phillies hold $8M club option for 2015 and Rollins holds $5M player option

Does that mean Rollins could force the Phils to pay him $5M if his option doesnt vest?

I'll sum my position up this way:

No one, and I mean NO ONE on this blog, in the Phillies FO, or writng for any of the media outlets, can tell us much of anything ahead of time.

Just take a look at the ESPN 2011 "experts" predictions:

None of the writers picked the Cards to win the NL Pennant, much less the WS, None.

Only 7 of the 45 "experts" even predicted they'd make the PLAYOFFS.

Most predicted a Red Sox WS victory and they you know what happened to them.

So, when even the supposed best informed people in the sports world have an extremely difficult time predicting what will happen in just the upcoming season - with most of the players on each team and their potential pretty well known - I find it hard to believe that anyone can predict anything 3 years from now.

awh - They sign Hamels they have $100M in salary in just 5 guys for '14 and '15 who will be likely to give below-average value for those dollars.

There payroll isn't going to consistently exceed the the luxury payroll tax either those years given how onerous the penalties are under the new labor agreement. I would bet a large sum on that especially given the lack of any new substantial revenue inputs over the next 3 years.

So at best the Phils' payroll will have very modest increases the next few years that mirror the general increases in the luxury payroll threshold tax.

You know the future payroll commitments the Phils have, the conditions of the labor agreement for which there business will operate in, and that they will have no new sources of revenues through at least '14.

You can also make a pretty safe ascertain that overall salary escalation will be modest too given that baseball teams in general aren't going to experience new sources of significant revenues over that period. There will be exceptions like the Angels that sign lucrative regional cable deals but they will be the exception & not the norm.

Understand why Amaro has done what he did. He basically took the path to maximize his team's chances of trying to winning now to the possible detriment of the future with their commitments. It is why he signed Papelbon/JRoll this offseason.

Amaro's gambit is also going to almost certainly viewed too as a 'failure' too by the general public too unless the Phils win another WS too which is unfair & unrealistic given the current playoff structure.

awh: remember, a key to BL complaining is all other organizations can only get better, whereas the Phillies can only stay the same or get worse.

loreore, depending on the details of the contract it could mean that, yes.

Not gonna lie, with the East Coast games starting so early out here, I occasionally find myself tuning into an Angels or Dodgers broadcast for prime time baseball out here on the Left Coast.

And there is some truth to those rumors of Angels fans being honest-to-goodness 'people' - shocking, I know. They even have money to spend and everything.

MG, so, are you saying the Phillies will be uncompetitive in 2015?

awh - You are making a comparison that makes little/no sense though in this case. That is what happens on the field.

What Amaro doesn't know is what younger cost-controlled players will emerge and be consistent performers in '14 and '15.

My argument is that he gives himself little leeway to go out to acquire additional relatively expensive players via FA or trade given the commitments he has already made & especially if they resign Hamels at $20M+ AAV.

Don't understand why that it such a big leap or bold assertion to make. Red Sox have run into this problem this offseason where they haven't been able to go out & sign a starting RF or pay an elite FA closer. They will also have the same challenge too in '13 to really make moves instead of just more tinkering given their existing commitments.

It is one of the reasons why Epstein left for the Cubs' job. He saw the hand writing on the wall about the next 2 years. Smartly got out at a great time, went to a team that is down, and can really go nowhere but up as he rebuilds over the next 2 years.

awh - That you don't know with good certainty especially in '15. If they have a payroll that is $170-175M though, it will really hard for them to not be at least competitive and above .500.

To be a consistent playoff contender though that has a strong chance to win 90+ games & take the NL East '14 and '15? I would argue 'no' if they resign Hamels at a huge salary that take their commitments to ~$100M both years.

The other huge crux is assuming that attendance will remain nearly this strong too. My bet is that it would take a year or two to really affect season ticket sales but attendance capacity in '15 could be around 80% instead of 100% if the Phils have a down year in '14 with diminished expectations going into '15.

