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Monday, July 01, 2013


With a boatload of home games ahead of us, I don't see RAJ punting the season yet. I predict we'll have at least one "treading water" move in the next week or two where we give up a lower-value veteran that we can replace in-house (I'm looking at you, Michael Young) for immediate bullpen help.

Michael Young for Joba! DO IT RUBE!

Easy? Easy? Puh-lease, Seidman. You try to play as hard as I play. Seidman, what kinda name is that?

From the last thread:

"If you're hoping to compete by 2015 at the latest, you keep Lee."

Well. Lee will be 36, turning 37 in August of 2015.

Is everyone really so confident he's going to be an ace then? Atfer everything we just went through with Halladay, people are willing to just assume age won't matter for Cliff Lee?

All I'm saying is that, by not trading Lee, the Phils are not only taking the risk of keeping a good player on a bad team. They're also taking the risk that the guy stays a good player.

Michael Young for Joba! DO IT RUBE!

That's the guy I was thinking of. Joba's buried in Girardi's doghouse right now and will be a free agent after the season. I could see Ruben grabbing him and giving him a trial run, with an eye toward giving him an extension if he's effective.

Apparently the Dodgers are finalizing a deal for Carlos Marmol, so scratch a potential relief target from our list.

From last thread:

Lee's age is obviously a risk. But he has a lot less innings on his arm than Halladay did, and that's not insignificant. If there was a pitcher that still profiles as elite at 37 it's Lee.

Of course that's also what makes him potentially so valuable as a trade chip.

ColonelTom: No, Marmol not coming to the phillies avoids a major disaster. He hasn't been able to get guys out for a WHILE. I live in Chicago and have watched lots of marmol. He's Antonio Bastardo, with admittedly better stuff, but even more inconsistent and total head-case

My point is merely this. To justify keeping Lee the whole time, you're betting that ALL these conditions occur:

1. The Phillies contend in 2014, 2015, or 2016.
2. Cliff Lee is still a very good player in those years.
3. The Phillies couldn't allocate the $80 million or so left on Lee's deal more effeciently.

That's not even getting into what the prospects you get back for trading Lee turn into.

Sure, there's a chance Lee is still good. And sure, there's a chance the Phils are competing in 2015. All I'm saying is that you need a lot of things to go right for keeping Lee to make sense, and I just wonder if that's worth betting on.

Is there scientific evidence to suggest that players with fewer innings at specific ages depreciate in performance less rapidly and/or begin to do so at different ages? My 'unscientific' opinion is that players with similar physical profiles will probably depreciate at similar rates and similar points in careers independently of innings pitched - when age takes over, it takes over.

Granted, I do think depreciation could start earlier if a player has tons of milage, but that's not the case with Lee since he's almost 35 and is pitching at a 6-8 WAR level. IMO, Lee will probably be a 2-3 WAR player at age 37, and thus trading him now is probably the best move. I think fans and GMs get too anchored with current performance and fail to see the realistic trajectory of a player.

As a big market team, the Phillies really have to contend in 2014, 2015 and 2016. That doesn't mean they're going to, but a NBA style rebuild just isn't a realistic scenario, especially for a team like Philly. And really, the expand playoffs gives most MLB teams a puncher's chance of contending in any given year.

And then there's the fact that good free agents are becoming scarcer (and older)because of all the long term contracts that are being given out. So it becomes more difficult to allocate Lee's dollars efficiently when they go off the books. (If they traded Lee [or Hamels] last season, those dollars would have likely gone to Swisher, Upton, Hamilton etc. I'd take a 37 year old Lee over any of them, because Cliff Lee remains an awesome baseball player.)

So unless somebody makes an overwhelming offer they're going to keep Lee. And I lean toward that being the logical way to go, in lieu of a Profar/Taveras plus type offer.

Teams playing against the Phillies in June struggled with their easy schedule, putting together a record of 13-15 against one of the most miserable teams in the history of MLB.

sh!t... 15-13

I am so glad the Rox snapped up Nady.

Now we have to see where Hinske and Francouer will get penciled into the new and improved lineup after ASB.

How did "having to contend" go for them in 2012 and 2013? They've had a top-3, big market payroll in both of those years, and so far have a 120-125 record to show for it.

Obviously if the choice is between contending or not contending, I want the team to contend.

But the choices are more accurately represented as "likely not contend with a team of old players" or "likely not contend with a team of young players."

