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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


This won't be easy, but I would try to parlay Pence, Vic, Blanton, Pierre, and Polanco into Chase Headley and a relief arm.

Gets us under the luxury tax limit this year, most likely. Re-sign Vic or someone similar and come into next year with:


That probably works financially, even with Hamels.

After 2013, replace Utley with the best available outfielder.

Is it possible the FO might actually do the smart thing here and move Pence? Wow. Color me surprised.

Ryan- sounds ideal, but I doubt they could parlay Pence + trash to SD for Headley. Something tells me they will get a better offer.

Make it one of those "3 team deals" with the 3rd team sending "some dudes" to SD. Next thing we know the Phils have 2 Chases in the infield. Easy as that.

Does taking Pence out of the lineup and inserting Headly really make the team better now or longterm? Olt is still my holy grail at this point for 2013 starting 3b.

Iceman -- I meant either a three-way trade or us acquiring guys S.D. likes from elsewhere.

Wouldn't be easy, of course, but I think it's a plan that would really help moving forward.


I like Olt a lot, but Headley is much more of a sure thing in the short term. Which is my main concern, since the payroll opens up after 2013 and we can more easily fill holes.

Hard to get a read on what they're going to do. I was told they're not moving Pence, now they're eager. I see both sides of the story. This could be something they're brewing to try to move Vic. But I could see them keeping Vic 'cause he'll be cheaper to re-sign than Pence.

But if Pence is traded, what does that say about getting him last year? Bad trade? And if the O's are really interested in Polly, RAJ should trasde him for a bag of baseballs & drive him to Camden Yards. I get that they're trying to get under the cap & re-sign Cole, but does Cole really want to stay?

Polanco having a balky back doesn't exactly up his trade value at this point though. Ah who am I kidding, it's surprising Polly has any trade value.

The Phils won't get as much for Pence as they gave. But really, why would they? They got a great stretch run out of him and then a strong year where they badly needed a middle-order hitter.

Headley has a huge asking price. I don't understand how the Quentin signing either makes Pence more desirable except for the sheer fact that he might be available.

If I was a GM, I wouldn't be thrilled at the prospect at having to trade a small amount of treasure to get a defensive liability in RF who I only control for 1 yr & have to pay probably $14-$15M next year.

Wouldn't the best-case scenario be for the Phils to trade Hamels, get a lot back for him, then take him at his word that they could win the offseason sweepstakes? And by trading Pence, Pierre, Blanton, etc., maybe they could free up room for a third baseman as well as restock the farm system a bit.

Of course it's a big risk. But how much would the team pay for a handful of truly top prospects?

But if you're, say, Pittsburgh, this is a good chance to really "go for it" and add a strong bat to your lineup. One you wouldn't have been able to afford for 2013 otherwise and for whom you'll receive draft compensation.

In fact, Pittsburgh is reportedly in talks with San Diego about Headley.



Ahh, the golden rule...

Orioles have inquired about Polanco? And he's still here? Come on, Rube. I'd take anything, anything for Polanco at this point.

If I were Rube with the Orioles, I would say "how much of his salary are you willing to pay?" I wouldnt even want players in return.

If the Phils trade Pence, Amaro is going to have egg on his face. Payed a high price for a guy they kept for less than a year.

Pittsburgh inquiring on Headley is a little puzzling. If true, they're either actually talking about a 3 way deal with someone or, are finally thinking about moving Alvarez to 1B.

With the Marlins in "sell" mode and Johnson rumored to be available, that might eat into the Hamels market. Gotta watch TEX-Garza as well.

DPat- it is time that you accept the fact that whoever your source is doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

And for as long as he's been here, everyone has been begging for Amaro to admit his mistakes, starting with demanding a press conference apologizing for signing Juan Castro. We all know at this point that the Pence trade was a mistake. There's nothing wrong with admitting you were wrong and getting some players for him so it's not a total wash.

The Pence trade was pointless and was driven largely by the mentality that DPat and others have been pushing for a few seasons now that one more bat would get them over the top. That strategy failed, and it cost us the rest of our farm system. Nothing wrong with trying to rectify that mistake and clearing $15 million in payroll for 2013 in the process.

Can you imagine Rube taking Polanco to Antiques Roadshow?