The best thing though that this current Phils' run has done though is create a new generation of Phils' fans & will almost certainly ensure the Phils ensure a 'halo' effect in attendance at CBP even if the product wanes a bit in quality in coming years.

Phils' games have become 'events' including a large amount of female fans and young people attending.

awh: I basically agree with you. You need only look at our own roster to underscore your point.

Howard was a 5th round draft pick who was a fairly ordinary 1st base prospect until his age 24 season & didn't become an elite prospect until his age 25 season.

Utley, though a middle first round pick, never made it higher than No. 83 on BA's Top 100 list -- and that was not until his age 24 season.

Vic floundered around the minors for 6 years, before having his breakout minor league season for us in Year 7, at age 25.

Ruiz has his breakout minor league season at age 25.

Mayberry was seen as a future backup outfielder until finally getting his chance for significant major league playing time last year at age 27.

Before their breakout seasons, no scout in the world would have predicted that Howard would win an MVP, Utley would be an all-time great 2nd baseman, Vic would be an All-Star centerfielder, Ruiz would be an established major league catcher, or Mayberry would be a solid starter (if that's what he turns out to be). In fact, every last one of these guys would have been deemed "too old for their leagues." You just don't know.

From RAJ: “We’re pretty happy with the team we have in place,” the Phillies’ general manager said Tuesday. “If there’s an area we might play around with it’s the bullpen, but I’d say there’s a pretty good chance we might be done.”

“Our payroll is well past where we want to be after signing Jimmy – that’s a fact,” Amaro said. “It’s going to be right around or about where we finished last year. We’re in a dangerous area.

“But it’s plenty of payroll to field a championship-caliber club – which I think we have right now.”

And therein lies the problem, my friends.

Its pretty hard to debate baseball with someone who views signing Cole Hamels as a step in the wrong direction.

"What Amaro doesn't know is what younger cost-controlled players will emerge and be consistent performers in '14 and '15."

OK, MG, I accept that as a fact. So, if Amaro doesn't know who "will emerge", then how can you know the opposite? Isn't that what this means:

"...but there just isn't a bunch of younger talent that is going to emerge this year or next."

You see, my question is this:

If Amaro - who has access to internal scouting reports and player evaluations, confidential depth charts that actually matter, sits in organizational planning sessions, etc. etc. etc. - has no way of knowing, how is it that you DO?

As far as signing or acquiring "additional relatively expensive players via FA or trade" is concerned, who cares? It's 2012.

For all you know Hamels, and Lee will have been either not re-signed or traded by then, because Biddle, May & Worley could be anchoring a young rotation, with Kendrick and an inexpensive FA holding down the 4 and 5 spots. Stutes, Bastardo, Schwimer, De Fratus, Herndon, Papelbon and whoever (cheap FA?) are in a cost controlled bullpen with Papelbon the most expensive pitcher on the roster.

I sure don't know, and NEITHER DO YOU.

So, fankly, if you and the rest of the Posse want to twist yourself into knots about 2015 at this point, go ahead.

You'll provide planty of entertainment for the rest of us.

And while you're at it, could you please provide a couple of posts about 2018? I'm really interested in what's in store for the Phillies that season and whether or not I should renew my season tix?

I'm confused as to the point of DPatrone's 4:26 pm post. Are you saying that the Phils aren't a championship club or that $170 million isn't enough to field a championship caliber club?

awh, lots of good points. I think there are some legitimate causes for concerns after these next couple years, but like you say, we just don't know really anything about what the team will look like at the time.

Also, you sometimes have a tone that you are personally offended by other poster's opinions. I wonder if you take this blog a little too seriously, since all MG was doing was spit-balling and voicing some of his concerns regarding the Phillies long term future. Maybe I'm just taking your posts too much at face value. I apologize in advance if that's the case.

"Its pretty hard to debate baseball with someone who views signing Cole Hamels as a step in the wrong direction."

And locrecore wins the "Post of the Day Award".

Red~ I'm not saying either. I'm saying he's doing nothing more to improve it. he needs a RH hitter and a possible BP arm (IMO). What he's telling us is "don't hold your breath".

The team is good but I don't think it's good enough.