A few years ago when i joined the pool league our team was rag-tad bunch. Me and my friend where first year players just learning the basics. We had one veteran on our team and a few other rift-rafts. We made it to the semi-finals. Me and my friend rose to the occassions on a few times and beat the better players.( i lost the elimination match) The following session my team captain decided to add more experienced players with better "resumes". We tried for a little over year and was never able to duplicate the run we had. Such as the world of sports/and competition.

This is not scientific, but I copied some text from Seidman's post about Age 35 pitchers and annotated it with the Major League Innings Pitched through that players age 35 season. I didn't have inclination to get into minor league innings. I'm not sure how much they impact things.

"Cone, for example, went from 3.17 from 32-34 to 3.50 from 35-36. His post-35 ERA was 4.48."
ML IP through age 35 season: 2396

"Mike Mussina went from 3.52 from 32-34 (a solid ERA during the steroid era) to 4.50 at 35-36."
ML IP through age 35 season: 3013

"Mike Scott went from 3.09 to 4.11 and quick retirement."
ML IP through age 35 season: 2061

"Recent Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven had a 3.24 ERA from 32-34, then a 4.40 ERA the next three years."
ML IP through age 35 season: 3987

Not saying this proves anything, because the science here is spotty at best. Just providing some color. 4 pitchers does not a trend make.

No brainer genius

Don't know if this got mentioned in the last thread(s) but, Locke isn't pitching tomorrow so Howard may be in teh lineup. Been out of town all day so, not sure if they've announced who will pitch. Was listed as TBA in the morning paper. They could move Gomez and Cole up and throw them on regular rest, then pitch Locke on the 4th. Or, just slide him backa day.

They'd have no chance to contend without Lee and Utley. With a healthy them, they have a chance. The 2012 team wasn't so far away from legitimately contending, and probably would have if it was for some smarter little moves/less Ty Wigginton.

Again, by all means trade Utley and Lee if the return is huge. But it has to be huge. They have to be multiple prospects, some of whom are darn near sure thing difference makers.

Because The Phillies are going to continue to spend a lot money. I'm pretty sure the +/- 40 million they potential spend on Lee and Utley over the next few years will be better allocated better on Lee and Utley than it would be on the available pool of free agents. This is because Lee and Utley probably have a couple more years of being awesome in them, and a team full of Cody Ross's sucks.

Some sucker is going to give Robinson Cano 8 years 200 million. And the team that gives Chase Utley 2 years 30 million -- even with his injury risk -- wins. And by keeping the QO in play, the Phillies can be that team.

Cliff Lee, his numbers speak for themselves. He's one of the best few pitchers in baseball. Even with age based decline, he will likely be worth his salary plus over the next couple years.

They need to be blown away to deal these guys (and Hamels too.) Everybody else, sell them off for whatever lottery tickets you can scrounge up.

Yeah, I have never seen any actual evidence to suggest that a 35-year old with 2000 IP is less likely to be ineffective than a 35-year old with 3000 IP.

It may be true, and it definitely seems to be something that people tell themselves. Of course, when it was Halladay, we all told ourselves that the high IP totals showed he was durable and a horse, and thus you could bet on him being effective through his mid-30s. So, you know.

Decline and pitchers.

Interesting stuff. Although I would have to point out Mussina (who's a good overall Cliff Lee comp) had two of his better years overall at age 37 and 39, beyond the quoted sample, and is actually a pretty good example of a who kept being near-elite into his late 30s.

Jdt: I see your point about the Phillies not being able to spend Lee's money more efficiently in the FA market. It's well-taken, as is the point about the value of Chase Utley compared to, say, Robbie Cano.

I guess my only counter to that would be that the Phillies have Lee and Utley and aren't contending now. Saying they have a chance to contend with them begs the question of how, exactly, do you propose they do that? Without a lot of ready to contribute young talent, and with your own caveat that it's really hard to get good players in FA now, where exactly is the rest of that contending team coming from?

I mean, if the answer is that you just pray Hamels, Lee and Utley are all really good and carry a team, and you fill in the rest at the margins with small moves, I would simply point you to the team currently on the field.

They tried that, and it has failed. Maybe a very good GM could do it, but given what we know about Amaro, how can you possibly trust him to use small trades and signings to turn this team into a contender next year? He gave us Delmon Young and Chad Durbin as two of his big moves this offseason.

I agree with what Jack's saying about Lee except for this part: I think it's very possible his value is as high, and maybe slightly higher, this off season.

I think if you waited any longer than that to deal him, the risk skyrockets. But he would be the crown jewel of the off-season pitching-wise, and teams might see themselves as more prepared to make a substantial offer as they reshape their teams than at the deadline adding pieces on the fly. I don't think holding on to him for two extra months is risky enough to trade him for 50 cents on the dollar because you think he'll get hurt.

