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Wednesday, February 01, 2012


Lannan just lost his arb hearing. Will get 5.0MM instead of 5.7MM he requested. It was his second arb year.

Template for KK's salary next season?

I dont know that KK is worth $5 million a year.

Unless he has another good year and builds on his progress of course...then its debatable.

Let's see how he looks in 2012.

If KK actually improves further this year and worley repeats acceptable or same/better #'s then fully expect them to lock KK up for multiple years and thank hamels for his time with the phillies and best of luck to him in LA or NY

That would be probably the dumbest non-Sandberg trade decision in the history of the franchise.

The latest Doug Glanville piece:

Playing With Pat Burrell

Interesting take on Burrell. And I always liked Glanville, so I'm glad he's found success in his second career.

Nepp: What trade decision. Were you refering to letting hamels walk? That wouldn't be a trade.

Yeah, why keep Hamels when you have a Kendrick and Worley.

***Nepp: What trade decision. Were you refering to letting hamels walk? That wouldn't be a trade.***

I missed a hyphen/ should read: Dumbest "non-Sandberg trade" decision in the history of the franchise.

On this week's edition of the Philadelphia SportsWeek Podcast, Kevin tells us that Brown is still regarded as an immense talent with a big future by most talent evaluators around the game. Rich Hofmann, meanwhile, thinks the Phillies have to find a way to get Brown into their line-up. And I have a feeling that such a promotion will happen this season.


per hardball times: Tyler Greene has the lowest career WAR of any starting pitcher to appear in an all star game.

Nepp & Beard: I wouldn't be happy about losing hamels either. But, I just don't see them spending the money if Worley and Kendrick are avearge 3-4 pitchers.

Wow. Nationals sign Edwin Jackson. They went from cellar dweller to actual competitors pretty quickly. Not that I'm too worried, but they will be leaps better than they were in 2011 (and for the next few years).

Edwin Jackson to the Nationals, according to Jon Heyman. This is great news for Joe Blanton.

He has the Phils' starters projected at a 3.39 ERA with 1001 1/3 IP.

That's a substantial jump from last year at 2.86 with 1064 2/3 IP.

Phils' starters won't duplicate there dominance again this year but this seems like a bit of a stretch unless Worley really reverts with an ERA well north of 4 this year and Blanton/KK give the Phils an ERA well over 4 too.

6. Nationals: 3.70 (908 2/3)
8. Braves: 3.71 (974 1/3)
9. Marlins: 3.74 (953 1/3)
22. Mets: 4.08 (926)

Nats would seem like a real improvement. It's not. There starters had a 3.80 ERA last year over 928 2/3 IP. Braves would be almost dead even at 3.73 over 957 1/3 IP.

The big improvement is for the Fish who had a 4.23 ERA over 944 1/3 IP.

If these are close to panning out, your going to see a lot of pitchers' duels in the NL East this year.

A pitchers' duel is how you can tell the difference between an avid baseball fan and a fair-weather one.

I would much prefer to see an NL game where it is 3-2 or 2-1 marked by a relatively quick pace that only takes around 2:30 hours. Means you get some interesting strategy moves late, game doesn't drag with one of those 30-45 minute innings that just kills the pace of a game, and one AB can change the game.

MG, you are correct. When I attended Doc's 1-0 CGSO of the Astros last year, I told my wife, "This was a great game." She yawned and said, "Boring."

Beard - That's great news re Brown if the team agrees.

Prince Fielder would make the Nats competitors, Edwin Jackson does not.

Edwin Jackson just means the NL East got a tad bit harder for us...but not more than that. Any time a good player goes into your division, its a bad thing.

G_Town Dave:

Thanks for the link to the Glanville article. Doug really has settled in nicely to his 2d career (or 3d depending on how you characterize his NYT writing gig). I enjoy reading his articles and thoroughly enjoyed this one. He gives a nice alternative perspective on Burrell that none of us get to see.

So the Nats are about to sign Edwin Jackson for (presumably) big money, while aggressively shopping John Lannan, who will make considerably less money. Seems like a thoroughly lateral move to me, and one which makes little sense from a fiscal standpoint.