Gotchalotti, ummm, I mean Fattalotti, I don't take this blog "seriously" at all. It's a source of info, fun, amusement and debate about my favorite BASEBALL team.

But I don't work for the Phillies or in MLB, so that's all it is. Just baseball.

If I'm ever earning a living from it I'll take it seriously.

"he needs a RH hitter and a possible BP arm (IMO)."

DomP, once again.......WHICH RH hitter? Who? Trade or FA signing?

Also, IMO you're not analyzing it correctly. With Pence and 2011 Mayberry in the lineup, they'll be fine.

AAMOF, I could argue that they'll have a greater need for a LEFT-HANDED hitter while Howard it out.

JRoll - S
Vic - S
Utley - L
Pence - R
Mayberry - R
Polly - R
Chooch - R

That's 6 out of 7 guys who can hit from the right side. I think you're under the impression that Raul is still on the roster.

And why take anything Amaro says at face value anyway?

Matt Rizzoti is obviously not fast (no 'speed' tools) but he obviously has developed "skills" as a basestealer. this from the Phils minor league website:

"The 6-foot-5, 265-pound first baseman swiped four bases in five attempts as well, doubling his career total coming into the season."


MG certainly has a point, but I don't see this team falling out of the playoff picture this decade (at least for reasonably foreseeable reasons). I'd take Doc, Lee, and Hamels three days out of five for the next few years without too much concern. Lots of 'ifs' but the Phils will win a lot of regular season games with those three.

Epstein did his best to run the Red Sox into the ground in his 2nd go around as their GM. He wasnt up there with the worst GMs in the game but he's definitely in the bottom 3rd over the last several years.

awh - But you are counting on a lot more 'hits' than 'misses' though from the prospects coming through as above average contributors.

MG has a point in the sense that it's a fact that the Phils 2014 commitments are nothing like, say, the Cardinals, but look at a team like the Red Sox. They already have over $94M committed to their 2014 roster and a ton of arb-eligible players. Yankees have $75M committed (not included what comes of Cano, who will likely be extended, and Gardner's arb-eligibility). Angels have ~$77M committed.

Rangers and Cards are really the only teams with the Phils record of success over the last several years with less commitments in 2014. And, again, it's not like they didn't try to spend: both teams lost their respective attempts at the two marquee FA of the last two years (Lee and Pujols).

Most importantly, as NEPP said, it's a few years away. But Phils aren't alone. The one place where the Phils may be at a disadvantage relative to these clubs in the farm.

And if we're playing with the Phillies 2015 dollars it's also significant that, while Lee is signed through 2016, Doc has a 2015 option (which will probably be a no brainer). If Hamels is extended (and hopefully he is), you'd have to bet that the deal is backloaded.

Doc and Lee will obviously begin to decline over the next few years. However, as shown by Roy O, an elite starting pitchers decline is not as abrupt and unpredictable (injury aside, Kerry Wood) as many other position players who fall off in their waning years. As a matter of fact, with the caliber of pitcher these two are, and how they rely on their intelligence to accompany very decent "stuff," they have the make-up to do what Pedro did toward the end of his career, and still be a very solid #2/3 pitcher, and very reliable, through at least the life of each of their contracts. As long as that's the case, I feel pretty good that we won't exactly be bottom feeders in the next few seasons.

What does pose a risk, however, is whether or not the moves made by Division rivals pans out to work. If the Marlins and/or Nats do prove out to be formidable, and start to develop their own followings, it will be very reminiscent of the Phillies of 2007+. Sophist's point about the NL East being another AL East is probably the biggest threat to the Phils. Good NL East baseball Division rivalries appear inevitable. Will be great for viewing.

I didn't see anyone jump on this so I will. It's the early leader for post of the year...

"...if the Phillies are a second-division team by 2014/2015, It will be because key players like Vic, Utley, Halladay, Pence, and Hamels either left & were inadequately replaced, or were re-signed to big exensions well beyond their useful lives."

