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Friday, March 22, 2013


I disagree that keeping the player who has never been above A ball is a better move for the team. Keeping Betancourt gives the Phillies a little bit of leverage since Galvis has options.

Well, I'm back to being myself.

RoLo got released.

Inciarte at least fills at role on the team (speed and defense) off the bench even if he is likely overmatched by MLB pitching at this point.

I have no idea what role Betancourt fills if Frandsen and Galvis are both on the Opening Day roster except for fan/media punching bag.

What's the advantage to having Ruf sit around being the bench bat until... Delmon Young comes back in April? I'd rather he go to AAA, learn how not to turn routine fly balls into HRs, and get 3-4 ABs/game against near-MLB pitching.

Then, when Delmon (or Nix) gets injured or goes into a complete tailspin, we can call him up.

Let's not forget here, Ruf was far from a super power-bat prior to August 2012. He had a good BA, and an ok eye, but he wasn't pounding HRs like a frat bro pounds Natty Ice.

The Mexican League awaits you RoLo!

If Betancourt makes the team, I'm sure Galvis will be in AAA. And that's not the worst thing in the world.

Corey: Please describe all the success the Phils have had recently with keeping Rule 5 guys. Thanks.

It's a bad decision, for multiple reasons. One, Inciarte doesn't help the team as much now as Ruf does. Second, the idea that Ruf stands to gain from going to AAA and "learning" to play LF is garbage. He's a poor defender, and will be. He's not a good enough prospect to focus on his development over the needs of the team right now. If he can help the team now (and his right-handed bat can), he should be up. Who cares about his "development"?

Todd Zolecki: "Amaro said nothing is decided, but I've got to think Rule 5 pick Ender Inciarte is favorite to make 25-man roster as fifth outfielder."

Shocking that r00b would value illusions of toolsiness over actual power ... & in the form of a Rule 5 pick, no less! Never would've seen it coming.

Here's a thought:

Rosenthal is reporting that the Yankees, who specifically need corner IF help (Tex and ARoid are DL'd) are "asking around about everybody."

If the Phils think Ruf will never be able to 'master' LF, does it make sense to try to get a MLB ready player back from the Yankees, or a bullpen arm, in exchange for Ruf?

He could man 1B in Tex's absence, and then DH afterwards.

Have mixed feelings about Ruf. On the one hand, the team could sure use his right-handed power bat. On the other hand, I'd rather see him butcher left field in the minors until he gets at least to a Greg Luzinski level of competence.

"Corey: Please describe all the success the Phils have had recently with keeping Rule 5 guys. Thanks."

Jack, RAJ would tell you... "Mini-Mart"!

Amaro's obsession with Rule 5 picks is awful.

Does he not realize that they changed the Rule 5 rules a few years ago, and that no one good comes out of thet draft anymore? There's no more Victorinos or Johan Santanas. They don't exist anymore, because you get an extra year to decide on protection.

And yet this will be the 3rd guy in 4 years we've kept. David Herndon and Mini-Mart came first. I guess with a track record like that, how can you not keep this guy?

awh - Yes. The Phils should strong listen to offer from the Yanks on Ruf. His trade right now is going to be about as high as it will be & Ruf would be a perfect fit for Yanks - 1B/DH who is a pull hitter and tailor-made for the new Yankees Stadium.

David Herndon was worth .4 fWAR during his 2010 campaign. I think that qualifies as a success.

Jack -- I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I meant keeping Inciarte obviously makes more sense than keeping Betancourt. Thought that was pretty clear, since the last two paragraphs referred to Betancourt.

I love the screaming and yelling over the 25th man.

Remember the good old days when Cholly used to substitute Eric Bruntlett into the game for Pat Burrell after the Phillies took a 1-run lead into the 6th inning? And remember how the other team would invariably come back to tie the score, and then we'd wind up with the game on the line in the 9th or 10th inning & Eric Bruntlett batting instead of Burrell? I'm envisioning much the same thing in 2013, only Ender Inciarte will be playing the role of Eric Bruntlett & Dom Brown will be playing the role of Pat Burrell.

