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Friday, May 10, 2013


Yes, he'll come around soon. But can you imagine how much different the Phillies would be if they had a Denard Span-type of on-base guy at the top? Why is this team constructed this way? Does anyone know? There are way more of THESE games than there are Monday's and Tuesday's games.

Ruin Tomorrow, Jr. Production.

This offense is shockingly bad.

This offense is even worse than I expected ... And you people know me. What I expected was utterly atrocious.

Just think, RAJ gets to rebuild the team he built this season.

Most losses in NL

Marlins - 25
Cub - 21
Dodgers - 20
Phils - 20
Padres - 18


6 for 34 (.176) 16 Ks vs LHP...who am I & why am I not platooned?

Will this team ever get over .500

Not sure they will. I think they'll just slog along like they've done, winning a couple and losing a couple.

Just a middling team. And see no reason to think its going to change. If anything, its going to get worse as some of the old-timers get injured during the year.

This offense is shockingly bad.

Posted by: bay_area_phan


J-Roll doesnt seem like he gives frack anymore. Hamels looked sloppy even though the score doesnt reflect it. Couldnt get the curve over. Will Howard ever lay off the neck high fastballs? Offense needs Viagra. Ruiz looks sleepy wonder what meds he on now. Oatmeal is good for the nerves Ruiz. Turned TV off after 7th.

@Denny. Injured? Wait until the end of next month when some of them are just tired.

Charlie and his "play them until they break out of a funk" is not going to help things either.

Rollins OBP is south of .300.
D.Young saw 7 pitches in 4 ABs.
Chooch is 6 points from a sub .200 line. ( .206 obp )

Corn: You are Chase Utley, who has become nearly as bad as Howard against LHP. It is actually the single biggest reason why I think it would be a mistake to re-sign him. Do we really want to pay $15M per year to yet another guy who is an automatic out after the 6th inning?


Nope. I am Ryan Howard. Although bonus points for Utley.

Another mediocre start from Hamels (who can't throw his changeup for a strike consistently for a strike this year or have consistent fastball command), more offensive ineptitude, and mental miscues defensively & on the basepaths.

Just isn't enough top talent to overcome the overall mediocrity on this team.

This team really does remind me of the Eagles w/Reid & Co. the past two seasons.

Corn: In that case, Howard's numbers against LHP are better than Utley's. Utley is 4 for 33 with a .467 OPS.

Gotta shake things up somehow. Is there a hitting coach we can fire? (I don't mean Cholly)

fire someone or bring up ruf. Just no life most nights

Why is this team constructed this way? Does anyone know?

Questions that deserve to be answered but probably never will be.

The sooner it's fully understood that each step forward is merely an illusion, the better off you'll be.

They have to know by now, don't they? This team has no hope of contending. Please tell me this organization has the courage to recognize what's going on and not kowtow to the giveaway-day crowds who want to keep coming to see the old favorites.

And yet I know how this front office works. They won't pull the plug until the team loses 95 games. It's tempting to just go ahead and root for that outcome, then. I think this team has the capability.


Because Amaro was obsessed with putting together this pitching staff while sacrificing consistent offense & bullpen ( due to $$$ i would imagine ).

Bad contracts, bad managing, aging players, part time players, no farm.

This is going to be a long season for "BipolarLeaguer." When you have what is basically yet another .500 team, the mood swings from one day to the next will be hilarious to read right to the end.

That was an awful exhibition. Corbin wasn't really that good. This offense is that awful. I'm pretty sure that someone on BL will find stats that show this offense is "middle of the pack." But it's not. It is bottom tier. And watching Delmon taking the local to second base was really painful. The DBack announcers were pretty funny, commenting that he ran like he was angry at the ground. Apparently, they don't know that he had microfracture surgery on his ankle in the offseason. But it was still a pretty funny comment.

This is a dysfunctional team put together by someone who has no more idea of what constitutes offense than my dog.