On a related note: Lannan's availability will make it harder to trade Blanton -- not that he was ever really tradeable to begin with.

Utley's hand will be happy when Lannan's out of the division.

Jackson's a number 4-5 starter. He's a good one, he'll eat a lot of innings, but he's by no means lights out. The Nats were 7 out of 16 in the NL in runs allowed, and bringing in Gonzalez, Jackson, and a healthy Strasburg certainly helps them a great deal.

I'd be worried a bit about their bullpen though (it's young with no real veteran arms outside of Coffey, who had a career year), and the fact that they haven't improved their offense at all. They were 12 out of 16 in the NL last year by runs scored, last in the East (behind the Marlins by a run). And they've done nothing to improve it. Werth needs to bounce back, LaRoche needs to be healthy, and Harper isn't enough to make a difference on his own. They've got the pitching to run with the Phils, but not the offense (we're better at every position except 3B and C, and only just at C).

Jackson has a 108 ERA+ over the last 3 years. I think that's a bit better than most 4/5 starters.

That's a #3 on most teams...and a #2 on 2nd division clubs.

They'll also have a full season of Jordan Zimmerman this year...last year, they limited his innings and shut him down in early Sept. They'll do the same with Strasburg this year too.

Looks like the Nats are making a serious push for a wildcard spot this year.

I think the NL is kind of weak this season, so I would probably do the same thing. Owners are begging for that 1st playoff season just to see what type of baseball town they have in DC, since most people predict it as a potential big market.

Hmmm, with Fielder and Pujols gone, is it possible both wild cards would come out of the NL East?

NEPP, for the NL East, it's the numbers of a 4-5 starter. The pitching in our division is that much better. Jackson would be the #4 on every team except the Mets, where he'd be #3.

Think about it. We know the Phillies rotation. Braves have Hudson, Jurrjens, Beachy, Minor. Marlins have Johnson, Buerhle, Sanchez. Nats have Strasburg, Lannan, Zimmerman, Gonzalez.

For the record, I'm not a fan of any team that's assembled to win a wild card. You assemble a team to win a division, not make a run at a second playoff spot. The Nats still have problems on offense and the bullpen could regress. I think they'll have a winning record this year, but they don't have the bats to win 90 games. Not in this division, with these pitching staffs.

"For the record, I'm not a fan of any team that's assembled to win a wild card. You assemble a team to win a division, not make a run at a second playoff spot. "

Given the big financial rewards of being in competition late in the year and winning 88 games instead of 83, I'd disagree. Makes less sense to just assemble a team for a winning record. Once you've made it that far, makes all the sense in the world to spend a bit more. Value of a marginal win at that point is bigger than anywhere else on the curve.

"Nate Silver developed a scale that shows the "marginal economic value" of each additional win--in other words, how much additional cash a team can be expected to earn based on each added win. The resulting chart takes the form of a curve with a large lump from 80 to 98 wins--the "sweet spot" where each additional win dramatically increases your chance of making the postseason and garnering the cash windfall that comes with playing in October ..."

Once you add in the second wild card as well as the specifics of the Nats situation (where there's tons of room for growth), this is only more true in DC.

@ Sophist

But the second wild card won't be in play for 2012. 2013 sure, makes sense. Thing that bugs me about building for a wildcard is that a team can be really stupid and make a deadline trade, fall short, and as a result they've screwed up their team for a couple of years. Brewers in 2008 are a classic example with C.C. Sabathia.

But the Brewers made the playoffs in 2008. And again in 2011. They went from an 83 win team in 2007 to a 90 win team in 2008. I don't know the specifics of the deal in terms of the value of prospects given up, the amount of money made in August and September, amount of money made in the playoffs, but that is exactly a scenario in which a team should be gunning for the postseason. 83-90 is right where the marginal value of a win really escalates. Esp. a team like the Brewers who probably didn't have the money to retain all the young position players on that roster.

Besides, they gave up nothing at the major league level to make the move. They got a rental for 3 fairly questionable (at this point) prospects. Hard to see 2009 and 2010 as a result of that move.

The second wild card only makes moves like this make *more* sense for more teams. Was still true in 08 with just the one wildcard.