It's like the people who had the piece that their grandmother swore was from the civil war, but turns out to be a liquor store replica from 1973.

"This early-aughts infielder was highly sought after in its day, but see here? These cracks in the back and up here in the hands. In the condition its in now, you could probably get... 50 cents. "

Rube: [stunned look]

Domingo Santana is having a monster season: .306/.379/.552 with 16 homers. That's the one that hurts.

***If the Phils trade Pence, Amaro is going to have egg on his face. Payed a high price for a guy they kept for less than a year. ***

Why? I'm sure we'd totally get the same value in return that we gave up (Singleton, Cosart, Zeid, Santana)

To recap their current effots:

Singleton (AA at Age 20): .880 OPS while splitting time in LF & 1B. Ranked #34 overall by BA this spring.
Santana (A+ at Age 19): .931 OPS (albeit in Lancaster which is a big hitters park...still impressive for a 19 year old RF)
Cosart (AA/AAA at Age 22): 3.52 ERA in AA and he's been improving as the season continues after a rough start. I still think he ends up as a late-inning guy instead of a SP). Rankd #50 by BA going into 2012
Zeid (AA at Age 25): Basically org filler but his SO/9 did jump way up...but he's 25 in AA with a 6.00 ERA.

We gave up 2 Top 50 prospects and a great sleeper guy in Santana for 1 year of Pence if we trade him.

Brutal trade.

If the Phils trade Pence and somehow end up with Headley at 3B, without any other significant moves, the team would be worse offensively and defensively.

I don't think Headley is anything special, maybe just the best available third baseman at a reasonable salary.

Olt has a higher ceiling than Headley. Castellanos is a potential all-star. If Pence is to be traded, I would target Castellanos first and settle for Olt. If neither of these two can be obtained, I would be reluctant to trade Pence.

***That's the one that hurts.****

Considering he was a PTBNL in the deal, yeah...just terrible. Even when you adjust for him being in the California League.

And he's 19.

Santana, Singleton and Cosart would likely be our Top 3 prospects right now (not in that order obviously)...that's how bad our current farm system is.

They'd all definitely be Top 5.

I would certainly rather pay Hamels 24 million than Pence at 15 million next year. I think Pence is a very good player, but getting rid of him is a nice compromise if they are not going to exceed the luxury tax next year.

*** I would target Castellanos first and settle for Olt***

Castellanos terrible BB% in AA is a huge red warning flag.

Rather have Olt.

I will go out on a limb here and say that we will regret paying Hamels $24 million a year for 6 years if that happens.

We'll end up looking at it the same way we look at the Howard contract. There is nothing in Hamels history that suggests he's a inner-circle elite SP like that. He's a very very good pitcher but he's not Clayton Kershaw/Doc in his prime.

I was thinking the same thing as Derek about Headley. Nice enough player, high OBP guy. The only reason he is getting so much attention is that there are almost no 3rd basemen around. Somebody will probably over pay for him for that reason alone. I'm happy it won't be us. The Phillies don't have any low salaried players or prospects to trade for him. Those are the only things the Fathers would be interested in. I don't see a 3 way trade happening either. And as for the Bucos, they are in a similar boat. No matter how good their chance at the post-season is right now, and I think it's great, I just don't see their front office going after anybody that makes more than $12 an hour.

Headley is making 3.5 million right now in his 1st year of arb eligibility. That will easily more than double next year in his 2nd year and probably double again in 2014. He's not nearly the bargain he's made out to be. He's also in his Age 28 season so we're likely already seeing his best performance level.

Is there any precedent for under-the-table "gentlemen's agreements?" Specifically, I am wondering if the Phils might orchestrate trading Cole with a (secret) binding agreement that he would return in 2013.

It would be win-win, because Hamels would return next year to a team that is even stronger due to the talent received in exchange for his August-October rental.

But on the positive side, Headley hits much better outside of Petco and has the patient plate approach the team needs. And fills their highest (and toughest to fill) positional need for several years.

Isn't there a clause in the CBA that prevents one team from having 2 players named Chase?