It's almost comic to see runners on and Ben Revere at the plate, knowing that even with a runner on second, the odds of him driving it in, even with a hit, are hysterically low. And at this point, he's not even the worst of the offense. Yikes.

Having read this article eviscerating the Vancouver Canucks for their spectacular, systemic craptacularity after another failure of a season, I couldn't help thinking of the Phillies:

Here are some relevant highlights:

"Embarrassing. Sloppy. Undisciplined. Weak. There are thousands of words I could use to describe the post-season play of the Canucks this year, but there is one word I refuse to choose: 'choker.'

The Canucks did not choke this year. 'Choking' implies performing below expectations in a pressure situation. So they didn't choke at all--because they suck."

"The time of the Vancouver Canucks, such as it was, is over.

[. . .]

Opportunity missed. Window closed. It's over. The Canucks are over."

"Vancouver's core players—all on the wrong side of 30—will continue to decline and struggle against tougher competition."

Obviously, the parallels are not exact. But it's hard not to hear the word "Phillies" whenever the article mentions "Vancouver" or "Canucks." And to make matters worse, at least the Canucks made the playoffs/postseason, whereas the Phillies, well, . . . .

Yes, I know that "everyone" in the NHL makes the playoffs, so that the comparison to MLB is not exactly exact. But with the second wild card, the comparison has become a tiny bit less bonkers.

In short, Phillies, I'm frustrated. Because you suck. Hard.

"The DBack announcers were pretty funny, commenting that he ran like he was angry at the ground. Apparently, they don't know that he had microfracture surgery on his ankle in the offseason. But it was still a pretty funny comment."

Indeed it is.

Hamels has been a 'tough-luck' candidate for run support but he also hasn't pitched well either so far through his first 7 starts.

Right now he is a pretty mediocre starter who is having command issues just about every start. His K/9 is his lowest since '09 and he is BB more hitters than ever.

On pace for basically a 1.5-2 WAR season which would be a huge disappointment and his worst season in MLB by a wide margin.

Keep waiting for him to turn it around from a command perspective and the struggles just continue.

So go J-Roll so go the Phils. Part of the problem right?

Bake, everyone except the Flyers.

RAJ = Homer

That was probably a top-3 loss this season- not just because of how it went down, but because I wasted 3 perfectly good hours of sleep to watch these sh*theads.

So go J-Roll so go the Phils. Part of the problem right?

I won't blame it on Rollins. That statement was false when times were good, no matter how many mindless times it was repeated.

When I first heard the statement, the Phils have an x winning % when Rollins scores, ergo as goes Rollins, etc., I looked up Pedro Felix and the Phils had a better winning % when he scored. I have yet to hear a cogent argument about Rollins being some kind of special catalyst with magic ju-ju.

The struggles vs lhp is such a continuing problem for years now. And its hardly an enigma.

I'm not going to rip the players. This is 100% on Ruin Tomorrow Jr. He made no serious effort to improve this team over last year. He's done nothing to make up for the loss of offensive production through age and players departing. nobody is close to what Werth was, nobody is even doing what Ibanez and Victorino did. Rollins, Utley and Howard have aged as could be expected and nobody was brought in to pick up the slack. Even if Dom Brown hits 25-30 homers it won't be enough. Ruben blew it. He might be the worst GM in baseball.

Most losses since 2006 in starts of 6 or more innings allowing 2 or fewer earned runs: Hamels 20, Cain 18, Lilly 17, Lowe 17, Wainwright 16.

In short, no one in baseball has been more of a hard luck loser than Hamels.

0-16, 2BB.

That's a problem.

Dont worry, Dr. Ciccotti checked out Cole and said he's 100% healthy.

So no worries.

Not just the worst GM in baseball, an all time bad GM in any sport. Hard to argue.

In hindsight (of course), it sure would be nice to have Pence on this team. At the time he was traded, nobody could have fathomed D Young would be joining the team in his stead.

