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Friday, May 10, 2013


Are you ignoring DeFratus on purpose because its so obvious?

"Phillippe Aumont has been wilder than any of them, but he at least has a plus fastball that he can throw by hitters."

Why do I feel like we're about to get another education on the importance of velocity from clout?

"It just feels like the Phillies need one more effective reliever to even think about contending."

What's this garbage? The bullpen is completely irrelevant to the team's success this year. No additional arms are needed.

The Phillies need a lot more than one more relief arm.

Tommy Joseph numbers at AA and above:

.250/.293/.392 (.685 OPS) with 14 HRs and 38/111 Ks in 471 ABs so far in 121 G

Consider me underwhelmed given that he isn't a great defensive catcher either since he has issues blocking pitches/moving quickly.

Aumont you live with because of his K ability and his raw stuff. Not necessary a guy who want pitchign a ton in high leverage spots but he is at least a MLB-caliber arm.

Horst was last year. This year he is a freaking mess. Slider has flattned out, his velocity is down 2-3 MPH, and has had real issues with throwing strikes.

No idea why he is on this roster yet unless Amaro thinks he needs a 2nd lefty yet the past few years the Phils have gone months in their bullpen with a 2nd lefty. It's freaking baffling and I am almost tempted to call in and ask Amaro why Horst is on the roster yet.

MG- please call in. Make sure you let us know what assumed name you will use on your call so we know it's you.

Joseph has 21 games at AAA and is 21 years old. What exactly should we be expecting from him at this point?

lorecorn -- Didn't ignore De Fratus, just didn't mention him there because the point in that sentence was that you should bring up a wild, mid-90s guy if the alternative is a wild, mid-80s guy.

De Fratus has been better than any Phillies minor-league reliever aside from Savery, who the Phils don't seem to be high on at all based on this most recent demotion when a few other guys probably deserved it more.

"Aumont you live with because of his K ability and his raw stuff."

I would amend that statement to: "Aumont you live with because you can't realistically replace 4 guys, and he at least has an upside." Even as amended, I'm not so sure I would agree.

Corey, to be fair, Savery didn't exactly impress in his latest call up with the big league squad.

What's that you say? They never even used him? Well then...

I wonder sometimes if some of these guys analyze tape of themselves and work on developing a consistent approach to their pitching or even if they think about what they're doing up there. Seems to me that some of them just go out there and throw the ball and hope for the best. If that's all they're doing, they don't belong in MLB in my opinion.

Aumont may have an MLB caliber arm, but he does not belong in MLB until he can intentionally pitch somewhere near the strike zone w/ regularity. Where Aumont ought to be right now is AAA.

As for Joseph, family friend who works an independent scout saw a lot him last year at Reading & scouting Eastern League.

Best-case scenario he turns into Kelly Shoppach. Doesnt' think he has Shoppach's raw power though and isn't as athletic as Shoppach was either.

If the Phils plan on Joseph being their starter & heir apparent for Chooch, they are going to be sorely disappointed next year. Basically sees him as a backup cathcer type who hits for a really low average at the MLB but has a strong arm/some power which enables him to stock as a backup.

"Doesnt' think he has Shoppach's raw power though and isn't as athletic as Shoppach was either."

This might be the most depressing sentence I've read today.

So if Aumont is sent down who should be up here?

Yeah Savery is the definition of mediocrity but I would take him on this roster right now over Horst in a heartbeat. Savery has pitched well at Lehigh & has had good command.

For what is worth he liked Ruf too but just though he would be wasted on an NL roster and needed to play on AL one and soon. One of those guys who won't be around at the MLB level after his late 20s and some of his athletic ability starts to fade.

Its obviously all hypothetical, but if the best package offered to the Phillies in a trade centered around a young catcher like Norris, there is no way I take a lesser deal because of the presence of Tommy Joseph already in my system.

They are also 3 years apart, I think thats a great gap to have between position prospects, especially at Catcher who are probably the most commonly injured position player on the diamond.

The ~5% chance that both Norris AND Joseph are good enough to deserve to be starting in the bigs at the same time would simply give the team even more flexibility anyway. I'd welcome it.

MG, really not being a jerk here, but we're talking about the 'power' of the same Kelly Shoppach with a lifetime .418 SLG and 68 career HR in 9 seasons (.734 OPS; 97 OPS+)?