Going to laugh if Betancourt is the 24th man on the roster and Cholly puts him in the OF at some point even though he has never played there professionally.

It will absolutely kill me if Ruf mashes in his first month of AAA.

Meanwhile we're watching Laynce Nix 70% of the time.

bap, the sad thing is that Ender may actually be able to outhit the Gnome.

Corey: True, now that I read it, that's correct.

Still, I didn't get an impression from your post whether you'd rather have Ruf or Inciarte.

This seems like a pretty dumb decision to me.

Ender over Ruf sounds crazy at first, but then you realize you knew it all along.

Posted by: lorecore | Tuesday, March 05, 2013 at 09:21 AM

It's funny to me people that insist we are a contender would still be cool with this move.

If you think we're a contender, it should all be about winning right now, this year. And you can't say with a straight face that Ender Inciarte gives you a better chance at that than Darin Ruf. Right?

Can the Phillies bring up Ruf during throughout the season for inter-league series to be the DH/PH then send him back down right afterwards?

"the sad thing is that Ender may actually be able to outhit the Gnome."

I would imagine he probably can -- but that isn't saying much. On a team which already has a backup centerfielder, I'm struggling mightily to see how an all-glove, no-hit backup outfielder is of more value than a guy who, at the very least, provides a significant power threat off the bench. RAJ's priorities never fail to puzzle.

Bravo, lore.

Nik: As long as someone else on the big league roster has an option, so they don't have to pass through waivers on the way down.

For Ruf to come up, someone needs to go down.

Jack: So you're saying you'd rather have Ruf fill the "Matt Stairs position" that this team no longer has the luxury of carrying because we actually need our backup infielders and outfielders?

It's one thing to carry a one-handed bat off the bench who can't do anything but back up 1B when you've got a core of players around 30 years old who regularly post All-Star/MVP/SS/GG seasons while playing 150+ games.

It's a completely different story when your outfield goes from Revere, to Brown, to Nix, and you pretty much have to devote 4 roster spots to "starting" outfielders. Even assuming your plans are to start Utley, Rollins, Howard and Young 150+.

Also, the kid has 33 ABs above the AA level. There's zero long-term harm in having him take live fielding practice for a while and gets accustomed to near-MLB-level pitching.

The ironic thing is that, over the past week, Ruf started to hit and then capped it with a walk off, only to then be told he's going to AAA. Also, Charlie seems to like Ruf a lot and gave him a lot of playing time. Is it possible that he wanted Ruf on the team and got overruled?

LaSalle hah.

Ender over Ruf sounds crazy at first, but then you realize you knew it all along.

Limoguy: My bet is that they were giving him every opportunity to prove he could play left field better than Utley's Lawn Chair.

He proved he was almost as good, but needed more practice.

I don't think Charlie would make a strong stand for Ruf. We've seen the brutal misplays in the field. I'm convinced his bat is legit, it will probably take him most of the year to learn to play the outfield however.

Philibuster: I don't think he's ever going to be a good defensive LF, and I don't think he's ever worth starting for a major-league team everyday.

So I don't care about his development. I care about the fact that he can hit a little bit from the right side, and this team could use that.

And if we actually *need* our backup OFs, then we're really in trouble if that's Ender Inciarte.

Jack, didn't you hear? Delmon Young hit a HR today. Our power from the right side is on the way.

Ruf is 26, turning 27 this season.

The idea of having him develop in AAA for another year is laughable. Who cares? If he can help now, use it. This isn't some stud prospect you don't want to mess up. It's Darin Ruf.

They sent him to Triple-A to develop into what? A starting outfielder? At this stage in his career?

The Phillies could use a bench bat with power from the right side. Darin Ruf's ceiling is a bench bat with power from the right side. And for that role, he's major league ready.

Jack: I said nothing about "good." I didn't even say "league average." He is downright terrible in LF. I would wager that he'll average out to cost you around one base/inning spent there, as things are now. That isn't just bad, that's the kind of bad he'd need to average a HR/game to make up for.

