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Friday, March 29, 2013

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I understand why the Tigers had to resign Verlander but that deal is one of the worst deals I have seen in a while.

1. Verlander lost a little fastball and slider velocity last year (by far his two best pitches) and at age 30 isn't likely to regain it. If anything, he is likely to slowly experience a decrease over the next few years which should begin to lessen his effectiveness a bit.

2. Verlander has already had his best seasons and basically the Tigers are paying for post-peak performance. Maybe I'm wrong and Verlander is a great power pitcher until 35 but I won't bet on it.

3. 7-year contract for any pitcher is just asking for trouble. I would love to know what are the odds that Verlander makes it throw that contract healthy and doesn't miss at least a decent portion of time in at least one season

Verlander deal:

Each successive huge starting pitcher contract makes the Hamels contract look more and more like it was a solid move by Amaro.

Of course the odds are against Verlander living up to that deal...but the Tigers simply couldn't let him hit FA. Ilitch clearly had plenty of cash, and if you're going to splurge on a great player it may as well be your own franchise icon.

MG- where are you getting that he's lost velocity on his fastball? He regularly touched 99-100 late in games last year. He's unique in that he actually holds off til later in the game.

If a guy increases his velocity throughout a 9 inning game, I'm not sure where the red flags are.

http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfx.aspx?playerid=8700&position=P&pitch=FA

http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfx.aspx?playerid=8700&position=P&pitch=SL

It was more pronounced on his slider. Still impressive but just a little bit of slip overall and the research is pretty clear that power pitchers who maintain their peak velocity in their 30s is a pretty rare thing.

in a city as downtrodden as detroit, morale boosting moves (verlander) like this take on greater importance. imho.

I just sent this to @magelb:

Fun fact: In '88 Cal A League, the teams that finished 1-2 in RBI were 2-1 in BB. #production

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/league.cgi?id=3349aefd

Pretty much any star player over 30 is going to command the type of monster contract that's eventually going to come back to hurt the team when the player's performance starts to decline. But, at some point, teams just have to accept that trade-off as the cost of keeping or signing an elite talent. As these kinds of risks go, Verlander is a pretty safe one. He just turned 30 so he's not really old. And we're talking about a guy who could lose 7 or 8 MPH off his fastball and still be throwing in the low 90s. He has a pretty decent shot to still be good into his mid and even late 30s.

Holy Crap. Almost real baseball. Awesome.

Believe it or not this the second game I've gotten to see this spring. What a treat. Just getting reports from BAP and Gtown (who has been even more absent than I) just aint the same.

Right there with you donc. My work schedule doesn't allow for watching 1pm games. I also believe that KAS has been the de facto spring training play by play guy.

I usually listen on 830AM-Reading, and it is usually 1 pitch ahead of the TV. They don't carry spring games, so I have 1210AM on(poor reception). First inn. radio was a pitch behind. Top of the 2nd was pretty well synched, and by the bottom of the 2nd, the radio was a pitch ahead. Strange.

I had completely forgotten about Jim Jackson(sigh).

Norbertods: Agreed KAS has done yeoman work this spring. I nominate him for immediate promotion.

Ricky Ricardo's nephew takes Aumont deep. It's so ridiculous!

Aumont had worse command then roy that inning

The Phillies' offense looks ready to start the season.

BAP: Not to sound creepy or anything but I was about to post something along the lines of " I'm waiting for the obligatory BAP and Gtown posts about the Phil's offense being in mid season form." Alas the true (hopefully) Bap beat me to the punch.

Shots of Mini Mart in the dugout. Season = over.

And yes, I know he's not on the roster for those without a sarcasm detector.

Saw him whispering in Charlie's ear, in fact...

Speaking of Verlandet's contract, I'm still on the fence about Buster Posey's 9/167 deal with the Giants...looks like Joe Mauer part Deux. I don't think it will work out for the Giants long-term.

Just when u thought u would never see mini-fart again at the bank. BOOm thur he is!