So the problem for 2014/15 will be Vic, Utley, Halladay, Pence and Hamels leaving or staying. Whichever happens that's the problem. I'm glad to see you've got both sides covered. No second guessing you here.

Am I the only one who thinks using the term "window closing" is just a narrative to temper the excitement of a disappointing season?

Is the Yankees' window closing? Highest payroll in the league and booted in the NLDS. Clearly they only have another year or two at this current level to compete right?

Did the Cardinals window close when Pujols signed with the Angels? When was it open?

I think I've said this before and will continue to say it, the window is only closed if the team wants it to be closed. As long as you field a club to make it to the postseason, your window will be open every season.

/back to discussion about 2015 payroll obligations

The Phillies do have some nice looking everyday prospects that they acquired in last year's draft & I have every confidence that one or two of them will be key contributors to the major league team by 2015. Unfortunately, I just don't see anyone on the horizon who will be able to step in and replace those guys when they bolt for free agency after 2020.

BAP, so, you're saying I shouldn't get my hopes up for a 2022 World Series run?

I guess I'll abandon having that yet-to-be-conceived child I've always dreamed of taking to his first WS game with our beloved Phillies.

gobay: That's an early leader for 2012's best misrepresentation of a post.

My point is simply this: for all the (well-deserved) hand-wringing about Howard's contract, & about other current commitments that go out to 2015 (Lee, Papelbon, Rollins), those contracts, standing alone, are not going to be the cause of our 2014/2015 demise -- if such a demise occurs.

RedBurb - Yanks are in a different class from every other team in MLB though given their revenues. Phils right now are comparable to every other top-spending team though including the Red Sox.

Well obviously much of the issue in 2015 and beyone will be the 18 or so players that aren't on the roster now but may be by then. 2012 is hard enough to predict and we know who is on that team.

Sophist, my disagreement with MG is more about the way he goes through considerable and excrutiating contortions to try to justify his position.

He simply cannot factually back up some of his assertions.

I accept that it's going to be difficult to field a winning and comtetitive team in 2015. But isn't it difficult EVERY year?

"awh - But you are counting on a lot more 'hits' than 'misses' though from the prospects coming through as above average contributors."

MG, no, I am not.

It is you who are counting on them NOT coming through.

In 2000, when Utley was drafted, could you have "counted on" him making his debut in 2003 (three years after the draft), finishing 13th in MVP voting in 2005 and being a All Star in 2006?

In 2001, could you have "counted on" Howard making his debut in 2004 (three years after the draft) and being a perrenial MVP candidate by 2006?

In 2003 Chooch was putting up a .658 OPS in Reading with a .337 SLG. Would you have "counted on" him making his debut 3 years later and being a borderline All Star after that?

Would you have "counted on" Worley in 2008 when he was still in Williamsport and Lakewood?

You would have been ridiculed on this board and elsewhere if you had said you were "counting on" any of those players, because too much can go wrong in a player's development.

But that doesn' mean NONE will develop or emerge, as you seem to think.

MG, and for the record, I have stated that "I don't know".

You are the one who is claiming clairvoyant powers.

In 2019 the philles win the series. Really. This is the stuff we are talking about. Worrying 3 plus years down the road. Let's enjoy what we have now and go forward. as the time arises.

awh - If they have $70M or so to fill out the rest of the roster, they need to 'hit' on their share of younger contributors because they won't have a ton of spare dollars to acquire additional pieces to round out the rest of the roster.

Just out of curiosity and to take this in a different direction - has anyone actually ever seen a study on how Top 10/20 prospect list actually translate to the MLB level in terms of production over the first 3-5 years in the league? How many even make the MLB roster and stick?

2015 and beyond will have a lot to do with who is on the team. We don't know who those poeple are. We can't really make predictions.

All you really need to do know given the current playoff format is make the playoffs. Doesn't really matter if you win the division. Amaro has done that again as it is strong possibility the Phils will make the playoffs again next year.

I do wonder though how teams will approach building teams though when the new playoff format kicks in 2013 that begins to more heavily favor division winners though.

MG, WTF knows anything about 2015? I don't, and neither do you.

