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Tuesday, December 04, 2012


Who stays, who goes, from this table?

you're not a true phillies fan if you aren't thrilled that the medical staff actually did their job and gave Lopez a legitimate evaluation. Happy to see they remember Freddy Garcia just as much as we do.

If only Amaro could Frankenstein a couple of these pitchers together. Like Aumont and his curve with De Fratus' strike throwing.

I'm not happy the guy flunked his physical, but I agree that it's good to see the med staff finally find something wrong with someone...whether its the right diagnosis, that another issue

I will go out on a limb and say that Rosenberg and Savery only see the mound if something catastrophic happens.

Aumont and DeFratus are going to be given long longs in spring training to be key pieces of the bullpen.

Ed Wade should parachute this wild bunch into Tibet for a few months of focus training before the season starts.

***If only Amaro could Frankenstein a couple of these pitchers together. Like Aumont and his curve with De Fratus' strike throwing.***

We have the technology...

We're used to Rube doing deals that bring in needed pieces, but the team may opt to keep searching internally and experimenting with different guys, hoping that one or two emerge.

Rod Nichols in the bullpen may be x-factor this year. I'll Frankenstein a Nickle-Rod-Dubee to calm the wildness.

Experimented last year and it was a monumental flop.

Just a question of whether or not they have the money left over to bring in a setup caliber reliever via FA or have to go the discount bargain bin way & hope they get a small miracle with a breakthrough season for Aumont or Bastardo.

Does anyone really think Bastardo or Aumont are going to have a stellar year in '13?

MG -- It's entirely possible that Bastardo and Aumont have a stellar years in '13. Excepting Mariano Rivera, from year to year, relievers are a terribly unpredictable bunch.

Ryan Madson flew into a blind rage after a bad outing; took on a clubhouse chair to the grave detriment of his big toe, and was pretty good after that. Until his elbow fell off. So it goes.

Regardless, last year's crucible of failure may have given both pitchers you mentioned the "stuff" to succeed in '13. However, a "possibility" is not a "certainty". Velocity aside, whoever RAJ gets to help out should be able to throw strikes. As Whitey used to say -- especially in the late innings:

Oh those bases on balls...

I like Horst and Valdes.

Uehara Uehara Uehara

2010-2012: 2.36 ERA, 0.772 WHIP, 184 ERA+, 1.1 BB/9, 11.4 K/9, 10.76 K/BB

2012 Bullpen Losses: about 23-25
Valdez and Rosenburg had 1 start each.
Almost half (11) came from Pap or Bastardo

2012 Bullpen Wins: about 20-22
Almost a quarter (5) came from Pap.

Agreed on Uehara, he must be the prime FA left for the 8th. And now that Soria signed w/ TX, Uehara won't be going back there...

I wasn't a fan of getting Soria. Thats a great move for a team with something already in place, not a team like the Phillies who are littered with question marks already.

Does anyone really think Bastardo or Aumont are going to have a stellar year in '13?

50% chance of one of them having a satisfying (not sure of your def. of stellar) year.

JW: My predicted pen is:


Cloyd may have supporters as a swingman, but he sucks and I think will only get called up once a starter misses time. Stutes will be the first replacement arm to come up, given he returns to his previous AAA numbers. Schwimer on the outside looking in, and Rosenberg/Savery aren't in the equation.

Honestly, I like what's going down so far this offseason. Nothing. I'm glad Upton signed with the Braves. I'm glad Pagan is still with the Giants. I'm glad the Phils pulled back from the Lopez deal because of medical issues.

I don't like spending money for the sake of spending money. I honestly don't mind another year of mediocrity for three reasons: (1) see what some of these kids have; (2) save some money for '14 (I admit I don't know what the FA class of '14 looks like); and (3) Charlie will be gone. Of course, if there were good FAs out there that would be a fit for this team, I'm all for it. There aren't really any out there that justify throwing money at, IMO.

Now, if only the Phils can correctly navigate the Josh Hamilton situation, I'll be all set. Read into that what you will.

cut - They might but 'relievers are fungible' is kind of a lazy and generic analysis.

