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Saturday, July 07, 2012


I completely forgot about pierre as an expiring contract, great work cincy.


Am I missing any other pending FA?

Getting someone to pay 5 bucks of joes contract would be genius

Wow, getting anything for Pierre would be amazing. He has played well this year and deserves to be on a contender. Talk about money for nothing.

If you can trade pieces that you know won't be valuable to you in 2013 or can be replaced by other components, hold on to Hamels, you might be able to re-tool...

But if you are going to trade Hamels... you might as well just dump everything you can, because you won't get anything in return that will make you better in 2013...

I really don't see how the phils didn't already make their best offer to hamels yet. Its over.

when the Pierre rumors started I could hear the fiefdom of eggheads letting out a collective "ooooh, right."
So a team can trade off guys who aren't a part of their future plans rather than star players. Who would have thought?

It really depends on what happens the next three weeks. Teams will be looking for pcs and expiring contracts. So if rube is a smart man. Hopefully he calls pat to help him. He can move a lot of these guys and actually make out. When teams get desperate they do crazy things.

If they can't get at least a top 20 prospect for Brian Schneider, I will be sorely disappointed.

Schneider for d'Arnaud even up sounds fair.

Trading Pierre would be an outstanding idea...hopefully for middle relief prospects.

I know full well that he won't, but Amado should consider dealing Papelbon at the deadline if an opportunity arises. I'm sure some contender needs a closer, and it would be great to get out from under that nightmarish contract before it really bites us in the a$$. Hamels is the key to contending in 2013. He's the only piece that we have that could yeild quality MLB ready prospects. They're going to have to bid on the open market to retain him one way or the other. There is no remaining reason not to trade him.

Will: For the very reason that you want to be rid of Papelbon, no one else would want him either.

Traging Cole effectively ends the negotiation. Someone said a few weeks ago that every season guys are traded at the deadline and then they return to the original team. Can nayone name a single star player that has done this?

If another GM traded for Papelbon with less
than half his salary coming along with him, it would be his last act as a GM for that team. It would sure cure a lot of pain going forward though.

I was at the game last night and I haven't felt that type of devestation since I was also at game 5 of the NLDS. This team has so many holes. Not only has the team appeared to have given up but the manager has as well. Leaving Bastardo in to die was just the white flag on this season. I'm all for mulligans but I don't see any end in sight and a major shakeup is needed across the board. Everyone should be on the table right now in terms of trade candidates. I began the year saying I'd torch CBP if Hamels was dealt but I feel like this team is more than 1 or 2 moves from being competitive in 2013 and another big long-term deal is just going to strap this team even more. It really stinks but those appear to be the breaks.

If someone is offering something of value for Pierre, and Amaro doesn't take it, it's malpractice.

You got a great (and fluky) 3 months out of an $800K total flyer investment. Sell right now and make something out of it, please.

I just wonder if dealing Hamels is really going to irk the fanbase that much. Sure he's homegrown and I love the guy but the majority of this fanbase is so dumb they are still hung up on his voice and everyone has an unabashed love for Lee. If Ruben deals Cole he can still tell the idiot section of this fanbase that we still have Lee and Doc.

It's going to be really interesting to see because this team plays 81 home games and there was some serious venom in the house last night.

But but Jack this team is still in it! And Juan is a big player. Don't worry Doc will be back soon and he'll cure all that ails this team. You know, just like Chase and Ryan have done. Hang in there buddy.

Why would a GM trade for Hamels?

Assuming that he'll get 12 starts between August and September, and that a pretty good team is going to win 4-6 of them anyway (he replaces their worst starter), would that team give us MLB-ready prospects for an incremental 3 wins...and that's IF Hamels went 8-4 (which I doubt he would)? AND that team gets nothing if Cole doesn't sign there, right?

I don't see it.

fire cholly! trade vic and bastardo for a qualified major league bp piece! screw the prospects. we need help now! trade blanton too he's pitching ok right now. you could get something for him. a lot of us bitch and whine about him but he is a solid 4-5 rotation guy, if you throw poly in and get rid of his listless bat i'd be happy.