Even accounting for him not being the every-day starter.

The problem with not caring about his development is that he has the chance to at least get into the Burrell/Luzinski discussion for "will catch a ball hit directly at him" level fielding. In fact, he has a chance to do that this season.

In the interim, however, we no longer have enough players who are star-caliber and likely to start all but 10-15 games that we can devote an entire roster slot to a guy who should never be in the field unless Howard is injured.

I get what you're saying, 'buster. But I'd wager the 5th outfielder will get 3-5 plate appearances for every inning spent in the field.

Inciarte is completely worthless and does not give anything of value to the MLB club. He will likely hit worse than Mini Mart.

Since Utley is apparently healthy, are the Phils going to trade his Lawn Chair for cash for 'future considerations?'

Ruf can hit. He'll play LF at LV and learn to play the ball in the air or not. Watched Dom Brown play LF early last season at LV and he eventually used his natural speed and general athleticism (albeit resembling a giraffe on acid) to make outs. Ruf will need to contact the baseball gods to run precisely to the exact spot where the ball will land in his glove and then make an accurate throw to the proper base or cut-off man. I'm betting on Ruf doing it. He'll be back in hitting season.

We wont see Ruf until Sept and Inciarte will spend the entire year on the 25 man where he will post an OPS in the .550-.600 range and he will get way too many ABs for what he offers.

J.R.: See, I don't think that's legitimately true when you've got an outfield that's essentially 4 deep before you even get into the "backups."

In 2010, Ross Gload spent 44 innings in the outfield.

2011: Gload spends 21 innings in the outfield, MM spends 89(!) innings in the outfield.

2012: Ty Wigginton spends 48 innings in the outfield. Hector Luna spends 15 innings in the outfield. Laynce Nix spends 154 innings in the outfield. MM spends 51 innings in the outfield.

Some of those guys posted an innings-in-the-outfield:ABs ratio of 3+:1, but those that did were also playing at least one other position regularly.

Good call by Corey to include the Salsbury tweet that there are hints the Phils are still shopping for an outfielder.

I expect the Soriano rumors start up again. Cubs signed Hairston, Schierholtz and exercised option on DeJesus this offseason.

Although we're sadly overlooking the obvious again...Delmon Young will be back sooner than later.

Ruf raised his ST BA from .195 to .246 since last Friday.

Hey maybe we can break free Jeff Francouer from KC.

Philibuster: So you think the Phillies cannot afford having Ruf on the roster, but you think they can afford having Inciarte?

I guess we just completely disagree then.

If Charlie thought Ruf could play even a "terrible" LF he would still be with the team.

I think folks here aren't understanding Jack. What he is saying is that he doesn't care if Ruf cannot play LF. Simply having him as a PH off the bench is more valuable than having Inciarte.

I'm not sure I agree with that, because if you carry 12 pitchers, it's hard to justify having a PH-only on the bench. But it's a legitimate point of view.

What Jack doesn't know (or any of us)is whether Ruf will ever be able to play LF at the MLB level. It's quite possible he simply cannot play the position, just as Howard could not play it when they tried him there.

Of course, we could've just kept Nate Schierholtz. Kind of funny we're now looking for an OF.

The thing that annoys me the most about the Phil's and their Rule 5 picks is that they don't even have them ride the DL for 3 months with a phantom injury. No, they keep the active to provide...what, exactly?

And then, even more annoyingly, they don't send them back to AA or AAA to continue their development the next year. No, they keep them on the 25 man do what exactly, again I don't know.

Clout: Exactly right, and I don't particularly care if he ever can.

The notion that Darin Ruf might be a "passable" LF in 2015 at age 29 couldn't interest me less.

I also think people are overlooking the fact that if you wanted to give Howard a day off, you could play Ruf at 1B as well. I don't see why that never gets mentioned. Against a lefty pitcher, a lineup with Mayberry in LF and Ruf at 1B is probably as good as they're going to put out there.

Just checked the Phillies roster and Humberto Quintero is not on it. Did I miss something? It now shows Sebastian Valle and Kratz at the catcher position with Chooch there also, but marked as restricted of course.

