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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

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Another guy I worry about in terms of getting proper playing time is Mayberry. The lefty-heavy crop of guys competing for the two starting and five bench spots might push him back into the reserve role just to keep decent RH options available on the bench. Since he's the only guy in that group with any kind of promising future and is cost-controlled, it makes sense to give him every chance to start, but the glut of mediocre competition and the RH/LH complications might reduce his role.

Except for two weeks into training when cholly starts saying "We really like Qualls alot" whether or not he's even done anything worth a d***. "You know that pierre is real fast still".

Excellent article which pretty much sums up my feelings about each of the last 2 signings. I would also add one more point. The reason we bring in these reclamation projects is because we're hoping for a bounce-back. But spring training is a very small, and unreliable, sample from which to predict which one of these guys is going to bounce back. Hence, the more reclamation projects we bring in, the greater the risk that we're going to end up picking the wrong guy or guys, while letting the real bounce-back guy get away.

I am all in favor reclamation projects. But having too many of them really defeats the entire purpose.

from end of previous thread:

Clout: obviously I must think Betemit is special if I thought he'd make a good bench player and be better than Ty Wiggington. By that definition, I think 67% of MLB free agents are "special".

I just think Ty Wiggington is a player 3 years into his decline and Wilson Betemit, while not the player Wiggington was in his prime, he's probably 50-100 pts of ops better than Wiggington now. So one is up-swinging to his plateau and the other is in a pretty steady downswing. That said I like Keppinger better because he can play ss.

epicurean: I agree 100 percent on Mayberry.

Trading Blanton is probably the team's only shot at avoiding the Luxury tax and still having some wiggle room for a mid-season pickup.

Except for two weeks into training when cholly starts saying "We really like Qualls alot" ...

Qualls is a veteran, & Charlie wets himself for the oldsters. He also enjoys locking certain players into certain roles regardless of suitability. What are the odds he hasn't already given the 8th inning to ol' Chad?

The IronPigs had a terrific off-season. I'm not so sure about the Phillies.

"Trading Blanton is probably the team's only shot at avoiding the Luxury tax and still having some wiggle room for a mid-season pickup."

Actually, their best shot at having mid-season wiggle room is to say: who gives a crap if we have to pay a 20% tax on some infinitesimal portion of our 2012 payroll? If nothing else, the Qualls move suggest that this may be precisely how they feel. This is not a move they would have made if they were concerned about being up against the cap.

Maybre the object of stockpiling arms is to deal one or more of them (if most perform well)during ST for infield help. Other than that, I agree with JW that the field has become muddled. Veteran ptchers aren't ALWAYS better than young arms. Amaro doesn't like prospects it seems. It's not possible for home-grown talent develop if you've never allowed it to do so.

I would think guys like Podsednik and JP are brought in for depth purposes only. If Victorino blows a tire on March 15th, the phils aren't left scrambling/overpaying for a veteran OF or throwing a rookie to the wolves. Agreed you can have too many of these guys, but I don't think the phils are at the "too many" point. With all the split squad games, I think all of these guys get plenty of ABs.

I think we have too many ST relief pitchers but I'd bet that half of them are cut by march 10th so it doesnt matter.

I'd like to see a guy like Dimitri Young get a flyer just because if he is even decent, he could cover 1B for a month before Howard comes back.

Where's Da Meat Hook been since 2008? That's a long time to not have been facing MLB pitching.

5th bench spot is wide open right now and you figure the Pierre has the edge going in because he gives them the speed/ability to steal a bag late if needed. Batting LH hurts him a lot though because I am willing to bet the Phils ideally want a RH bat there.

He has even splits though...so that's a point in his favor. Also, otherwise, we have the slowest bench outside of slow pitch softball leagues.

***Where's Da Meat Hook been since 2008?***

Old Country Buffet...at least until about 6 months ago when he decided to go on a diet/workout.

