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Friday, January 11, 2013

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So Amaro is not happy with his outfield? (Philly Inky). Well he can blame himself for that, since he didn't do anything about it.

Phils put some protection in the Adams option, and likely motivated Lannan a bot with his contract.

He probably won't reach his career highs, but if Lannan does what he averaged between '08-'11, he'll pitch 179 innings to a 4.00 ERA, making 30 starts.

So, he would get $2.5MM base, plus $600K for 170 IP, or a total of $3.1MM. If he manages to squeek out one (1) more IP, then he'd get another $200K.

He'd represent pretty decent value at that price: 175+ IP at an ERA that would be a slight tick above the 2012 league average (3.94).

OMG DPat, you're like a dog with a Frisbee.

OMG DPat, you're like a dog with a Frisbee.
Posted by: Mike G | Friday, January 11, 2013 at 01:27 PM

Perfect. Mike G wins. No other analogy of DPat ever needs to be made.

Vesting threshold isn't that hard for Adams to meet but I am glad Amaro put in that provision about an injury.

Starting pitching has gotten really expensive. Even bums now like Marquis are making $3M. With such a ridiculous price tag for FA starters, I can understand why so many teams are interested in watching a guy like Vazquez pitch.

Even if a team has to give him a base of $2-$3M with plenty of incentives upside, you at least have some hope that Vazquez may give your team a real unexpected boost. A guy like Marquis (and to a lesser degree Lannan) is just going to take the mound and you hope keep you in most games for 5+ IP.

DPat, I'm starting to think Amaro is just blathering publicly about the OF - for two reasons:

One, to motivate the youngers guys (Ruf & Brown).

Two, because he doesn't want to create the public perception that he really is satisfied with the OF.

#2 is important in this reagard: I'm starting to believe that it's been their plan all along to go into ST with Ruf/Nix/RFD/Brown all vying for playing time in the corners.

Yes, they solved a big defensive hole by bringing in Revere, who no one, not even the Phillies, can expect to match Victorino's production over the last few seasons.

But if you're the Phillies, and you really want to see what Ruf and Brown are made of (we pretty much know about Nix-berry), then it makes no sense to bring in another OF prior to ST.

The caveat to that, of course, is that if they had been able to get Upton, Hamilton or Swisher (my preference) at THEIR price, they might have pulled the trigger, but they clearly had no intention of overpaying any of those guys.

There are usually a few guys who get traded during ST, and some other guys shake loose who may be able to add depth.

For instance, suppose they're willing to trade Brown for Upton but ARI has no interest in Brown at this time? Suppose Brown comes to ST and performs pretty well raising his stock? Does that make an Upton trade with a package centered around Brown more doable?

That's just one example. You can make your own assessment of the probability.

I'm just not down on Amaro as much as you are because if something makes sense I think he'll do it.

Baseball PRosepctus's Top 10 Phils:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19360

1.LHP Jesse Biddle
2.3B Maikel Franco
3.LHP Adam Morgan
4.IF Roman Quinn
5.C/1B Tommy Joseph
6.RHP Ethan Martin
7.3B Cody Asche
8.RHP Jonathan Pettibone
9.OF Carlos Tocci
10. RHP Shane Watson

BTW, DPat, did you read the article over at The Good Phight that schmenkman wrote?

It's the pitching, stupid! :)

lorecore: Wow... Adam Morgan third? That is really shocking to me. Shane Watson has had some buzz, but 10th best in the system? Better than Valle or others? Not sure I buy that either.

KAS, and no Ruf patches to be found anywhere on that list. :)

Iceman, you're right. Mike G wins the thread with that one.

Knocked it out of the park!

awh: True. I'm surprised folks don't put Ruf at the bottom of the top 10 just to protect themselves in case he blows it up!

They list Ruf as Prospects to Watch.

Mention Gabriel Lino as a rising prospect as well.

Scott Boras: "It doesn't matter what time dinner is when you're the steak"

So in all, Lannan can earn $5 million with the Phillies if he pitches 210 innings over 34 starts. His career-highs are 33 starts and 206.1 innings.

If Lannan can do that, he's worth $5M. I have grown fond of the Lannan signing as time has gone on.

I like both the Adams contract and the Lannan contract. If they hit the incentives or the vesting options, they'll likely be more than worth it.