It would be another story if we didn't give him away for peanuts as a salary dump.

[WARNING: Apparently controversial opinion forthcoming]

I really don't think this team is that bad. I understand the argument that Rube stripped the farm (of what I'm not's not like the guys he traded away are, or are going to be, perennial All Stars). In fact, I actually like this team. The team is aging, which happens. They go through slumps, which happens. I think on paper, they're a contender for a playoff spot. I really believe that. And I do think they are better than last year. Their biggest issue was the 8th inning. Rube got the best 8th inning guy on the market. Their pitching staff was in tact. They got a reliable #5 starter. Their offense was back and relatively healthy. The only move I didn't like was Delmon Young and even that was minimal risk (unless, you know, the manager played him everyday in RF or something stupid like that).

But when you have a team like this, it puts more emphasis on the coaching staff. This team is old. They can't just go out and mash their way to a 6-4 victory every night. The coaching staff is awful. No two ways about it.

To me, if the team loses by a bunch of runs (say, 3+), is the players' fault. They didn't pitch well or didn't hit well, etc. Losing one-run games (especially low scoring games), is on the manager and coaching staff. Of the Phils' 20 losses, 12 were by 1 or 2 runs (6 each). That's an issue.

R.Billingsly: You're right, they're probably not this bad. The problem is they're not that good either.

This is the full, healthy team and this is all you get out of them.

Mr. Ruf is gradually warming up and steadily creeping up the IL hitting charts. I say he hits his AAA ceiling by June 1st.

"Their biggest issue was the 8th inning."

The bullpen was an issue - period. Grabbing Mike Adams looks to be a great move, but leaving the rest of the pen unchanged (except for a worthless flier on Durbin) was an awful mistake.

The genius Phillies basically looked at Valdes/Horst's +60IP last year and assumed they'd duplicate their performance instead of looking at career and scouting reports.

A large majority of posters knew it would be foolish to buy into their dominance last year and even predicted the type of resources it would take to add at least 1 more late inning arm (a couple $M on a 1 year deal) - but the Phillies front office did not. There is failure at every level in that equation from the first step to the lat, not just some hard luck decision that "could have went either way".

Besides Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco, are there any infielders to look forward to in the next 2-3 yrs? I feel the pitching on the farm is above average, but replacing the aging infield will take a GM that knows (or cares) about talent in that area. Rube is not that guy.

lorecorn- exactly right on the bullpen. It is entirely on the front office. Wouldn't have cost much to add another quality arm or two.

I get that Cole has had a couple games where his command has abandoned him a bit. Peripherals like that can portend future problems, but, you cannot quibble with the actual results of Hamels' last 6 games. An era of 2.41 over those games means he probably should have won more than 1 of those games. Cole Hamels is not the problem. He had 2 bad games to start the season, why does he keep getting listed among the disappointing aspects of this season so far?

oogie: most of the hitting propsects in the Phillies' system falls into the "he's an athlete. If he ever figures it out, watch out" category. That aside, Cody Asche might be a league average 3b. maybe. Roman Quinn at short, but he's far away.

Cesar has definitely earned himself a mlb promotion by the end of this year or next - i just don't think his skill set will warrant a starting job. Obviously if he hits mlb pitching to a tune of a .330 AVG than he can survive, but that's rather unlikely.

His upside looks to be an above average utility guy, which is certainly useful, but probably not someone to hold out much hope for.

I can't even get up in arms about every single game anymore. This team is mediocre. That's all there is to it.

Why not have Adam Morgan on the 40 now and excise some dead weight? (see lefties above). Cloyd has reached his ceiling.. AAAA. IMO Pettibone, Morgan and Biddle should see time this yr. Trade Lee at the break to the Orioles or some other contender for position players. Re-signing Doc depends on health and any home team discount. Oh, by the way,fire the GM.