Can: There would be absolutely nothing to prevent the scenario you mentioned. I would still consider that a real long shot. What if Hamels goes to Texas, wins a world series and loves it there? Or, and this is what I think will happen, the Dodgers make Cole a sick offer? Something like 7x28. My guess the handshake will have very little meaning at that point. But yes, it could happen the way you described.

Can o' Corn: it obviously wouldn't be binding.

Can: I did miss the word binding in your proposal. No way to have it binding. If it were binding, he'd be ineligible for free agency. A binding agreement would then transfer to the team he was traded to.

The thinking on Headley is that, outside of Petco, he would hit closer to his .299/.366/.448/.814 career road numbers. But is he an impact bat? No. Would he hit as well as Hunter Pence? Very likely not. Would the upgrade at 3rd base be big enough to justify the drop-off in RF? That depends on how good you think Dom can be although, from what we've seen to date, plus his last 2 seasons in the minors, I'd be skeptical. Besides, Dom can only play 1 OF position &, as it stands right now, we probably need 3 of them for next year.

NEPP also makes a very good point about Headley's salary. He was a huge bargain a year or two ago but, as he gets deeper into his arbitration years (starting next year), his actual salary will move very close to what he is really worth.

NEPP - Castellanos is four years younger than Olt, and they are both in AA. In Castellanos' two miinor league seasons, his OBPs are .367 and .399. Although Castellanos' OBP at AA is only .310, that's in fewer than 200 PAs. While Olt's glove is better than Castellanos', both are good enough defensively to remain at third. Castellanos is projected to be a slugger who will hit for average with good on-base skill. Olt also looks like a slugger with good on-base skill.

I prefer Castellanos because of the age difference.

NEPP: Also, at his age, and after 6 seasons, and having already developed 2 pitches (the cutter, and improving the curveball from unusably dreadful to a passable 4th pitch), I'm not sure Hamels has any more of a ceiling. This isn't meant to be a knock on Hamels (as he is a very good pitcher), but I think this is his peak: elite K/9, elite BB/9, too many HR, 3.00 ERA. Great pitcher, bonafide ace, but he'll never be the best pitcher in baseball.

I would argue that Olt is far more likely to meet his potential than Castellanos right now even if Castellanos has more upside.

***The thinking on Headley is that, outside of Petco, he would hit closer to his .299/.366/.448/.814 career road numbers.***

Headley is basically a .300 hitter with 15 HRs a year outside of Petco.

While that is a massive upgrade on us having the worst 3B in baseball, its not an impact superstar type player.

Isn't Olt considered "Major league ready", while Castellanos needs time?

I don't see the Tigers making another deal, so it's probably moot.

But if Headley + Dom > Polanco and Pence, then it IS an upgrade. And I said "if."

Ice~ Maybe he doesn't but I never said he did. And yes if we would have gotten anither bat this year we probably would be in at least a better position than right now.

True there were other outfielders to get last year than Pence (Bourn etc.), but that's not my call. If Pence is here the entire year his numbers will be in line. Could he be having a better year? Absoulutely. And I'm not adverse to him being traded. But how would RAJ replace the entire OF if he had to, along with 3b, the 'pen, and possibly a starter or 2? That's a tall order.

NEPP: Agreed.

It's kind of a moot point because the Phillies don't remotely have what the Padres would be looking for: namely, elite prospects.

The Phils won't get as much for Pence as they gave. But really, why would they? They got a great stretch run out of him and then a strong year where they badly needed a middle-order hitter.

Posted by: Ryan


They won't get the same return because RAJ got raped in that trade.

***But how would RAJ replace the entire OF if he had to, along with 3b, the 'pen, and possibly a starter or 2? That's a tall order***

I dont see how height has anything to do with all that...other than 3B at least.

Polanco July Update:

13 Games
.133/.184/.156 (OMG)

In only 13 games, BA has dropped 18 points and OPS has dropped 42 points.

Sure hope the Orioles don't discover STATISTICS soon.

donc: Thanks, and yes, my omission of the word "binding."

What I meant is whether there was ever a handshake agreement that is not publicized outside of a small conference room? In other words, Hamels would verbally promise to return, and the stakes would simply be his own honor. In that sense, it probably would not be binding legally.

I suppose if such things are done, we would never hear about them anyway.