He never goes away. Ever.

Adams with good stuff.

So what does Kershaw's deal look like? 10/270?

norb: I've been on Beerleaguer for quite a few years now. I know my role.

The 2013 AL Cy Young winner will obviously be a Blue Jay.

Human. Highlight. Reel.

Mini: Better catch that bus to Allentown.

I missed most of the game. How sad. I know it's spring training still, but it feels like the season since they are back at CBP.

For defense that inning, I noticed:
* nice catch by Mayberry
* WTH from Mini-Mart & maybe Nix could have picked that, not sure
* Galvis - love watching his defense. "Smooth is smooth, baby" to quote a character from a TV show.

I went to a game of the On-Deck series last year and wandered around one inning after the regulars had come out of the game, hoping to see one of the players working a concession stand. I saw no one.

Of course, when I got home I discovered that they HAD been mingling with the public that way. I was so disappointed that I had missed finding any of them!

Well, after this outing we can say for certain that Lee must definitely feel a lot more confident about his Win total going into the regular season.

That fastball that Arencibia hit from Aumont wasn't that bad of a pitch. It was a little too high but Arencibia did a nice job of turning on it.

Mini Mart's error was just laughable. 3rd one already this spring in pretty limited time. I still say he would be in the running for 'Worst Phils' Player since WW2' due to his offensive ineptitude, defensive inconsistency, overrated versatility, and one of the lowest situational baseball IQs in the field & on the basepaths I can remember in a Phils' uniform.

This on deck series idea is not cutting it.

Lots and lots of empty seats and really light BL postings.

The only positive I can see is that some minor league players can check a game played in a MLB stadium off their bucket list.

That aside good pitching by all concerned tonight. Lee looked real good.

According to the box score attendance was 32,164, sure didn't seem like it.

Really who let MM out on to the field? What is it about CM that as soon as he lands in Philly he has to trot out MM? Truly pathetic.

The fact that Mini can play a few positions adequately puts him ahead of a guy like Kim Batiste who played one position and played it terribly.

BYW Corey-
That was a good header story on Adams.

Hope he does as well in the games that count, we could use some 8th innings that don't cause a collective BL spike in blood pressure.

Phils go another game without drawing a walk.

Rube may not care about walks, but this team is going to be in the bottom half of the league in OBP, and the bottom half of the league in runs.

That's not going to be a coincidence.

My conclusion: 1- The Phillies hitters are primed and ready to pick up where they left off for Cliff Lee starts. 2- Mini Mart is still in possession of some very scandalous photos of someone in management.

Just saw a story where the Dodgers are looking to deal a starter- Capuano being one of the possibilities.

I know that Amaro will never make the call, but Capuano is an example of a guy who isn't flashy that would improve the team in multiple areas. He could be used as the second lefty/long man out of the pen and be an instant upgrade from Horst, and he'd be nice insurance as a sixth starter when someone in the rotation inevitably hits the DL.

Since it makes some sense, I doubt the front office would even pick up the phone on it.

Why is Dom not in RF? Delmon is terrible in the OF plus if he stinks & Ruf is crushing at AAA he'll be called up to play LF. So why not put Dom in RF & leave him there, don't get it. Why cause he rated as a good RF & not a good LF? It's been years since he last played RF & his arm & legs ain't getting any better with age.

Still not a fan of Utley and Howard 3 and 4.
When Ruiz returns I'd put him 3rd, and despite my hatred of M.Young I'd be willing to put him there for a month to move Rollins down to the 5 hole. For some reason Rollins seemed to be terrible hitting 3rd.

Revere, Utley, M.Young, Howard, Rollins, Brown, Nixberry, Kratz, Pitcher.

I figure Phillies keep Inciarte until they see who get released from other teams.

Reading Manuel talking about who he's gonna bar lead-off. Sounds like he's going to give it a go with Revere against LHP because he doesn't want to put three LHB in a row.

