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Thursday, April 18, 2013

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"The Cardinals took advantage on the ensuing at-bat, as Yadier Molina doubled home both runs to hand St. Louis a 2-0 lead."

I think you mean Molina "doubled."

I'm just glad you didn't mention that Molina's double was 4" foul. Then, you'd just be making excuses.

Pete Kozma's a bad SS and not a slugger. Puts the ball in play, though.

Phlipper, so you're not arguing that he hasn't made mistakes that are significantly hurting this franchise?

It doesn't matter if other GMs make mistakes or not. It matters that RAJ did, and in three really big ways that may serve to cripple this franchise, and for largely unnecessary moves (not even counting the Papelbon signing).

Either argue those moves weren't mistakes, or get lost, because you're not even offering a rebuttal right now.

"He coulda re-signed Lee for ~90 million (which is ~ 30 million less than he's paying him now), kept the prospects and maybe coulda signed Doc when he eventually became a FA. Of course we'll never know."

Yes we will know, you dope. He couldn't have done that. Lee wouldn't have taken $90 million a year before he hit FA coming off two stellar years. Where do you get this stuff?

16 games into the season and we're alreadt 7.5 out of first.

Fata - of course RAJ made mistakes that hurt the team. And he also made moves that helped the team.

He's like all GMs in that regard.

When people formulate cherry-picked lists of his "mistakes," based on hindsight, and then make conclusions about how good or bad he has been, it's just kind of amusing - because in doing so they neglect to recognize that by definition, all GMs make moves that hurt their teams.

There is one measure, ultimately, of how good or bad he is as a GM: overall won/loss record. That, of course, needs to be contextualized with injuries - discounted to some extent by the average age of the Phils' roster as compared to other teams. And there, of course, you need to consider that he took over a team with established stars. And you need to consider the quality of the team he inherited.

No team stays on top forever - not even teams that spend at the level of the Yankees or the Sox or the Dodgers or the Phils.

All-in-all, I'd say that based on the only valid measurement, RAJ's been decent so far, and obviously that metric is trending down as a reflection of his moves. But to argue that he's some kind of an outlier in the sense of being a bad GM is not consistent with the objective evidence.

Phlipper- your point on the keyboard GMs is 100% correct, but you know as well as I do that it won't be received well by the most obvious culprits here. The fact that some of these people, even with the help of 20/20 hindsight, would still pull the trigger on the Pence trade and/or would not make the Halladay deal tells you all you need to know about how seriously to take them.

I'd say the only two obvious errors Amaro made were the Papelbon and Howard deals.

Disregarding how power hitters age, Howard signed 2 years early and the Phils didn't get a hometown discount. That was always my biggest grip with it.

Papelbon deal was a bad deal not so much for the dollars (which were an overpay) but the years (4 which was just plain stupid). Amaro also cost himself a 1st round pick in the process. Terrible value & execution. Paying Papelbon $13M has effected the resources the Phils could have devoted to other relievers/an upgrade at starter. Phils better hope his fastball velocity doesn't continue to drop & he is another untradeable contract.

As for Pence, I strongly wanted Bourn instead. It almost certainly would have cost less & I think he possibly might have made a difference in the playoffs that year because he had a skil set (defense, high AVG, ability to steal) the Phils could have used out of the leadoff spot.

Actually agree with Phlipper a bit too. Gillick always gets praised but his record on trades & FA signings was pretty mixed here including some of the worst moves the franchise ever made (Garcia trade which was 1 win for 131 wins and counting) & Eaton signing.

Gillick also raided the cupboard very hard in terms of prospects too when he was here. It was a staple of every where he was a GM.

Gillick just had the great sense to leave on his own timing at the top. Gillick actually left the Phils in pretty good shape unlike every one of his previous departures where he left a toxic waste dump to clean up of over-the-hill veterans, big contracts, and barren farm systems. He did that in Toronto, Baltimore, and Seattle.

Only NL teams with worse records:


Cubs: 5-9
Padres: 5-10
Fish: 3-13

Cubs are in a rebuilding year which was pretty much acknowledged by Epstein before the season. Padres have had some injuries and just gotten poor pitching to start the year.