Good post oogie.

jbird - The "athlete" thing is less prevalent than it used to be. They have some noted non-athletes right now. Larry Greene was drafted as a masher. Cody Asche was drafted as. basically, a guy who hits. Ruf, as well, is not very athletic.

In the past we used to be stuffed to the gills with Robersons, Golsons, and D'Arby Myerses.

Again- for as bad as this team has played this year they only sit 4 games out of a playoff spot. They will hit a couple stretches where they rattle off 4+ wins in a row and they are right back in the middle of it. Smetimes it is hard to be patient though.

Joe - Pretty much. They need to a few things (health & production wise) to break their way and so far they haven't gotten it.

Amaro built the team around starting pitching and they are 12th in NL in ERA (4.37) and 14th overall (4.29). As good as KK has been & as steady as Lee was, Halladay was the worst starter in MLB before he went on the shelf, Hamels continues to struggle, and Lannan got hurt/Pettibone is a slight downgrade.

Sophist made a good point that even if they had historically good run prevention like the '11 team they would struggle with their offensive output so far but that took them to 89 wins.

With the subpar starting pitching, you have a subpar team. If the starting pitching had been above average so far, they would probably be .500 or maybe a game or two over. Say 19-17 or so which would be fine.

Maybe R00b could break Ugueth Urbina out of jail down in Uruguay and use him to shore up the pen?

The owners will fire RAJ only when their pockets are deeply affected. Wade was fired after a 600,000 dip in attendance.

But RAJ has made them a lot of money over the past 5 years, so I would assume he's going to be given a pretty long rope to hang himself with.

Moves that can be legitimately discussed and chance of happening

Morgan over Cloyd
DeFratus over Durbin
Ruf over Delmon
to a lesser extent, savery over horst/valdes

Moves like calling up Biddle, trading Hamels/Lee, benching Howard, etc. are basically wastes of breath/font. Combination of bad idea and never happening.

As for last night's game:

In re: Cole Hamels/Chooch Ruiz
The first ARI run came during Prado/Parra's second AB. They had both had hits the previous AB, so, of course, he threw them, cumulatively, five straight fast balls. I mean, why was he throwing a 1-2 fastball over the heart of the plate to anyone, much less someone who already had a hit off of him? And the next pitch was worse. That's it. Cole has been a horse and we're lucky to have him. Just a brain fart.

In re: Delmonster Youngish
Is there anyone slower in the sport of curling much less baseball? In a race with Pat Burrell and a three-legged tortoise, Young would finish fourth. (Surely the Phils will benefit from that weight option in his contract.) Even Howard would have made it to second on that grounder to RF. (Even Rollins would have and we all know how slow he is.)

In re: Why the Phillies Stink
People have figured out that you do not need to throw them strikes. In a jam? Throw it out of the zone? Need an out? Throw it out of the zone. The only way they will score this year is against pitchers with such a lack of command that they miss with pitches INTO the strike zone.

* didn't mean to sound like I was 'telling' people what they can(not) post on, just saying what moves are way out of the picture to consider happening

The umps had a rough night in Houston last night as well. Following the outright robbery perpetuated on the A's Wednesday- and MLB being compulsory in that- they need to start having real legitimate umpire discussions.

This team is also fundamentally flawed in all aspects of the game. Mayberry being thrown out on the Frandsen single was case in point. You freeze on a line drive, you don't go back to the bag. That loss of momentum cost him. This team is just flat out dumb. I can deal with a lack of talent in certain areas of the roster but the overall lack of intelligence annoys me more. For the past 2 years they have played dumb baseball. I don't want to hear about injuries and this and that. You can make your own breaks in this game if you do the little things. They do none of said little things. The result? A piss poor mediocre team that will sit in neutral all year.

What happened in Houston?

I think the blown call on the Ben Revere steal of 2nd altered the outcome of that game as well.