On Hamels: A lot of people here over-rate him. They talk like he actually won a Cy or more than 15 games in a season. He hasn't. He's good, but he's not worth Doc or Lee money. Not yet. Maybe never. He has zero CG this year. Hasn't tossed a shutout in about 3 years. His prime years may not be as grand as you think. It could be that trading him now for whatever we can get and then not signing him in the post-season could be the smart play because he will get vastly over-paid as a free-agent.

It's a shame, because Polanco was hitting quite well before he was spiked in that first brutal Dodgers series (when everything really started going to hell, starting with immediately horrid defense from Wigginton & Fontenot). He hasn't been the same since, and has missed a lot of time since, too. Still a valuable defender, but if they can get something for him, they should. Can't imagine other teams don't know about his lingering injuries, though.

Welp there goes DPat on his this team needed offense kick again when it's not the offense that doomed the team in the first half but the pitching. Sigh.

The fact remains, the Phillies are going to have to move either the Lee contract or the Hamels contract, in order to make it possible to address holes in the team for next year. A return of Olt in either of those deals provides a very cheap, albeit risky, but potential of high reward 3B. This frees up a lot of money to get Ruiz signed, make bullpen fixes, and make a decent splash in the outfield. I would hope that they can acquire a player who is a nice backup plan for Utley, who can also move to the outfield if need be. This isn't easy, but I don't think this team can sustain a 3rd straight year of Utley watch.

Personally, I'd prefer to move Lee and keep Hamels. They have almost identical stat lines since 2006, with Hamels actually having better K's/9 and H's/9 than Lee. Hamels will be 34 at the end of that deal. Lee still has 3 years left on his deal, and he's already 33.

Trading Pence too at the deadline also indicates that Amaro really hasn't had some overall strategy on how to shape the roster the past year or so. It's not like he didn't know Hamels was an impending FA this offseason.

I don't think 'Rube is moron' or any of that nonsense but he does seem to be a guy who has boxed himself in financially largely of his own making and now has to make some moves where he likely gets less value in return.

Lee isn't going anywhere. Take that to the bank.

If Raj has a chance to move Polly and doesn't,that's just plain stupid.Ask the O's for Brandon Waring . Not much but can fill the whole for the rest of the year without hurting anything. Atleast you get some power with his shortcomings. Has a good BACK,

RebBurb, I used to be in that camp. Now, I'm not so sure. The Rangers now exactly what they would get from Cliff Lee. Colby Lewis is gone. And the Rangers are not on Cliff's no trade list.

I do think the contract would diminish the return, but I do still think the deal would get done with either Olt or Projar and one other guy. While Lee is expensive, its now only a 3 year commitment. And he'd cost them about what they had been willing to pay from the start. The Rangers only have 1 more year left of Josh Hamilton. The window is closing.

Yes, it would still be a shocker if Lee was moved. Just don't assume that it couldn't possibly happen.

Red~ Granted the pitching failed, but a very poor offense at times had nothing to do with things, being the way they are right? Just ask Cliff Lee about the 10 innings od SO ball he pitched vs. SD. They lost that game 1-0 and Lee would up on the DL.

You may disagree with me and that's fine. But you can't say a more potent offense wouldn't have helped.

I'll say it again. What many of you fail too realize is that RAJ's ENTIRE plan for this team this year back-fired. Not just 1 element. He mis-read a lot of his talent, and he mis-read the time that Howard and Utley would be out. Especially Howard. And the rest of the injuries the club suffered didn't help either.

Why would you trade a power-hitting outfielder and then try to acquire a third baseman who has a career OPS under .750? Chase Headley has one year in which he hit over .270.

***but he does seem to be a guy who has boxed himself in financially largely of his own making and now has to make some moves where he likely gets less value in return. ***

That would basically be the definition of 'Moron' in this instance.

Hamilton is a FA this winter.

If Amaro trades Pence now I don't think it is admitting a mistake or anything. It is taking a guy who is a very tradeable asset and moving him to help the team. Pence is gonna get some coin next year and then becomes a free agent. If you sign Hamels- why couldn't you trade Pence for a third baseman and then use the difference in pay to help with your bullpen and outfield spots? If Pence were a free agent at the end of this year then it is much more arguable that Amaro made a terrible trade. I think what happened is- Amaro felt we needed a right handed bat last year and paid a high price for one. Between that trade and now the Phillies have had some more holes pop up and they have a real shot at maintaining Cole Hamels and keeping their pitching staff strong. That means salary needs to be jettisoned elsewhere and Pence is a strong asset to trade and get pieces back.

