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Friday, December 14, 2012

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2-3 days ago, you could say that the Angels hadn't made much of an effort to sign Hamilton.

I'm a member of the Waitandsee Tribe.

I think the team desperately needs anotehr power bat in the lineup. Otherwise, you are banking on Ruf becoming a 25+ homerun guy. Maybe he will, but I wouldn't put all my eggs in that basket. The team got burned last year when Mayberry didn't continue to improve. So, you either sign Swisher and lose the 16th pick, or you trade some other prospect for a power bat from somewhere else (hopefully not Soriano).

Admittedly, Swisher for 6 years (as hypothesized last thread) is really pretty tough to swallow, even at a relatively small AAV, e.g. 6/80. Even if he didn't profile as a guy likely to crater, paying $40 million to a player in his 35-37 year old seasons, on a team that will need all the payroll flexibility it can get, is a rough prospect.

It's easy to play the lazy game and say "lol Beerleaguer, first you say Rube jumped too early and now you're saying he waited too long." But as it stands now Swisher looks to have all of his suitors pretty firmly by the balls. I'd have liked to see RAJ make a move for him earlier this offseason and try for a deal in the 4/64 range. It's not inconsistent to rag on Rube for jumping the gun on Papelbon and also to rag on him for letting the market dry up this year.

Then again, if the Ichiro talk is true, one of the following is also true: (a) Rube's found some really stanky bud or (b) the team is entering major pennypinch mode and we won't see any meaningful $ deals.

I'd have liked to see RAJ make a move for him earlier this offseason and try for a deal in the 4/64 range.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think it's pretty obvious that Swisher decided to take his chances and let the market play out. It seems to me that the only way you get him signed early is to totally overpay in terms of years and salary. I could be wrong, but it takes two to tango.

"The team got burned last year when Mayberry didn't continue to improve."

And the year before, when Ben Francisco sucked.

I myself just don't expect the team to compete offensively as currently constituted. Considering Utley's questionable future going forward, I think the team really should pick up a decent middle-of-the-lineup guy going forward. The draft pick is a shame to lose, but it seems like a relatively small price to pay to return to competitiveness.

Mike G., that may very well be true. Of course, he'll get totally overpaid by whoever signs him now too.

I don't feel strongly either way on Swisher. Right field is not the problem the Phillies most troubling to the Phillies.

I'd be willing to watch Rube start the season with Mayberry/Brown platooning in right with Ruf and the occasional Nix in left if it meant he had fixed the eighth inning.

I don't know how Pettibone or Cloyd or some other suspect will do in the five spot. But Kendrick looks to be okay at the four spot. The eighth inning was the Phils' kryptonite last season. Fix that and you may pick up 6,7, or 8 games right off the bat, even with an inadequate offense.

Then your only question is Halladay's health. That's a very big question because both Halladay and the team lied to us and themselves about it last season. I see no reason for them to face up to it now. It doesn't seem to be in their nature.

Swisher is a gigantic MEH.

no.

besides the pick, you'll overspend on years and dollars.

Mike, exactly!

So many here forget that the market is not static and that GMs don't operate in a vaccum. They have to deal with competition
from other teams, agents that lie to them, and players that have their own ideas about where they want to play.

Take Ichiro, for example: Both the Giants and Phillies offered him more money than the Yankees, but he still signed in NY.

Cliff Lee is another: He wears bloddstripes instead of blue pinstripes even though the NYY offered him more money than the Phillies offered.

Has Swisher ever publicly declared he'd love to play in Philly? For all we know he hates it here and would only be using RAJ to squeeze more out of another team.

It does, indeed, take two to tango.

Two letters N O

Why can't we just let the 4 guys platoon & battle it out to see if anyone steps up? They've all shown flashes in the past except maybe Brown but he also may have the most potential. Nix has had solid seasons vs RH in the past. Mayberry had a very strong 2nd half in 2010 & we all know what Ruf did last year. We can always trade for an OF bat (Soriano, Cuddyer, Kubel, etc) If you say we can't afford to wait and watch guys if they are struggling. I'll ask you why Howard is facing LH pitching & Ruf isn't platooning with him at 1st? Sign a starter & reliever, & call it an off-season

In general, the more positions you have to platoon, the weaker overall your team is. This is why full time starters vs. both handed pitchers are preferable to platoon players.

epicurean, you, like many others here, seem to be forgetting that the addition of Utley and Howard (if they're healthy) will be a big improvement in the offense. Sure, Utley's future is "questionable", but not to the point of there being no no basis to expect him to play a full season if Chollie handles him properly. Howard has demonstrated the ability to hit for power and drive in runs - even playing on one good leg - and that's what he gets overpaid for.