Anyone want to let Manuel know that Rollins sucks against LHP and has for a few seasons now? He might as well be a third lefty. Revere, on the other hand, has no platoon split.

Ugh.

*Bat lead off

Phx- I like your lineup except I'd switch Brown and Rollins. Manuel acts like it's against the rules to break up Utley and Howard, yet he complains about three LHB in a row at the top of the order- and his solution is to put a guy in the 2-hole who can't hit LHP.

I've defended Manuel a lot here because I believe he gets a lot of unnecessary crap, but this kind of anti-intellectual crap is getting old. The information is easily available for Manuel to access on Rollins v. LHP. Here's hoping they pull the trigger on promoting Sandberg at the end of the season.

Iceman: The problem is that the anti-intellectual crap starts from the top.

Promoting Amaro to GM after Gillick is going to go down as one of the really unfortunate mistakes in this town's sports history. I thought at the time, and still think, that he is just completely the wrong guy for the job. He did managed to extend the window for a couple years after he took over, which I give him credit for. Unfortunately, it's an ugly morning after right now, and it's only going to get worse, with aging players, bloated contracts, and no farm system to speak of.

Iceman - Completely agree on Capuano. He's a real upgrade over Cloyd (still think Halladay goes on the DL sooner than later in April) and gives the rotation at least 3 average/slightly above average starters. Clody's an okay filler but you don't want him starting for a prolonged stretch of say 5-6 weeks. Lannan-Cloyd consecutively in the bullpen could really wreck happen on a bullpen over a month with a lot of short outings.

This team would be better off with Sandberg at the helm this season and I have little doubt about that. Does it make a huge difference in the win column? No because a baseball manager doesn't but it bet it would be a +1 or +2 in the win column over Cholly.

Not breaking Utley and Howard is just because Cholly is too stubborn and the lack of looking up JRoll's splits is even anti-intellectualism. Something that has been around for a long, long time.

Cholly just isn't a very good strategist especially in-game and is horrible at making pitching decisions. Not Grady Little/Joe Torre bad but he's right there. Reminds me of alot of Baker with the way he handles his staff and that isn't a compliment in the least.

Read that Forbes article and I still hope against hope that with the incredible rise and the upcoming TV contract that Montgomery and Co cash out sooner than later.

I was really hoping they would cash out after the '08 or '09 WS appearance but at that point they knew this team was in strong position to contend & that its value would subsequently keep rising at a nice clip.

Tonights game wad good.

"Ideal" Lineup To Start Season:

Revere
Utley
M. Young
Howard
Rollins
Brown
Mayberry/Nix
Kratz
Pitcher

By May 1st-

Revere
Utley
M. Young
Howard
Rollins
Brown
Del Young
Ruiz
Pitcher

-Utley and Howard should have been split up 3 years ago. I wonder how many teams in the majors have 2 strictly LH hitters in the 3/4 hole. I doubt there are many.

Looking at setting my fantasy team and any interesting players to flag & I noticed that Lindblom is in the running as a possible setup man for the Rangers (along with Fraser) until Soria returns until some time in May.

Sure that will work out great for the Rangers. Same as the strong possibility that Polanco will likely hit 2 or 3 in the Fish lineup early on.

I'm normally one to bash excessive use of statistics, but in the case of JRoll continuing to lead off, especially now that we have Revere? Charlie, you're an idiot. Loyalty? This isn't a Caterpillar factory or a law firm, it's a damn baseball team. Loyalty was giving him a nice long contract, not letting him continue to pop up 2 times a game and laugh about it. He used to be a big spark on the team. Now, he's just a slouch on autopilot because he knows he's got Charlie's loyalty.

Can you imagine entrusting a $900 million business to someone who repeatedly and proudly says he refuses to consider all available information in making the decisions at the core of the business?

The funny thing about the whole "stats" debate has always been that outside of sports, this isn't even a question. You use the most advanced information you can. You think a financial services firm says no to "newfangled stats" like algorithms and predictive models? No, that's laughable. They use every piece of data and information they can get their hands pn. It's not controversial--it would be insane not to.