@MR....yeah the lack of compensation picks is a big crux in the whole appeal of Hamels. But the guy has been a big performer in October before and many GMs only see and care about that.

Blanton isn't going to get you a damn thing on the trade market except a swift hangup on the other line.

There is nothing this bullpen is doing wrong that a heap of chicken wings and beer can't fix.

Joe D:

True--I was just focusing on getting a team into the playoffs. He's more a factor in the post-season because he replaces the 3rd starter.

But still...

Obviously any deal of Hamels would be aided by a mutual agreement between Cole and the new team that he'd sign at season's end.

MR: And, yet, it happens every season. And for good reason. If you're contending for a WC, or in a close divisional race, adding 3 extra wins to your team is nothing short of huge. Also, under the new system, there's a premium on winning the division instead of getting in via the WC. Hence, even a team like Texas, which is no lock to win the division, could substantially benefit from adding 3 additional wins to their team. In Texas's case, Cole could actually be worth more than 3 wins, since he would replace a starter (Feldman) with a 6+ ERA.

Oh and xfinity live is terrible. Fine work they did building that. If you are going to make something that small at least build up so that there are multiple levels to get around. There was a concert last night and the Phillies game and that place was jampacked. I can't imagine what it will be like for an Eagles game. Another swing and a miss by the city. I walked in and came right back out.

bap: Good point re: division vs. WC, additionally since any incremental playoff game (pitched by ANYONE) means a lot more $$$.

I'm looking forward to the next few months on BL if only because we'll get just bats*it crazy ideas like "Trade Papelbon," or statements like this from Schweitzer: "Trading Hamels is the key to contending in 2013."

Those who always say they can do a better job as GM than Amaro will actually have the opportunity to give ideas as to how they'd go about changing the team, and my bet is they will be exposed as clueless.

MR it's all about giving your team best chance to win. Rangers and angels are going to fight for the west and with both teams having injury problems. Why wouldnt you try to get a top five pitcher if it can help you win a world title? Texas has about 5 guys coming off books so this is the last year with the core. And with beltre blocking third I see no reason why they wouldn't roll the dice. Supply and demand. And when Juan goes Dom has got to come up and play season out. If the red sox had a better record they would be on Cole to. There are plenty of reasons to roll the dice.

All this talk of "why would anyone trade for Cole" is ridiculous.

Say that the Phillies made it to the World Series and lost in 2010 and 2011. Then, a team offers us the best LHP in the game in exchange for young players; say Domonic Brown, Tyler Cloyd and Bastardo just as an example.

Every last one of us would be thrilled and the conversation would be about a WFC in 2012.

Teams will trade for Cole because he's the best LHP in the game, he excels the the post season, and whomever gets him can almost guarantee between 6-9 playoff games in which your starter gives up less than three runs.

The Rangers, or a similar contender, will trade for him because, essentially, they will be trading minor league players for a World Championship (and in the Ranger's case, trading minor leaguers who are blocked at the MLB level).

"Obviously any deal of Hamels would be aided by a mutual agreement between Cole and the new team that he'd sign at season's end."

That only happens when the player, himself, has the leverage to inject himself into the trade negotiations. Cole does not have no-trade leverage. Besides, having already turned down what I gather was a fairly lucrative offer from the team he has always played for, it's flat-out inconceivable that he would turn around & forego free agency to sign a long-term contract with precisely the same team to whom -- through no designs of his own -- the Phillies were hoping to trade him. It's not gonna happen.

Iceman: What do you think of trading Hamels?

I don't think it will do much to help us compete in 2013, but it might help us get players to rebuild and compete in 2015 and beyond.

If I thought the team was going to be able to re-sign Hamels, I'd say do that and don't trade him. But if the team was able to re-sign Hamels, they *would* have done that already. So I'm resigned to the fact that he's gone, and that being the case, the team sort of has to trade him.