On the Cole contract- It is nice to argue "Well he isn't one of the best pitchers in baseball...therefore he shouldn't be paid like one." However, that misses the circumstances of the situation. yes, if every pitcher in baseball was a free agent this off season Cole might not get a contract in the top 10 or 15 of those guys. But, he is right now the best pitcher on the open market this off-season and will get paid according to that. Teams can try to play "Well you aren't elite," but an agent will walk from that and still get the best contract for his guy.

Lastly- did I miss when Clayton Kershaw became demonstrably better as a pitcher than Cole Hamels? Maybe one day he will be but that day isn't now. Kershaw's ERA+ is higher but that is also due to his monster 161 last season which surrounding 143,133, and 139 looks like a huge outlier.

In re: Domingo Santana and Gio Gonzalez

It's always the toss-ins and PTNLs that seem to hurt.

DPat- I'm talking about last year. You and others were hot for another bat last year while the team was in the midst of the best regular season in team history. You got your bat and were thrilled. How did that work out for us in the end?

DPat - Of course a more potent offense would help. I never denied that. However saying what you said above that this team struggled due to lack of offense is wrong. The pitching failed in the first half with Lee's struggles at times, Doc's injury, Worley's injury and Blanton's overall ineffectiveness. You seem to discount that everytime and just blame it on offense.

***Just ask Cliff Lee about the 10 innings od SO ball he pitched vs. SD. They lost that game 1-0 and Lee would up on the DL.***

It was SF, not SD and what was our manager thinking pushing Lee to a ludicrous 102 pitches like that?!?

Oh and the quagmire that is the bullpen. Forgot to mention that. But sure, blame the first half struggles on the bullpen.

Whats worth more in return:

1 season of Cole Hamels or 3(to 4) seasons of Cliff Lee w/ the Phillies paying ~$7M a year in salary?

I would trade which ever is worth more in return.

Substitute second bullpen with offense in my last post.

Can: There was some talk about Cliff Lee telling Rube not to forget about him come free agency time. Don't know that that was every coroberated but it would be similar to what you are describing. I suppose it's not impossible, but I won't be holding my breath.

***Maybe one day he will be but that day isn't now. Kershaw's ERA+ is higher but that is also due to his monster 161 last season which surrounding 143,133, and 139 looks like a huge outlier.***

Well, you could just look at the past 3 seasons for both:

Kershaw: 133, 161, 139
Hamels: 133, 137, 123

And the fact that Kershaw is barely 24, a full 4 years younger. He's a vastly superior pitcher to Hamels.

I'll be willing to bet right now that if Pence is dumped he'll put up better numbers than anyone in the Phillies OF next season. I say keep him for another year. Should the '13 Phillies suck he can always be traded for peanuts then. It's players like Pierre & Vic & Blanton that ought to be dropped, even if all the Phillies receive in return is a few months worth of salary relief. All of this just to keep Hamels ... it's ridiculous.

NEPP: The younger thing I get but that doesn't have anything to do with talent.

Secondly- look at those numbers- one of Kershaw's numbers looks like a ridiculous outlier.

tti: almost no pitcher is a true "161 ERA+", but the fact that a pitcher has the ability to even have the chance to have such an 'outlier' is proof enough of his superiority.

***one of Kershaw's numbers looks like a ridiculous outlier.***

And the non-outlier seasons (if you go by that premise) are at worst equal to Hamels and at best, a nice step above.

Red~ The offense was never totally at fault agreed. My whole point was that the players that were brought in to replace Howard and Utley couldn't do it. Freddie did a nice job before he got hurt.

And you're right, the 'pen was is horrible. And yet RAJ chose Qualls over Theriot for the same money.

Overall there was way too much emphasis put on the pitching. In many games the offense let us down. Great pitching is why you're never out of it until the fat lady sings. I get that. But the Yankees win mostly because they mash. The Phils used to be that way. Now it's up to Amaro to find the correct balance once again.