Forget it. Harper is back. HR on second pitch

I have NO interest in Joba. I'd rather take a risky AA guy from the yankees then another shotty RP.

Look there's no doubt Amaro and company has put this team into the bind that you are describing.

IMO, without a return of multiple sure fire prospects you keep Lee and Utley because maybe Brown keeps up his hitting and grows into a better all-around player and Revere, who's still quite young, gets better and maybe Ruff and Asche end up contributing or maybe Franco goes total beast and is in the majors next year.

And if some of these things happen, and Hamels goes back to being Hamels (and/or Halladay's arm is fixed, and he comes back on a decent salary) suddenly they can be a contender, if Utley and Lee are still around.

I'm not betting on it, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility. And if doesn't work out, you try to draft better/use your resources to make international signings, as much as you can still do that, and hope some the lottery tickets you would get for Ruiz, M. Young etc turn out.

jdt: "Just having those four guys(utley/lee/paps/hamels) around in 2014 means you are few sly tweaks and some good luck away from being a contender"

Sorry, but those 4, and others, were given two shots in 2012 and 2013. They were good, but not good enough to overcome all of the other weaknesses. This is no longer an valid argument.

Jdt: "I'm not betting on it, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility."

Well, except if you refuse to trade Lee and Utley, betting on it is exactly what you'd be doing. You'd be delaying rebuilding and focusing on young talent based on the chance somewhere in the realm of possibility. That's the whole point.

Is the chance of contention with a good Cliff Lee in 2015 worth not trading him now (or this offseason) when he's at the peak of his value? If you say keep him, then you're not only committing to foregoing that young talent you could get for him, but you also then, logically, have to be committed to doing things like signing old veteran FAs to fill in the pieces. Because if you're trying to win, you're trying to win. If you're not, there's no point to keeping Cliff Lee past this offseason (in deference to Iceman).

I'm not refusing to trade Cliff Lee and Chase Utley. But if you do trade both of them you need to end with the best minor league system in baseball -- at least in terms of top prospects -- and if you trade one it should be pretty close. Because they are both really, really valuable players.

And even having the best minor league system in baseball is it's own kind of bet, with perhaps even longer odds than keeping Lee and Utley around and seeing what could happen with some tweaks and creativity of over the next few.

Just ask the Kansas City Royals. Or refer to the fact that in last decade the Phillies have made a quite a few big trades (Rolan, Abreu, Halladay, Lee Twice, Oswalt, Pence twice, others I'm missing and plenty smaller) and the only "prospect" in any of these deals that has made a serious big league impact is Gio Gonzalez (who was both traded for and traded), and maybe sort of Gavin Floyd.

Maybe one day D'Arnaud and Singleton will, but at this point one is always injured and the other is struggling (short sample size, obvs) in AAA.

While I can understand arguments for Lee staying (a smart GM could retool without dealing him), I just don't see a reason why Utley should not be dealt that goes beyond sentimentality. Especially considering he's apparently in high demand.

It's either walk away from his time here with a prospect or two, or walk away with nothing in December. Or re-sign him and watch him fade into oblivion on a terrible team. There's no reason he shouldn't be gone if teams come calling for him in a few weeks.

Didn't Singleton also get suspended 50 games for using extra vitamines?

JDt: You do understand that Chase Utley is a free agent after this year, right? Which means: (a) while you should be able to get a very good prospect for him, you're not going to get the type of uber-prospect that you seem to think he's worth; and (b) you could keep him for the rest of this hopeless season & end up losing him anyhow -- but without getting anything in return.

No, it was for marijuana use, not PEDs.

You keep Utley, in lieu of a huge offer, because he's really, really good. When healthy he's just about as good at being a second baseman than Cliff Lee is at pitching.

And the QO really works in the Phillies advantage, because it makes it harder for other teams to sign him. And I actually think having Utley on a 2 year 30 million deal is better for the franchise than getting the 60th best prospect in baseball, who probably has a less than 40 percent of ever being an impact player.

Now maybe for something like a top 30 type and another top 100 type the calculus is different.

This version of Utley is worth tendering at the end of the season. So, even if he's not traded, he would bring back a sandwich pick. So there's that. But if they do trade him, they need to get back one uber prospect and a very good one. He is a legitimate game changer for a contender and that's worth a lot.

Lee should bring back a haul of two or three uber prospects if the phillies will eat about half his salary. Less if they won't eat any salary.

Papelbon should bring back at least one very good prospect and more if they'll eat some salary.