I really wish they'd re-signed Hamels longterm instead of Howard, but that bed has been made, and now the team has to just do the best they can with it. Sucks, but I think trading Hamels is the only thing to do.

Your thoughts?

Will: I agree with your basic point, but Cole might not even be the best LH pitcher on his own team. He is certainly not the best left-handed pitcher in the game. Clayton Kershaw? CC Sabathia? David Price? C.J. Wilson? Johan Santana?

Please, please, please stop this nonsense about Mayberry in LF. There's a reason he's a 28 yr. old part time player. He stinks! Sporadic home runs is all we have ever seen from him. He's basically a career minor-leaguer. I say Dom should play everyday in LF once he's back from the knee problem. If he can't cut it, cut him loose. One more hole to fill next year won't make a damn bit of difference. Just a slice of Swiss cheese.

Basically, the FO has to decide now what players will not be retained for 2012. Those players should all be on the block, for whatever teams would be willing to give up. Those players include: Vic, Pierre, Wigg, Hamels (ugh), Blanton, Polanco.

I'd like for Pence to be on that list because with a year left of team control, you could get a better return for him (though I doubt we could rob a team the way Wade robbed us. Plus, I don't want him signed here to a long-term deal. I know this is just a pipe dream, however.

Obviously the return you'd get on guys like Polanco, Blanton, Wigg, etc. would be extremely low. But on the whole, I'd focus on acquiring all the young bullpen prospects I can get. I don't believe the core of the team needs to be blown up, but when it comes to the bullpen, use all the C4 you can find.

While I hate the idea of trading Hamels, it's looking more and more likely. Focus on getting a ready or near-MLB ready player position prospect for him. If you can rob the bank and shake down a team for 2 or 3 that can be a contributor within the next 1-2 seasons, that's even better. Vic won't get you much, but like I said, if you focus on young relief arms, I bet you could shake one or two loose for a Vic rental.

And Jack is right- if Amaro doesn't move Pierre for absolutely anything he can get, he is as much of a moron as everyone here says he is. You might even be able to fool someone into giving you a half-decent MiL for him. Anything more than a box of balls is a win for a guy that you took a flier on.

BAP: Speaking of CJ Wilson, given what Hamels is going to sign for, and given what Matt Cain got, his 5-year, $77 million deal this offseason looks kind of like a bargain.

"Teams will trade for Cole because he's the best LHP in the game.."

They might, but he's not.

Jack- I'm still holding out hope that they haven't made their final push (i.e. the best offer they can make, or one close to his asking price) and will do so in the coming weeks. I understand that is extremely wishful thinking. But a man can dream. I understand that in reality, it's probably already happened.

Basically, my thoughts are if he is not signed to an extension (again, very low probability) or traded by July 31st, Amaro has failed the team miserably.

I took exception to the stupid statement from Schweitzer that the only way to compete in 2013 is to deal Hamels. That is incorrect on every level.

I feel it's in the team's best interest to sign Cole to a long term deal. That said, if they can't get it done by the end of the month, they should trade him. Do I think this will happen? NO. I think Rube will not trade him b/c he won't get what he feels is fair value. Truth is...something is only worth what someone is willing to pay. So we'll play out the string, both parties will say the right things, Cole will walk as a free agent and we'll draft 2 toolsy OF prospects who can't hit.

Iceman: By the way, I don't for a minute believe that trading Cole will yield a stud who will drive into town and save the day in 2013.

I do, however, think that we could possibly land Olt, who would be under team control for a while for very little money.

Also, I believe that doing so would lessen the chance that Cole resigns, which I feel would be a huge mistake. We cannot have 1/3 of our annual budget going to three pitchers with an aging lineup and hope to be able to add the pieces necessary to contend. We will become the late 90's Atlanta Braves - a pitching-rich perpetual contender with a lineup that cannot realistically compete in the post season.

Plugging the 3B hole for league minimum salary and not paying over $20 mil/season to a third pitcher would allow this team to make an impact move in the lineup.