I tend to agree that Pierre has a significant leg up on Pods for that 5th bench spot. Is anyone else even really on the radar? Frandsen or Orr, maybe? I would almost rather see it go to one of the infielders despite the overall drop in tools from Pierre to get the RH bat on the bench and to minimize Martinez's requirements while Wigginton presumably starts a lot.

Mini Mart should never ever ever PH in any game situation. There are 5-6 pitchers on the rosters that are better with the lumber than him. Some of them are probably better SS too.

Honestly, I'd put money on Hamels playing a better SS than Mini Mart.

...And I forget that Orr bats left despite throwing right, so that shoots that theory down. I guess by that argument I have to pull for Frandsen, oddly enough.

And yeah NEPP, I completely agree.

If Defratus and Schwimer can't beat out Qualls and Piniero, then I blame DeFratus and Schwimer, not Qualls and Piniero.

14 players made at least 5 relief appearences last year...and that was for the least used bullpen in the majors.

Stock it up.

Here is a breakdown of PH ABs last year:

Gload - 74 ABs
Mayberry - 31 ABs
Francisco - 26 ABs
Mini-Mart - 16 ABs
Orr - 14 ABs
Ibanez - 11 ABs
Bowker - 10 ABs
Chooch - 8 ABs
Valdez - 7 ABs

I imagine the bench will be used primarily the same way. Thome will get the lion share's of PH ABs but they will be primarily in the 8th-9th inning. Mayberry will be the primary right-handed PH when he is not starting. If he is, then the jobs falls to Wigginton early on. Nix will be the earlier PH option before Thome.

Mini Mart will get his share of PH ABs though. My bet is it will be around 15-20 this year. Cholly has shown he will his utility infielders ill-advised PH ABs especially when he had No-Hit Nunez who set Phils' records for PH futility.

I like the bench though if Pierre makes the Opening Day roster. You have a fair degree of flexibility and some decent PH options.

The issue becomes when one JRoll/Utley/Polanco gets nicked though without going on the DL. It wouldn't completely shock me if the Phils carry another infielder on the Opening Day roster including Orr/Frandsen even though it would make there bench weaker.

I would go with Fransden (who can supposedly play 2B, 3B, and SS) as the utility infielder if we don't sign any Valdez replacements before Spring Training. Unlike Mini-Mart, he was once a MLB player with some promise, and put up some impressive Triple-A numbers last year before his suspension. However, I predict that even if Fransden plays terrifically in ST, we'll still have Mini-Mart as the utility infielder--because, well, because he spent all last year with the team and because he's versatile and because Rube can never be wrong on a Rule 5 pick...

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/phillies-procure-pierre/

I often find lots of the articles on FanGraphs that are team specific are kind of weak and this is no exception.

So Brown should be the Opening Day roster as the 5th OF spot and play seldomly? That makes no sense. He needs to be playing everyday in LF

Pierre certainly has his limitations at this point but the real argument here is who takes the 5th bench spot - Pierre/Posdenik or another infielder like Orr/Frandsen. That is the legit discussion to have.

So Mini Mart got 16 more PH ABs than he should have gotten.

So Mini Mart got 16 more PH ABs than he should have gotten.

The upside of that? JW gets minimum of 100 extra hits on this site in 1/10 of the games.

A good article about a topic I hadn't thoroughly contemplated yet.

And now I'm contemplating how Cholly is going to manage...we all know he has a huge love for aging vets.

I believe Mini was some sort of unholy wager between the Nats and Phillies ownership since he was nabbed 3 days after Werth was overpaid.

If nothing else, even the Phillies' split squads are going to be formidable in Spring Training.

"If Defratus and Schwimer can't beat out Qualls and Piniero, then I blame DeFratus and Schwimer, not Qualls and Piniero."

Well put.

My guess is the Phils swing a deal for an infielder in spring. The entire infield is an injury risk. The Phils have to know that.

I hope so, but I fear tht Rube's motto, going into ST, will be "I do all my infield shopping at the Mini-Mart; the prices can't be beat"

I think Rube look at it like this:

1. If my starters are healthy, I don't need anything special as far as INF goes for the bench. Wiggs will handle the ABs available when they need a blow.