In 2011, how many of the players who were on the 2008 WFC were still on the roster?

The answer: 10, or 40%.

60% of the roster turned over in just 3 years.

Here's a prediction:

I predict that the roster will trun over 60% between 2012 and 2015.

awh - I never tried to predict who will be on the 2015 roster. That is largely pointless because of the time period involved and the point I wasn't trying to make.

It is just that if you have a payroll around $170M or so and commit $100M or so to just 5 players (including Hamels) in '14/'15, it really hinders you ability to fill out the rest of the roster.

If the Phils would pick up Halladay's option in '14, it is nearly $120M. I don't think the Phils wound be able to field a competitive team in '14 if they did that but Amaro won't go that route either if he does resign Hamels long-term.

I throw this one out there - Any interest in Lidge coming back if he signs an incentive-laden deal with a base around $1M?

"Any interest in Lidge coming back if he signs an incentive-laden deal with a base around $1M?"

None whatsoever. 2011 Lidge reminded me an awful lot of 2010 J.C. Romero. Both had a complete inability to throw strikes anymore. Both pitched to unsustainably high WHIPs. But both somehow managed to do a passable job of run prevention over a small number of innings. After we brought back Romero in 2011, we quickly learned that his 2010 fomula for run-prevention was completely unsustainable. It is no more sustainable for Lidge than it was for Romero.

Dobs just got a 2 yr $3mill deal with the Marlins. If the big ticket guys won't take their money they'll find someone who will.

As sung by some random dude on the Conan O'Brien show..."in the year 2015"...

MG, you have no way of knowing - at this time - whether the Phillies' ability to fill out their roster in 2015 will be hindered in any way, even IF the scenario you forsee occurs.

One, you don't know what the payroll will be. What does the CBA say the salary tax threshhold will be?

Two, you don't know whether or not any younger players WILL or WON'T be on the roster.

Howard 25
Lee 25
Rollins 11
Papelbon 13

add up to $79MM(info from

Those are the only "commitments" ass-u-ming Rollins' 1MM option vests.

I'm not sure that 3 years from now they'll be hindered by those 4 contracts.

DomP, once again.......WHICH RH hitter? Who? Trade or FA signing?

AWH~ We all know who was available & we all know who was signed. You make a great point about a LH hitter. Great point. You also make a great point that with Mayberry and Pence they'll be fine. Well, they SHOULD be. We now about Pence. Mayberry has to prove what he can do over a full season. And at least we finally agree that Howard being out is the key. I've been saying that all along as you know.

I can't tell you what hitter or how they'll get him, but they need one nonetheless. Based on what he said, it's moot point anyway.

But it could come back to haunt him. That's why I said there are too many "if's" and there could be too much pressure on the starters. I didn't condemn what RAJ did, he just didn't do enough. You still have to hit to win. The fact that they struggled n the playoffs 2 years in a row shows that.

Don't get me wrong. They should win 95 games in their sleep. But are thay a better playoff team now then they were?

@awh: In the scheme of things, and, in particular, this conversation, this is highly unimportant, but, nonetheless, here I go: it is "bated" breath, not "baited." It's not about the smell (bait) of one's breath, but, rather, holding back in anticipation of something significant about to occur. Thought you might like to know.

Carry on.

it is "bated" breath, not "baited."

Posted by: mainerob

Am I missing something here?

Edwin Jackson -- whom some will recall as the journeyman pitcher with the 4.46 career ERA & 1.48 career WHIP who has pitched for 6 different teams in 9 years -- is apparently seeking a 5-year deal at $15 to $17M per year.

I think the doctor needs to increase Scott Boras's dosage of anti-psychotic medications because he's clearly living in an alternate universe right now.

Tell me more about this 2019 Series team! Are they a group of scrappy young upstarts or the doddering remains of our current feeble incarnation?

awh - Its $189M in '13 which gives them more breathing room. I didn't realize it was that high because there is a notable difference if the Phils can say spend $185M in '14 and '15 vs. say $170M or so if they choose without hitting the luxury tax threshold.

mainrob, did someone say "with baited breath"? Not sure what you're referring to.