Godfather: The Brewers earned a spot in the playoffs purely because of that trade. They gave up Matt Laporta(26yr old with a career 93 OPS+) and two guys who can't even make the bigs.

Screwed up their team for a couple years? I don't see it.

You dont build a team for a wildcard, you build a team to win as many games as possible. Unfortunately for the Nationals, they reside in a division with a 100 game winner.

Brewers hadn't made the playoffs since 1982. The CC deal made a ton of sense for them.

@Bed's Beard: I would definitely call the Nat's competitors. Meaning, they can now compete. Not just the addition of Jackson and Gonzalez, but the return of an ace, emergence of a talented rookie, likelihood of a rebound from Werth, etc. They will be much better than they were last year, no doubt.

@godfather: I've read that the 2nd wild card is highly possible for this year.

What does it even mean to build a team for the Wild Card instead of a Division title? Every GM in baseball is trying to build the best team that he can build on the budget he's given. If that leaves the Nationals more likely to compete for the WC than the Division title, it's not because the GM designed it that way. It's because he built the best team he could build, within the constraints of his budget, but that team just happens to play in the same division as a team who, at least on paper, would seem to be better.

"Every GM in baseball is trying to build the best team that he can build on the budget he's given."

Sure. It just makes more sense for the Brewers to make a deadline trade for CC than the Mariners. Wins add value for any team, but the lengths to which a team will go to get those added benefits depend on how valuable the next win is.

Who ever heard of too many fliers on talented baseball players? Bring as much talent as your locker rooms can fill and let them play in spring training. Some guys like Qualls, Pierre and so on have rejuvenated arms, legs, bats etc. Just because you trend down for a couple of years doesn't mean that can't change under new coaches, new ideas and approaches to the game. I wish the Phils had room for Moyer to rejoin the club because I know he can win 12 games in a Phillies uniform with his pea shooter arm. Bring in more big bat guys and lets catch lightning in a bottle

Why not a non-roster invite to Kris Benson, while we're at it?

Sophist: True. Not every team is in "win now" mode and even those who are must still balance the desire to win now against the needs of the future. My only point was: when someone says, "The Nats have decided to contend for the WC, but not the Division," that person is positing that there is some sort of knowable dividing line that separates the two categories, & that the Nationals have made a conscious decision to drive right up to that dividing line, and then stop. It's kind of a preposterous notion.

The Nats could easily be an 85-win team.

I like chances of a Werth bounceback, if Harper is MLB ready, their offense with Morse, Zimmerman, Werth and Ramos will have to be taken seriously.

Then you have the kids in the middle -- Desmond and Espinosa -- who are young and improving (Espinosa might hit 25 HRs).

The rotation -- a healthy Strasberg, Gio, Jackson, Zimmerman and Lannan/Detwiler/Wang -- is much improved.

The bullpen, which looks mediocre, could surprise if Lidge is healthy. Storen and Clippard are young and very good. Burnett is a decent LOOGY, Gorzelanny a decent swingman and Rodriguez a decent middle-inning guy.

The NL East will be very interesting, and far more competitive, this season.

Rube is the Donald Rumsfeld of GMs. He lets you know you can go only into the season with the crazy budgeted team you build not the crazy budgeted team you want.

BAP, I think the point is not so much that the GM is building the team with an eye toward a wildcard as that the ownership is funding the team with an eye to the wildcard.

The argument goes like this: the Nats have never made the playoffs, so it's not clear how much growth they will see in the fanbase (hence revenues) when they do get to October. There is little if any advantage from this standpoint to making the playoffs by winning the division as opposed to through the wildcard, since as we know it's close to a coin flip how well a team fares in the postseason once there. Therefore, the logical move for the ownership is to pump "just enough" money into the team such that they can win the wildcard, instead of injecting the maximum amount of cash possible in order to win the division.

Put more simply--if you can spend X dollars and win the wildcard, why spend 1.5*X instead to win the division when winning the division doesn't add 50% more revenue than winning the wildcard does?

Of course, this makes unreasonable assumptions about the ability to precisely and predictably extract additional wins from additional payroll, but it's not a totally crazy thing to say.

"The Nats could easily be an 85-win team."