2. If someone goes down for a short stint, I've got Wiggs, Mini, and guys like Orr to fill in. We're good enough to survive for 2-3 weeks of Polly on the DL.

3. If someone goes down for an extended period of time, there isn't a bench guy in the world that I'm satisfied with and I'm making a trade for an impact player at the deadline.

"impact" being someone that can play everyday and hold his own. Doesn't have to be a superstar but there are plenty of available vets at the deadline that can start and bat 7th for the phils if need be.

J.W. --

The entire infield is an injury risk. The Phils have to know that.

Agreed. However, what "well" of infield help do you draw from? Why sign Chad Qualls to any deal when the infield depth is so unsettled, and the luxury tax lurks? Unsettling.

J. Weitzel: I'd love to know what you think of Ruben Amaro as a GM.

Well, there's a distinct difference between "injury risk" (which, due to age, the Phils infield certainly has), and "likelihood to miss significant time." The difference is essentially what dictates a 'good enough' replacement (like Mini, Orr, etc.) versus the need to have a marginally decent backup plan for all spots (ideally using someone versatile). Unfortunately, it's impossible (due to roster limits), impractical and damn expensive to have a legitimate backup for all IF positions.

We've seen some pretty nasty injuries causing our IF regulars to miss considerable time last season alone, which is definitely cause for concern, no matter how much fun you poke at the whole "age related injury" meme.

Basically, RAJ is ok for now, so long as no one suffers an extended DL stint. I also don't think he (or any other team for that matter) is in a position to predict which of his aging veteran infielders is most likely to need a "slightly better than average" backup.

And when you need to start employing very capable backups, as your likelihood to need them runs higher and higher, perhaps you need to consider the return on investment of your primary options???

"
The IronPigs had a terrific off-season. I'm not so sure about the Phillies.

Posted by: bay_area_phan "


bap, yeah, I know. I think this version of the Phillies "might" (it's too early to say - we don't even know who's made the team) lose more games than last years team.

If they lost 5 more games they'll only have 97 wins.

If that happens I wonder if they'll make the playoffs?

The thing that would concern me most at this point would be a Jimmy Rollins injury. That would neccesitate a prolonged reliance on Mini-Mart. At least at the other infield positions we have a few other options, even if they aren't terribly exciting. If Rollins goes down the only other solution would be to bring up Galvis. If Martinez were bad enough, I bet Rube would bring him up. And the only reason to bring up would be to play just about every day. No sense bringing him up to cheerlead. I hope we never need to test my theory though.

"If Defratus and Schwimer can't beat out Qualls and Piniero, then I blame DeFratus and Schwimer, not Qualls and Piniero."

That is an oversimplification of how the process actually works. In reality, DeFratus and/or Schwimer would not merely have to beat out the likes of Qualls and Pineiro. They would also have to beat a system which, like Olympic figure skating, has been rigged in advance to achieve a pre-determined outcome: namely, the exclusion from the major league roster of guys like DeFratus & Schwimer.

Well actually, the only fringe relievers that has that advantage that bap speaks of is Qualls, and maybe KK or Contreras if you consider them fringe.

Let a thousand flowers bloom, let a hundred spring training invitees compete.

My guess is the Phils swing a deal for an infielder in spring. The entire infield is an injury risk. The Phils have to know that.

Posted by: J. Weitzel | Wednesday, February 01, 2012 at 01:57 PM


This comment unfortunately IS a repeat of 2010 & 2011.

Reasonable minds can disagree about the pluses or minuses of bringing in all these minor league invitees. But the following dichotomy, I simply don't get:

If you're a legitimate major league relief prospect in the Phillies' organization, RAJ brings in a half dozen major league veterans, thereby making it as difficult as possible for you to earn a spot on the major league roster.