Do I expect 162 games from both of them. Cartainly not. But I expect more than 83 from Utley and 71 from Howard. That alone will be an improvement over last season.

You're not alone. Even Morosi wrote a piece about the Phillies chances and didn't mention Howard and utley at all.

It's almost if they've disappeared from the lexicon of baseball journalists. That gives me hope, as they're both hyper-competitive and will be out to prove that they're still relevant.

We'll see what they're capable of doing.

It's not the pick (or even so much the money) I'd be worried about, it's the years. I want no part of Swisher on a 6 year deal. Even 4 is too many in my opinion, but that's what it will take to get him (at least).

Swisher's numbers do not point to a guy that would be a "gigantic MEH"

awh, you are right that Utley and Howard remain unknown at the moment, with high ceilings if they can return to 2007-era form.

I worry that, even with them in good shape and producing, the offense still needs more. Recent successful versions of the team had some extra offensive pop from guys like Burrell, Werth, Ibanez, etc., who have no clear replacements on the team as it is currently constituted. Sure, someone (Brown, Ruf, Young, even Ruiz) could step up and produce decent numbers, but none are slam dunks for filling that role, and I am suspicious of all of the possibilities.

I say that, given the uncertain status of Howard and Utley (and the likelihood that the latter is gone in a season) and the inevitable holes even with a healthy Howard and Utley, the need for another proven bat is clear and certain. I'm not so sure the FO agrees.

pb, Mayberry put up this line in the second half of 2012:

.256/.327/.410

It wasn't what he did in 2011, but considering league average and MLB average splits were .254/.318/.400 and .255/.319/.405 it's solid enough. The problem is that he did this in the first half:

.232/.269/.377

and he has not proven that he can be counted on for an entire season.

I would take Swisher for four years, through his age 35 season. I see no evidence for the onset of a glaring decline, at least on paper.

seidman: "the questionable fit he'd be in the clubhouse"

I am unaware of source of this statement, can anyone fill in?

epicurean, do you really think the Phillies will let Utley walk?

IMHO, if he proves he can play a full season (125 =/+ games) then they may make an offer to keep him around, with a low base and incentive clauses based on games played.

They might not offer him 15MM/year, but he put up the 4th highest OPS among 2B last season. If he does that again and plays at least 125 games, with whom would they replace him? Galvis? Frandsen?

He's not the 2nd best player in MLB anymore, but if he can stay on the field he's still an elite 2B.

Why would the Phils let him walk?

TTI - It's not so much that Swisher is a giant MEH in and of himself. But when you look at the money, the draft pick and the years of commitment to a guy who is not really a game changer, then the question has to be asked: What will change the Phillies fortunes from last season. And that's reliable relievers to take the eighth inning. If they're going to spend in only one area, and it's looking like that may be the case, then better to fix the pen than the offense. As bad as the offense was last year, it was the pitching that did them in.

awh, fair enough point. I would love to see a healthy Utley return, sign a good contract after this season and retire a Phillie in 2018.

My concern is that he is yet another unknown. Will he get healthy? Maybe. Will it make sense to both parties to re-sign him? Maybe. Will he in fact get re-signed? Maybe. But there are too many maybes, both here and elsewhere on the club. I think it's important to secure something proven and certain (as much as anything in the game is proven or certain) when the opportunity presents itself.

I would really love a best-case scenario with Utley though. God knows there are no decent in-house options to replace him: I will grant that Galvis remains a possibility, but I think he's a remote one at best.

epicurean, Galvis can only replace Utley in the sense that he'd be a warm body taking his place.

I love how the sentiment in the first posts here has changed from threads earlier, where everyone was clamoring to get Swisher before Hamilton signed.

Which, as I predicted earlier this week, was going to drastically change the landscape. Now we've got a lot of competition (as I said we would). Now teams are going to sign him for 5 years (as I said would be the competing offer). Now he's looking at 70-80 million for his deal.