MG- agreed on Gillick. There is one reason and one reason only that Gillick gets treated like a saint instead of a pariah like RAJ. It rhymes with 'world plucking championship.'

Under Gillick the team progressed with minimal casualties in the trade game. Under RAJ they have regressed with more then minimal casualties.

I rarely agree with Phlipper, but boy does he have Fatalotti pegged.

The Garcia deal was "minimal casualties"? If I made a post that stupid I wouldn't put my name to it either.

That may have been the best laid out argument post philipper has ever written on here.

Damning phlipper with faint praise, TTI.

As an addition to the GM talk.

Brian Sabean is a guy that has been killed by some on this blog for signing aging guys and overpaying (Rowand, Renteria, Zito, etc) but he has won 2 World Series in the past 3 years. And made some slick moves in trading Jonathan Sanchez for Melky cabrera and then getting Hunter Pence when Cabrera went down, also getting Cain at a pretty good rate. Does that make him a great, good, average, bad, or terrible GM?

Jon Daniels has built a pretty solid club in Texas but was criticized for trading Soriano after 2006. Traded away Adrian Gonzalez for Adam Eaton. Got Nelson Cruz and Carlos Lee for Laynce nix and Francisco Cordero. A great trade where he swindled the Braves for Tex. Acquired Cliff Lee. Got to two World Series and lost them both and then they imploded down the stretch lat season.

Is he a great, good, average, bad, or terrible gm?

I'm impressed that there is such a strong defense of a GM who doesn't believe that getting on base matters, only Production™.

That's definitely impressive.

This team, much like the 2012 version is finding new and inventive ways to lose each night. It is getting quite old.

Amaro's quotes before the game about how he was baffled that they didn't walk at all in the 3 games in STL made my blood boil.

The lack of any pop on this team really pisses me off too. Is there a stat for weak dribblers to 3rd? Mayberry has to lead the league in the past 2 seasons in that category. I don't understand how he can consistently jam himself and roll weak grounders up the line. It's like he is cultivating a new bunting technique.

I am pining for Delmon Young. HELP ME!!!!!!!!

There is a defense of Amaro here NEPP? Did you actually read the posts?

Hey Joe, it's April. Take a Xanax.

There seemed to be a productive conversation happening last night after the game, but then Phlipper brought in the debate that a poster on beerleaguer never made a good signing as a GM.

And people are quoting that post as a good point.

goodbye worthwhile conversation.

Phlipper, I have stated numerous times that RAJ has made great moves, and I credit him for putting together those teams from 2009-2011 that won all those games.

i'm not trying to make a blanket statement about RAJ as being a good or bad GM, and if I have, in passing, I apologize.

What I've been arguing is that the three moves which I've pegged as his biggest failures (trading away Lee to Seattle, signing Howard to a 5/125 deal, and trading for Pence) did NOTHING to help those 2009-2011 teams. As such, they can't be defended by pointing tot he 2009-2011 squads, and saying, "Look at all those games they won; obviously those moves were worth it".

AGain, Lee trade made us worse for 2010-2011, Howard deal didn't kick in until after 2011 (he would have been with the team through the end of 2011 with or without the deal), and the Pence trade didn't do anything to make us better in 2011 (we were on a 102 win pace the day Pence arrived).

As such, again, those moves can NOT be defended by pointing to the 2009-2011 teams.

Also, you seem to be equating all failed moves by GMs as being equal. That's just simply not true. The Howard signing, the Lee deal and the Pence deal were massive missteps by RAJ, not prudent gambles that didn't work out.

I think RAJ was a good GM to take a good team, and do whatever was necessary to make them a juggernaut (which he did). I think he's already shown that he's a poor GM in building a sustainable winning formula, and I predict he'll be a poor GM for a rebuild.

The Phillies amuse me.

Tough luck last night with Molina's "2 run double," though. But they're still not playing well. First and Third, no one out and we get three pretty terrible ABs.

its almost as if a pitcher knows Frandsen will be swinging first pitch. I wonder how they know that? Its almost as if he publicly stated his intentions when pinch hitting with runners on base.