Considering they're adding Strasburg, Gonzalez, and Jackson to last year's 81-win team, I'd call this an understatement.

They're also adding Werth.

Is strasberg ready to start opening day? I thought he was still recovering.

Is strasberg ready to start opening day? I thought he was still recovering.

Um, he pitched at the end of last season.

Then you have the kids in the middle -- Desmond and Espinosa -- who are young and improving (Espinosa might hit 25 HRs).

I like the way the ball jumps off Espinosa's bat but the more I see Desmond, the less I like him. He doesn't look that good in the field nor at the bat. He's still got a theoretical couple of years of growth so we'll see.

Good, natural, intensifying rivalry growing between Phils and Nats. Should be fun.

Rangers are still trying to move Uehara for essentially a salary dump (move $3M this year and a potential $4M vesting option if he appears in 55+ games this year).

Really too bad the Phils don't have the extra cash to pick him up because he would have been a difference maker in the pen this year.

I imagine the Rangers would have no problem with moving Uehara to a NL team & I doubt that Uehara would have rejected the trade.

Don't forget about Rendon down the line.

fumphis: If it were merely a matter of spending the most money, the NL East race would be over on opening day.

I think the Nationals are trying to build a team that can challenge the Phillies. However, they had a pretty huge rebuilding project on their hands, considering that they lost 103 games in 2009, and they're chasing a 5-time defending champ who has finished with the best record in baseball 2 years in a row. But if you compare the Nats' 2009 roster to their present one, the only common players on the 2 teams are the 2 Zimmermans (who are key cogs in the rebuilding job), Clippard (a key reliever), & Lannan, who probably won't be there on opening day. In short, they have replaced 21 of the 25 players from their 2009 roster, have been major players in the last 2 trade and free agent markets, and have already improved by 22 games in a 2-year period. These strike me as the actions of a team which is trying very hard to become NL East kingpins. They probably aren't there yet, but it's not because their management isn't interested in getting there.

Am I crazy to be more concerned about Washington than Atlanta? Atlanta was a league below the Phillies last year and has done nothing to improve. If I had to guess, I'd put the Nationals around 90 wins.


is a solid rotation. They just need some help offensively and they become a dangerous club. As it is, they'll be very pesky and could challenge for the WC.

No, I'd say that both Atlanta and DC have a shot at winning 90+ games...and I'd guess that we're probably a 95 win team if everything goes right.

If everything goes right, we'll win 100-102 again. I don't think the Phillies have gotten much worse.

Full season of Pence, Utley is "healthy", Papelbon is better than Madson, bench looks much stronger. On the other hand, regression is likely for a bunch of guys (Pence, Victorino, Mayberry, Worley, Bastardo) and Howard is hurt.

Last year was par for the course for Halladay, Lee, and Hamels. If they stay healthy (and they normally do), I don't think regression from those 3 is very likely. If those 3 put up similar numbers, I think 95 wins is a conservative guess.

DH Phils: I think 95 is low for 'everything goes right', but you have to consider the moves the Marlins and Nats made when counting those 100-102 wins again, since thats 36 games vs a better opponent.

These pro Nats posts sound a lot like the things we used to write about the Phillies from 03-06. Those teams never won anything so I'm not too worried.

I love the Papelbon is better than Madson meme. In fact, if Papelbon has as many saves converted and blown as Madson did last year, he will have had a fine year. He would need to have a Lidge 2008 year to have been better than Madson.

Clout - Yeah, Minimart stinks. Hard to deny it now. But the scouts do not agree on Julio Rodriguez and that was my point. His fastball seems to be in about a 7-8 mph range depending on who you read. And there is something about seeing a player that can tell you more than stats. I've seen minor leaguers with great stats who simply are not major leaguers when you watch them. And I've seen guys the scouts have soured on, like Victorino, who simply looked like major leaguers when scouts felt their time had passed.

Of course you need to be a jag and say Minimart was my hero. Indeed, he was as much a hero to me then as you are now.

Concepcion to the Cubs. Can we pleeeaaasseee pickup Soler? Biggest (only?) available help to the farm system which needs a shot in the arm. Is it true he would not count against the luxury tax this year?

This just in, Josh Hamilton relapsed again. I guess god take groundhog's day off.


lorecore: That's a good point.