I don't have much of a problem with the BP list. But I'm also much higher on Franco and Morgan, and lower on Joseph, than most.

I'm not as high on Morgan, but won't really argue him at #3 among those names.

Jack - Do you think that Joseph won't stick at C? That's the only problem I can see from him. He's young (turns 22 this year) and has held his own at every level along the way.

People reacted badly last season when I suggested that Biddle and Morgan were close as prospects. Seems that was an assessment shared by more than a few people who rank prospects for a living.

While Biddle may have a little more upside, I think it's arguable. Between Pettibone, Morgan and Biddle, the Phils should have complements to Hamels for years to come.

smitty - I remember you saying that. Morgan really took a leap last year and opened a lot of eyes. The most encouraging thing is his uptick in velocity. Kudos to you.

I like Morgan... but hard to see him higher than 4th. I just don't see him as a better prospect than Quinn (whom I see as 2nd behind Biddle).

But pitching is always a premium...

Morgan tore up Clearwater in 20 starts, but he did it at age 22 (vs. Biddle who pitched nearly as well at age 20). Trevor May was as good at Clearwater at age 21.

I hope Morgan lives up to the ranking, and I think he has a chance. Let's see how he does at Reading (first 35 innings were a little underwhelming... sample size alert).

DPatrone has a point though. schmenkman had a nice article but the one thing that really jumps out to me is how much ZiPS is projecting RF to be an improvement.

Basically comes down to what they project Brown to do this season. Instead of being a player who has been below league average so far in his MLB career, ZiPS is projecting that Brown has a slightly above average offensive season and is average defensively.

I don't think Brown is going to have a .770 (or better) OPS although I do think he can close. Where I don't see him improving is on the defensive side. He simply has real issues with reading the ball of the bat and running precise routes. If he has really mastered that skill by now despite several years or being a corner OF, he's never really going to master it. The issue is whether he can be a tolerable option in RF or the walking defensive disaster he was the year before.

Besides Halladay, I don't see another player who I expect to have such a potential wide variation in performance especially on the upside.

Brown might bust out this year & become a 2-3 WAR player. It wouldn't surprise me either if he continues to not show much or any ability to hit LHP, struggle defensively at times in RF, and not hit for enough power to be an everyday corner OF.

BTW, DPat, did you read the article over at The Good Phight that schmenkman wrote?

It's the pitching, stupid! :)

No I did not see that.

aksmith: you said its arguable that Morgan is better than Biddle. Seems that assessment has not been shared by anyone who rank prospects for a living.

"Between Pettibone, Morgan and Biddle, the Phils should have complements to Hamels for years to come."

Odds are incredibly against that scenario. Phils would should overjoyed if Petttibone become a capable 5th stater and Morgan or Biddle becomes a middle-tier starter for several years with the Phils.

Odds are that none of these guys makes a real impact at the MLB level over several years.

MG: You're spot on for Pettibone, he's a back end starter prospect.

I think Biddle has #2 starter potential.

If Biddle, Morgan and Pettibone become our #2, #3 and #5 starters down the road, it's like the Phillies hit the Powerball.

I'm hopeful at least one becomes a rotation mainstay for years to come. More than 1 is a HUGE bonus.

The Phils will have Pettibone in AAA, Martin, Biddle, Morgan and Colvin in AA. That's some considerable depth. I'm hard pressed to remember depth like that recently. Of course, there is no sure thing but it is sure nice to see the upper ranks of the minors swell with pitching.

I hate when my posts get swallowed up. Other thing about ZiPs that stands out is how crappy/unknown the bullpen options are outside of Papelbon/Bastardo/Adams.

I am actually kind of high on Horst and really want to see if his stuff is the same in spring training as it was in the 2nd half last year.

ZiPs projects Aumont to be a real disappointment.

I really wish Amaro would stop fixating on the OF issue & instead sign another veteran RHP reliever.

It would still enable him to make moves this year during the season, not commitment him to a long-term investment, and I have a feeling the bullpen is going to their share of IP this year with a reduced Halladay, KK, and Lannan in the rotation.

Pettibone, Biddle and Morgan are real SP prospects.

Martin and Colvin will need to demonstrate some real improvement in control or they'll need to find a niche in the bullpen.