RAJ does and says a lot of dumb things (Howard extension most notably), and I shudder at the thought of him trying to rebuild. I'm not sure the state of this team is entirely his fault though.

It's obvious that the team sacrificed the future to increase their chances at a championship in '10, '11, and '12. A mediocre '13 team was guaranteed by the Halladay and Pence trades. That sacrifice paid off in the form of back-to-back years with the best record in baseball. Things didn't work out in the postseason, because it's a crapshoot (to use an overused BL word), but I don't think it was an unreasonable gamble to push all the chips in for a 2nd championship.

The major mistake made by RAJ was not recognizing that while it can cost significant prospects (incl. d'Arnaud, Singleton, Cosart, Santana) to improve your team from 90 wins to 100 wins, it doesn't increase the chance of winning a championship all that much. There are still regular posters here who refuse to recognize that the playoffs is mostly luck, claiming that the team was in decline '08 through '11 (ridiculous), so I hardly blame the Old Baseball Men for not recognizing that.

Also: the last position player drafted by the Phillies with more than 2 career bWAR: Michael Bourn, 2003. That's the real problem going forward.

Andy: The question was about infielders. But even Greene, though not an "toolsy athlete", was considered raw when drafted due to his level of competition as a high schooler. Walding & Quinn strike me as "athletes". The pre-draft writeup on phuture phillies for Walding starts, " Walding is a toolsy athlete with good size who played shortstop and was also his high school quaterback." Realistically, the system is pretty dry when it comes to infielders. The Quinn-Walding draft was the 1st one in a long time where the infielders seemed to be a priority at all.

Can we start the "Free Ruf" chants again?

I wasn't perusing BL when DYoung "hit" that first pitch by Bell. Someone tell me if I should go back for a laugh, but that decision broke the game for me (I finished watching but signed off). I've had no faith in DYoung, and now I have less than zero. That's not even considering the baserunning blunder.

Face it, r00b: no matter how much weight you make this guy lose he's not going to cut it. FREE RUF!

DH Phils, I didn't mind the gambling to make the team better in 9, 10 and 11. I just still really hate the unnecessary gamble on Pence that didn't actually really improve us in 2011.

It's one thing to take a huge gamble to try and push yourself from fringe playoff team to legit contender. It's another to take a huge gamble to push yourself from serious contender to infinitesimally slightly more serious contender.

Joe D: Houston brought in a pitcher from the pen to pitch. The Angels brought in a pinch hitter so Houston replaced the relief pitcher before he could pitch to a batter. Scoscia complained and the umps had to assemble three times to try and get the call right.

I think they did but it looked bad.

DH Phils: I agree that making a go of it for the 2nd WFC wasn't a terrible move. Really only the Pence trade was bad. But, the team really could have helped itself out by paying more attention to Latin America and spending some money down there. Tocci is a good start, but that might be too little too late. For a team that's regularly given up 1st rd picks to sign free agents, it has really ignored an important area where it could have flexed it's financial muscles. The Cuban trio of Soler, Puig, and Cespedes is only the most recent, glaring example. There are lots of hits and misses with International FAs, but that's no different from the draft. Just picking a year, in 2009's baseball america rankings: Miguel Sano #1 (best power hitter in milb), Gary Sanchez #3 (top 50 prospect, catcher), Cheslor Cuthbert #7 (fringe top 100 guy playing for the Blue Rocks), Jurikson Profar #15 (#1 prospect in milb)

agreed - the philosophy of maxing out your peak years while potentially sacrificing future years is a very defendable one. The blame is on the players those years.

Obviously Amaro can't verbally admit that when he's being skewered by fans/media now that the diminished future has arrived - but that doesn't excuse him for all the stupid crap he says instead.

It doesn't sound like they did get the call right, TTI.


With two on, two outs and the Angels trailing, 5-3, in the top of the seventh, Astros manager Bo Porter subbed right-hander Paul Clemens with lefty Wesley Wright, with left-handed hitter J.B. Shuck due to bat.