Good post Fata. I'd also point out that some of the around the edges moves that RAJ made for those teams (2010 and 2011) were pitiful and didn't help the team when it was needed. Most notably keeping Mini Mart on the roster for all of 2011. The net effect is a journeyman INF at AAA. Not worth keeping him on the team if that's his ceiling.

Fatalotti: "...and the Pence deal were massive missteps by RAJ, not prudent gambles that didn't work out. "

Look, let's try this one more time, slowly and carefully; I am no RAJ defender, but the Pence trade was not just intended to help us in 2011, but in 2012 and 2013. It was supposed to solidify the corner outfield situation and take some of the pressure off Brown (I remember Rube saying at the time that the move was "about the future" and that "Dom is a big part of that"). The Mayberry Mirage in the second half of 2011 subsequently put Brown out in the cold in the first half of 2012. The Pence acquisition also came close on the heels of a brutal season series with the Giants where their lefties shut down the pre-Pence 2011 offense; you cannot blame Rube for deciding to get a RH power bat to fix such a glaring hole, with the playoffs in mind. The fact that Pence didn't make a difference in the playoffs can't be blamed on Rube, anymore than the fact that two of the Four Aces (Oswalt and Lee) underperformed in the playoffs too. Why isn't the Lee re-signing being blasted for being "unnecessary" as well? And despite the hatred heaped on Pence last year on Beerleaguer, the 2012 team would have finished far under .500 without him. Can anyone here (besides Iceman and Truth Injection, who are not rational on this or on any other subject) say they wouldn't be glad to see someone in our outfield with Pence's first-half-of-2012 numbers right now?

I do fault Rube for not realizing the need sooner, in fact; trying for Pence (or another RH outfielder) in the 2011-2012 offseason instead of at the deadline would probably have kept him from paying as heavily as he did.

Rube's dumb Pence move was not acquiring him, but trading him away; as a result, our outfield is a mess once again, with no MLB-caliber starters; we once again have no RH power, and we once again are staring desperately at Brown and hoping that he can finally "figure it out" and carry the offense.

NEPP: I don't think anyone is making a passionate defense of Amaro. Just pointing out that lots of GM's make bad moves.

re: Papelbon as a mistake

This is a bit complex, since Papelbon himself has pitched very well, but I do agree.

Amaro took a large chunk of resources ($50M) and devoted it to one reliever, while not realizing his bullpen was incredibly poor throughout the entire core and not just at the top. That money would have been extremely more useful it was spread out amongst multiple high leverage relievers.

This is far from revisionist history, as many here stated that fact the day of. It folded exactly that way in 2012 and it is quickly starting to shape up that way in 2013.

I was told the team would be fine if we stopped blowing 8th inning leads.

in the 2011-2012 offseason instead of at the deadline would probably have kept him from paying as heavily as he did.

Sorry, make that 2010-2011 offseason.

I know i am always swimming up stream on this but I think the Howard deal looks way worse in hindsight than it did at the time. That is not to say that people weren't against it at the time.

When Howard signed that deal he was coming off 4 straight seasons of 40+ home runs and 130+ RBI. He was a middle of the lineup force. Yes he was going to be in a free agent class of Pujols and Fielder but there was no way of knowing what they were going to do and how much they were going to sign for. Amaro made a move to lock up his guy at a higher AAV and for reduced years. Years wise the contract doesn't look terrible. But then Howard got hurt for the first time in 2010. Then he blew his Achillies out in 2011 after playing hurt for a little. He is still trying to get back to full form. I guess maybe people could've foreseen him blowing his Achillies but I doubt it.

Did anyone really think they were going to tie the game when it was 1st and 3rd with no one out? I need honest answers. I knew they were going to screw it up. It was just a matter of how. I'm surprised the Frandsen groundball didn't turn into a 6-4-3-2 triple play. That's what I was thinking of the bat. Revere would try to get cute and score during the turn then get gunned down. It seemed fitting.

AT: "the Pence trade was not just intended to help us in 2011, but in 2012 and 2013."

Then why was he dealt away for salary relief halfway through 2012? If Amaro made the signing with his intentions of Hunter Pence on the 2013 team, then why couldn't he afford to pay him $13M this year while still carrying out the moves he also needed to make (resigning Hamels, adding bullpen/3B/CF)?