Martin in 157.2 AA innings at age 23: 4.5 BB/9 and 1.86 SO/BB ratio.

Colvin in 105.1 A+ innings at age 21: 4.4 BB/9 and 1.82 SO/BB ratio.

Contrast that to the three real prospects:

Pettibone in 117.1 AA innings at age 21: 2.1 BB/9 and 3.99 SO/BB ratio.

Morgan in 123.0 A+ innings at age 22: 2.0 BB/9 and 5.00 SO/BB ratio.

Biddle in 142.0 A+ innings at age 20: 3.4 BB/9 and 2.80 SO/BB ratio. (Want to see some improvement from Biddle in 2013, but he's youngest of the bunch.)

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/2013-zips-projections-philadelphia-phillies/

Some people count the wins that ZiPS projects based upon the total organization depth projections as a proxy for the season.

I would be very curious to see the correlation factor using that method and a team's actual wins. I bet it is pretty damn low (.2-.3) as to make it meaningless & basically a fool's errand.

I don't understand what a RH relief pitcher like Jon Rauch gives you over a Justin DeFratus or Mike Stutes at this point.

RedBurb: His best season was a .787 OPS in the Cal League, which is a hitter's paradise. His career minor-league line is .256/.308/.427.

I just don't think he's a very good hitter, is basically it. I understand you don't have to be at catcher, but even mediocre major-league catchers tend to have hit better in the minors than Joseph has shown so far. And the reports are that he's only ok defensively--a good arm, but mediocre receiving and blocking skills.

I know he's young--there's plenty of patience, especially with catchers. He could take another couple years and I wouldn't write him off. I'm not saying he hasn't shown enough. I'm saying I don't think he's the 2nd-best prospect in the system, is all. Those are different things. Like most prospects, none of us have any idea. I'm almost completely guessing based on nothing, but so are you. And my guess is he doesn't turn out to be all that much.

Jack - Fair enough. He's so young and already in AA. Hopefully he can develop more in the next year or so.

KAS: In terms of minor-league pitchers, I'd rather see a mediocre K/BB rate be based on high Ks and high BBs, than even a good rate be based on moderate Ks and low BBs. A guy like Pettibone succeeded by throwing strikes, but doesn't have stuff to make major-leaguers swing and miss. They're going to hit his strikes, and probably hard.

Whereas guys like Martin and Biddle may struggle a bit with control, but they at least have swing/miss stuff so that if they get the control in order, they can succeed at the major-league level.

It's my understanding Amaro conducted a new interview this afternoon. Now he's said he's not going onto the season with a double platoon and there are trades that he can make. I'm assuming Soriano is one. Did anybody else hear this and what was said? He also basically called out Brown & Nix wasn't even mentioned. Is there a link?
Thanks.

"I don't understand what a RH relief pitcher like Jon Rauch gives you over a Justin DeFratus or Mike Stutes at this point."

Jon Rauch gives you the ability to bring in a reliever who in most cases is going to force the batter to beat you instead of blowing the game himself. Between inexperience and control problems, the Phillies bullpen as currently constructed lacks the crediblity to do so on a more consistent basis than someone like Rauch.

Plus, Rauch is not even the best guy out there still, so you don't even have to settle for that. But even if he was, i'd still sign him over whoever else you think our 6th/7th bullpen arm is.

Jack: That's fair. Pettibone is a back-end starter prospect because he doesn't have great swing-and-miss stuff, but doesn't walk a lot either.

Biddle doesn't struggle to the degree Colvin and Martin do when it comes to control and he's doing it at a younger age.

High K/9 is a great indicator of stuff, but harnessing the stuff is what separates a top prospect from one that may end up in the bullpen.

Others may have asked this question, but shouldn't he Phils be looking at Michael Morse whom the Nationals are now trying to trade. (I have no idea what the Nats might be asking.)

Saint Bob: Early word is Nationals not likely to trade in the division. Those kinds of trades are rare.

couple writers said that early indication is that Nats are being given much lower return than expected from inquiring teams

I'm not surprised they aren't being offered a lot for Morse. You'd be trading for one year of an OF in his 30s coming off an injury plagued season.

I'm bullish on Morse having a good season this year, but when you box yourself in to having to make a trade of a one-year commodity, the return ain't gonna be that great. This is why Rizzo should've passed on LaRoche, went with Morse, and bought himself some bullpen arms.