After Wright threw his warm-up pitches and Porter saw the right-handed-hitting Luis Jimenez on deck to pinch-hit, Porter made another pitching change, going to righty Ambriz before Wright faced a hitter, which isn't allowed unless there's an injury. At that point, a furious Scioscia informed the umpires that the Angels would play the rest of the game under protest.

(After they won, the Angels withdrew their protest.)

Not a good week for umpires. They really did blow it last nite. What's worse though? Using replay and STILL getting the call wrong, or not knowing the rules?

yeah - the hitting team gets to make the last move.

lorecore: I wouldn't even blame the players those years because I don't think players can "step up" and I largely believe players don't "choke". I think Cliff Lee starts are drawn from a distribution such that something like 30% are great, 60% are good, and 10% are bad. It sucks that they got a bad one in the NLDS when even a good, not great start would have sufficed, but I think with every pitcher there is the possibility on every day that they pitch bad, and it doesn't necessarily mean they choked or should be blamed. It just happens. It's the reason why 5-game series are coin tosses.

As for Amaro, I agree that he says a lot of stupid stuff, and he does a lot of stupid stuff too, but I think the impact of the stupid stuff he does with the MLB team is an order of magnitude less than the impact of the failures of scouting and development that have totally cut off the pipeline of minor-league contributors. The exhaustive list of positive-bWAR position players drafted in the last 9 drafts is Marson (1.6), Donald (1.5), Gose (0.6), Quintin Berry (0.5), and Ruf (0.3). I'm not going to look through every team, but I'd bet that's the worst by far. It's not as easy to find data on international signings, which jbird mentions, but I bet the results would look nearly as bad.

DH Phils: "the last position player drafted by the Phillies with more than 2 career bWAR: Michael Bourn, 2003. That's the real problem going forward."

Thats a pretty chilling stat. I didn't know how bad that was so checked their division for 2003-current +2bWAR pos player draftees:

Braves: 5
Nats: 5
Mets: 2
Marlins: 2
Phils: 1

"Again- for as bad as this team has played this year they only sit 4 games out of a playoff spot."

The Phils have the 4th worst record in the NL. They sit 10th in the standings for the WC. 4.5 games is nothing, I agree, but you have to be Miami bad to play out of a playoff spot by May 10th. I think the problem is that they are 16-20 and people don't see much room for improvement beyond ~.500.

The DHPhils post of 9:54 a.m. is the most incisive and intelligent post I've seen on BL is a month.

Not that I disagree with the basic problem, but the Braves only have two of those guys on their roster right now as far as I can see (Heyward and Freeman).

Also, Galvis is right around 1 career bWAR in 77 games.

dh phils: I understand the shorter the series, the smaller the variance between the two teams, but they still need to win games by playing well.

Baseball is a team sport, just because someone has a bad game doesn't mean the whole team was doomed for a loss. All of the players on the team were to blame.

Until winning the most regular season games crowns a team as the World Champion, a team playing worse in the playoffs than they do in the regular season is reason for blame.

I agree with that second paragraph to a large extent DH Phils, but I do think we overrate the draft given the Phils position as a high payroll team with, recently, late draft picks. The problem is the complete lack of players. I think comparing their success to a team like the Yankees instead of the Braves might be enlightening. Yankees have managed to get older but remain relevant with an aging, expensive payroll but additions from guys like Brett Gardner and Cano (3rd round pick and int'l signing). Their list of 1st round picks since 1997 is not pretty.

Phils only needed to hit on a couple of position players since '03 and they'd be way more competitive. A world where Singleton is manning 1st and giving you above average, cheap production, and Brown actually develops looks way different than the one we have now. Not only because there'd be more offense but because you'd free up $20-25M to spend in CF/LF or 3B.

Phils didn't even need to develop like the Braves or draft high like the Nats to keep things going. The bar isn't that high.