Like, Joseph's raw power is inferior that THAT Kelly Shoppach?

WP - He just mentioned Shoppach. Shoppach actually had some decent power numbers in the minors. Just never quite panned out as Boston had hoped.

speaking of Oakland - Jimmy would make a ton of sense there too. Move Lowrie over to 2B where belongs.

lorecorn: Agreed on both counts (Utley & Rollins).

"[His] plus fastball . . . [is] the only way to explain Aumont's 2.45 ERA despite his 10 walks in 11 innings."

I can think of several alternative explanations. The first is that he has pitched a lot of garbage-time innings, when the other team was so far ahead that the opposing hitters had ceased to care. The second is that he has been bailed out a few times -- including a couple times in the last week by Horst. The third is that he has 2 walk-off losses in which he was deprived of further opportunity to allow the base runners he yielded to score.

The other thing about Aumont is that it seems to me his 97 MPH fastball is actually the main source of his problems. By my eye, he seems to actually have half-way decent command of his curve. It's his fast ball that's all over the place. Of course, I fully expect that someone will post numbers telling me that my eye is wrong.

He did post some impressive HR totals in the minors in '04 and '05 at 24/25.

The best thing about Joseph right now is his age and the hope that he develops a bit more. If he was 23/24, he wouldn't be as rated as highly as he was.


I fully admit I thought certain guys (namely Aumont and Horst) would be better than this. I also have always advocated DeFratus being up here over Durbin, but hey, I guess that's a lost cause, because when you can give the spot to a 35-year old, you have to do it.

Still, none of these young guys (besides Bastardo) showing anything at all is another mark against Amaro. Developing pitchers who can be effective in relief is actually the easiest thing to do in baseball. There's something wrong with your system and player development if you can't.

I figured some of these guys must be able to do it, considering how many decent relief "prospects" we were alleged to have. If none of them are actually any good, that's not a very good sign for the franchise.

Another one of Amaro's genius moves: non-tendering Nate Schierholtz, who was a perfectly good player whom we could absolutely use, and ended up signing with the Cubs for *more* than we would've been able to sign him for in arbitration.

Jack: Yeah, but the Phillies have D. Young now ...

MG, good point in that Shoppach likely has a different reputation amongst those who view mostly minor league baseball.

That said, it doesn't inspire hope that your buddy's view of Joseph is that he has less power than a guy who had minor league power that didn't amount to much at the MLB level. I may have to reset my expectations for the kid.

May as well throw in Mayberry and Frandsen in that Oakland trade. Mayberry can work on a post graduate degree at Stanford and Frandsen at San Jose State.

Yea it figures Schierholtz is slugging.546 and leading the league in 2Bs this year. I think we all knew that he was better than Nix/NoD/RFD but I assumed the marginal upgrade wasn't worth worrying about.

Two things:

1.) Catchers are always hard to project at the major league level as often the offensive aspects of their game lag behind the defensive part. With Joseph- keep in mind this is his first season at AAA so maybe he is just taking some growing pains right now.

2.) I don't think the Phillies view him as the everyday catcher next season. My guess is that if they let Chooch go it will be some stopgap solution to buy a year or two until Joseph would be hopefully ready to assume that role.

To contrast, check out this article on the A's. Basically the idea is that they've gotten above-average offense by finding platoon-type players, or players with specific skillsets, in their peak ages (mid to late 20s) and using them properly to maximize those skillsets.

In that vein, someone like Schierholtz would've been perfect for this team. I suppose in some ways Delmon Young fits that, except a) he's just bad overall, and b) the team is using him as an everyday RF, which is against the idea of finding guys with specific skillsets and putting them in the right positions to maximize those skills.

Iceman, your "bullpen isn't a problem" sarcastic meme is getting pretty tired now.

Jack: The presence of Charlie Manuel renders such an approach entirely pointless.

The bullpen has given up 1 ER over 7 IP in the last 4 games.

Joseph could take 3 more years to develop and he'd still be ok. Not many catchers enter the league as offensive dynamos.