And yet for some reason in sports, fans and guys like Amaro actually think there's a problem with using advanced statistical information.

Jack- well, why did you not like the move when it was made? I mean, we didn't know a whole lot about how Amaro values players because he had a lot of this handed to him in 2009. He only had to make a few big-picture tinkers with the team, and by and large (Howard contract and Pence trade excluded), he got those decisions right to make the team better during the window of contention.

The problem is, as many of us knew before this off-season, that this was the year he'd have to really put his stamp on the team. I think a scenario exists where a complete bottoming out of the franchise (4-5 years of complete non-contention) can be avoided. By what we have learned over the past six months or so about how Amaro defines 'production' and what he uses to evaluate players, I don't think that scenario exists with Amaro as GM, unfortunately. I just don't see how you can say "I knew it from the moment he was hired!" We barely knew much about how his mind works until the last year or so.

I mean, it's entirely possible that there was information about Amaro and bis philosophy out there before 2009 that I never heard about. All I knew about him is that he was often the spokesperson for Gillick on injury matters, arbitration stuff, etc. Seemed like he was kind of 'next in line.' I'm not necessarily a fan of that kind of philosophy, but I'm not sure how that pointed to everything we know about him now.

IMHO the posters here who have been decrying Amaro's and the Phillies' lack of interest in advanced (or even any) stats as "anti-intellectualism" have got it wrong.

It's not that - it's anti common sense. It doesn't take much intellect to understand the importance of OBP.

Here's the funny thing. In RAJ's first season of professional ball, he had an OBP of .409. In his 2nd season, he drew 109 walks. Even at the major league level, drawing walks was actually about the only thing that he did pretty well. You would think he, of all people, would understand the value of getting on base.

For anyone who didn't get to watch the game last night and see this gem (or for anyone who wants to relive seeing it):
http://muuurgh.tumblr.com/post/46670766186/henryrowengartner-cole-hamels-and-cliff-lee

Iceman: Because he was saying things like "we don't care about walks, we care about production" back then.

I think the first thing was the Ibanez signing, actually. The overpayment in years, for an aging player, with no regard for defensive value, and making the move preemptively without any regard for market factors. All would become hallmarks of the Amaro regime, and I didn't really like it from the start.

Obviously 2009 worked out with Ibanez, but after that it was pretty bad. Which is sort of how Amaro has been, generally.

I think Amaro's trolling us:

"If we can keep the guys on the field, then even if Doc is a 15-, or 13- or 12-game winner, I still think we have a very good chance of being a playoff contender."

In other words, all Halladay has to do is be at a minimum 20 percent "better" than '07-vintage Adam Eaton.

JAck, in fairness to Amaro, it wasn't pretty bad after 2009. They won more games the next two years than any team in MLB.

Klaus: It's also clear that Amaro still evaluates pitchers by pitcher wins, which I guess should not be surprising given what we know about him, but is depressing nonetheless.

I mean, there's no real debate over "stats" anymore. It's over--everyone recognizes the value of more information (except Amaro). The future is coming quickly. And at a certain point soon, people are going to look back and be like "wait, the Phillies GM actually said things like that? And believed them?" And it's going to seem ridiculous.

Jack- well can you give an example? I mean, surely there are quotes from him available that would prove that you were 'right all along.'

The first red flag, in my eyes, was when he compared Ibanez to Werth using RBI. Before that, I don't remember him really saying anything that raised an eyebrow. Can you lead me in the right direction here?

awh: That's true. To a certain extent, it was clear the future had been mortgaged, but you're right that 2010-2011 were two good seasons.

But do you have any faith whatsoever in Amaro right now to build a long-term sustainably successful franchise going forward?

Iceman: I don't really have the time to search for quotes from December 2008, or whenever he took over.