Jack: The Wilson deal looks like a bargain now, but I would guess it will look pretty bad by the time we reach about Year 3 of the contract, when his salary will go sharply up & his performance stands a good chance of declining. Come to think of it, you could say the same about most mega-contracts. That's the Catch-22 of going after marquee FAs.

With so much $ tied up to Halladay, Lee, Rollins, and Howard, I don't see how the Phils can undertake a wholesale rebuilding project.

so they'll never be good!

Keep Hamels by all means necessary. With a core of Lee, Hamels, Howard, Pence and Rollins, the team can still be competitive for one of the 2 wild card spots for a few more seasons while the farm system gets back on its feet.

The teams that the Phillies should want to be are the NY Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals. Both have snuck into the playoffs with mediocre records, gotten hot at the right time and won championships in their respective sports. In fact, both of those teams have done it more than once recently. Get into the post season and see what happens. Mediocre teams can win titles. The playoffs in American sports are all about money now. They have nothing to do with greatness or excellence

Will: Yeah, a guy like Olt would be ideal, although I'm not sure why everyone thinks they will be a great fit. They aren't really hard up for starting pitching, at least to the point where they would give up a stud 3B prospect for a rental that they know has no chance of signing long-term there (Hamels in Texas? Hahaha).

A better fit, I think, would be Detroit and Nick Castellanos.

By the way, are you saying that you think if the Phils did manage to re-sign Hamels at big money, it would be a huge mistake? If so, why, and who would you replace him with?

Not sure the guys Phils got for Thome would qualify as "quality prospects." They may turn out OK, but right now they are "prospects" without the quality.

Juan Pierre fooled me and has been a great asset who now has value. If he can bring some young talent - hopefully talent that deserve the "quality" label - I say go for it. I just would hate to lose Hamels. I realize we're between a rock and a hard place, but Lee is the more desirable guy to trade, if possible. Get rid of the salary, pay Hamels his money and if it takes a six year deal, I'd say do it. In the last year of a six year deal Hamels would be 6 months younger than Halliday is now.

This talk of losing Hamels is making me sick to my stomach, so I went to look at the list of FA pitchers next year and I'm not entirely discouraged by the list of guys we could get to replace him.

Guys who wouldn't be total garbage:

Ryan Dempster
Edwin Jackson
Hiroki Kuroda
Colby Lewis
Shaun Marcum
Brandon McCarthy
Oswalt (haha)
Anibal Sanchez

Of that list, I'd like McCarthy and Kuroda. I'd like Dempster too, but he's older and will probably command a high 2-year price tag.

To buttress my prior point, the Marlins have 2 WS titles--and have never won the NL East

TRADE Hamels to Texas for profar(SS),olt(3B),a pitching prospect,and robbie ross(RHP).

TRADE Victorino, Polanco, Blanton for prospects.

Bring up Dom Brown please give this kid a chance in left put pierre in cf pence rf.

Then in offseason sign melky cabrera to play center.

Lineup for next year 1-Rollins 2-Cabrera 3-Utley 4-Howard 5-Pence 6-Ruiz 7-Brown 8-Olt
Bench Wigginton,Pierre,Fotenot,Nix,Valle,Mayberry
Halladay,Lee,Worley,May, someone in FA

Iceman: I like Brandon McCarthy a lot, and I think he's one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball. Two red flags, though--one, he's had some recurring injury issues the last couple of years. Two, he's pitched in Oakland, which is a huge pitcher's park. His road ERA's the last two years are 3.99 and 3.94.

Spitballing plans for 2013 here, if you were to let Hamels walk and get a guy like Olt, there might be a path to being competitive.

Sign two of the pitchers above. Sign Jeff Keppinger as a utility IF (mainly to spell Utley). Make a splash by signing Michael Bourn. Bring up Brown and Olt for LF and 3B (Olt would ideally get a taste of the majors in August and September of this year).

As for the bullpen...ugh. Like I said before, get any young pieces you can when you're selling off players this year. Focus on them in a deal for Vic. See if you can get one in a throw-in as a deal for Hamels. And (though I know it will never happen), make sure you get one or two in any deal you make for Pence. Sign a few guys from the bargain bin and the bullpen should be better. Could it honestly get any worse?