If you're a 28-year old minor league nothing, who hit under the Mendoza line in your first year in the majors, RAJ doesn't bring in a single veteran to compete for your job, then trades away the only major league veteran who is ahead of you on the depth chart.

bap: agreed. Plenty of surrounding influences, but in the end thats what happened and its hard to figure out.

"Stock it up."

lorecore, on this point you are exactly right.

bap - indeed. The whole off season has been a WTF, and this last week has been the perfect climax.

"If Martinez were bad enough, I bet Rube would bring him up."

donc, if, unfortunately, JRoll gets hurt and is out for an extended period, I would bet on seeing Galvis.

Despite a brief run at AAA Syracuse of 135 PA when he put up .325/.353/.452, and with which the Phillies MiL scouts apparently became enamored, mini-mart didn't do very much in the minors.

His line over 2 seasons at AA Harrisburg:

.243/.303/.360, 606 PA

I would argue that based on sample size the AA line is much more predictive of what he'll do at the MLB level.

As such, IMO he'll struggle to get to the Mendoza line again in 2012.

Im sure Schwimer was thrilled with all these relief signing. I wonder if he will go off the wall again and make some comment. Honestly cant blame the guy, RAJ doesnt seem to like Rookies. RAJ is forever searching for the diamond in the rough. Stutes was only really giving a chance due to necessity and injury.

Anything going on with Ibanez?
The only stuff I see seems to have nothing behind it. Buster Olney made it up to fill space kind of stuff.
Will we see 2 successive Phillies LF retire in one week?

I'm really not sure what the point of this article is exactly (like they can't let go of a player at any time so there is never any such thing as one too many players)...dominic will get at bats, so will Galvis. Vets will be used judiciously anyway and it's a veteran team. Starters will only get limited innings and more as ST goes. Brown and Galvis can get at bats (aren't there a and b games?) and they are really the only young guys who have a chance of making a big impact on the big league club anytime soon.

In a vacuum, the Qualls signing is OK, but it begs the question: why the hell did they give away Valdez, if not to save money?

Guaranteed money probably means a guaranteed roster spot for Qualls. It looks to me like 23 opening day roster spots are set, barring another move or injuries:

Rotation (5): Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Worley, Blanton
Bullpen (6): Papelbon, Contreras, Bastardo, Qualls, Kendrick, Willis
Catchers (2): Ruiz, Schneider
Infielders (6): Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Wigginton, Thome, Martinez
Outfielders (4): Victorino, Pence, Mayberry, Nix

Competing for the other 2 spots:

Reliever: Stutes, Herndon, DeFratus, Aumont, Horst, Piniero, etc.
Bench bat until Howard gets back: Pierre, Podsednik, Orr, Frandsen, etc.

It's possible they could bring in a guy to compete with Martinez for the backup SS job.

The ideal candidate would be a .240/.290/.330 primary shortstop who could play also second and third for around $900K.

I have a theory about why Ruben goes after big name guys so hard. I suspect that he knows he can go over budget for a big name much easier than he can for a bit player. He can talk another 20 mill for the last guy if it is a sexy enough guy (Lee, Pence) but if it is a bit player it won't happen. Right now Ruben is confident that if he spends to the limit now, he'll still be able to talk a few more million out of the guys upstairs for the right name.
This is all based on BS but why not?

I agree.

gobay, I'll go ya one step further - not only is it easier for him to secure funds for a player with an established name, but I suspect that RAJ isn't of the scouting mindset and probably he, himself, isn't too familiar with prospects/up-and-comers. He's a slave to the "devil you do know" mentality. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

His comments about Howard's contributions comparing to those of Hamels struck me as more of a "what have you done for me lately?" mindset than a "what can you do for me?" manner of thinking. It appears that he'd rather reward known commodities than take the risk on lesser known players, even if they do have upside. I actually suspect that's largely the reason we've seen Brown treated in the manner he's been. Simply put, Ruben is better served to look at results than he is to use any predictive methodology. It's working, but it sure as hell ain't cheap.