Iceman: I think they may have been working a two-year plan. They have LaRoche at a price they like for two years. Morse would have been gone after this season.

That's not to say the Nats couldn't have found someone next off season, but the difference between LaRoche and Morse isn't that great, and now they have a bit of certainty.

At this point I'm not sure why a team would trade a young cost-controlled MLB arm for Morse unless A) they are knee deep in the former, and B) they feel their team is only a 'Mike Morse' away from competin. I don't see many teams that fit that mold outside of Tampa and/or Seattle. And they are dealing from a major position of strength now that the Nats have nowhere to play LaRoche.

Morse as a 4th OF isn't ideal, but it sure sucks for the Phillies, as thats a great bench piece/insurance for glassjaw Werth.

MG- if Adams is damaged goods he isn't vesting that option. If he's recovered/ will quickly recover from TOS, he's likely going to be good enough to vest it and would be an asset to the team in 2015. And if he burns out at the end of the contract, like you said, he doesn't get that money.

I think that's a really good scenario either way for the Phils.

I'm still with you on Amaro getting another bullpen arm, but to be fair, just because the questions he's being asked are in regards to the OF doesn't mean that's all he's focused on. He signed Qualls out of nowhere this year. I'm sure there are many players he's keeping tabs on.

This season is just as important in minors. They could really move them up rankings if they do well. I like the system where it is. And with 16th pick maybe the get another pc. The young pujols kid they signed looks like a tocci clone.

lore- I agree, but it sounds like they want to dump Morse because of money/to fill another need.

It would be an embarrassment of riches for them to have Morse on the bench while we have Laynce Nix in line for significant playing time, but I don't think they view it as an option.

hook: "The young pujols kid they signed looks like a tocci clone."

You couldn't be more wrong.

Tocci is a speedster who earns his praise with elite CF defense and his plate discipline at such a young age.

Pujols is a RF with a cannon arm and 80 power potential - they say as a 15yr old he was already hitting 400ft HR routinely.

I'm curious how many of you guys have actually seen Morgan pitch?

If I saw Adam Morgam (or anyone) pitch with my own eyes, I would not be any further informed about him. I have no idea what to look for, good or bad. That's why I'd rather read opinions of people who do.

Understandable, but how are you "not as high on Morgan..." then

The Lannan contract is fine. It's the player I have a problem with.

AWH~ Let me comment on your 1:38PM post. I was not making any kind of point, merely commenting on RAJ's latest comments.

You have followed my posts regularly and you know that I've said the Phils only wanted to bring in someone at their price also. I never advocated overpaying for anyone. But whole premise was "he created the problem by trading Pence, & didn't fix it". He had opportunities.

I know you & Ice were takling on Swisher & others the other day, so obviously you do recognize that the current OF situation could be a problem.

Yes I too would love to see what Ruf can do. And I know Revere will not approach Vic's power numbers. He's here to get on, score runs and play defense. I differ with you on Brown though. I think he is what he is. Mayberry's a better player at this point.

Listen, I don't know what's gonna happen. I don't believe they have the pieces to make a deal for a guy like Upton, however I know they can have Soriano whenever they want, and Brown supposedly is not in that deal. I believe they haven't made that deal yet because if Soriano comes in Ruf goes to AAA, the Phils don't want that. Or Nix could be cut, and Ruf would stay. I was told there's another trade they could make, but no further details. I'm sure Amaro's just playing the waiting game, like you say waiting for someone to shake loose or for prices to come down.

As far as the pitching, yeah they could use more BP help & I think another starter as well.

Their top 3 starters and bullpen will pitch as well as any staff, I believe. The top 3 and the 'pen have the ability to limit the number of runs scored againt. However, I believe for KK and Lannan to have double didgit wins, they'll need a lot more run support, And that's where I think the problem lies. Most nights we won't mash, so there's not much room for error.

Amaro knows all of this. And yes he'd love to see what the young guys can do, but I don't think he can afford to take that risk. Other GM's know that too. So RAJ's caught. But he didn't have to be. Peace, out.

I think Morgan blew through the pitching dominant Florida state league as a matured college player. His arsenal is not overpowering and sounds like he gets all of his success on locating his average secondary stuff better than what young hitters are accustomed to. I predict that will catch up to him.