Jack- yeah, those are both red flags. He's been on my fantasy team two years in a row so I'm definitely aware of his injury problems.

Still, in replacing're just not going to be able to come close to getting a guy of his caliber. So the best way to go is to buy low on a guy like McCarthy who is a high risk/high reward player, and use the savings from not re-signing Hamels and Vic elsewhere. I like McCarthy and Kuroda the most of that list, because I'd believe they'd provide the most value for the money you'd have to spend.

I think Dempster would be a great option also, but he will be way overpriced.

So now we're Dempster Diving.....?

Iceman: If the idea is high risk, high reward, wouldn't you be better off with a guy like Francisco Liriano?

Jack- would Liriano really cost less than McCarthy? I'm not sure about that.

In any case, if he continues to pitch well after being returned to the rotation last month, then I would definitely be interested. I feel like he'd benefit more from a transition from the AL to NL, also.

...or we could re-up Heavy Joe for 3 more years and keep KK in the rotation. Stranger things have happened

The only way they have money to make a run at resigning Hamels is if they move a big contract like Pence. This really isn't that complicated. Commitments and holes are known at this point and committing $20m to Hamels without moving a big contract takes them to at least $153M with only 15 players & minimal funds to fill other roster spots.

Kendrick has a tendency throughout his career to come up with a start like last night's right at the time where he's been bad enough that he's on the verge of losing his place in the rotation.

Still can't believe Rube signed him to a 2-year, $7.5 million deal in the offseason. Well, given that it's Rube, I can believe it, but I don't want to.

And yes, he will be our 5th starter next year.

I'm still betting Pierre is a Phillie come '13. Common sense doesn't often figure in when this club makes (or doesn't make) a move.

Iceman: I think the Rangers are seen as a match because:

(1) they've been aggressive mid-season buyers in the past (they gave up a BA Top 20 guy to get Cliff Lee in 2010);

(2) while their first 3 starters are not bad, none of them qualifies as an ace; and

(3) with Beltre in the fold through 2015, Olt is blocked (unless they move him to 1st base, where he is still kinda blocked by Moreland).

Pierre absolutely should be moved but at best he gets you an interesting prospect at high A ball you might help this team in 2-3 years. Even in a sellers market, he won't you much.

"I'm still betting Pierre is a Phillie come '13."

Must admit, I was thinking exactly the same thing. RAJ is probably spending his weekend meeting with Pierre's agent and hashing out the details of the 3-year, $27M contract.

MG: Yeah, no one's claiming Pierre is going to bring in a haul.

Point is that his value to the team going forward is 0, so getting any positive value (even if it's in a C prospect who has a 1% chance of being a major-league player) is better than keeping Pierre.

Miker - lay off the hard stuff, buddy.

"TRADE Hamels to Texas for profar(SS),olt(3B),a pitching prospect,and robbie ross(RHP)."

Put down the crack pipe.

b_a_p: That's exactly the problem w/ this club. You just know they didn't hear about Cincinnati's interest in Pierre & think, "Great! Here's a chance to trade someone to whom we're paying a relative pittance for a prospect or two!". Rather they're in a semi-panic thinking, "Oh sh*t! Someone wants to steal our starting LF for the next 2-3 years!" I swear, I could cry.

As many have commented, Rube was really handed a contender on a silver platter when he came in here in 2009. He has done a nice job of maximizing this window at the expensive of, well, basically the entire farm system.

For this reason, it has been tough to this point to fully evaluate his acumen as a GM. But over the next 6 months, we are going to get a real clear picture if this guy knows what he's doing, or if he's a smug dolt that is simply very good at writing big checks.

I thought it might be a few years until that picture was painted, but with this disaster of a season and Hamels likely gone, the timetable for Rube to show us what he's made of has accelerated dramatically.

The smug part is not in question. The dolt part is still in play.

Iceman: I do think it would be a mistake to re-sign Hamels, and that's not a slight against Cole. It's all about allocation of resources.