NEPP: "Inciarte is completely worthless and does not give anything of value to the MLB club. He will likely hit worse than Mini Mart."

NEPP you obviously have done no research. No one, and I mean zero, thought Mini-Mart was a legit prospect. A lot of scouts like Inciarte and think he can be a useful reserve eventually. Right now his glove, range and speed are all MLB level. He is superior to Mini-Mart in each of those areas.

His weakness, of course, is his bat, which almost certainly is not MLB-ready. But I suspect he's superior to Mini-Mart on that front as well.

"The thing that annoys me the most about the Phil's and their Rule 5 picks is that they don't even have them ride the DL for 3 months with a phantom injury."

I'm glad someone else noticed that because it has always vexed me too. The rules only require you to keep the guy on your 25-man roster for 90 days. You can't send him to AAA after 90 days but you can come up with a phony injury & put him on the DL.

Jack is right on the money.

Also, when do we see him getting called up?

First injury? When he hits his 10th HR in April? September?

Jack: Ehhh. I think the long-term utility of a glove-first guy who can occasionally do something with the bat (given the base condition of the current Phillies team, which is already set to use 4 OF regularly, with the non-starter likely PH and remaining in the game regularly) is greater than a bat-first guy who can occasionally do something with his glove.

Do I think Inciarte is a great choice? No. Although if nothing else he can get bunts down, it seems. But while Inciarte is far from the ideal 5th OF, with our current roster construction, it makes more sense to carry him than Ruf - again, given the current situation.

That said, if Ruf spends 1-2 months in AAA (or we get an injury up here), and he proves he knows how to look a fly ball into his glove and close the glove around it, then there's nothing stopping us from bringing him up.

It just seems foolish to use Ruf on the MLB team when you're going to lose that "extra" OF slot the minute that Delmon Young comes back.

Cylic: Do you really think he'll be good for 10 HRs in April? Especially in Lehigh?

Because prior to August 2012, Ruf was more of a "5-a-month" kind of guy at best. Although his BA was definitely respectable, he hasn't proven that he's a sure-enough thing that you can afford to devote a roster slot to him purely for his bat if you're not in the AL.

buster, that was hyperbole

Cyclic: I'm glad you agree that it is, but I wouldn't lay odds that every BL poster would agree with you.

Considering he maxed out at under 20HR/season prior to 2012, that becomes all the more confusing.

Jack: i agree mostly with what you are saying about Ruf, but you are leaving out the fact that Ruf just recently changed positions. So its not as if the 26 yr old Ruf is still working on the same skill he's been for years.

clout, Inciarte might and I mean MIGHT have some value in a couple years but he will be a net negative to the MLB club in 2013.

NEPP: Does that mean you think that Ruf would have a net positive value to the MLB club in 2013, playing LF like he does?

No...I dont think Ruf or Inciarte should be on the MLB club right now. Ruf is not a LF and Inciarte should be in AA.

I can definitely get down with that.

But as things stand, we need some kind of 5th OF. We've already got a bat-first OF (Nixberry and/or Young, with Brown tagging behind probably close to average D), so it would seem to make sense to carry some defensive insurance. I'd be thrilled if we could get that along with an average bat, but since Inciarte's already on the team...

That said, I wouldn't be upset if they went with Mitchell instead. He's just not on the 40-man - though there is a spot free until Chooch comes back.

Rule 5 Last 3 picks validate RAJ'S arrogance.Sending someone back would prove he made a mistake.Can't have that happen.

I would suspect that, in order to give themselves flexibility, they've already tried to work a deal for Enciarte. However, the other side may be either asking too much in return, or refusing to make a trade because they really want Enciarte back, and that's their only hope to get him.

Also, in case anyone missed it, mlbtr posted their offseason review of the Phillies yesterday:

"Rule 5 Last 3 picks validate RAJ'S arrogance. Sending someone back would prove he made a mistake."