MYoung might bring back a middling prospect. DYoung might bring back some of my stomach lining once he's gone.

Phillies should trade everything not nailed down (everything but hamels, brown, and revere). Just because the team trades off veterans doesn't mean they can't turn around in a year or two and trade off prospects in other deals.

I'd be more inclined to keep utley and lee if a certain someone wasn't eating up $25m a year at 1st to not be good.

From the last thread:

TTI~ I really don't care what they do anymore. The handwriting's been on the wall for quite some time. With all that's been written recently (David Murphy, etc.) about what was done compared to could have been, it's all moot anyway.

RAJ HAD to know his team wasn't good enough the last 2 years, didn't he?

Just for chatter's sake, the 2 moves I would make would be 1. Papbelbon (there's no reason for an "elite" closer, and I use that term loosely) & 2. Michael Young. He's been a disappointment offensively, as many here predicted he would. I was not one of them. I thought he'd do better. Maybe Cody Asche deserves a chance.

Honorable mention: 1. Lee, but only if we got quite a haul back including a capable starting pitcher & 2. Utley, provided we had someone to play 2nd base everyday. I know Galvis could do it defensively, but his offense isn't good enough. I would also try to re-sign Utley as a FA in the off-season, since RAJ would like to see him retire as a Phil.

I would also DFA D. Young, move DOM to RF & bring up Ruff. I don't know if that help s or hurts, but why not?

And, as I've said last week, I've little faith in the GM to re-build this team. You, Ice, & AWH among others could probably do a better job. All of you may not always agree with me, but at least you pay attention.

I don't care what they do either. Just something stale about the entire organization. Not sure if changing out a few players removes the staleness.

Another thing about Utley is that sentimentality for the sake of sentimentality might be silly, but it probably does sell tickets and jerseys and could lead to more dollars on a TV contract.

It is also interesting that on a couple occasions on the broadcasts Gary Matthews mentioned that Utley had taken Brown under his wing in terms of video preparation. Now that alone isn't a reason to keep somebody around, but it's not nothing. (For example, it's possible Kendrick would never have become a pretty useful pitcher without Halladay's influence and guidance.)

And it's another reason the price for Utley should be quite high.

You don't DFA Del Young.

You hope to hell he continues to hit decently and then you can move him to an AL team looking for a bat around the trade deadline.

I could see Utley being traded in July...and then re-signing in the off-season. That would not surprise me at all.

Cesar Hernandez is halfway to a 15 3B, 50 SB season at AAA. And Cameron Rupp now has 10 HR's between Reading and LV. He's done a nice job at Lehigh taking over as the #1 catcher there (and its coincided with the Pigs playing much better baseball in the past month).

For all of the guys we can actually trade, the question is just what you get for them. If the deal is good, you take it - if it isn't, you don't.

Personally I feel Lee's value for the money, even with the risk of a decline with age, is really good. If we get a great offer, we should trade him. Anything short and we should keep him - just look at the other big contracts we've handed out. It's not easy to find people who are worth big money. Lee is. Howard's an albatross, Utley's knees are Utley's knees despite how much I like him, Halladay is on the DL -- what do you think we'd need to get for Lee to justify trading away the one big contract that's working? It'd sure be stupid to trade him so we could sign a couple more Youngs in the offseason. Or for a couple "prospects" that'll sit in AAA ball until Michael Martinez turns into a garden gnome.

After 80 games, the Marlins finally changed their approach at the plate vs Jason Marquis and walked a season high 7 times, although they then revert back to their old approach after Marquis was pulled and didn't walk again.

I feel bad for Marquis, bad offenses always seem to change their approach during his starts.

Forgot to mention that I enjoyed reading the discussion earlier in the day on what prospects the Phils should target. I know nothing about most of these guys other than their stat lines on B-R, so it's helpful to read opinions from people actually know about them.

Put me in the lorecore camp of 'getting a second 3B prospect would be a great problem to have.' I love what Franco's been doing, but if you can get someone like Castellanos who is actually MLB ready, or even Matt Davidson from the D-Backs, you have to do it. The team doesn't have the luxury right now of being able to pick and choose what holes on the MLB roster they can leave open for someone already in the system. You get the best guy you can get that projects to fill a hole currently on the big league team. 3B, C and 2B are at the top of the list.

Being forced to move one of the guys to the OF is exactly the situation they want to put themselves in going forward.

Word seems to be that Daulton had a successful surgery to remove both tumors. The day news broke, it sounded like one of them was going to be inoperable, so this is very good news.