If we hadn't signed Cliff Lee, I would have definitely been 100% behind retaining Cole by any means necessary. Truth be told, I'd rather have Hamels than Lee, but that situation simply isn't possible.

The role that the Phillies need to fill is the production offered by the 2009-2010 Jayson Werth. Last season, a combination of Ibanez and Mayberry filled that role adequately. Going forward, there is no one to do so.

It's just my opinion, and I know that there are valid points to the contrary, but with finite resources and two of the best starters in the game already in the fold, I'd rather see those resources go toward scoring more runs.

The 2008 WFC didn't win on the strength of four aces. That rotation didn't make headlines, but they were good enough to get the job done because we had Howard, Utley and Rollins in their prime, Werth, Victorino, Burrell...we had guys that were driving in runs.

Since that time, we've lost the production of Burrell and Werth (and Ibanez later) while watching the core of Howard, Utley, Rollins and Polanco decline with age and/or injury. Meanwhile, most (not all) of the available budget (both in dollars and tradable prospects) have gone to pitching: Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Papelbon, Contreras, etc... Comparatively little has been done to address the lineup: Pence, Pierre, Nix, Wiggy...complimentary pieces, but not difference makers.

I'd rather see Amaro use the money he would've spent on Hamels going all in for Hamilton. I'd take my chances with a rotation of Halladay, Lee, Worley, Blanton, Kendrick if I had a lineup of Rollins, Polanco, Utley, Hamilton, Howard, Pence, Ruiz, Victorino, pitcher.

I'm amazed that someone would consider Josh Hamilton a better allocation of resources than Cole Hamels.

If there was an expansion draft for next year, and everyone on the Phillies was available, Cole Hamels would be the #1 pick by any GM with a brain.

If you have the resources to acquire him, you do it. I would trade/eat salary on anyone possible if it meant I could retain Hamels.

I think Josh Hamilton is a fantastically talented hitter.

But you're talking about a guy on the wrong side of 30 with a history of injuries and personal problems that you simply don't know how they affect him, and a guy who can't play CF and has no real plate discipline. Again, an unbelievable hitter, but there is real reason to worry about how he might age and whether he can stay on the field enough to justify a huge contract for him.

Also, I'm not sure how your lineup includes both Hamilton and Victorino--you think the money exists to sign both of them?

Jack: Seriously?

Would you care to share why, exactly, or are you content to hit and run with snarky comments because you cannot argue your point of view?

Yes, I think an everyday player of Hamilton's caliber in an aging lineup is a better allocation of resources than a third ace who pitches once every five days.

I'd rather have a team with Worley as the third starter and Josh Hamilton in LF than Hamels as the third starter and John Mayberry freakin Jr. in LF.

Now, let's hear your argument, if you have one.

Iceman - Agreed although it probably won't be until the end of the '13 season that people really start to get a sense of how Amaro has performed in a time of tighter budgets & forced to find success with less resources. Always the hallmark of success.

Jack: My apologies, you followed it up with a point before my post.

Honestly, I think Victorino will come surprisingly cheap, and with any free agent signing comes a risk of injury.

With the talent that Hamilton has demonstrated over the past three seasons, I'd take my chances. It might not work, but I think it has a better shot of keeping this team in contention than relying on Howard and Utley, who are also on the wrong side of 30 and have far more serious health concerns that may prevent them from replicating their career norms, let alone coming close to Hamilton's production.

Will S: I laid out my argument.

I think Hamilton is a *far* riskier investment for the reasons I laid out than a 28-year old LH pitcher about whom the team has every piece of information you can possibly have. Research has shown that FAs that stay with their own teams are more successful than FAs who join new teams. Why? A few reasons (one of course is that teams are most willing to lock up the best players to extensions). One additional theory is information asymetry. The team already has information about its own player--if they keep them, it's because they know they're worth keeping. If they let them go, it might be because they have information that makes them unwilling to keep them.

If I'm spending $120 million, I want the one with fewer question marks. And for the Phillies, Hamels has far fewer question marks than Hamilton.