Like I said, he's not worth it. I'd make a play for Ross now, before Swisher signs. Because Swisher off the market also drives Ross' price up. That's why Amaro would move so early in past years: he sets the market, instead of the market forcing him into overpaying for a guy he needs.

awh: I fear that you're right, but I don't think the FO sees it that way. They're grooming him to be a potential everyday guy, and while I severely doubt that he can be that, I think he will be given a shot. Personally, I would much rather see him get a job as a utility IF, where he would be a perfect fit.

Swisher isn't going to get 6 years. I would bet he doesn't even get 5 years when it is all settled.

The question does he get more than $15M/year. I bet he does but that it won't be much more and yeah the last 2 years of his deal likely would be below average/poor value.

Amaro is starting to grasp at straws here as there are only a few pieces left on the board worth spending money on a multi-year deal.

Godfather: I dont care how much you drive home all of your good points about Swisher, because your endorsement for Cody Ross just ruins it all.

Why do I have this feeling that Ruben is going to either do something that no one is even talking about, or nothing at all?

@lorecore

And you need to learn not to care if Cody Ross was the reason the Giants beat us in 2010. It was two seasons ago, get over it. What matters is can he help the team now, or not. And he definitely can.

He's a better bet than Swisher because he's a better defender, much cheaper, and we don't have to give up a high draft pick for him. We need another RH OF bat, then we have to focus on the bullpen, our Achilles heel in 2012. That's a far more important need than addressing the offense with a big signing.

Maybe we should call Arizona, see if they want to trade for another shortstop. Galvis for JUp, straight up!

The Angels trade Bourjos and prospects to NY Mets for Dickey in 3..2..1..

I agree with all of our comments. But Cody Ross is such a marginal upgrade who still requires a 3yr/$30M deal, so why even bother? Go fix the 5th starter and pen first.

@lorecore

Depends on if they have the time. I agree that should be the priority, and I'd take care of those immediately if I was Amaro. But if Swisher signs soon, or looks like he's gonna sign soon, Amaro doesn't have a choice. He's got to lock up an RH bat immediately if that's the case.

Lorecore - Exactly. Fix the pitching and they'll be better off than marginally upgrading the outfield.

Better to go into the season with Ruf in left, a little Nix out there, Revere in Center and Dom/Mayberry in right if only they fix the pitching.

Seems pretty obvious. I don't think it will be ruinous if they sign Swisher. But Ross? Only if they have enough money left over to fix the pitching. Same for Swisher.

would rather roll with what we got over signing Cody F'n Ross.

The thing about Ross being "marginal" that I find a little annoying is that, OK, he's a league average bat against righties.

But against lefties? He's a beast. 928 OPS. Best hitter against lefties you could get, better than Hamilton (808) or Swisher (842), in fact. That's exactly the kind of guy you'd want in the 5 hole after Utley and Howard. Last guy they had being the two who hit that well against LHP was Werth, before him Burrell. And yeah, I think that's a contributing factor in Howard's decline.

"And you need to learn not to care if Cody Ross was the reason the Giants beat us in 2010 . . . What matters is can he help the team now, or not. And he definitely can."

A show of hands: who is against signing Cody Ross because of what he did to us in 2010? If you've got your hand raised, please explain why that opinion makes any sense whatsoever.

Now, another show of hands: who is against signing Cody Ross because he/she thinks an OF of Dom and Ruf, with occasional to moderate dosages of Nix & Mayberry against opposite-handed pitching, has a good chance of giving you about the same level of production -- and if it doesn't, then at least you're not locked into mediocrity at a corner OF position for the next 3 years? Let me be the first to raise my hand.

can I raise both hands?

I'm against signing Cody Ross because he has two first names. Never trust a guy with two first names.

Show of hands, who thinks Ruf, who wasn't on our radar at all last year, is actually ready to handle big league pitching when he was called up from Double A?

'Cuz he's not. Don't ever think he is because he had 37 Plate Appearances in 2012. Ruf is still too green and needs another year of seasoning at AAA. That's why we need help now. At least with Ross signed, we can see if Brown can handle LF or RF for a full year. If not, then Ruf gets his shot in 2013, and you've still got a decent OF bat who can play the corners well in Ross.

Works a bit better than hoping both prospects pan out. You're hedging your bets, hoping for one (which has a much greater chance of success than hoping for both).