Lore, agree. Great news on Dutch. The article I read also said he was awake (!) during the procedure so he could talk and they could somehow pinpoint the part of his brain affecting speech. (Speech problems were symyoms of his tumor.
Get well soon, Dutch.

Rumors that the Dodgers have interest in Chase Utley. Don't like their system that much, with Puig not going anywhere and Zach Lee likely untouchable for a rental, but they have a couple good looking middle inf in Corey Seager and Jesmuel Valentin. Seager is said to be out growing SS at 6'4 220lb, but could stick. Valentin is more in the mold of a traditional middle inf, but less upside.

Not sure what to think of Joc Pederson. He's been proving scouts wrong for a few years in a row by continuing to play well despite detractors saying he'll flame out once the competition increases. Biggest knock is that he can't stick in CF, and he won't be able to hit for enough power to start in a MLB corner of position.

Iceman: Yeah, and as I said the other night. Hypothetically let's say we have both Castellanos and Franco. Let Castellanos man the 3B spot and if Franco continues to hit maybe you move Castellanos to left and bring up Franco. Or move Castellanos to third.

I agree with lorecore on the idea of having multiple guys that can man a position is a good problem to have. Gives you a ton of flexibility.

I was half tempted earlier today to say I would love for the Phillies to try and call Detroit and offer them Howard (their DH spot is awful this year) with the Phillies picking up 60-70% of his remaining contract. The reason I'd pick up that much is because somehow, some way I would try to pluck Will Clinard and/or Melvin Mercedes.

Clinard has struggled minorly this year but they say he has a great cutter with a developing slider and curveball. he's scuffling a little since being moved up to Double A but he profiles as a 7th/8th inning guy and does not walk many batters (12 in 42.2 innings so far this year. 21 walks in 80 career minor league innings)

Mercedes has a low to mid 90's 4 seam and 2 seam fastball with the latter supposedly having good downward movement in the zone. Slider needs some work but the talent is there.

Or we could ask for someone like Dixon Machado who has question marks about his bat but is a big plus defender with an elite arm allegedly. Needs to fill out more.

Excellent post, Corey.

Good job.

Jdt: The point about selling t-shirts is largely irrelevant. It was thrown around when Howard signed his contract. "Well, Howard may decline some, but he'll make up for it in revenue because he's such a popular star!" How many Howard t-shirts do you think they're selling this season? Enough to make up for the fact that he's a $25 million platoon 1B? I don't think so.

Every single study that's been done says that a winning team produces more revenue than a losing team, whether they have "marketable" stars or not. If Chase Utley can help the team win, he should be here. If trading Chase Utley is going to help the team win, they should trade him. Simple as that.

The second point at least has some merit, but it's pretty far down the list of considerations.

Not sure you'll get Seager from the Dodgers in an Utley deal, as they are weak organizationally at 3B where he will likely end up. Something like Zach Lee, Joc Pederson, and Chris Withrow might be doable and attractive enough for the Phils to part with Utley.

lore, you may be overestimating Zach Lee's value, which is why I think he'd be dealable for LA. He's not seen as a front-of-the-rotation guy. Scouts describe him as having a #3 ceiling but say he has a better-than-average chance of reaching that potential, which is why he's viewed as a very good prospect. He won't be a star, and when you have LA's virtually unlimited payroll, that makes you expendable.

This is what a complete blow up looks like with pretty best case scenario returns. The ratings are from Baseball America

Chase Utley to Baltimore for
Kevin Gausman (P) #26
Jonathan Schoop 2b/SS #82

Cliff Lee plus a small amount of salary relief to Texas for
Jurickson Profar (SS) #1
Cody Buckel (P) #87
And a Domingo Santana-like PBNL type

Jonathan Papelbon plus a medium amount of salary relief to detroit for

Nick Castellanos (said to be available in deal for BP help) (Former 3b profiles outfield) #21

Maybe you have throw in somebody like Asche, Ruff or Duggan, and then not pay any cash. Maybe Young or Ruiz goes in the deal and you also get back
Rondon (P) #95

Carlos Ruiz to the New York Yankees for
Tyler Austin (OF) #77

Michael Young to the Boston Red Sox for
Somebody in the 100 to 150 range

Jimmy Rollins to the St. Louis Cardinals for
Michael Wacha (P) #76

You add Franco, Biddle and Quinn to the mix, and suddenly you have the best minor league system in baseball. OK not exactly, because some of these guys would be in the majors, but it would be like they had the best minor league system in 2012.

I would probably do all these deals if they were possible. But even if you could pull them all off what you're left with is a pretty bad team in the short run, and no real guarantee of a good future (Just ask Kansas City.)