Bastardo has put together a complete consistent season yet in either his minor/major league career as a reliever since he was converted to a full-time reliever in '10.

Not been a guy who has had a BB/9 below 4 as a reliever and has outings where he struggles to throw anything the zone. Bastardo is going to be HR-prone because of the large amount of FB he gives. Also a guy that you can run to even though he is a LH pitcher because he doesn't have a very good pickoff move & doesn't have a quick release.

That said I really like Bastardo and his stuff. He's a guy who destroys LH hitters & gets a ton of Ks.

Does Bastardo supposedly become a consistent reliever this year with a BB/9 below 4 who can give the Phils 60-65? He hasn't so far and nor would I count on him to do it this upcoming year.

Aumont is kind of similiar to Bastardo except that Aumont has much more erratic command and control issues (BB/9 in his minor career as a reliever is ~5.5 BB/9 which stinks for a reliever) & is much less HR-prone because he gets a lot more groundballs.

In a very limited sample, that is what Aumont did last year with the Phils. He walked at least 1 BB in 8 of his 18 G. That's a tough thing to overcome in a close game even with a guy who gets his share of Ks & ground ball outs.

Bastardo and Aumonnt both can be useful pieces in a bullpen but I see them more as complementary pieces than solid backend options. Ditto DeFratus.

Phils need another veteran reliever.

Billingsley - But why save $10-$15M on a payroll that will be $170M when the difference will easy be made up in additional revenues from a playoff appearance & increased ticket renewals & ad revenues in '14.

Who are the kids that the Phils are really holding back? Brown is almost certainly going to be a starter at one of the OF positions. Aumont and DeFratus are near locks to make the team coming out of spring training.

There isn't a prospect in CF who should be considered for a job on Opening Day. Ditto at 3B.

The only young player the Phils might be holding back is Ruf.

So apparently Granderson's kind of available. Not my favorite player, but if the Yanks don't ask for too much, that would be a nice 1 yr fit for the Phils' window.

MG: "Does anyone really think Bastardo or Aumont are going to have a stellar year in '13?"

Yes, actually.

Billingsley, I tend to feel the way you do also except that I think they need to do something a bit more credible to try to squeeze one or two more good playoff runs out of Howard, Utley, Halladay, Lee et al.

In the admittedly small sample of 30 IP, Jeremy Horst was quite good last year. I think he should have the inside track to be a second lefty in the bullpen over Diekman (who I also think isn't bad).

MG: Never said "holding back." I'd like to watch Brown, Ruf, Aumont, De Fratus, Horst, even Galvis. Guys like that. (*NOTE: Do not read this as "Billingsly thinks Galvis is the solution to 3B, Ruf is the solution to RF, etc.*)

My main issue is with this need to "make a splash" in FA. In many cases, IMO, of course, the Phils (and teams in general) make moves for the sake of making moves without taking into account what the team's need is. And if a need exists, they have a tendency to be reactionary and have a win-at-all-costs mentality (see Papelbon).

They have holes to fill, but filling it with BJ Upton at 5/$75M would have been foolish. Signing a hurt Lopez could have proven to be costly. I was never a big fan of throwing money at the problem for the sake of getting high priced talent. If they fit, they fit.

I also am not naive enough to believe that the Phils are working without a budget. They are. Granted, we don't know what that budget is, but there is a budget. They have to be mindful of what they do.

And finally, I think saving $10-$15M is big for team that needs a lot more than one outfielder to make a deep run in the playoffs and gain enough revenue to make it a wash. And, again, there's a budget. $10-$15M is no small chunk of change.

Just spit-ballin'. And all of it is my admittedly somewhat uninformed opinion, of course.

Phils should definitely spend some money. They're right in that threshold where a signing or two is the difference between playoffs and no playoffs.

limoguy: Fair point. It would be nice to give those guys another shot before they've completely deteriorated, are traded, etc.