If the only way you judge closers is by their save totals, then you are a completely lost cause.

For shear thrills, I'd like to see Papelbon go 10-0.

***Josh Hamilton relapsed again. I guess god take groundhog's day off.***

Did the Rangers fire that guy they hired to follow him around and make sure this doesn't happen?

Narron's the hitting coach in Milwaukee now, NEPP.

There's your problem right there.

I think NEPP is referring to when the Rangers hired Hamilton's father-in-law in January as his "accountability partner".

Two weeks later he quit, saying that his family needed him more.

No, I was thinking of Narron too.

aksmith: "I love the Papelbon is better than Madson meme."

I know right? Madson has .610 win% to Papelbon's .548%! Case closed.

Madson: 6'6"
Papelbon: 6'4"

Advantage Madson

If I was running the Rangers, and Hamilton NEEDS to have someone following him around 24/7 to make sure he doesn't relapse, I would be very very very leery of signing him to a long-term big-money deal. That, combined with his general injury issues, would probably scare me off, personally.

But I hope he gets himself straightened out again and continues to be an MVP-caliber player.

It also probably doesn't help when your manager's doing blow in his office, either.

Cocaine is a helluva drug.

Jerry Narron is my wife's cousin.

NEPP - Is Madson gonna play 3B?

In re: Cocaine
Nasty stuff. Hard to find many extreme stimulants that are also extreme analgesics.

Andy, it's Johnny Narron, Jerry's brother, who has been Hamilton's mentor (doesn't change the fact that he's your wife's cousin).

Wow, how smart people on this blog are. You bring in a closer to save the game. That's what he does. If you bring in a guy with a zero ERA and zero WHIP, and he has 35 out of 35 saves, then he's done a fantastic job. If you bring in a guy with a 3.00 ERA and 1.3 Whip, and he saves 35 out of 35, he's done essentially the same job.

Now, there are those times you bring in your closer when there is no save on the line. In those cases, Madson was pretty good as well, which is not always the case. Don't have a clue how well Papelbon does in those situations. Let's say he does great 10 out of 10 times, and Madson was great 9 out of 10 times.

Do you crow about all the great whip and ERA numbers? Or do you look at the final results and say they're not a whole lot different in their results? I'd do the latter. And if the difference is a couple million per season and a shorter contract, I'd say Madson is pretty close to Papelbon, and the difference in pay helps you bring in Francisco Cordero to set up, rather than Qualls to mop up. You'd say, what?

See, it's not like a starting pitcher. You could be Eric Milton or Shane Rawley and get insane run support, which makes your W/L record look much better than you pitched.

But you can actually look at a closer and see how many one run, two run, and three run saves he had, and how many he blew, and you have a pretty good idea of what he contributed.

Now, back to you guys being really, really smart.

aksmith: Papelbon's numbers suggest that he reduces the chances of giving up runs better than Madson. Therefore, he's the better pitcher to entrust a lead with.

And go ahead and use saves and blown saves as a statistic to judge the two. Along with superior numbers in other stats, Papelbon is among the elite in saves and save% as well.

Do i think Papelbon is $42M better than Madson? No fn way, but he's still better by basically every measure.

Wow. I would have preferred Madson to Papelbon and think he will be the slightly better pitcher over the rest of their respective careers, but even I think aksmith's line of reasoning in comparing the two pitchers is completely asinine.

aksmith: "But you can actually look at a closer and see how many one run, two run, and three run saves he had, and how many he blew, and you have a pretty good idea of what he contributed."

Can you? If so, feel free to report your findings on Papelbon.

"Um, he pitched at the end of last season."

Can we institute a ban on the use of "um" to embarrass another poster when you think they post something stupid? In the sea of obnoxiousness and arrogance that is beerleaguer, that is extremely douchy and way over-used.

donc: thats alright, i was whole calendar year stupid in that instance.

" that is extremely douchy "

Um, I think the correct spelling is douchey.

Thanks Huhg.

And the smart people are out again.

I stand corrected. If Papelbon had been the Phillies closer last year, they've have won 103 games instead of 102.

I never said Papelbon isn't the better pitcher. I don't know that he will be going forward, but he was over his career.