My memory is that Lee got dinked and dunked to a ridiculous degree in that NLDS loss. BABIP, HR/FB, weather, and so on lend a huge dice-throwing aspect to the game even beyond variations in players' actual performance, however defined. DH Phils's points about stepping up and choking are right on.

Sophist: Yeah, only looking at the draft leaves out Galvis, but I imagine excluding international signings from that same time period only makes the Phillies look relatively worse compared to other teams (if I'm not mistaken, Galvis would be the only one with positive bWAR).

I also realize that my statement is probably not going to be as true in a few years when d'Arnaud and Singleton are likely significant contributors, so it's not totally honest.

As far as the Braves go, even if only 2 of the 5 are on their roster, those 2 are very young, cost-controlled, borderline all-stars. Without Heyward and Freeman, the '13 Braves would be right with the '13 Phillies in the standinggs.

sohpist: If you want to make that distinction, then the Phillies have 0.

The Yankees were also big players in the international market, nabbing Hideki Matsui. I don't think I need to remind anyone that he was a pretty big part of their last championship.

DH Phils: you might want to take a look at Heyward's 2013 so far before making that statement. He'll improve, but so far he started bad and then had an appendectomy.

fumphis: so when a pitcher gives up a HR, its simply bad luck, because a HR/FB% of 100% is just unsustainable right?

C'mon man.

BAP - I agree. But comparing to the Yankees wasn't necessarily supposed to be a defense of the Phillies but a better comparison in terms of payroll flexibility and draft position. Phils are drafting late so comparing to the Nats or Braves may be harder. Doesn't excuse 0 position players. Comparing to the Yanks reveals how poorly the Phils have leveraged their $$ into int'l development (guys like Bastardo, Ruiz, Galvis aside).

DH - Just think 2 Braves vs 0 Phils is a better way to understand how different the teams are this year. Phils don't need 5 internal position players on the current roster -- they only need 2 over the last year or so. That would make all the difference.

Would be curious to see the other 3 Braves since it didn't really help them that much since 2002. Imagine they traded some for Teixeira.

I don't know how the Pence trade affected the '12 and '13 trades. Even if the Phils hadn't made that trade, the only guy they likely would have brought up possibly so far is Cosart.

Maybe some of the chips in the offseason might have been used to bring in a better CF via trade but if the Phils had been .500 last season Amaro likely would have been reluctant to deal any additional high-ceiling young players who could help this team in '13 and '14.

Talk of Amaro being the worst GM in baseball are over blown and if the team had won a WS in '10-'11 he would have been almost universally praised.

I actually agree completely with Clout. DH Phils' posts have been entirely on point this morning.

Andrelton Simmons
Yunel Escobar

TTI: "for as bad as this team has played this year they only sit 4 games out of a playoff spot."

This is incorrect. They sit 4 games back of the 2nd Wildcard leader. They are also multiple games back of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Wild Care leaders.

Their actual Games back is closer to 17 games than it is 4.

Simmons. Wow. Didn't realize given how few games he's played. So 3 on their current roster.

MG - It's kinda a waste to play the counterfactual game, but it's not only about the Pence trade. The Howard extension set a certain course for this team, and the Pence trade occurred largely *because* Brown (or any other power position player) wasn't contributing. Brown contributes and you're not trading for Pence. Maybe Cosart and Singleton aren't part of the 2013 team anyway, but maybe you have more chips for someone like Dexter Fowler or Willingham. Just one position player on this team and things look a lot different.

And obviously a separate category of "scouting" but Werth and Vic were brought in post 2003. Need to factor in guys like that to the analysis.

Sophist - It but if you are only talking about one recent event (Pence trade), I don't see how that made the '12 season a wash and really impacted this year.

Howard would still be the everyday 1B. Phils certainly didn't spend big on starting pitching this offseason.

I didn't like the Pence trade at the time (really wanted Bourn) but it is really overhyped right now as a reason the Phils are struggling. It has had no/marginal impact on them and through the rest of the year.