One last clarification: I don't have a problem with spending money. I like when they spend money. Just spend the money wisely. That's all I ask. That hasn't been their MO in recent years.

The lack of prospects right now is a serious problem. If we had a stacked farm system, it wouldn't matter what FAs were available--we could improve through trades, and in doing that, get younger guys to potentially bridge to a new era beyond Utley/Howard, etc.

As it is, our hands are tied. The only way to get better is to spend money, and there just isn't an impact player worth spending money on, and you'd have to lock yourself into a bad deal for the future to do so.

I have a working theory that increasingly the best way to improve your team is through trades, not FA. The new revenue streams in baseball mean that more teams are able to re-sign their stars instead of letting them hit FA. Thus, the only guys hitting FA are your mid-level veterans, and, in terms of value, those kind of players offer the worst return on investment. Just a theory, though.

Aumont sure does get a lot of love for a guy who walked 7 batters per 9 innings at AAA. He's got great stuff, to be sure. But the only pitcher I can think of who ever succeeded with that kind of walk ratio was Mitch Williams. The odds are decidedly against it.

If they dont spend, they wont make the playoffs.

If they do spend, they might make the playoffs.

It will be a dogfight for the East even if we spend.

Jack: I think that's a pretty good theory and, in the Phillies' case, there's not even any question about it. The Phillies need to get younger, and 95% of free agents are in their early 30s or older. That's why RAJ fell in love with the thoroughly uninspiring B.J. Upton. Now that he's gone, they're left only to give another expensive long-term deal to another 30-something player who will start declining in a year or two, if not sooner. A trade is definitely their best bet.

NEPP - Kind of the way I feel. The Phils need at a minimum right now another OF bat (ideally a CF) and another option at 3B.

This roster right now as constituted looks like an 85-win max team to me.

Amaro fell in love with Upton?

BAP: Agreed, but do you really thinkg RAJ was in love w/ BJ Upton? To me, if he was, Upton would be a Phillie right now. Either that or the budget is a lot lower than we've been hoping.

BAP: Well, when your other options are a guy like Josh Lindblom, who walks 7 batters per 9 innings WITHOUT any good stuff, you can see the attraction to Aumont.

One-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind...

Sounds like the Phils have some interest in Michael Young again.

Jack - Agreed. Lindblom kind of sucks. He's a one-trick pony (fastball) which he doesn't have really good command or control of.

I really hoped the Phils were going to move Vic to Pittsburgh last year & get Lincoln in return.

Unless Martin amounts to anything, the Phils basically got nothing in return from the Dodgers.

Sophist: Because nothing fills the "right-handed power" need like a 36-year old who slugged .370 last year.

Oh, and he's a bad defensive 3B as well.

MG: Since the Dodgers didnt get anything either, I'd say its a fair deal.

I'd be pretty much giving the yankees reasonably whatever they want for granderson. Probably the perfect solution for the half-rebuild mode the phils could potentially be entering soon. Who doesn't want 41 hr's. Screw the lower BA.

And finally, Young is owed $16 million this year.

Other than all those issues, sure, Young seems like a great idea.

it's a good thing the Lopez deal fell apart with his elbow issue. RAJ did his homework there and there is no fault with him at all. He will get a reliever no doubt, but not at these meetings. That'll happen later.

But he's not fairing well at all in the other areas of need and I fear they won't be addressed at the meetings either. I said last week that he'll have to settle on players who won't help much. That will be the case.

"Welcome to Shawshank, Mr. Dykstra. This is Mr. Hadley, head of the guards. I'm Mr. Norton, the warden. And this is Mr. Boggs, your cellmate for the next 6 months. (he-he-he)"

Jack - agree that Young would be a bad idea unless he comes basically free. But he did SLG .474 two years ago and can still hit LHP it seems (.333/.371/.423 last year and .361/.402/.500 the year before).

His three-year numbers away from Arlington are bad, and he's probably not really a 3B anymore. But I wouldn't be completely opposed at the idea if, like I said, it cost nothing and the idea is to have him only mix in at 3B, 1B and OF.