Hamels "outlier" season so far is that 141 ERA+ he put up in 2008.

Since then, he's been a 120 ERA+ guy in 4 seasons.

I wonder what the feeling would be around here had the Phillies won the World Series last year. What I mean is, does the end justify the means. Pence was acquired for one reason and one reason alone last year. Rube was attempting to bulletproof his team's World Series chances. As we know it didn't work basically because you can't make your team bulletproof no matter how hard you try. Was it a mistake? Probably, because the Phillies would have gone just as far last year without him and we'd still have at least some semblance of a farm system at this point. I know if Singleton and/or any of the others traded for Pence turn out to be great major league players it will surely hurt. If the Phillies had won last year and Pence played a vital part in it, i think it would have been very worth it. Just didn't work out that way. I suspect many here would still bitch about it anway though. I would be careful about trading Hunter at this point. Not saying I wouldn't but I'd need a good return, that's for sure.

Just because Cole is the top FA SP available in FA this summer (which is arguable if Greinke is available), doesn't mean he should be paid like the best SP in the game on an AAV basis. It simply means that he should get more than any other FA SP, that's all.

Cole is not worth $24 M a year, especially if it's over 6 years. That's a ridiculous contract in general, but for his skill level, it's not warranted. Some team may do it, but he will not provide the return to make that contract profitable.

And on Kershaw, even if that 161 is a bit of an outlier, the fact that he's shown the ability to swim in those waters make him supreme to Hamels. Hamels is a nice pitcher, but his best season ERA+ is 141. That's terrific, but a full 15-25 points below that next "level" where you can be in the discussion for best pitcher in the game.

donc: "Pence was acquired for one reason and one reason alone last year. Rube was attempting to bulletproof his team's World Series chances"

Pence in the 2011 NLDS: .496 OPS in 21 PA (4 singles and 2 walks).

lore: I know that. Like I said it didn't work.

DPat is actually pining for Theriot again. Seriously. Look at his numbers this year.

"I say keep him for another year. Should the '13 Phillies suck he can always be traded for peanuts then."

You and others claim they will suck anyway. Why not trade him now when you can actually get salary relief and more than 'peanuts'?

I don't understand why people think dumping Pence would be a move simply to dump him and not add more offense. If it is to fit Hamels in the budget, get a player like Olt, and free up $15 million, that is the absolute ideal scenario. $15 million in salary space can do a lot for a club. It can rebuild a bullpen, for one.

Can they actually pry Olt from the Rangers for Pence? That's the only question.

DPat - I can't keep what you are saying straight. You realize the Phillies are -29 in run differential right? That means the pitching staff isn't performing up to par. There have been more games this year that the pitching has let down the Phillies than the offense. If you don't realize that you just want to constantly bemoan the lack of offense because it isn't performing up to pre-2008 levels.

Also your worship of Ryan Theriot continues to astound me.

"They talk like he actually won a Cy or more than 15 games in a season."

Shane, most knowledgeable people here don't even mention those two categories.

CY is VOTED to a player - he has no control.

W-L record is somewhat similar; see: Lee, Clifton Phifer, 2012.


The issue is that most people wanted an upgrade over Mini Mart. Mini Mart showed again in limited duration this year that he is a horrendous player who has no business at the MLB level.

Fontenot has been just fine in that roll:

.298/.353/.351 (.704 OPS) in 102 PAs with passable defense outside of that horrendous game in Baltimore a month ago.

Cole Hamels is a tick below the elite level because of his vulnerability to the Homerun Ball.

There are 15 pitchers in baseball who have a 120 ERA+ since 2008 and at least 700IP thrown. Cole Hamels is the only pitcher with a HR/9 above 1. I re-ran the report since 2010, then he makes the list again as the highest HR/9.

If he had the same HR/9 rates as the other guys on this list (~.7), he'd probably be in the elite category. If the Dodgers sign him, he could very well do so in that ballpark.

Iceman: Saying that I believe the Phillies will suck in '13 anyway is a blatant falsehood. I've already explained repeatedly that I feel the team could get back into the hunt, but only if they trade Hamels, or decide to spend such money as to incur the luxury tax for the next few years at least.