Refresh my memory. Wasn't Howard still 2 years away from free agency? I thought they had 2 more arbitration years left?

Guys only 3.5 games out of wildcard.

Yes, who could have foreseen that an aging "bad-bodied" player might get injured and fall off the map?

thehook: only 3 games back of the #1 overall pick.

Pence was an all in move in 2011. Anyone who is making an argument that it was anything other than that can't accept facts. Amaro gambled that Pence would make the team unstoppable and dealt the farm for a RH OF bat. They were already locks for the postseason and the move was seriously short sighted.

Actually, the ones defending that move are the ones that were championing the move at the time. So at least they are consistent.

Ignore my post on Howard. I was thinking about the first extension he was given in 09.

Howard was absolutely not a bad bodied player. A horribly stupid myth that I can't believe people still perpetuate.

Joe D: He was in the midst of a contract that had basically bought out his last arb years. So the extensions was to make sure he was in house from the end of 2011 going forward. Basically Amaro made a move without letting the market set the parameters (which has been okay but also has burned him at times)

Is anyone else excited for Savery's return to the big club? Man get pumped! I assume that the next move will be Horst, Valdez, Savery down for the starter needed for Monday?

joe: yes, my money would be on Cloyd.

Savery's first couple stints in the bigs have been awe-inspiring. I can't wait to see what he has in store for this callup even if it is a short one.

As I showed yesterday, quite a few people wre very leery of the Howard deal even the day after he signed it...for a variety of good reasons.

NEPP: And I pointed that out.

TTI: The fact that the Howard situation has played out as many people predicted on the day of the signing is kinda proof that it wasn't the smart move to begin with. Lots of people predicted decline and injury based on age, but your right, no one knew it was going to be the Achilles (an ironic injury in itself). You are also right that the length of the contract was the "discount", unfortunately, Howard's age limited the advantage gained in the length of the deal.

I am used to seeing Howard struggle at time. While this is certainly not a fun one to watch, I am not letting it change my original thought that he will be a 125-130 OPS+ player with premium power.

For that reason, I'm not willing to debate how much of a mistake or not his contract was.

As much as I dislike the Howard extension, I hold out hope that Howard returns to viability as a player (.250 30 hr) and sometimes daydream about the return of the MVP level player the team is paying him to be.

I understand the Papelbon signing. We had suffered through Lidge's bad year in '09. It sucks wind out of one's sails to lose too many games in the 9th inning. If we weren't going to sign Madson to close for us, then we needed a good closer to preserve the good work of our ace starters.

I get the whole use money wisely by spreading it around argument, but I offer this as a counter-argument.

"Papelbon himself has pitched very well."

If you just look at raw numbers, you might be right. But there were 4-5 really key games last year, where the team desperately needed a win to either keep a win streak alive or stop the bad mojo and Pap blew the game in the 9th. A couple of Mets games and the season killer in Atlanta (the Clipper Jones walkoff) come to mind.

Considering the cash he's being paid and what he was brought to Philly to supposedly do, he's come up small too many times. And he's clearly on the downside of his career. Hopefully if the Phils continue to go nowhere in 2013, they are able to foist him off on somebody close to the trade deadline. Expensive closers on mediocre teams are pretty pointless.

I was told the team would be fine if we stopped blowing 8th inning leads.

They would've been...had they had an 8th inning lead.

Pence from 2007-2011: .292/.343/.485

Phils paid a lot for the guy but he was 28 and under team control. It was not really an "all in" 2011 move because it largely occurred because of Brown's lack of development and it should have shored up the corner OF spot for a few years. He ended up costing ~3/$30M for 2011-2013 which is not a lot of money for the kind of "production."

The problem with Pence is that he (a) cost a ton and (b) has hit .254/.317/.428 over the last two seasons. I'm not sure Amaro can be blamed for (b), but I do think this plays into the angle that Amaro doesn't know how to evaluate players and doesn't know the player he pays for. A half season worth of watching Pence in RF and swinging wildly, and Amaro wanted him gone.

I don't really have a problem with the Papelbon signing.