So let me understand something:

1.) Delmon Young hitting 160 points under his career OPS is toast and we could've had

2.) Nate Schierholtz who is hitting 150 points over his career OPS

I would venture a guess neither Young nor Schierholtz's current OPS number will be sustainable.

The phillies have too many problems for only 1 thing to be THE problem.

Let me understand something:

One player is better defensively with better plate discipline and better power.

I would venture a guess that player is better.

TTI, Young and Schierholtz actually have basically the same career OPS: .740.

One offers defensive value and baserunning value, and would have more likely been viewed here as a platoon OF (as much s Charlie Manuel is actually capable of understanding the concept, at least).

This team would be much better off with Nate Schierholtz, whether or not he sustains what he's currently doing.

lets not go too far - schierholtz has a whopping 6% BB rate and basically the identical career slashline as NoD. He's off to a good start and his defense makes him better than NoD - but thats about it.

Like i said was a minor mistake that is looking worse because of his torrid start to the year.

MG: Joseph has been young for his league at every level. Your point would be legit if he were 23 instead of 21.

I always liked Schierholtz and wish he had stayed but

(1) Cubs are using him perfectly. He's got 94 PA against RHP and just 12 against RHP (he's 1-9 over LHP and hitting .318/.362/.591 against RHP). Do you think the Phils would do that?

(2) Half his PA have been at Wrigley where he's hitting .346/.364/.615. 8 of his 12 2B with a BAbip at .356, 100 points higher than his road BAbip. He's hitting .244/.320/.467 on the road. He SLG .430 in 2011 in SF, so that's right about where he should be.

I think we're making more of NS than necessary, though I agree it just continues to highlight (between Young, Brown, Revere, Pence, and Francisco, and on and on) how poorly this team is constructed.

In regards to Shoppach, he does have a .191 ISO and has hit a homer once every 24 ABs, so that is some power. You would take that power from a catcher any day. His SLG is slightly below average because his AVG is so low. He gives you power and walks and some defense.

Yeah, the Schierholtz thing only highlights how badly FO evaluates guys like Delmon Young. Delmon Young is a "producer" who deserves an everyday job. Schierholtz is a throw-in who gets non-tendered.

"This team would be much better off with Nate Schierholtz, whether or not he sustains what he's currently doing."

No they wouldn't. He'd be getting benched vs RHP for John Mayberry while bittel campaigns for him to be saved for pinch hitting late in games.

lorecorn, I think you're the one who's going to far in devaluing the importance of defense and baserunning. Schierholtz is no great shakes offensively, but as a platoon player who provides good defensive value in RF, and is a decent enough baserunner (certainly not the glaring liability that Delmon Young is), he's certainly more than palatable.

And you're right, it WAS a minor mistake, until we found out that their "fallback" plan was to get Delmon Young.

That made it a glaring mistake (though, any time you actively decide to bring in Delmon Young, you've made a pretty glaring mistake at some point in the process that led tot hat decision).

lorecorn: I see your point, but isn't that mistake exacerbated by the fact that Schierholtz was a RF obtained by trading a RF, only to be dumped in favor of going out & signing D. Young, who wasn't even available to play for the first month of the season, & doesn't belong in RF to begin with?

Fun facts:

1.) Schierholtz career OBP- .320
Young's Career OBP- .316

2.) Schierholtz's career plate appearances- 1495 with 28 home runs. 1 home run per 53 plate appearances.

Young's career plate appearances- 3607 with 90 home runs. 1 home run per 40 plate appearances.

And Schierholtz clearly a better defender.

I question the idea of pining for Schierholtz. He would've been the one blocking Ruf then and basically we are jumping on Amaro for not seeing that Schierholtz was going to way outperform his OPS as of May 10, 2013.

"I think we're making more of NS than necessary, though I agree it just continues to highlight (between Young, Brown, Revere, Pence, and Francisco, and on and on) how poorly this team is constructed."

If we're lucky, ownership won't put up with a decade of losing before reach for an outsider with a clue.

TTI - That's sorta the problem. They provide similar value offensively (although Young's a RHB with a severe platoon while Schieholtz is a LHB so has an advantage vs most pitchers), but Schierholtz is better at pretty much every other aspect of the game.

FO thinks one guy is sorta useless, but the other deserves every shot to start until (and even after probably) he fails.