Jdt: I know you prefaced it by saying those are best-case scenario returns, but they look like about double what the realistic best-case scenario would be.

Ryan Howard no longer sells tickets, t-shirts and adds no value to a potential TV contract because he's not a good player and unfortunately hasn't been since his big deal kciked. He also doesn't help them win, which helps with tickets, t-shirts and TV contracts. (Although he's apparently still fit to sell Subway sandwiches)

Chase Utley makes the team considerable more competitive, which, along with his position as a fan favorite, does do those things.

Yup they are best case scenarios. Although I really don't think they are double. And if they are, you definitely might as well hang on to most of what you got and cross your fingers (and develop your own minor leaguers, draft better, smart FA signers) because half of that return means a long run of being very mediocre.

Phillies Phandom want Cliff Lee and Chase Utley to stay. Yeah they are that good at baseball, they have strong fan following, they can be great veteran models as the team gets younger, and they can still contribute over the next couple of years.

Do people on here really think that Cliff Lee is going to decline so precipitously? He's 34 years old and pitching as awesome as ever!

I think sometimes fans underestimate trade deadline deals. The best think to happen is the players that will be traded stay constiant this month. When you start pitting team vs team. You don't settle until you get what you want. And if you have some of the top guys to trade. Sky is the limit. There will always be that one owner who thinks this "guy" will get you into the playoffs. Or to the World Series. So the fact is we don't know what the market will be. JDT gave a great scenarios that could very well happen. Just look what rube gave for pence. Sure there was still years of control, but it happens.

Jdt: I seriously doubt the Phillies will get the packages you mentioned. Just because Amaro is stupid enough to give away Cosart, Singleton, and Santana for a year of Pence, doesn't mean other GMs are dumb enough to do so.

With Bundy getting hurt, I doubt that Baltimore will give up Gausman, especially for a 35-year old who's about to become a FA and has degenerative knees. Moreover, the latest rankings have Gausman in the 8-12 range, considering his recent development. There's no way that Utley could return a top 8-12 prospect.

One other point: you seem to overvalue short-term success over long-term sustainability. If you were to do probability-adjusted expected return for each scenario, losing now (which is likely inevitable irrespective of what Amaro does) would unequivocally be the best outcome. In economics or finance terms, your 'discounting' factor per year is way too high. Furthermore, the team's probability of winning while retaining Utley, Lee, Rollins, etc. is very, very low.

Jdt also seems to be treating Lee and Utley the same, which they are not.

Utley is a FA after this season. There is no such thing as "choosing to keep him." if you trade him or if you don't trade him, you still have to try and sign him as a free agent after this season. The only difference is whether you get to make him the qualifying offer or not.

Do people on here really think that Cliff Lee is going to decline so precipitously? He's 34 years old and pitching as awesome as ever!

Posted by: Keep those two guys | Tuesday, July 02, 2013 at 01:08 AM

Do people on here really think that Roy Halladay is going to decline so precipitously? He's 34 years old and pitching as awesome as ever!

Posted by: Keep those two guys | Tuesday, July 02, 2011 at 01:08 AM

jdt also seems to think that Utley will stay healthy for the next few years. Extremely hard for me to think that.

Yeah, that's the other thing that kind of surprises me: Utley's health is just getting completely glossed over.

The guy has a chronic knee condition that has kept him off the field for months at a time. Do you think that's going to get better with age?

If they offer him a 2-year contract in the off-season, whatever, I guess, they've handed out worse. It would just basically be throwing money out the window for sentimental reasons. Personally, being a big fan of Utley, I'd rather see him go to an AL team and prolong his career as a DH with a chance at another championship.

Jdt - sorry, but those packages are extremely unrealistic returns for the Phils' trade pieces. Take a look at the return for Pence
And Victorino trades last July to get a better idea of the trade value of Ruiz, Rollins, and Young.

The return you are hoping for on Utley/Lee/Papelbon is probably more realistic...but nobody is giving up a top 75 prospect for half a season of Ruiz or Young.

All JDt is really pointing out is that yeah, trade whoever, make sure its a haul though for Utley and Lee, and the fact that prospects fail a ton, and that the phillies probably would want to err on the side of being close to .500 the next couple years instead of being the Astros.

Utley does seem to have figured out how to manage the condition this year, considering we haven't heard a single word about his knees being an issue.

Papelbon definitely has to go though. He has to be a guarantee to be traded I would imagine.

Michael Young probably the next likely to be traded.