What if Ryan Howard is a shot player? What then? Sure John Mayberry Jr. "looks good in a uniform", but is he a 35 HR/120 rbi guy (minimum requirements for replacing 'Big Piece' IMHO)?

Realistically, between the ailments of Placido Polanco, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, could the Phils’ offense be so crippled this year that RAJ "sells" at the deadline, and waits out developments until 2013?

BTW, this post was inspired by the “unknown unknowns” posts that seem to be prevalent – awh wins the day with:

…None of the writers picked the Cards to win the NL Pennant, much less the WS, None.

Only 7 of the 45 "experts" even predicted they'd make the PLAYOFFS...

...I find it hard to believe that anyone can predict anything 3 years from now.

Posted by: awh | Tuesday, January 03, 2012 at 03:59 PM

BAP: i saw that the other day and thought, "If Boras can get that for Jackson then he is a great agent."

Whatever GM signs that deal is a bonehead.

TTI: I can't fathom any GM agreeing to that deal or anything remotely close to it. I'd say more like 3 years, $30M -- and even that's probably more than he's worth.

Personally, I think Boras is a terrible agent for any player who isn't a star - and I'm even starting to question his methods when it comes to stars. Boras knows only one way to negotiate: demand an ungodly sum of money, then string out the process as long as possible until some team gets desperate and caves. That inflexible, one-size-fits-all approach might have worked for Jayson Werth, but it doesn't work for middling players like Jarrod Washburn, Kyle Lohse & Edwin Jackson. And, even with a star player, it only works if the agent starts off with an asking price that is tethered to the real world, and is willing to back off a bit if it becomes apparent that the market isn't willing to pay what he's asking. As a lawyer, I long ago learned that it's just bad advocacy to fill your client with unreasonable expectations.

I think the doctor needs to increase Scott Boras's dosage of anti-psychotic medications because he's clearly living in an alternate universe right now.

Posted by: bay_area_phan"

bap, I happen to agree with you, but the problem is that Boras has a way of sneaking into owners' medicine cabinets and removing THEIR anti-psychotics.

The result is that he's convinced certain owners to dole out contracts like 3/36 to Ollie Perez, 5/70 to JD Drew, 7/126 to Zito, etc.

Never underestimate Boras' salesmanship or gullible owners' stupidity.

bap, here's Boras argument:

The last three years Edwin Jackson has pitched 623 innings with a 3.96 ERA in both leagues, with a WHIP of 1.363, and a K/9 of 7.1.

He has a better-than-MLB-average ERA in those 3 years. In other words, he's an above average pitcher, a #2, and 15-17MM is the going rate(and will be cheap) for a #2 pitcher on a championship team. Just look at the Phillies: they pay EACH of their top 2 pitchers 20MM or more.

He's only entering his age 28 season - his prime - and will get better.

awh: Those guys are all much different cases than Edwin Jackson.

For all his problems in San Francisco, Zito was a Cy Young winner and front-line starter with Oakland. He was unanimously regarded as the best starting pitcher in the 2007 free agent class.

Drew flopped with Boston but, again, he was a star player -- with 4 straight seasons of .886 OPS or better - when he signed that contract.

Perez is a better comp, but even he was coming off a legitimately terrific season when the Mets gave him that deal.

Edwin Jackson has been the epitome of league average throughout his career. He is more aptly compared to guys like Lohse and Washburn, both of whom Boras failed miserably (though Lohse came out of it ok by signing a one-year deal & proceeding to have a career year).

awh: There are so many holes in that argument, it would take me all day to pick it apart. But let's start here: those are not the numbers of a No. 2 pitcher on ANY team -- let alone a championship team. If they are the numbers of a No. 2 starter on a championship team, how is it that he was only the 4th best starter on his own championship team last year, and the 5th best starter on the Rays' AL championship team of 2008?

cut, you make excellent points. People forget that there was specualtion as to whether the Phillies were going to be buyers or sellers in 2009 and 2010.

Howard shot? It's a possibility.