Sophist, exactly. The deal for Pence was pretty damn good short-term and long-term. He was under team control and Houston even sent cash in the deal. The problem that Amaro, Jr. ignored was that he was overachieving rather greatly when they dealt for him. His BABIP was way over his career #s and I guess they ignore all defensive metrics. Plus you have to factor in the fact that he was going from playing in front of 5 people to 45,000. Some guys just aren't cut out for it. He was asked to be much more than he could be last year. He isn't a guy who carries a team, he's a complimentary piece but injuries forced him into being a carrier. I didn't hate the deal then because I thought they needed a bat. He wore on my quickly, very quickly.

Hopefully Savery is in the lineup tonight. They could use his bat in there in the middle of the order.

I think they bring up Morgan to pitch on Monday and DFA Valdez. Savery becomes the mop-up (I only pitch when the game is out-of-reach or we are in the 13th inning) guy for a while. He can't be any worse then Valdez has been. Valdez hasn't gotten anyone out since March. Morgan will take Valdez's spot on the 40 man.

I think because Morgan is on short rest, they probably go with a 50-60 pitch limit and use it more as a bullpen game.

Morgan earns the callup because he's pitched the best. Cloyd is option two if they decide to keep Morgan down. He was a lot better in his last start after a real rough ST/first couple of starts at LV.

But its the Phils...who knows what they are thinking sometimes. Savery got the nod because of the 3-4 alternatives (Stutes, Diekman, DeFratus and Rosenburg), he has clearly outperformed them. And I think they want to keep DeFratus in a late-inning role there to build arm strength. Its only a matter of time before he comes back to Philly.

***I do think this plays into the angle that Amaro doesn't know how to evaluate players and doesn't know the player he pays for. ***

And that's the biggest problem...his complete lacking when it comes to actually evaluating talent.

The big problem with the Pence deal was really the price paid compared to the garbage Atlanta paid for Bourn just a few days later.

Well yeah jbird, that is a big point to be considered. We don't know how hard Amaro explored a deal for Bourn. But yes the Phillies gave up much more.

I mean, compare Swisher, who's 32, to Pence's numbers up until 2012.

Swisher: .256/.361/.467
Pence: .292/.343/.485

Swisher obviously has more ability to walk, and a higher OBP. Not sure about defense, but Pence has a good arm (bad range) and Swisher plays a lot of 1B. Pence is younger.

Everyone wanted Swisher signed thru his mid-30s on this team. He got 4/$56M. Pence would have cost about 3/$30M. He's just not that bat anymore. His K/BB got even worse. I'm not all in favor of that trade, but Pence's decline plays a large role in the hindsight analysis.

I was making a joke of it lcore. On a good note that the philles draft pick LG jr finally made it to Lakewood. I am most interested in the 100 mph thrower k Giles. He faced 5 batters struck out three. What am I thinking he has to be 26 to be on big league roster my bad.

I liked Pence, I just don't like what we paid.

Okay, great. With the luxury of a huge budget, Rube kept the window open 2009-2011.
He made a few big splash signings and trades that worked out by outbidding the competition. And the inherited core players remained productive (oops, there's that word again) enough.

But now, the team will very soon be in tear down/rebuild mode.

Bottom line: Do you really trust having Rube at the controls during this process?

"Then why was he dealt away for salary relief halfway through 2012? If Amaro made the signing with his intentions of Hunter Pence on the 2013 team."

Basically, you're arguing that the 2.5 years of team control was worth nothing at the time because RAJ intended to trade him away for salary purposes all along. But you can't possibly know what he intended. And so many things changed between Pence I and Pence II that the inference is more than a little ridiculous.

In any event, I think you're changing the issue. The issue was the wisdom of the first Pence trade. I think the Phillies would be a much better team right now if they still had Hunter Pence. Hell, I think they might have even eked out that 2nd WC last year, as there's no way to know if Pence would have stunk it up with Philly like he did in SF. Now, if you want to throw the 2nd Pence trade into the calculus, and evaluate the entire sequence of events, then I'm right there with you: it was heinous.

dennyb: Morgan would be on short rest after throwing 100 pitches last night. I doubt he gets the call.

TTI: The "bad body" thing is an interesting point.

Most people said at the time "he's worked himself very hard to get into pretty decent shape, so don't worry about it."