TTI - I didn't mind when Schierholtz wasn't tendered but it did leave scrambling for a 5th OF when Ruf struggled so badly in spring in LF.

Amaro gambled that Ruf would be able to handle LF adequatley enough to make the MLB roster and he didn't.

Fatal/gtown: agreed, obviously delmon being our new starting OF is terrible. But thats just a mistake in and of itself, without Nate even being factored in.

Wait. Schierholtz was non-tendered to make room for Ruf? Was that really the story?

And before people sharpen knives let me say: I am not necessarily advocating that I prefer Young over Schierholtz or vice versa. What I am saying is I find the longing for Schierholtz a little over the top considering the people advocating for him are:

1.) the same people who advocated for Ruf and complained that Young was going to block him. I would argue that it is bad that anyone is blocking Ruf.

2.) Pretending like Schierholtz's numbers are his new norm when clearly he is in the midst of a career season if he sustains it, and pretending like Young's season is his new norm when he is way below his career averages.

3.) The same people who complain how Charlie uses a platoon and expect him to use Schierholtz the exact same way they are in Chicago. As I said the other day, it's akin to walking into Burger King and being pissed when they won't sell you a Big Mac. At some point you just need to accept the situation at hand.

The comparison of Joseph to Shoppach by someone who claims to be a pro scout is baffling.

Shoppach was never a great prospect and, in fact, didn't play a full big league season until age 28. He did show some good minor league power when he was 26 and 27 at Triple A, way old for the league. To compare that to what Joseph is doing at age 21 in Triple A suggests an astonishing lack of knowledge.

Pining for Nate Schierholtz... kinda sums up the 2013 Phillies

D. Young wasn't viewed as a superior solution th Schierholtz necessarily.

I would bet bottom dollar that Amaro planned on acquiring a starting CF (he did eventually in Revere), giving Brown an everyday job at one of the corner spots, and then figuring out the other one with a mix of holdovers including Mayberry/Nix while planning on Ruf as his 5th OF who would play LF/1B and be a power bat off the bench from the right side.

Plan kind of fell apart when Ruf looked so awful defensively in spring training and didn't hit enough to win a roster spot.

The stupid thing now is that D. Young is the ipso defacto starter in RF and that is as much on Cholly if not more so than Amaro. Cholly be damned will trot a guy out there everyday if he can at a spot and clearly hates platoons.

Cholly was the wrong manager for this team last year and again this year.

Sophist: "FO thinks one guy is sorta useless, but the other deserves every shot to start until (and even after probably) he fails."


Clout - Shoppach was 24/25. Not 26/27. Just throw out Shoppach as a comparison too.

I agree with Sophist - the idea of the team thinking a guy like Delmon Young is better than Schierholtz is the much much bigger problem than the single instance of losing Schierholtz and signing Delmon Young.

Even worse than that? They won't even know how to tell if they were wrong or right after the year.

I'd say bring up Jake Diekman to replace Valdes or Horst, but even if he has mid-90s stuff he's also walked 20 guys in 15 innings at Triple-A.

Good lord, how does Diekman even get into the discussion?

Valdes is fine - he doesn't have the other guys' control problems and would be fine if he weren't pitching long stints, as he gets bombed after about 35 pitches.

I'd keep Valdes over Horst because Valdes is throwing strikes and Horst isn't. Dump Durbin and send down Horst, and call up De Fratus and Cesar Jimenez.

Jimenez is a multi-inning guy (he's even started a bit), can hit 90+ on the gun, and has a decent changeup that makes him pitchable against RHB. He seems to have figured out the control problems he's had in the past, probably because his shoulder is healthy now. He has a deeper arsenal of pitches (fastball/changeup/slider) and would be a better fit for the long-man role than Valdes or Horst.

They could also start taking advantage of their plethora of mediocre lefties (Horst, Valdes, Savery, and Jimenez) and use the Lehigh Valley shuttle regularly to keep the pen fresh.

lorecorn: Well, it all depends on who has more RBIs at the end of the year.

That's how you know who the better player is, right?

Amaro did also try to acquire power hitting RH via trade (Willingham) and via FA but the price was too high in FA for him to make an offer that was in the $6-$7M range. Even a mediocrity like Ross got 3 yr/$26M and I am really glad Amaro didn't sign him to that deal.