Robinson Cano
Shin Soo-Choo
Jacoby Ellsbury
Brian McCann
Hunter Pence
Matt Garza
Hiroki Kurda
AJ Burnett
Carlos Beltran
Mike Napoli
Tim Lincecum
Mark Reynolds
Josh Johnson
Nelson Cruz
Corey Hart
Ervin Santana
Curtis Granderson
Nate McLouth

Those are the big free agents next year.
For what I suspect they are going to get, I think I'd rather have Cliff Lee for 3 years 77 million than any of them. Or Chase Utley for 2 years 30 million, with maybe a PA based vesting option for a third. (Which becomes realistic if you keep him and give him QO, with makes him less attractive to other suitors who would have to give up a first round pick.)

In fact, given what these guys are going to get Rollins at 2 years 22 million doesn't sound so bad at all.

And here's why this is really relevant. I get the sense that some people think the Phillies would go into next year with Asche and third, Galvis at short, Hernandez at 2B Rupp catching Ruff in the OF and Kendrick as the number 2 starter.

But that's a team with a 80 million dollar payroll that could potentially be 60 to 65 wins bad. Which means attendance starts to struggle to beat 20,000 a night and the TV ratings crater in front of new contract negotiations. Management is simply not going to field a time like that. This isn't Houston or Miami.

So instead they go into the Free Agent market with 40 or 50 million per year. The team is more competitive than it would be with the Triple A guys playing, but it's not necessarily better or even that much younger than it would have been if they didn't deal Lee, Utley and Rollins. And the new contracts are probably more unwieldy than the ones they gave up.

So when I hear the suggestion you'd give up Utley for a 60 something rated prospect who's much more likely to be John Mayberry or a complete bust than a legit everyday player, or Jimmy Rollins for the seventh or eight rated prospect in a team's organization, I scoff.

That's just not got asset management, given the realistic big picture. By all means trade them if the prospect haul is big. But if the haul isn't big don't be afraid to hold on to them.

Once again, Chris makes the exact same point I was going to make on the trades...well done, Sir!

On another unrelated note:

fWAR through Age 34:
Ryne Sandberg: 56.6
Chase Utley: 53.9*

*Obviously, Chase's current season is far from over but he's well on track to overtake HOF 2B Ryne Sandberg's fWAR through Age 34.

If you wanted to project out his final fWAR for the season, you could either assume he continues his current numbers and stays healthy which gets you 3.66 fWAR (57.6 total) over the final 79 games or you could assume he misses an equal amount of time that he did in the first half which gets you 2.37 fWAR (56.3 total). I am fully away that fWAR and bWAR have huge limitations but still find it interesting.

On offering Chase a would have to be a fairly low base and huge incentives based on games played/time off the DL. Otherwise, we're probably gonna get screwed. 35 year old 2B don't tend to age well.

Phillies actually did really well on the the Victorino trade. Got a guy who ended up in a couple top 100 lists and a relief pitcher with a decent MLB track record and some pedigree who happened to suck when he got to Philly.) If they could get that kind of haul for Ruiz or Young, they should do it in a second.

Utley does seem to have figured out how to manage the condition this year, considering we haven't heard a single word about his knees being an issue.

Posted by: Chris in VT | Tuesday, July 02, 2013 at 09:02 AM

Very true. I will, however, caveat it with the glass is half empty theory. I remember back in July/August of 2008 we were watching a game and commenting on a game thread. On a diving play at 2B, Utley got up a bit slow and my comment at the time (one which was absolutely ridiculed) was that "Utley looks like his hip is bothering him...he had a slight grimace when he got up and he's favoring it". It was subtle but very obvious if you had ever had a similar injury. Of course, people called me crazy and no one else saw it but lo and behold, he had hip surgery immediately after the WFC.

I think Utley has a fantastic threshold for pain and could be playing through any knee issues again but so far, he seems healthy. He hasn't looked this good since 2008/2009.

Utley does seem to have figured out how to manage the condition this year, considering we haven't heard a single word about his knees being an issue.

Posted by: Chris in VT | Tuesday, July 02, 2013 at 09:02 AM

Not so sure with Utley the Mute...

I don't know if the Utely to BAL thing is an actual rumor, or if Jdt picked it out of thin air, but I'd have to think BAL would say no way to Utley: they already have an aging, injury-prone 2B in Brian Roberts. And even if they did want Utley, no way they're giving up Gausman for him.

I totally agree that Paps is the obvious 1st choice that must go. I do cringe though thinking who will be closer once he's gone...

jdt: The point is not about how valuable Lee is. We all know he is a great pitcher. But right now teh Phillies have holes on their roster and in the farm system that dealing Lee could help patch up. It would also cut about 20-25 million off the payroll.