Ass-u-ming Mayberry can repeat 2011 [.854 OPS, 15 HR, 17 2B, 49 RBI in 296 PA], (I hold no illusion that he can post his 2nd half OPS of .965 for a full season) then then extrapolates out to .854 OPS, 30 HR, 34 2B, 98 RBI in approx. 600 PA.

OTOH, suppose Mayberry's change in batting stance did turn him into a monster that can put up .301/.358/.607 with 12 HR, 12 2B, 1 3B, and 37 RBI in 179 PA?

If that happens, then Mayberry will hit 40 HR, 40 2B, 3 3B, and drive in 124 runs in approx. 600 PA. In short, he'll be an MVP candidate. If he plays LF all year and does that, coupled with the fact that he's a good enough defender that he'll be a GG candidate, he'd probably BE the MVP, at least on this team.

But Utley, despite his missing the 1st 2 months and being limited by his ailments still put up the 3rd highest OPS of any NL second baseman. If Howard's out and Utley plays that well for a full season then that will somewhat mitigate the loss of Howard.

Keep this in mind: Ryan Howard had a .835 OPS last season and they still won 102 games. John Mayberry had an OPS of .854 in limited action.

We'll have to see how things pan out, but IMO the pitching is good enough that they won't be selling at the deadline.

It may be that the biggest mistake they make is bringing Howard back too early before his achilles is ready.

We'll see.

"awh: There are so many holes in that argument, it would take me all day to pick it apart."

bap, I agree. I'm simply trying to speculate as to what Boras could be saying to Jackson's prospective employers.

Personally, I view Jackson as a harder throwing version of Joe Blanton - a league average pitcher who can eat innings and has his good streaks (and bad).

Therefore, I'd offer him the same contract as Blanton with a little bump for inflation - 3/27.

If he didn't take that he could go somewhere else.

awh ... As Homer Simpson once said:

uhhhmmmmmm... beer...

So I say:

ummm... Mayberry's 5-tool numbers... MVP...

If only.

Regardless, even without Oswalt, this is a pitching staff for the ages. Runs = wins.

Go, RAJ go! Fix the offense. Please?

For Christmas, I got tickets to the 2017 home opener, where we will be celebrating my 75th birthday. Anyone know the weather forcast? I want to know how to dress.

cut_fastball, with the highest scoring offense after Utley returned, you must mean they need to improve against certain better pitchers?

Does anyone expect Rube to come out and say he is eager to pay big bucks for another bat or BP pitcher, even if that is a possibility? His job is to convince any remaining FA that the team is set, but he would consider anyone who is talking reasonable dollars.

I think it's fascinating that BAP's hatred for Lidge runs so deep that he's completely unwilling to throw chump change at him, despite his successes down the stretch in 2010 and coming off the DL in 2011, along with the guarantee that Manuel will not use him in the ninth inning, in lieu of giving that spot, presumedly, to the consistently awful David Herndon, who has puked all over the mound anytime Cholly has given him a chance at meaningful innings.

Iceman, does Herndon puke because he gets the heebie jeebies in his tummy, or does the DITHL get teh best of him?

"Does anyone expect Rube to come out and say he is eager to pay big bucks for another bat or BP pitcher, even if that is a possibility? His job is to convince any remaining FA that the team is set, but he would consider anyone who is talking reasonable dollars."

No, he shouldn't come out and say that. But there were guys available to help fill Howard's void (Cuddyer, Aram, Beltran, & even Willingham) in the lineup and he signed none of them because of their asking prices and what they eventually got.

So if he brings someone else in, It'll like be a Spillborghs or a Hairston, and neither of them are any better than whom we already have, so when he says he's done, I believe him.

Same with the 'pen. Madson would sure look good there, but even on a 1-yr 8 million deal, ain't gonna happen. They are NOT going over the cap and I have a problem with that. Even if they go over by 3 million, what's the tax, approximately 660k? Gimme a break.

awh- I have run Herndon's DITHL numbers and they almost triple from the eighth inning onward.

Then again, the man for whom the DITHL stat was created, Ryan Madson, eventually got over it.

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