AAABerry has a .875 OPS vs LHP, thats why the upgrade is marginal. I know that he is much more useless vs RHP than Ross is, but it still means that its a marginal upgrade that is worth no where near the type of deal Ross is being rumored to attracting.

My original post about you "ruining" all your good points is that the same reasons you critize Swisher for, you ignore with Ross. He costs you money, he cost you years - and he gives you less than what Swisher will which is wyh thats the case.

... or possibly two last names

Godfather: The first problem with that rationale is that only 25 to 30% of major league pitchers are left-handed. So, the other 70 to 75% of the time, you're left with a .720 OPS No. 5 hitter -- which would probably make him the worst No. 5 hitter in baseball.

The other problem is that, if your plan is to bat Ross 5th, there'd be nothing to stop the opposing manager from bringing in the LOOGY for Utley & Howard, and then switching to a right-hander after that. The only way to optimize Ross's ability to mash left-handers would be to bat him BETWEEN Utley & Howard, which would mean moving Utley to 2nd in the order, which is something Cholly should, but will never, consider. Which means you'd be acquiring a hitter with a very specific skill set, which our manager wouldn't even put to optimal use.

I agree 100% with BAP at 3:04.

I raised my hand twice.

I did not raise my hand because I am alone in my office and that would look weird.

But yeah, BAP is probably right.

@ lorecore

The differences between Mayberry and Ross are:
1) Ross is statistically a better defender across the board, at LF and CF. Only spot where Mayberry is better is RF, where he's played all of 20 games. Charlie doesn't trust him in RF. Ross can play that position well.
2) Mayberry is abysmal against righties, 626 OPS last year and that's his first full year up. So he's only going to get worse now that pitchers have a book on him. Ross is at least league average, year to year, against righties.
3) Ross is only 3 years older than Mayberry, who's entering his age 29 season. Mayberry isn't going to be any better than a platoon player. Ross is good enough, and has been good enough, to start regularly.

Yes, I think Mayberry is a bust. He's a platoon player and a 5th outfielder. You can normally do well if you field 1 platoon. But not 2 or more.

I actually agree with 99% of what aksmith is saying. Fix the 8th inning (Adams) and get a healthy Halladay, and you have a playoff team. I honestly believe that. If they had those two things last year, they're a playoff team.

I do not agree with the part about Swisher. In this lineup, he would be a game-changer. And I think the reason people want this extra bat in the lineup is because when Rube cut Pence loose (which I advocated and am still happy about), we were hopeful that part of the logic was that he wanted a better player for the same price. Swisher fits that description perfectly. If a corner OF like that isn't signed, Pence was dumped for...well, it wasn't for Tommy Joseph.

I mean, I didn't like Pence at all, but he certainly gave some offensive production. And so far, that production has not been replaced.

Again, I believe if Adams is added and Halladay is healthy, this is a playoff team. But the Halladay part is a very, very big 'if.' And it would be worth protecting against that by upgrading the offense with a 120 OPS+ guy that hits both LHP and RHP.

@ BAP

I never said start Ross 5th all the time. But against lefties? Absolutely. If I had my druthers (and because I want to start Brown full time to see what he can do), here's what the 2013 lineups would be
Against RHP
1) Revere
2) Young
3) Utley
4) Howard
5) Ruiz
6) Rollins
7) Ross
8) Brown
9) P

Against LHP
1) Revere
2) Young
3) Utley
4) Howard
5) Ross
6) Ruiz
7) Rollins
8) Brown
9) P


How does it work with international free agents? Does their money count against draft money? Because the outfielder Alvarez is already old enough not to count and the shortstop, Diaz, will be 23 in January, and thus old enough not to count.

My guess is that Rube has no interest because he never has before. But it sounds like these two may be a low risk high reward move. Especially if the Phillies are thinking of forfeiting their first draft pick.

"I'm against signing Cody Ross because he has two first names. Never trust a guy with two first names."
Posted by: Fatalotti

Another take on this is that he has two last names and therefore can be trusted. How about Buffalo Bill Cody and Betsy Ross? Works for me. Sign him sooner than later, I say!

I agree with BAP wholeheartedly on Ross. That said, this particular statement is an Epic Logic Fail, for reasons that should be obvious:

"So, the other 70 to 75% of the time, you're left with a .720 OPS No. 5 hitter -- which would probably make him the worst No. 5 hitter in baseball."