However, if you're looking for results, I simply don't see Papelbon as being enough better than Madson to be a difference maker. And as some of you very very smart people might remember, Madson pitched a large chunk of the second half of the season without his good changeup after being hit in the hand with a batted ball. He appeared to have trouble gripping the ball for his change the rest of the season.

But that isn't a number, so it doesn't exist. And I guess the difference in salary doesn't get you closer to Francisco than Qualls, too. Notice that nobody addressed that.

I'm glad I'm only here to learn.

I think saves are a silly stat because the criteria are very arbitrary. Hence, as a predictor of future performance, I'd rather look at stuff like WHIP, BAA, and K/BB ratio.

However, save percentage for a closer does tell you the team's win-loss percentage in games where the guy pitched the 9th inning. This is a relevant thing to know when, as here, you are having a conversation about whether your team's off-season changes are likely to result in a better record in the following season.

The Phillies won 94.1% of their games in which Madson pitched with a lead in the 9th inning. Papelbon is a better relever than Madson, no doubt. But it is difficult to believe that his superiority will result in the Phillies converting more than 94.1% of their 9th inning leads to wins in 2012.

aksmith: "I love the Papelbon is better than Madson meme"

aksmith: "I never said Papelbon isn't better"

So you're apart of the meme that you just sarcastically mocked?

aksmith: "I guess the difference in salary doesn't get you closer to Francisco than Qualls, too. Notice that nobody addressed that"

me 5 minutes before you posted that: "Do i think Papelbon is $42M better than Madson? No fn way"

lorecore - I hope law school is going well for you. Nitpick university must be inexpensive.

By "better" I meant "his results will be better." People are saying he'll have better results than Madson. And I'm saying he is indeed a better pitcher, but his results will not be appreciably better.

Glad to clear that up for the gotcha brigade.

Now, go out into the world and continue to make a difference.

lorecore - Of course, if we're going to pick nits, I don't think a one year salary is actually comparable to four years of salary. But have it your way.

Anyone see this article? Nats mean business even though some of it is crossing some ethical lines. Guaranteed they will be the most hated team in the division in the next few years among Phils fan:

You post your opinion/reasoning on a blog and I repsond with my own - there is no nitpicking here.

I disagree that '2011 Madson' only blew two saves, therefore '2012 Papelbon' can only give you an incremental value of two wins next year. That is extremely flawed logic.

That would assume that 2011 Madson repeats in 2012, and the exact same quanity and degree of each save opportunity would be identical - that won't happen.

2012 will have its own sets of challenges and Papelbon/Madson will both perform at differental levels during it. The difference between the two will be the value of 'incremental wins' Papelbon would give to this team over Madson - and based of history and statistics, Papelbon is more likey to pitch the best.

I personally don't think that the added money and years given to Papelbon will be enough to offset the marginal upgrade Papelbon gives you, but my original arugment to you was aimed at your saracstic comment that Papelbon isn't better.

I would actually agree that Papelbon is a "marginal upgrade." But it's a small margin. And I agree it's not worth the difference in what they will earn.

And my comment wasn't sarcastic.

The fact is that Madson is a very good closer, as is Papelbon. Signing Hamels to be your third starter is a much better use of money than signing Papelbon over Madson.

Nevermind the fact the old Nats President was on WIP asking Phans to come down to the game a couple of years ago.

I went to the Nats-Phils game that Desmond sent into extas with two outs in the ninth last August. It was a great atmosphere. It was sold out and at least half were Phillies fans. There was a ton of ball breaking go on. It was fun but civilized. I posted right after that that it was obviously a budding rivalry. They are very willing to spend money and have a lot of exciting prospects. The better they get, the better the rivalry will become. I think it's awesome. I can easily learn to hate them. Though not as much as the Mets.

What is a "Mets"?

Going to be very intriguing to see how this division winds up this year. The Nats, Fish, and Braves all are going to be formidable. Mets will be the doormat (which I love). Phils are going to have a tough go of it but I think when push comes to shove they will win the division. This may in fact help keep the Phils whits sharp in September going into the October run. It's a good bet the division won't be decided until the final days of the regular season.

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