Jack - it's just a rumor. probably called to see how much salary TEX would pay and what prospect it would cost. like the rumors with Hamiton basically amount to the idea that they would take him at a 3-year deal. there is a scenario under which adding Young would be a good idea, but they're limited.

Jon Morosi just tweeted:Keep an eye on Mike Olt at the winter meetings. One rival club official believes #Rangers are willing to trade him.

What type of package do you think it would take to get him and does he project as an everyday 3B?

Here are Young's three-year splits (total: .299/.341/.430)

LHP: .338/.382/.474
RHP: .286/.327/.415
Away: .290/.329/.396

If he costs some prospect, the Rangers pick up most of his salary, and the plan is to mix him in at 3B (not start there everyday), the OF, even 2B and 1B from time to time, it's not a bad idea provided he doesn't prevent the Phils from adding elsewhere. A better version of Wigginton.

"Unless Martin amounts to anything, the Phils basically got nothing in return from the Dodgers."

This is the scenario in every trade. Unless the prospect amounts to anything, the team gets nothing in return. I'm not sure why that's late-breaking news.

Martin looked great after he was traded here, FWIW.

Small chance that Olt is available, he would be perfect for Phils. Wonder if they have what it would take to get him though...prob not.

The knee jerk reaction is to predict that so-and-so will be good next season because he was good last season. But with relievers, that doesn't work.

I think the best way to deal with them is to assemble those with the best stuff and then see how it plays out. That would mean focusing on the Bastardo-DeFratus-Aumont-Papelbon types and not caring much about the Horst-Valdes-Diekman-Savery-Rosenberg-Lindblom types because, while they might throw in a good season here or there, they don't have any upside because their stuff is mediocre.

Obviously one or two of the latter is always necessary to fill out the staff, but if you're asking them to pitch in key situations, you're asking for trouble.

Bottom line: The Phils need to acquire a proven setup man with good stuff to hold down the role until Bastardo, Aumont or DeFratus develop enough to take over.

Jack- you think Aumont is going to have an stellar year?

Remember that list of RH relief pitchers from a few weeks ago that you or MG listed? Find me that list again and I'll bet you $100 (that I'll donate to Drexel Lebow) that I can pick 3 right now off that list that will have a better year, without argument, than Aumont.

Olt's been rumored in the trade talks involving J Upton and Andrelton Simmons. Mid-season, Marlins were willing to build a Josh Johnson deal around Olt. What do the Phils have at that level?

nokwurst- they'd have to give up Lee. Not sure how else it would happen.

A better version of Wigginton.

If by better you mean worse, I can agree with your statement. :)

I suppose that Young CAN'T be any worse defensively than Wigs. It's possible that he might be better but everything I've read recently is that his D is just awful.

Nationals get Haren for a 1 year deal? Damn. Didn't see that one coming

***What do the Phils have at that level?***

Nothing even close...outside of Lee and that would hurt us far more than having a rookie 3B that may or may not be good enough to make a difference.

So the Nats replaced Edwin Jackson with Dan Haren.


Iceman: Ok, I might do that. But my answer wasn't that Aumont, specifically, would definitely have a good year.

MG asked whether "anyone thought Bastardo or Aumont are going to have a stellar year?"

I think that yes, at least one of them will have a season that people could consider "stellar," whatever that word means. Personally, I think it's more likely to be Bastardo than Aumont, but I think the odds are that at least one of them will perform well.

Edmundo - If Young's last 3 seasons are any indication of his 2013 (~3 fWAR on average), he would be a decidedly more valuable player than Wigginton overall. Wigginton's fWAR was 0.1 the year before joining the Phils.

And I meant the functional equivalent of Wigginton. ~10 starts in the OF and 90 in the IF (although, assuming Howard will be healthy a greater proportion at 3B). Young is a bad 3B, but having him share time with Frandsen would be an upgrade, no? What else is there besides Youk?

Yeah good call, TX would prob start and end there demand at Lee, which I agree does more harm than good. Oh well.