ColonelTom - I would be fine with both of those moves and I bet it would provide an immediate and notable upgrade to the pen.

I seem to remember a lot of griping and groaning around here when Schierholtz was acquired. Now everyone wishes he was still here?

Sophist: Right or wrong- Schierholtz was non-tendered over money I would bet.

They probably weren't sure what he would get and didn't want to be on the hook for it. He ended up signing for 2.25 million with an additional 500,000 in performance bonuses. So 2.75 million potentially for a platoon guy.

Young is getting 750,000 and potentially 3.5 million if he hits all of his bonuses. I would say at this point he will have trouble getting 350,000 of those performance bonuses.

Joseph's clearly still a decent prospect and was a good "get" in the Pence deal. Time will tell if he pans out, but at 21, he has plenty of time.

I'm not opposed to getting Norris if we deal with the A's, though. He's pretty much ready for the bigs and could step in next year; I doubt Joseph or any of our other catching prospects will be ready. Norris also walks a ton, which would be a huge plus in the Phils' lineup.

jbird: Quite a few posters on here are like Diamond Joe Quimby:

"Very well. If that is the way the winds are blowing, let no one say I don't also blow"

MG mixing up sayings on here is, and always will be, one of my favorite things on here. "Ipso defacto" made me laugh.

A couple quick thoughts on Tommy Joseph:

1. He's young for his league.

2. Catchers typically develop slower than most prospects as its, by far, the hardest position to learn.

I wouldn't worry too much. Sure, he's not gonna step in and start next year but to even expect him to is unfair to him. They'll clearly sign a veteran stopgap on a 1-2 year deal...maybe it'll be Chooch, maybe not.

MG: I don't buy that explanation for a second. My feeling was & is that Ruf was only invited to Spring Training as a courtesy, & r00b had no intention whatsoever of keeping him on the roster.

Amaro had 3 LH corner OF. He wanted 2. Sounds good.
DOM's prospect, Nix under contract, Nate could be nontendered. Sounds good.
That ~$2M Amaro saves went into his FA plans. Sounds good

The $2M is spent on Durbin and NoD - that's the mistake.

Colonel Tom: I agree on the Norris thing. Having catching depth in the minors is not a bad thing. Right now the Phillies have Joseph, Valle, and Rupp in the minors and I've seen positive and negatives on all of them. Get a guy to create some more depth and maybe someone like Valle can go in a deal somewhere.

I see pictures of Tommy Joseph and I have visions of Todd Pratt. I don't know how I feel about that.

Clout: from last thread-was responding to lorecore's trade suggestion, not any real world need.

"I agree with Sophist - the idea of the team thinking a guy like Delmon Young is better than Schierholtz is the much much bigger problem than the single instance of losing Schierholtz and signing Delmon Young."

I really hate to post this, but I do believe that penny pinching had something to do with it.

They got No-D dirt cheap, and Schierholtz would have, initially at least, cost them more.

Not that you can call a team with their payroll "cheap", but it does seem that marginal dollars played a roll on their decision making.

GTown Dave - He didn't acquire another OF and D. Young was a table scrap signing. They didn't sign him until Jan. 22 and it was essentially at the veteran league minimum with some moderate incentive upside.

Pierre was almost identifal to D. Young. Phils need another OF and he was signed Jan. 27th the previous year on essentially what was a veteran league minimum deal with some modest incentive upside.

"The $2M is spent on Durbin and NoD - that's the mistake."


So a team with a $160-170M payroll didn't want to pay NS ~$2M so they non-tendered him. In a cost-saving move, they signed a guy who they could end up paying $3.5M.

As I was perusing Cot's site I saw the Michael Young no-trade list. He would accept a trade to: Colorado, Houston, Angels, Dodgers, Minnesota, Yankees, Cardinals, and Padres.

Sophist: Yeah because the money situation changed between Schierholtz being non-tendered and them signing Young.

TTI: "They probably weren't sure what he would get and didn't want to be on the hook for it"

I know TTI and I aren't supposed to speak to each other because he can't handle conversing with me like an adult, but this is crazy.