And for the record, yeah, I'd trade Pence for Olt. But does anyone honestly think the Rangers want or need Pence? They just lost a starting pitcher. If they're willing to deal Olt it would be as part of a trade for Hamels.

Fata - There are a number of factors that determine how much a player gets paid, talent level being just one. Just look at players and salaries over the past few years and you'll see what I mean.

Hamels is not the best pitcher in baseball, but that doesn't mean he will not be the best paid.


.244/.266/.279 (.544 OPS) in 98 PAs with average/below average defense. I admit I was pissed when Amaro traded him largely because it meant that Mini Mart was once again going to get a ton of PT.

Horst has pitched fairly well so far this year in limited duration. Should be in the mix next year coming out of camp for the 2nd LHP reliever spot (along with Diekman).

Not a big deal still a 'win' trade for Amaro. What I would like him to trade to with Pierre/Blanton. Try to get a AA/AAA RHP reliever who can give this team some more organizational depth & will compete for a job out of spring training next year.

I don't know how it will turn out but I am at least cautiously optimistic about both Howard and Utley. They both look better than I thought they would. I know part of that is that I had very low expectations. I really didn't think Howard would be able to drive the ball with any authority. He still can't run very well but, barring a catastrophe, he should get that back next year. We had no idea what to expect from Utley, but I was not optimistic. He looks good to me. I know MG keeps harping on the all upper body swing. Hell, he said it even last night right after Utley drilled a ball deep into the seats in right field. I thought that looked like a classic Utz swing. How will he finish the season? No idea. But if both guys finish the season strongly and with decent health, I would consider that reason enough for optimism. Lots of it.

G-Town- you've really never said you think they will suck no matter what next year? Really?

Guess I made it up in my head, but anyway, that's all beside the point. You say you think they can compete if they trade Hamels. What do you think they need to do other than that to make the team a playoff contender? More specific than "get some guys" to "fill some holes," which seems to be the stock answer around here (though in fairness, I haven't seen you be that general).

Why would Texas trade Olt for Pence? They don't need more offense.

Hamels outlier season actually looks to be his 97 in 2009 considering the rest of his numbers are: 115, 135, 141, 133, 137, 123. That would have him as a 131 OPS+...Remove the outlier and he is a 131 OPS+ since 2008. I guess if I couldn't read numbers that would be a 120's pitcher.

Also, I know finding logic in Fatalotti's posts is a fruitless endeavor but this takes the cake.

"And on Kershaw, even if that 161 is a bit of an outlier,"

Kershaw's ERA+ in his career (removing his shot first season) are 143, 133, 161, 139. And 161- a full 18 points over his previous career high is considered "a bit of an outlier"? Seriously? If you don't think that is a big deviation from his normal than it is pointless to even try to have a rational conversation with you since you are going to ignore blatant facts.

Utley 2011/2012

Utley this year before the ASB:

.235/.278/.412 (.690 OPS) in 36 PAs with 2 HRs

Since the ASB:

.242/.366/.485 (.851 OPS) in 41 PAs with 2 HRs

Last year, Utley scuffled out of the gate too:

.194/.324/.323 (.647 OPS) in 37 PAs with 1 HR

He really picked it up on June 5th in a game where he had 3 hits (about 50 PAs into the season). Went on to hit at a really good pace until early-August when he seemed to hit a wall about ~250 PAs/~60 G.

If Utley follows the same period as last year, he would continue to hit well until early Sept. Curious to see turns out and should provide a pretty good indicator of what Utley is capable of doing next year.

Only reason Texas would want Pence is if they think they are about to lose Hamilton in free agency. Hamilton in free agency may be the most interesting case ever. I could see teams being very wary of him for obvious reasons, but I could see the vault doors swing wide open for him too. I think it will be more of the former than the latter.

TTI: Let's cut through all the particulars. Surely, you don't seriously believe that Cole Hamels is as good as Clayton Kershaw?

Bill: The way you could see it making sense is if the Rangers are resigned to not having Hamilton back next year. Pence would give them an outfielder under contract through the end of next season. Also, Nelson Cruz has been underperforming this season so far.

Yes, if you take out Kershaw's best season and Cole's worst season, the numbers look much closer.

Because that's a good way to compare players.

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EST. 2005

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