No, it wouldn't. Teams (including the Phillies) invite minor league free agents to spring training all the time -- and then they waive them or send them to AAA at the end of spring training. That doesn't prove that it was a mistake to invite them. It just proves that minor league FAs are wild stabs in the dark. That's exactly the same with Rule 5 picks. The only difference is that, with a Rule 5 pick, you can't send the guy to AAA; you have to offer them back to their old team. Of course, faced with a choice between keeping a crappy player on the 25-man roster for a full year or offering him back to his old team, most GMs would choose the latter. RAJ seems to prefer the former. I don't think it arrogance. It's just a bizarre allocation of priorities to be so worried about losing a guy like Hernon/Mini-Mart/Enciarte that you'd be willing to keep him on the 25-man roster all year.

It's crying shame we didn't draft Mike Trout. Now go back to the tollbooth and make some change for the fat girl in the Prius.

The Phillies wouldn't have drafted Trout even if they'd had the opportunity. Select a power hitting OF w/ speed & college experience? Not when there are hundreds of HS pitchers w/ a barely 90s fastball & no control available!

Who in the hell could they trade for at this stage of the game? Really rube?

awh, I had to laugh at this section of the article:

    Notable Losses

Placido Polanco, Ty Wigginton, Juan Pierre, Nate Schierholtz, Jose Contreras, David Herndon, Josh Lindblom, Vance Worley, Michael Schwimer, Trevor May, Lisalverto Bonilla.

I'll give you Worley (I think, there IS a greater than negligible chance he goes all JA Happ). Maybe Pierre, but I'll take the under on any kind of repeat year.

We should just be happy that the Nats passed on him and took Drew Storen instead.

That would have been brutal.

Jack McCaffery: "Cole. Lee. Crap ... the Phillies pitching rotation."

"Ruf is 26, turning 27 this season. The idea of having him develop in AAA for another year is laughable."

And it's this kind of "logic" that makes no sense whatsoever.

Who cares that he's being given his age 27 season to learn to play the OF? So, assuming that they keep him and he can land a starting or platoon role in the OF for 2014, they have him under team control at a bargain until he turns 34, after which he probably won't be worth retaining.

If he can't play the OF or his 2012 season turns out to be a fluke, they've lost nothing.

Sounds like a no-lose proposition to me. Beats the hell out of having him rot on the bench and provide almost no value at all.

I think we can all agree that Ruf is not ready to play LF at even an atrociously passable (ie Ibanez or Burrell) level right now. He simply isnt there. If he really pushes it in AAA and Delmon Young comes back and completely sucks, they could very well cut bait with Young and give Ruf another shot. Its on him to earn it. His bat is likely good enough for a shot as he's shown over the past few weeks after an ice-cold start. He needs to bring his fielding up from Bad News Bears to Atrocious is all.

Still, sending him down was the right move for the team and Darin Ruf.

However, that does not mean giving Ender Inciarte a spot on the 25 man roster is a good idea.

I agree. There's no reason to keep Ender other than for the sake of not having to return him, which is a moot point when Young is healthy anyway (even if he were worth keeping).

Inciarte is a guy I wouldn't mind having in our system but he's at least 2 full years from being ready for the Majors.

Inciarte seems to be a solid defender and seems to be a good base runner/good speed. That's two skills already that Mini-Mart didn't and he can't possibly be a player who makes worse decisions.

The question is can even hit give them an OPS above .600 OPS and an AVG of .240-.250. I do think he can give the Phils that kind of average but he still might post an OPS below .600 because of his complete lack of power.

The other issue too is that this means Mayberry will get some meaningful PT early which isn't great because he has a rep as a slow starter.

This is the right decision. I agree with awh/MG that if teams come calling for Ruf, they should strongly consider dealing him now.

I could totally see a scenario where they trade Ruf to the Yankees and he hits 30 HRs for them as their 1B.

Though Yankee Stadium doesnt really favor RHBs like that.

"The Phillies wouldn't have drafted Trout even if they'd had the opportunity. Select a power hitting OF w/ speed & college experience? Not when there are hundreds of HS pitchers w/ a barely 90s fastball & no control available!"