Matt Swartz has a model that accurately predicts players' arbitration awards to within a hundred thousand dollars, usually. You're telling me that the Phillies are an almost billion dollar business, and they don't have someone that can accurately predict what players will get in arbitration, and a model to say whether they think the player is worth that?

It's one thing to say the Phillies didn't value Nate Schierholtz at the money he was going to get. That's fine--I might disagree with that conclusion, but at least it's based on some sort of analysis. To say the Phillies' front office just couldn't figure out what he was going to be paid, and didn't know if he was worth it, is to say they are essentially incompetent at their jobs.

If you look at Delmon Young's realistic bonuses, it is basically a ceiling of $1.5M on his base of $750k and that is assuming he stays on the roster the rest of the season, makes all of his weigh-ins (one of the most ridiculous clauses in MLB in recent years), and has somewhere between 300-400 PAs.

ColonelTom, I like your prescription for the bullpen woes.

There is just one problem with it: This is the Phillies.

I would bet Schierholtz was dumped because:

1. He hit LH
2. He didn't play well here/injured in his short duraton here
3. He doesn't hit for power

Money was just a secondary thing especially with Nix already here.

MG: D. Young may have been a table scrap signing, but it was obvious r00b felt that was his big off-season coup. It's the whole reason Brown was moved to LF, & there was no way in hell Ruf was going to make the roster over Brown. Spring Training was a formality.

I guess Schierholtz is this years version of Rafael Furcal last year. Off to a hot start so Roob is an idiot regardless of what happens during the rest of the year. PPP logic at its finest.

sophist: If Delmon Young hits all the stats he has to hit to earn $3.5M I guarantee he will have a far better OPS+ than Schierholtz at season's end.

If Delmon is stinking it up, there's no way he hits the performance bonuses.

MG: "I would bet Schierholtz was dumped because:

1. He hit LH
2. He didn't play well here/injured in his short duraton here
3. He doesn't hit for power"

Exactly right.

clout - You may be right, but then we should say that the NS non-tender wasn't about "pinching pennies" necessarily, as some argued, but about value. Just seems silly to say the Phils are in the business of pinching pennies. Think it's more accurate to say the Phils are just poor at resource allocation. They don't know how to spend what they have well.

MG, money may have been a "secondary thing", but with the big salaries already committed on this team, they're forced to pinch the marginal dollars that they do have.

That's how it played onto the NS situation.

They are[were] forced to make choices (in their minds, in order to stay under the LT threshold) when they round out the roster, and someone made the decision that the marginal dollars spent on NS could be better utilized elsewhere.

They obviously figured the money was better spent on Durbin, and then when No-D showed up on their radar at that price, they figured "WTF".

The No-D and NS situation will probably balance itself out by the end of the season (as TTI points out above), but bringing in Durbin has not - so far - been money well spent.

I mean. There could be a multitude of reasons given.

The simple fact is that a team that spends $170 million and thinks Delmon at $1.5 million (about what he'll realistically get) is a better option than Schierholtz at $1.7 million is just wrong.

Not to mention compounding the problem by making Delmon your everyday RF (which people will say is on Charlie, but a) Rube is Charlie's boss, and b) Amaro himself said when he signed Delmon that it was with the intention of him being the everyday RF).

So the Phils non-tendered NS and his ~$2.25M salary in order to stay under the luxury tax?

And then went and signed a guy they could be paying even more?

I'm just not buying it. Think this was all about player evaluation.

Exhibit A right there about why I don't waste my time with the DWOS anymore

The Phillies signed Chad Durbin and Delmon Young. How can you say this team wasn't "pinching pennies" this offseason?!

Schierholtz wasn't going to cost $2.25 million here.

His arbitration estimate was around $1.6-1.7 million.

The fact that he got more on the open market should itself be point of evidence that the Phillies didn't value him prperly.

Isn't the story the Phils didn't want NS at the deadline, but taking him was a requirement for the Pence deal? Once he was here, NS didn't exactly set the world on fire either. 2 strikes against him.

lorecore - The 2013 luxury tax is $178M. Phils current obligations are ~$159.5M.

jack: correct, i've just been saying ~$2M for ease and the sake that its an estimation. I agree that Swartz' model is extremely accurate.

Jack: If D. Young stays 'til the end of the season, makes weight, & gets 300 PA, he'll hit the $2.20 million mark.

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