Under the new system, as long as a team stays close to it, going over the salary cap threshold is not so big a problem. If a team drops its payroll below the threshold in a subsequent year, it gets a fresh start for salary tax purposes.

If the Phils exceed the threshold slightly this year, with Contreras and Blanton coming off the books after this season, they have a shot to drop below the threshold in 2013 even if they re-sign Hamels. If not in 2013, then certainly in 2014, when the threshold jumps to $189 million.

clout - "Let a thousand flowers bloom, let a hundred spring training invitees compete."

The Chinese say, "Bai hua qi fang."

***The ideal candidate would be a .240/.290/.330 primary shortstop who could play also second and third for around $900K.***

Hopefully such a player would also be able to hit 90 on the gun if he were called on to pitch in an extra inning game.

After the usual flurry of ST injuries, no one will be complaining of too many players around, except Blanton at the buffet table.


Cory Lidle?

shrugs shoulders...too soon?

".240/.290/.330 primary shortstop"

What would Freddy Galvis hit if given 150 PA? Worse than .230/.270/.310?

I would guess Galvis would be lucky to break .200, Sophist.

He's just not there yet.

I guess it just depends on your view of his BA jump last year. Seems like if he could hit .273 in AA and .298 in less than 200 AAA PA, he wouldn't really need to be luck to hit .200. But this is more a scouting question than anything else.

Not saying I disagree. I don't know enough about him. Just wondering what the consensus was.

I think his extreme upside is an Adam Everett type player and his realistic upside is a John McDonald type player. Whether that player would hit more than .200-.230 at that age is a good question...maybe?

I dont think he's as good as that .298 AVG but his .273 in AA seemed pretty solid as it was a pretty good sample size. I think he got a bit lucky in Lehigh.

derek: Thank you.

Luis: Schwimer is a very sound middle relief prospect, but nothing more than that. The guys with upside would be DeFratus and Aumont, but it's less than 50-50 they'll attain that upside. Stutes was a surprise last year and I wonder if he can repeat. Herndon is worth a look because of his strong second half, but his upside is about the same as Schwimer's.

Worth watching: Julio Rodriguez, who's been used both starting and relief, dominated the FSL and should open at Reading. His fastball doesn't dazzle, but he's got a wicked deuce, good slider and deceptive delivery. Double A is always a test for guys like this. If he passes it, at age 21 this season, he'll jump way up a weak Phillies Prospect list (ranked 25th out of 30 teams by Sickels).

Competition for jobs is a good thing (like I'm telling you something you don't already know). Thing is, if the veteran players win out, then the youngsters will get another year of seasoning in the minors which can't hurt for next year. It's a win-win.

GM Ben Cherington:

"We wouldn't rule out adding a starter," said Cherington, "but I think it's unlikely at this point."

Or as my friend who is a Sox season ticket holder texted me tonight, "Back and loaded in '14 baby!"

I have no problems with the recent moves. You dump Valdez and use that money on Qualls. I'd rather take a chance on a veteran reliever like Qualls than have the "security" of Valdez. I mean, it's Valdez. Yeah, he's better than mini-mart, but neither is the solution if there is a long term injury. I'm sure Armaro knows he can always deal for a utility infielder, especially around July when the non-contenders will want to unload even a little salary and get a marginal prospect in return.

Another thought: What utility infielder does Blanton match up wise salary wise? I'm sure a team would take a chance on a starter like Blanton for the average infielder we'd get in return for him.

Sorry for posting again. Forgot to add that whoever said that Mayberry should be getting every AB possible vs. lefties and righties is 100% correct. He should be top priority this spring. Just give the reserve job to Pierre. He'll never see a loogy cause every team will save them for Thome, Utley, Howard when he's back.

It will be interesting to see how long a leash the Phillies give Dontrelle Willis. I was a little surprised he earned a guaranteed major-league deal. There's obviously some lefty bullpen upside there, but he's also a guy who can very quickly pitch his way out of a job completely. He's gone through long periods in his career without any control whatsoever. Even last year, when he pitched well enough down the stretch to earn this deal, he walked a batter every other inning, and had a lower K/BB ratio than Kyle Kendrick and David Herndon.