GTown, this is an ignorant comment.

"Bold Prediction: Spring training statistics don't matter unless your favorite player is smacking the cover off the ball. That being said, Domonic Brown will finally live up to his top prospect expectations, leading to a .350 or better wOBA with around 25 homeruns and 20 stolen bases. With 22 quality starts from Halladay, healthy seasons and solid production from Howard and Utley, Brown will become a viable power/speed threat, helping the Phillies sneak into the playoffs with a wild card win."

Iceman, I never stated that the Phils "should" trade Ruf, but it seems to me that with him being blocked by Howard at 1B, that they at least ought to identify his market value.

He's valuable to the Phillies ONLY if he can play a passable LF.

Clearly they should just trade Howard and put Ruf in the lineup.


~not serious~

I was rooting for Ruf to make the team and that walk off HR today was an illustration of why. But, I have to agree with decision to send him to AAA or even AA to get some semblance of LF defense.
He will be back at the first injury in the OF or 1B; or when his defense warrants it.

Mayberry has been virtually invisible this spring. I wonder if will see much playing time when the season begins.

AAA would be better as he'd see more veteran pitching and he needs help there too.

Bubba, Maybery saw little playing time for one simple reason:

They know what they have in him - a guy who mashes LHP and can play all three OF positions and 1B competently.

They probably figured they might as well take a look at other guys.

Lots of teams are lining up to trade for a guy you just said couldn't contribute to your team more than Ender Inciate.

Jack, I never said that. Personally, I'm hoping he can learn to play LF - and quickly - because IMOH this team needs his bat.

awh: I think this team needs his bat, too.

Which is why I would support him actually being on the team.

Opening Day Bench against Tim Hudson:

Nix (assuming Mayberry starts in LF because of his career stats against Hudson)

Humberto Q.

That's a bench that Pittsburgh would be proud of. Frandsen is your late-inning RH stick.

Should have kept Ruf until Young is ready. He can learn how to play LF in late April, when Del returns from the DL. Until then, let him take some hacks in the big leagues. The dude can flat hit. I could give a crap about his defense. I want to see him up there pinch-hitting against O'Flaherty in the 7th inning of a tie game with nobody on base. But nope. The Phils don't work that way. They'd rather keep some A ball player who couldn't hit a HR in a little league park, because Ruben wants to look smarter then the room.

awh- Iwas thinking that and hope it's the case.
I think Mayberry is cast as a solid 4th OF/ backup 1B. And that's OK.

I'd just prefer to see him play before some of our other options.

Though I dislike both Yuni and Delmon, I could see them both making the team.

If Phillies decide that Galvis still needs everyday playing time to learn to hit and Ruf needs time to learn to field, both could benefit from another month to attempt to learn those skills.

I do not think Ruf will be a better PH against RHP to slow his possible improvement on defense. I also think he could benefit from seeing more types of pitchers.
I'd rather see the Phillies get a Stairs/Thome type that bats lefty since I think Mayberry is a sufficient RH PH and a capable defender in all the OF spot.

Bentacourt is a bit tougher to see since I do not see what he does any better than Frandsen. Keeping Yuni with some hope of trading him has extremely limited value unless someone he is a good defensive 3B. Despite my desire to see Galvis in AAA, his defense is most needed at 3B and possibly at 2B to reduce Utley's innings.

Thome was terrible as a PH last year, Ruf might be just as bad, and Inciarte brings nothing. I really do not think he will be any better than Collier who will be the CF in AA. When Delmon returns the bench will be Nix and Mayberry which is fine. It's just that the starter will stink.

Betancourt is a SS (at least on paper)...Frandsen is not.

denny, I really don't think it's what you say. IMHO I think they feel that the starting pitching is the strength of this team, and thus they want a guy like Wnciarte who can be a defensive cassy late in games.

Not that I agree....

Wow, beverage induced typos.

Should say:

"...Enciarte who can be a defensive caddy on this team."

Minor annoyance but its Inciarte, not Enciarte.

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