Haren to Nats? Ugh/Sigh/Good grief!
Best hope is that he pulls a WiLo and fails the physical.

Yikes, Nats get Haren.

I know there's medical issues there that have scared some teams away, but a 1-year deal is a pretty good hedge on that risk.

$13 million is a lot for a guy with arm issues...but when its a 1 year deal and you've got a ton of free money? Yeah, good roll of the dice by Rizzo.

$13M to Haren probably means Morse will stick at 3B and laroche will go to Baltimore/somewhere else.

Rizzo's had a very nice offseason so far.

Good move by Nats. But Angels couldn't even get Marmol for Haren. His FIP/xFIP/ERA were all over 4 last year. His FB velocity (~92 with As) was 88.5 last year.

Edmundo: Last offseason this board, perhaps including you, was clamoring for Young. Did you forget?

If they don't spend, they wont make the playoffs.

If they do spend, they might make the playoffs.

It will be a dogfight for the East even if we spend.

I agree. Which is why it is so important to spend wisely and not just spend, spend, spend. The East is tough even if they upgrade, so they have to upgrade the right positions at the right cost, so they aren't forced to ignore other needs.

Chances of Amaro making a desperation/panic signing of Bourn/Hamilton? I say at least 50% and rising.

I still don't understand why Phillies don't make a push to re-sign Victorino. Obviously they shouldn't give him a 3-4 deal like other teams have allegedly offered him -- but if that was real wouldn't he have signed by now?

Seems like a cheap 1-2 season fix with a guy you know and trust

Iorecore: Then that makes it even better. Committing 3 years of big money to Adam Laroche is a terrible idea, and one the Orioles are going to seriously regret if they do it. He isn't a difference-maker, and isn't worth paying like one.

Nats are having a not-to-shabby offseason here to build on a not-too-shabby regular season.

***But Angels couldn't even get Marmol for Haren. His FIP/xFIP/ERA were all over 4 last year. His FB velocity (~92 with As) was 88.5 last year. ***

Its definitely a risk that's mitigated by their salary room and the 1 year nature of it.

He's a 4/5 starter for them so even if it doesnt work, it wont kill them. I view it as along the lines of Oswalt for the Phillies in that 2nd year where he will probably be hit or miss depending on how his arm is feeling.

I wonder if Dan Haren owns a tractor...

What would Texas want with Andrelton Simmons? They already have Profar and Andrus.

NEPP - Yeah, but it appears the Nats had $13M to spend and they spent it on Haren. There were better ways to spend that money (An. Sanchez, Greinke) and I'd bet on another down year from him.

jbird - they want to trade him to ARI for Upton.

I doubt either of those two would take anything less than 3-4 if not 5 years though, Sophist. That'd be a waste of money considering the Nats already have Zimmermann, Strasburg and Gio anchoring their rotation.

I think the 1 year nature of it sold it for them.

Still, I expect you are right that he will have a down year and it will likely be sunk money for them.

NEPP - Don't intend to sound like I don't think it's a good move for the Nats. I'm just supplying the reason why this guy is available at all to begin with. Two teams, one that he's worked with for a bit now, passed on him after taking a look under the hood.

Sophist: But you couldn't get Greinke or Anibal Sanchez on a 1-year, $13 million deal.

You'd be committing 5 or 6 years to them. If the Nats are anything like the Phillies and other front offices, they have a very justified fear of long-term deals for pitchers.

Nats Rotation:

Strasburg: FA in 2017
Zimmermann: FA in 2016
Gio Gonzalez: FA in 2019 (two team options for '17 & '18 respectively).

The last thing they need is a top starting pitcher under contract for several years.

That said, I probably would've just re-signed Edwin Jackson to a 2 or 3-year deal if I were the Nationals. But he may be trying for a big, long-term deal of his own, and may want to go elsewhere.

Either way, it's a nice move for the Nats when the only thing they stand to lose is some money, and they stand to gain a real nice pitcher. They have a pretty complete team already--it's hard to argue that spending this money keeps them from filling some other crucial hole.