Godfather: you completely ignored my point about Mayberry and Ross. The things Ross does well, Mayberry isn't that far behind - thats why its marginal.

The phils have half assed it at every acquisition so far. Revere has no power and Young can't field. Now we want to half ass a corner OF and a setup man too? We need to actually acquire 1 overall good thing, not just get mediocre everything.

4/68 for Swisher should be enough. Spend the money, get your right handed, power hitting, good OBP, corner outfield bat.

Per MLBTR:
The Phillies announced that they claimed Mauricio Robles off of waivers from the Mariners. Seattle had designated the left-hander for assignment six days ago.
Robles, 23, posted a 5.78 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 7.9 BB/9 in 43 total games in the upper minors this past season. In parts of seven minor league seasons he has a 4.15 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9.

Bullpen solved! (sarc)

fumphis: I meant, the worst No. 5 hitter in baseball against RHP.

As I've been saying all along, I want the Phillies to fix the eighth inning and everything after that is icing.

However, their "aim low" strategy this offseason will likely result in fewer sellouts and poorer TV ratings. Seems like a poor time to allow that to happen, with the new TV contract coming up.

Is Rube really that stupid? We know he's arrogant. And we know he's not a great judge of talent. But stupid? I always thought not. I'm having to re-evaluate.

On the other hand, is it ownership putting him on a spending leash? Because other than Middleton, I do think they're either pretty stupid, or at least unmotivated to win.

"Only spot where Mayberry is better [than Ross] is RF, where he's played all of 20 games. Charlie doesn't trust him in RF. Ross can play that position well."

This is just not true. The reason he has played all of 20 games in RF has absolutely nothing to do with Cholly not trusting him there. It is because: (1) we had Hunter Pence playing RF between July 29, 2011 & July 31, 2012; (2) before the Pence trade, Dom was getting a full-time audition for the RF job; and (3) when we traded Pence, we also traded Vic, which meant we now needed Mayberry to play CF. If anything, Mayberry's defense is better than Ross's at all 3 OF positions.

But I'm getting side-tracked. It's not that I think Mayberry is a better all-around player than Ross (he isn't). It's that I think Dom & Ruf, with occasional starts from Mayberry & Nix, have a good chance of being at least as good as Ross, if not better. If my forecast turns out to be wrong, then we can go find another outfielder. If we sign Cody Ross & we're wrong about him, then we're stuck with that mistake for 3 years.

Of course, it goes without saying that I think Swisher is better than all of the above.

I completely agree w/ BAP's 4:05. The marginal (if any) upgrade of Ross over Mayberry isn't worth the 3 yrs & extra money.

The loss of draft pick doesn't concern me, and I'd be willing to go upto 4/$60 for Swisher. If that's not enough, I'd roll w/ what we got in the OF and put money into 5th SP and a shutdown 8th inn guy. Then save a little room in the budget in case a mid-season acq is needed.

Beyond that, I'd even prefer a trade for Soriano before resorting to signing Ross.

"Ross is statistically a better defender across the board, at LF and CF. Only spot where Mayberry is better is RF, where he's played all of 20 games. Charlie doesn't trust him in RF. Ross can play that position well."

What substantiates this? According to UZR, Ross is only better in center (where both aren't great and this isn't even an issue with Revere in the fold).

Gotta go with Godfather on this one. As far as FA's go at this point, Ross makes the most sense. He's a right-handed bat with some pop, is a decent outfielder, will be less costly in terms of years and money than Swisher and won't cost us a 1st round draft choice. Get Ross, a starter and and a reliever and let's see where it takes us.

115, 103, 83, ?

I think the next number in the sequence is 55.

Utley will play in 55 games in 2013.

Yes.

I say give up the 16th pick. You don't have too long left to win with Lee Halladay Rollins Utley.

Look at their list of 1st round picks the last few years & there development.

I'd rather they move for swisher & if things look bad though the season, move Halladay or someone like that and get back players.

If they sit tight as of now, they will be lucky if they make the wildcard. I wouldn't bank on it though.

Nope would not give up that 16th pick for Swisher. And He$$ would freeze over first before J-Roll bats 6th or 7th. It will be interesting where they put Revere. To me he is a true lead off hitter.

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