I think Hamilton is going to end up a pretty bad investment for whoever ponies up a big deal for him.

Turning around & using the money saved by not signing Hamels to in turn sign Hamilton defeats the whole purpose. The Phillies have Halladay & Lee at the top of the rotation for '13. Figure they keep Chooch. I know I'm in the minority, but if the price isn't completely ridiculous I'd like to see them keep Pence. Rollins is staying. Fingers crossed Utley & Howard both produce & don't shatter into a million tiny pieces. I'd like to see a new 3B, but I don't expect it. Upgrade bullpen, OF & bench as best as possible. It's hardly ideal, but here's no reason that shouldn't be a competitive team.

Hamels is as good as gone. I do not see how signing him for $28 mil a year will leave us any room to add any offense, not to mention getting younger at 3b, LF, and CF. You can say all you want about trading Lee and signing Hamels but it isn't happening. Trade Hamels, Victorino, Polanco, Pierre, Blanton and anyone else to get some young ML ready prospects in here. Somewhere it was mentioned about trading Pence and resigning Victorino as Pence would yield a higher return, but if Victorino really wants a 5 year, $90 mil contract, I'm not sure that is the way to go.
Take this as a down year and find a way to get younger for next year while remaining competitive. Over the next 3 years, they have to get younger pretty much everywhere so trading for Olt/Castellanos, and some OF talent in the next few weeks will help them start the process.
I have yet to see someone say how they would fill in 3b, LF and CF next year if Hamels is resigned for $28 mil a year. I believe that is what it would take to sign him, and with the new CBA, they cannot get any benefit of back loading a contract.

We'll just have to agree to disagree, I suppose.

Your faith in the remaining years of Howard's contract and Utley/Pence in 2013 is touching, but I just don't see this lineup scoring enough runs even if they remain healthy in 2013, which is highly doubtful.

If you can get Hamilton on a 5 year deal, it probably would be worth the investment. I seriously doubt that happens, though, and more than likely he signs for 7 or 8 years and the last 3 or 4 are a really big waste of money.

On a 5 year deal, though, you're probably getting 3 and a half seasons of full value out of him.

Part of my problem with Hamilton is that I'm not even sure he would be great for us in 2013, let alone 2016.

I don't trust his health, at all (and I'm talking 99% here about actual injuries, not about his substance abuse problems), and a guy who gets old without any plate discipline scares me. If he starts to lose any natural physical talent, does he have a secondary skillset to make up for that?

I think you're running a not insignificant risk that you sign Hamilton to buoy the offense for 2013, and he misses 100 games in 2013.

I assume the Moronocracy agrees with Jack that the Phils have no chance to contend for the next 3 years at least.

Here is my prediction: Within 5 years a team with a below .500 record will play in the World Series.

Clout: I'll take that bet. Seriously?

You realize that the second wild card would have required, on average, 89 wins over the last few seasons, right?

Joe D: Xfinity Live is terrible for who?

It is certainly not terrible for Comcast and its partners who are minting money with it. It is jam-packed every night.

Is it a loud, obnoxious, crowded hellhole with hideously bad food and drinks? Absolutely.

In other words, it is perfectly designed to attract the average 20-something WIP caller and sports fan.

So, while it's terrible for you, in the larger sense it is a magnificent success.

I'll take that bet, too. The Postseason isn't that much of a coin toss. Winning a pennant still requires, you know, talented players playing well.

Chris: Granted, but you have to consider what kind of value you'd get out of a 7 year Hamels contract, or even a 5 year deal.

You'd get a top quality left handed starter, no doubt, but with the state of our farm, the financial obligations and the health of our current lineup, the end of Hamels contact may produce only a lot of 1 run losses.

Here's a question: What does this team do after 2013 if we retain Hamels at the expense of the lineup? What does this lineup look like without Victorino, Pence, Utley and Polanco...with little money to replace them and few prospects to promote or trade for talent?