Urbina is already out.

And, it was in Venezuela.

I believe he's pitching for the Lions of Caracas now.

Okay, either way, he's got to be better than almost anyone in our bullpen right now, no?

The reason the Phils are struggling (at least offensively/defensively) is a combination of the decline in talent of the guys they kept (Rollins, Howard, Utley) and a failure to supplement that with any talent in other places. Which is to say, not only are Rollins, Howard and Utley not the players they were in 2008-2009, but Delmon Young, Ben Revere, and Dom Brown are no Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, and Pat Burrell/Raul Ibanez.

For the former, it's a natural thing. You can say he shouldn't have signed Howard (obviously), but to a certain extent there's not much you can do as your guys get older. For the latter, that's on Amaro. With the farm system he inherited in 2009, and the payroll he's been granted, there's no excuse for the basic lack of talent out on the field.

It comes down to talent. Amaro hasn't shown the ability to discover/develop/assess talent.

MG - If you look at the Pence trade as occurring due to the problems DH references (lack of internal position players) and imagine a world where Brown develops, then there is a bigger impact.

If Brown is a Markakis-type (3 WAR) player in 2011 to the present, you'd not only have that asset (as opposed to the -1.7 bWAR player Brown has been for his career) but the prospects you gave up for Pence. Amaro was interested in Fowler and didn't have the pieces to get him. An OF was a better Brown and Fowler is way different than the sloop we have now.

That's the kind of difference 1 internal position prospect can make. If the Phils even managed a 2nd (Galvis or even a reasonable Vic extension to make him your RF) or didn't extend Howard (which doesn't involve 20/20 hindsight to dislike), and we're talking about a radically different team. The aging core has a lot to do with the sudden fall from 102 wins, but FO did themselves no favors. A team like the Yankees has managed to stay competitive, even with a worse 1B contract than ours, with just a couple of good draft picks, trades (swinging Austin Jackson for Granderson), and aggressive int'l signings. Phils have failed on those fronts.

One or two of the guys in the Pence trade probably could have netted us Willingham in the Revere trade. Just one, I bet. The price for Revere was already steep and they tried to pry Willingham according to Salisbury. If they threw in Cosart, if Amaro had insisted on Willingham being in the deal, I bet he'd have gotten him.

To the extent that the system is now so empty that it's almost impossible to make any kind of move that would impact the MLB roster, yeah, the Pence trade matters this year.

2013: The Year of the Shutout

Basic point: even though run levels are staying the same from past years, they are results from the increase in HRs only. All other on-base events are trending down.

You could also call it the Year of the Solo HR, with the Phillies as an example.

The lead time on International free agents is so long (except for Cubans) that the Phillies really needed to be spending in Latin America in 2007-2008 for it to have produced a major leaguer by now (so that's not really on Amaro). If they finally started putting money into it now, it'll be 2019 before we see results in Philadelphia. Signing 16 year olds means waiting a long time for them to develop. Not spending the money was very short-sighted.

I also think the idea of "winning now" vs. "the future" can be something of a false choice.

Good teams can do both. Sophist mentioned the Tigers getting Austin Jackson for Granderson. That's a good example. The Tigers have generally been a "win now" team under Mike Illitch and Dombrowski. Went to the WS in 2006, won 88 games in 2007. Then, even coming off an 86-win season in 2009, and even with Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander in their primes, they traded a star in Granderson for a nice package of younger players headlined by Jackson. They've since generally been a contender, despite "selling" Granderson.

Cardinals are the same way--they let Pujols go, brought up some younger guys, and they've since made the NLCS and have the best record in baseball this year.

This idea that every move has to be made in one direction or the other seems to me to be a fallacy.

Horst/Valdes/Durbin stay, Joe Savery demoted. Can't imagine has has (m)any options left now - not that it matters.

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EST. 2005

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