In a post a couple of days ago, Clout said he thought Willis was a clear improvement upon J.C. Romero.

To me, Willis IS J.C. Romero. A lefty who can hold lefty hitters to a low average, but also has no idea where the ball is going when it leaves his hand. If he shows no control early, I wonder how long the Phils will stick with him.

Has anyone here seen Galvis play? Julio Rodriguez pitch?

The reason I ask is that people are making definitive pronouncements on them. I assume that's because they've seen at least some of the skills or lack of skills they've got.

Seems like Galvis needs seasoning and may be a steady major leaguer at some point.

But Julio Rodriguez is a real conundrum. He's got great numbers in the low minors, but scouting reports on his fastball vary widely. Anywhere from mid 80s to low nineties according to others. Seems nobody knows how to work the gun when he's around. Is me magnetic or something? Throwing the gun off with mind control?

I've seen Galvis play numerous times. He's small. He's listed at 5'10". No way in hell. He makes a few nice plays in the field, but he makes just as many poor ones. The slick fielder stuff is overrated. He's not bad, but the next coming of Omar Vizquel he is not. Offensively, if he's better than someone, like say, Ronnie Belliard, long term.... I'd be surprised.

Joe Lemire has his pre-season power ankings out at si.som.

Interesting, because some teams haven't finished their offseasons yet, and Oswalt and Jackson remain unsigned:


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/joe_lemire/02/01/offseason.power.rankings/index.html?sct=mlb_t11_a0

***Another thought: What utility infielder does Blanton match up wise salary wise? I'm sure a team would take a chance on a starter like Blanton for the average infielder we'd get in return for him.***

Chone Figgins?

Figgins makes $9 million this year and $8 million next year while Blanton makes $8.5 million this year.

I might have missed it but in all the preseason chatter, have there been any updates on Utley? Are the Phillies packing his stool for spring training?

NEPP, if I'm the Phillies I'd do Blanton/Figgins in a second.

Not that it would help to lose SP depth, but Figgins, though he put up a mini-mart like slash line last season, seems poised for a beound to at least an acceptable level as a UT.

He would also serve as a stop gap at 3B in 2013 in case they couldn't replace Polly more adequately.

I wonder if they could get the Mariners to absorb a portion of his 2013 salary?

Dmitri is fine as minor league filler in case someone goes down but if the deal he seeks is one that gives him a legit shot at making the team, I must strongly oppose such a thing.

I have to applaud what's gone on for the most part. I think Qualls might have been a bit much and in a few weeks I think they could have gotten away with a minor league flier on him. However for the first time in a while there are some spots to be won in Clearwater and it'll make for an interesting spring.

Figgins was brutal the last 2 years and atrocious last year. He was basically Mini Mart with worse defense in 2011.

***I wonder if they could get the Mariners to absorb a portion of his 2013 salary?***

You'd have to make the salary even to even consider a swap of "broken parts"...thus the Mariners would have to kick in at least $8-9 million and an additional amount if his 2014 option were somehow to vest (based on 600 PA in 2013 FWIW)

A weird story about Vicente Padilla.. He can't get get permission to leave Nicaragua b/c he owes $4200 in child support.. $4200??? Check his sock drawer.

ScotchMan, I have to disagree. The most glaring hole for the Phillies when opening the season is 1B.

Suppose Young signs a MiL deal and can fill in more than adequately for Howard. Reportedly his bat speed has not diminished, and he does have a .292/.351/.475 lifetime slash line(.297/.364/.455 his last 3 seasons).

I wouldn't expect that, but if he can give them an OPS of .750 - .800 (min. .270/.340/.410) with adequate defense, he'll probably be better as a replacement for Howard than any other guy on the roster.

That would give them the ability to not rush Howard, and they could have an agreement to move/release him if he not on the MLB roster on July 1st.

oogie, that is weird, especially for a guy who has made 50MM in his career.