All I can tell you is that from the very start, I was incredibly skeptical of him, and it was because I got the sense that he thought like that. I don't have specific quotes saved somewhere, but there must have been some to give me that impression. That's the best I can give you.

And I don't buy the 'It all started with the Ibanez signing' stuff. It wasn't a great signing, but what were the alternatives? He was here three years and they won the division every year. Now he's gone. What about that contract is still haunting the franchise?

Jack- ah, ok. I figured that was the case.

Iceman: Well, they more won the division in spite of Ibanez than because of him in 2010 and 2011.

And every contract ends. In 2018, the Phils can say "well, who cares about the Howard extension? It's done now." That's not an argument for it being a good move.

Anyway, the point here isn't to re-litigate the Ibanez decision. The point is that my skepticism of Amaro's moves started with that one (his first one). It raised some red flags, which I noted above (the love for old players, extra years on deals, no regard for defensive value, etc.). Maybe it was a good move, maybe it was a bad move. But those flags were relevant to me.

Jack, very little faith!

Inciarte makes the roster. It's too bad. I thought Orr had a good chance. Aumont over Stutes, also. Quintero over Lerud.

Inciarte. Ugh.

The thing is, I actually like him as a prospect. He's certainly better than Herndon or Mini-Mart were when they came in.

But if this team is serious about trying to win this year, it's a bad move having him on the roster over other guys who are better now. And they simply aren't good enough to try and win now AND keep a guy like this for the future. Doesn't make any sense, to me.

When it comes to Phillies' managers, coaches & front office executives, I am reflexively against any hiring from within the organization. It's not because I think everyone in the Phillies' organization is necessarily incompetent. It's just that, with 29 other teams in the same line of business, it would be an incredible coincidence if the best person for a job always happened to be someone who already works for them. When you almost always hire from within -- as the Phillies have done far too often over the years -- what you're saying is: we want people who do things our way; we don't want someone who's going to come in here & rock the boat with radical new ideas.

RAJ is a quintessential Phillies lifer, so these were my concerns when he was hired. In fairness, however, he HAS made some very bold moves, the likes of which I can't imagine any prior Phillies GM ever making. But when it comes to his core ideas about player evaluation, he very much fits within the Phillies' prototype.

Jack- of course. Amaro needed to put a warm body in LF for three years and he chose Ibanez. That team proceeded to win three division titles and dominate the NL. I'm not sure why it can really be considered a 'bad choice.' What were the alternatives? Didn't some people want to sign Burrell?

Anyway, it just seems silly that one relatively innocuous signing had your radar going off on Amaro, but I guess some people just have the gift.

BAP- I agree with 100% of what you said. That was a red flag when he was hired.

But other than the fact that he was an 'insider,' nobody knew much about him, and there were very few team-altering moves he had to make in his first few years with the championship core already in place. He didn't have much of a track record. When he shot big to improve the team (Lee, Pedro, Halladay, Oswalt), he usually hit it big. He successfully maximized the team's window of success, and they probably should have won one or two more championships with that talent. Their playoff failures aren't his fault.

Stuff has been trickling out the last few years, though, as he's had to make more important big-picture decisions, and they've all basically been bad. To me, it all really kind of culminates with that Gelb article. If he thinks he can survive in this league with that philosophy, we're going to be unhappy fans here for the next 4-5 years, and he'll be unemployed before that (hopefully).

Faint praise, to be sure, but I feel better about Inciarte as the 25th man than I did about Martinez. Doesn't mean either are MLB ready.

It must feel great to be a Phillies Rule V pick. You get a free ticket to the Show and an MLB salary, virtually guaranteed.

How many other Rule 5 picks have made active rosters so far? Be interesting to see.

I'm sure the Phillies are the only team to keep a Rule 5 guy 3 of the past 4 seasons.

I want to be outraged about Inciarte making the team, but I feel like the window of opportunity for outrage expired about 2 or 3 days after Ruf and Jermaine Mitchell were demoted. From that point on, Inciarte was probably the least horrendous of the Phillies' remaining options.

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