I still consider him a worthy top 5 prospect, but I see him turning into a Pettibone type a lot more than a Biddle.

No knock on Pettibone by the way, I think his value in underrated because the Phillies system is so devoid of a MLB ready guy at any position, let alone starter. He's our #6 already in my opinion, hopefully ST reinforces that.

DPatrone, honest question:

Is there any part about baseball that you find interesting other than what RAJ does in the offseason?

Like, other ball players that you watch, other stories within the Phillies that pique your interest...anything?

DPat- personally I don't care if Lannan and KK get double digit wins. They don't have to. If the Phils went .500 in their 64 starts, that is good enough. I doubt Lannan will even have the opportunity to get ten wins with how short his starts are. That's why the bullpen is so important. They still need to get those outs no matter what the offense does.

If the team goes .600 in the big 3's starts, and .500 in KK's and Lannan's, that's 92-wins.

re: joseph

A pretty optimistic review, and on phillies.com so no surprise I guess. Stresses leadership and power potential.

http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130111&content_id=40927294&vkey=news_phi&c_id=phi

In fact:

Big 3 starts, 2011: 64-31, .674 (95 games)
Big 3 starts, 2012: 47-39, .547 (86 games)

They don't have to be 2011 good. They just have to split the difference, with the help of the bullpen.

Jimmy Rollins ‏@JimmyRollins11
First day in the new cages at Carpenter. That place is legit.....abt time!

that was tweeted 20 hours ago.

DPat, I hear Milton Bradley is available and can probably be signed cheaply. He hits from both sides of the plate, and has in the past has led the AL in OBP and OPS. Do you think he's worth a shot on a minor league deal?

Iceman, as KAS has pointed out on these pages, KK has never won less than 10 games in any season he has started at least 20 games.

Personally, that tells me he'll probably win 10 in 2013.

He does get run support, but my guess is that is because he's usually matched up against a #4/5 from the other team.

One thing that does trouble me though, is the Phillies' record in his starts. Here it is through the years:

2007: 13 - 7
2008: 18 - 12
2009: 1 - 1
2010: 17 - 14
2011: 7 - 8
2012: 11 - 14

As you can see the team's record in his starts the last 2 seasons has not been that good. I do not know to waht that can be attributed, or whether the sample size is even meaningful enough to be concerned.

One possibility I've kicked around is that he's been a swingman/replacement starter the last 2 seasons, and that the pitcher he's replaced has been one from the top of the rotation, therefor leading to unfavorable matchups. One example is the May 21 matchup last season against the Nats where he gave up 2 runs in 7 innings and they lost. Gio Gonzalez took the hill for the Nats, tossed six scoreless, and the Nats pen gave up 1 run.

I don't know if that's been the case the last two seasons, and I'm really not going to go over every one of KK's game logs. I wish b-r.com would list who the starting pitchers were in the Gamelog section, not just the winners and losers. It would make answering that question much easier.

"If the team goes .600 in the big 3's starts, and .500 in KK's and Lannan's, that's 92-wins."


Iceman, based on their past performances, it's probable that the team can be .500 with KK on the hill.

The question mark is Lannan, so you compelled me to do a little homework.

Between 2007 and 2011 Lannan had a .427 winning percentage on what was mostly a very bad Nats team (only once did they lose less than 89 games).

The Nats winning percentage during that time period was .420, so Lannan was better than his team overall, and one could argue that it was the team that stunk, not so much Lannan, who was better than league average in some of those years.

More Lannan:

From 2007 - 2011 (Lannan's last full year in MLB) the Nats (340 - 468) had a .421 winning percentage [rounding error above].

The Nats were 56 - 72 in Lannan's starts, a .438 WP.

Phillies sign Rodrigo Lopez to MiLB Deal with invitation to Spring Training.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/01/phillies-sign-rodrigo-lopez.html

So, does RoLo jump straight to #6 on the SP depth chart?

I'm back!!!!!!!!!

It seems Bradley hits from more than both sides of the plate and is looking at 13 years in jail.

Lopez? Seriously?

This is insurance for Hamels or Halladay if either is hurt in Spring Training. Nothing more.

awh: I have questioned that theory many times, that our #5SP has a winning record because he starts against other teams #5. I don't think it happens that often, but I don't know how to check it.

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