"If Young's last 3 seasons are any indication of his 2013 (~3 fWAR on average), he would be a decidedly more valuable player than Wigginton overall."

Saying that someone is more valuable than Ty Wigginton is like saying that Oymyakon, Siberia has a warmer climate than Vostok, Antarctica.

Of course you couldn't get them on 1-year deals. I'm just comparing the $ involved here. It's only a buy low option in the years involved sense, but $13M is a lot for the risks involved. Jack's supplies another good case with Edwin Jackson.

They saved a ton of money by passing on Bourn and going with Span...though for 2013, at least, they basically used that savings for Dan Haren.

A guy with a negative WAR last year and known arm troubles that haven't been surgically fixed as far as I know.

BAP - The Wigginton point was in response to someone who claimed he wasn't more valuable than Wigginton. My argument for Young isn't that he's 'better than Wigginton' but thanks for playing along.

A debilitating cognitive bias plagues all analysis of the bullpen situation. Basically, since we allegedly tried the "experiment with the farm guys" approach last year and it allegedly didn't work, it's now assumed that that approach is the wrong one for this year. This goes hand-in-hand with the fallacious but intuitive tendency to overstate the importance of innings 7-9 over innings 1-6, which makes it seem like the bullpen was a bigger component of last year's failure than it really was. Given the perfectly real possibility that one or more of the bullpen mediocrities last year will start contributing--even if on a fluky basis, a la Old Mike Stutes--and the equally real likelihood that a middle-aged non-star FA bullpen piece won't provide meaningful value at all, throwing money at the bullpen while compromising options for an everyday 3B and CF is really not the greatest idea.

We're talking 30 to 60 innings of work here for each pitcher. Crazy things happen in that small a number of plays. Stats swing *wildly* based on single events. Going so far as to call relievers completely fungible is probably wrong, but outside the highest echelons of the class, you really are talking about an awful lot of luck and uncontrollable variance, which unfortunately lend themselves to misleading narratives after the fact. You need to do your best to load the dice, but you also need to recognize that you'll need to roll them and pray at some point.

On CSN Philly (Dec. 3rd 9PM) Ruben let this "slip" When asked whether Vic would be welcomed back by the Phils, he said: " A couple different scenarios where ex-Phillies could return to Phila." Hmmm..That list is made up of... Michael Bourn

*There are a couple of different.......

Sophist, I was half-kidding about Young/Wigginton, but only half-kidding. It looks like Young is toast -- he'll be 36 yo.

It might be worth a gamble at 1.5-2M in exchange for Jiwan James or some high risk lottery ticket, if they fill the other holes. But count me unenthused.

Edmundo - What are the alternatives? And Young isn't certainly toast. He can still hit lefties and had a great year in 2012.

sorry 2011.

Not hard to figure out there's a scenario for Bourn to come back: his $ request comes down significantly. Seems like Victorino would be an extreme fall back signing-It's been said a few times by Amaro(?) that signing Vic is a "lateral" move.

Fumphis: you lost me at the 2nd multi-syllabic word. (j/k)

Your point overall is pretty good, though I think Phils would be best served to acquire one solid veteran for 8th inning duty. That would allow the young arms to make their cases in lower-pressured innings, which is where they should ideally be. Bastardo would be 7th inning guy, then Aumont + whichever 3 of the rest you want to through in there.

Thank God the Nats didn't get Greinke. That's what I was worried about. That's impossible now.

"I think Phils would be best served to acquire one solid veteran for 8th inning duty."

To get someone worth committing to in the 8th inning, you're talking serious money--for Uehara or Adams, basically. And fumphis is saying that doing that may well improve the 8th inning--but potentially at the cost of acquiring help at CF or 3B. Is that worth it?

Otherwise, there's no one out there who is that guy you're imagining. You can bring in some veterans on low-money deals, absolutely, but the idea of giving them the 8th inning just because they're mediocre veterans is a terrible one.

I think this bullpen hinges on the shoulder of forgotten man mike stutes.

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