I love this from MLB Trade Rumors: "Pierre, 34, is hitting a solid .317/.355/.387 with 20 steals in 23 chances while taking over Philadelphia's left field job on an everyday basis. Cincinnati is said to be seeking a leadoff hitter type, and Pierre certainly fits the bill."

Wait a second, they want a leadoff hitter type? Pierre doesnt leadoff, you can have the leadoff guy. We got one available, tiny bit of power, rapidly declining skill set and a nice contract. Make it happen runs.

That should be Rube, not runs but you really want neither in the great scheme of things.

Will: Well, that's sort of the problem either way, isn't it?

This team has no young position players regardless of whether you sign Hamilton or Hamels or both or neither. They are going to have to do some serious work to try and find new cogs in the lineup going forward(think finding low-cost guys like Werth or Victorino off the scrap heap) whether or not you use all your money to sign Hamilton.

clout: Are you saying a team who is presently under .500 will win the World Series within the next five years, or that a team will win a World Series within the next 5 years with a sub .500 record for that season.

If it's the former, I don't doubt it.

If it's the latter, I don't even think that's statistically possible, let alone likely. Perhaps I'm wrong, but how many times has the fifth best record in the AL or NL been a team that was below .500?

So, clout, do you frequent the Xfinity joint?

Jack: Don't get me wrong, man. I respect your opinion. I just think I'd rather roll the dice with Hamilton than rolling the dice with three aces and no one to score runs for them.

Jack: In 2007, the winningest team in the NL won 90 games. There are years like that. Go farther back and the Mets won the division with 82 wins.

It's more likely to happen now with 2 extra playoff teams and more likely in the NL, which doesn't have the permanent underclass the AL has.

Rauls Grandpa: I have indeed been there and have read accounts by others. Let me guess, you think it's fabulous.

Most difficult thing to fix by far is going to be the bullpen. Ran the numbers for Bastardo since Sept 1st last year (when he really started to struggle) and they are simply horrendous:

44 G, 36 IP, 6.50 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 6.3 BB/9, 11.8 K/9, 1.9 K/BB, 1.8 HR/9, ~22% LD rate

Bastardo is a guy who simply is having huge issues with his command, falling behind in the count way too often, and getting hammered.

I did think demoting him after last night was a bit of a knee jerk reaction but when I looked at his delivery/mechanics, attitude after the Diaz hit, and those numbers it would be a bad idea to demote him to let him try to work on his mechanics.

Amaro built this bullpen this offseason largely around Contreras returning to pitch & Bastardo being a quality back-end piece. Contreras not surprisingly reinjured his arm & Bastardo has been really struggled overall. Big reason why this bullpen has been just a disaster.

Moving ahead forward, I don't know at this point how much they can count on Bastardo to contribute except more as a situational guy than a setup guy. For this team to have any shot at having a decent bullpen next year, they need to get some consistency out of Bastardo.

Since this is already a lost season and if he continues to struggle, I hope Amaro demotes him & let Billmeyer work with him at Lehigh on his mechanics and especially his release point for 3-4 weeks at Lehigh.

Will: It's even possible for a team below .500 to win its division.

Clout, in 2007, the Phillies, Mets, Braves, Cubs, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres and Dodgers each had an over .500 record.

MG: Impossible. Bastardo cannot be demoted. Remember, "he's our 8th inning guy." Gotta have him available to face those pesky lefties.

Didn't the Padres win the N.L. West with 80 or 81 wins a few years back. An under .500 team in the playoffs certainly isn't impossible, but that team is also highly likely to be bounced before getting to the series. So a slim chance to have an under .500 team get into the playoffs, then possibly have to win a play-in game (if they are a wild card) and most definitely a less than 25% chance of getting to the series if they are in the playoffs (since they would be an underdog in both series)

I would take that bet

Clout: Yes, I realized that after I posted, but I find it highly unlikely that an entire division would be so decimated to produce a sub .500 divisional champion who would suddenly go on a tear and win the pennant.

Do you actually think an antisocial person like myself would pay parking/and or cover to go to a Guido meat market?

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