Lots of marginal relievers getting minor league deals including Durbin with the Nats (Owings with Padres; Cruz with Pirates).

Cruz is interesting but his fastball velocity dropped last year steadily. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if Cruz ends up giving the Pirates slightly better numbers than the Phils get out of Qualls.

I guess Padilla is as stupid as he looks.

On Dimitri Young: I'm sure he spent the last two years out of baseball just because, and not in any way because he can't hack it anymore. Let's move on shall we?

MG: I agree that Cruz and Owings on minor league deals seem like better signings than Qualls' MLB deal, but I'm pretty sure that the Phils were more interested in getting durablity/consistency. Qualls certainly holds that over the remaining relievers that have beeng getting ST invites.

So yes, if Cruz and Owings pitch outperform Qualls, it may look like Ruben made a mistake, but I think that would be an unneeded risk when you already have a sizable group of arms that fit the mold of better upside/less consistency.

Don't forget the Astros scooped up diamond in the rough Zach Duke last week.

"if I'm the Phillies I'd do Blanton/Figgins in a second."

I admit, I stopped and thought about it for a millisecond when NEPP threw the name out. But after 2 horrible years in a row, including what has to be one of the worst offensive seasons of the last 25 years, it's a huge leap of faith to say that Figgins, now 34, will bounce back in 2012. And, even if he did bounce back to utility player level, do you really want to be paying $8M to a utility player in 2013?

"Vicente....you are not the father"

mm, Young had substance abuse and diabetes issues. It was the diabetes that knocked him out. He's apparently lost 70 lbs.

If he's still got the bat speed and can still hit, why would you be opposed to a minor league deal with an invite to MLB camp?

I'd rather hope on Blanton recovering to form than take on Figgins.

The only reason I even threw his name out there was someone asked if there was a utility infielder with a similiar salary. He's the only one I could think of.

awh - Exactly. Not like the Phils have a ton of 1B prospects running around camp that need ABs in spring training.

Rickie Ricardo, Phils spanish broadcaster, is calling the Carribean World Series this year. He said that the Dominican broadcast has sponsers by the pitch, literally every single pitch.

He said the call will be..and here comes the 2-1 pitch... a curveball for a strike, brought to you by WB Mason, Who.. but WB Mason.

Can you imagine TMac doing a Dominican broadcast?

aksmith: You can learn a lot about prospects without seeing them play. It's called scouting reports. There are quite a few of them out there.

As I recall, last spring you attacked posters here for questioning the abilities of Mini-Mart. You asserted we hadn't seen him play so how could we know what we were talking about?

The scouting reports were pretty much on the money about your hero.

BAP - I agree with you on the Figgins point. Figgins probably has more upside for one year, maybe, but his contract is way worse than Blanton's. And I'd bet on Blanton going 150+ IP of roughly or just below league average pitching before I'd bet on Figgins bringing anything as valuable as that to the team.

Blanton is a known quantity. If he's healthy, which is something the Phils have a handle on, he's young enough to pitch to his usual standards -- there's value there. Figgins is older, of limited worth unless you think Wigginton was a mistake, and may just be finished. Not to mention the possibility of paying the guy in 2014. Maybe a buy low 3B option next season if he weren't way passed his prime.

Plus he doesn't not play SS, which is the one area where they unquestionably need a more adequate backup.

clout - The funny is that Mini-Mart really didn't play that play last year in spring training either.

His stat line was .233/.250/.356 with 2 HRs in 73 ABs. Only had 2 BBs and 14 Ks. He also got caught stealing twice (2Bs) and had several defensive miscues.

clout and MG, I predict this season we will find out whether mini-mart has pictures.

Must be of someone in the Phillies org, maybe even a player he was hanging out with somewhere and they don't want to suffer the embarrassment?

One thing all of us - except perhaps smitty - agree on:

Their desire to keep him around cannot possibly be for baseball reasons.

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