Here's what my point was at the time--if you've worked your butt off at your peak age just to get to the point where you're no longer considered a "bad body," what happens when as you get older? What happens if you get hurt? If you have to max out 100% effort just to get to a reasonable point, it holds that if suddenly you can't give 100% (like, say, you're rehabbing a foot injury and can't run), your athleticism is going to decline.

That's what's happened. No one is saying the guy is lazy, or that he doesn't have fantastic athletic skills. What we're saying is that maybe it should have been foreseeable that a 6'4, 240 pound man wasn't going to retain a whole lot of peak athleticism as he got older or if he got injured. I mean, that seems fairly intuitive to me.

I don't think anyone has endorsed Amaro as the GM they want to rebuild.

Fourth schmourth. You guys just don't get it. Walks are not important. Production is important. We need production not walks. If you're producing walks, you're not producing production. And when you're not producing production there is no production being produced. So we don't care how many games we don't produce walks as long as we produce production.

Idiots.

bap: What was so different between Pence I and Pence II?

Pence career when he was acquired: 117 OPS+
Pence with Phils in 2012: 108 OPS+

This goes directly back to my biggest problem with Amaro, he doesn't know how to evaluate talent even after its already happened. Ruben Amaro saw his 2011 numbers and thought thats what Hunter Pence was - but in reality he was more likely to get Pence's entire 2860 PA with Houston.

What's interesting is that (and I think Sophist has pointed this out) when it comes to evaluating pitchers, Amaro actually seems to be in tune with advanced analysis. I think it's likely by happenstance and not by design, but still. He clearly values pitchers who strike out hitters and don't walk hitters. As it happens, advanced metrics tell us those are the two things pitchers can most directly control and are most related to their success. If you look at career K/BB ratio leaders, 4 of the top 18 all-time were in the Phillies rotation in 2011. I mean, that's crazy.

Now, it doesn't take an advanced degree in stats to tell you Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are good pitchers. Still, I find it fascinating that he seems to be directly on point with that analysis with pitchers, and yet seemingly so far behind the 8-ball when it comes to valuing position players (in terms of both offense and defense).

What gives?

new thread.

Re Papelbon.

He's an elite closer. Whether he still will be by the end of his contract is unknowable. But to this point, there's absolutely no basis for saying that he hasn't performed to the expectations of his contract.

However -- and this is a huge "however" -- if you're going to $13M for a guy to pitch 70 innings, they'd better damn well be 70 of the most important innings of the season. Instead, we have a manager who is hamstrung by an arbitrary list of rules, which prohibit him from using his closer in many high-leverage situations, while compelling that he use him in many relatively low-leverage ones. In one sense, the blame is on Cholly, not RAJ. But RAJ signed the guy with full knowledge about how Cholly would use him. And, as Cholly's boss, RAJ has the power to put that nonsense to a stop. That he doesn't do so suggests that he agrees with it.

Hence, I cannot endorse the Papelbon signing.

Ice go back and read. Lee was reported to be asking for -90 million. I'm not a dope. Rube didn't want to pay it. He wanted Doc & he got him & treaded Lee away the same day "to re-stock the farm" if you remember. I'm sick & tired of ALL of you. You think I make this stuff up? You're all pissed because my statements over the last 2 years about this team turned out to be true. He took the best team in the NL and basically ruined it. Not my fault. I didn't do it.

I see what's happened to the team. Others don't. When they miss the playoffs again because they're a .500 don't cry to me. You bitch and moan because he didn't do what YOU want either. Now he's gotta replace Lannan. With what? A kid from the Minors Of the 3 being mentioned only Morgan has pitched halfway decent so far. But it probably won't be him as roob said he'd be pitching on 3 days rest. So start bitching early about it. You do that well. Learn how to respect other people as well.

When you put the Phillies start in the context of Philadelphia sports, I can't take it anymore. Eagles were 4-12. No hockey until January and then the Flyers were out of it in two weeks. Sixers. Now this.

DPatrone: I'm not a dope."

People have got to know whether or not DPatrone is a dope. Well, DPatrone is not a dope. DPatrone earned everything he's got.

(Sorry. I couldn't help myself. It was just screaming out to be parodied. You are not a dope.)

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