So the real question becomes, is Lee at 77 million over the next three years worth maybe 2 "A" prospects and then maybe a Shin Shoo Choo and Ervin Santana in free agency? Which of those options helps you more next year and in the following years?

Although I've heard message board rumblings about Utley and the Orioles I more or less picked Baltimore out of the air because they have a big hole at second and Utley could help the make the playoffs and win a world series, and thus would be of immense value to them. But I would want that type of return for whoever they trade Utley to.

Well considering the lack of any knee-related issues and the seeming return to vintage Chase form (at the plate at least), he does seem to be as healthy as he's been in years.

Jdt- what top 100 lists did Martin make? I didn't see him on any.

"I get the sense that some people think the Phillies would go into next year with Asche and third, Galvis at short, Hernandez at 2B Rupp catching Ruff in the OF and Kendrick as the number 2 starter."

No one is advocating that. Everyone who wants to trade our high priced veterans are doing it with the #1 priority of preventing that lineup from ever happening - by getting better prospects than those players and clearing more payroll to add others.

It's actually you and others' plans to keep +35 year old veterans at top dollar who are increasing the chances that of a lineup of Asche/Galvis/Cesar/etc. making the bigs.

From MLBTradeRumors;

Based on comments Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. made to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, it appears the team would not be inclined to take on money in the unlikely event they trade expensive pitchers Cliff Lee or Jonathan Papelbon. Asked about eating money to ensure the highest return in a trade, Amaro said:

"That's usually the case with most deals in this era. In the cases of the players rumored out there, like the Lees and Papelbons, taking back money is not going to be an issue because the talent is too high. That's not going to be debilitating for anybody. The teams who would be interested would be willing to take on the dollars associated with it. Particularly in those deals - I don't anticipate doing those - but it's about making baseball deals, not monetary deals. I haven't been mandated to go and shed payroll. I've never had that mandate."

Lee will be owed over $70MM through 2015 at the trade deadline, while Papelbon will have over $30MM through 2015 remaining (more if his 2016 option vests). Having dropped their last two contests, the Phillies sit at 9.5 games out in the NL East and eight back in the wild card. As Gelb explains, the team can afford to wait until the end of the month.

Translation: Our FO and ownership is ridiculously cheap and we'd rather get crap prospects in return than spend any money on guys not on our roster.

Expect a really crappy trade deadline if this is true.

The problem with a guy like Sin Shoo Choo is that you might have to give him a five year contract. And would you really feel comfortable with Santana on something like 3 years 33 million?

But again, if you really get two legit A prospects for Lee(without much salary relief), maybe you start to think about a deal.

Martin was 80 on's 2013 list. I think I saw him on another one to, but I can't find it.

But there's very little guarantee that the Michael Choice's of the world or some teams eighth best prospect are going to be impact players for the the Phillies in 2014 or ever. So if trade Rollins, Utley, Lee for less than optimal value, and don't dip into mediocre free agent pool, you will be starting the AAA guys and the team could be painfully bad.

You almost nailed it, but shoudld be "Our FO is ridiculously stupid ..."

Because they do spend money, just in very stupid ways.


jdt: As an exercise. Let's say best case scenario Amaro can trade Lee for a package of "A" prospects, Papelbon for Castellanos, Utley for some prospects, and can sucker someone into taking Howard for prospects while picking up some salary.

We then use the savings to sign Choo and Ervin Santana like I mentioned. (Sub in whatever pitcher you want for Santana). Resign Lannan and resign Kendrick and that leaves you with a lineup of:

Rollins- SS
Hernandez- 2B
Choo- RF
Ruf- 1B
Brown- LF
Castellanos- 3B
Ruiz- C
Revere- CF

And a rotation of:


I don't know and wouldn't predict the runs scored or allowed from that lineup but I think it would hold it's own and it would be a pretty decent lineup to put out there in a transition year.

Jdt: "So if trade Rollins, Utley, Lee for less than optimal value, and don't dip into mediocre free agent pool, you will be starting the AAA guys and the team could be painfully bad"

As opposed to this year's team, which has Rollins, Utley, and Lee, and did dip into the mediocre free agent pool, and is painfully bad.

People are acting like the choice is between contending with veterans and not contending with prospects. But these are the *exact* same veterans who have a 120-125 record since the beginning of the 2012 season. What possible evidence is there that they're able to be a contending team in 2014 and 2015?



"and can sucker someone into taking Howard for prospects while picking up some salary."

Can we stop talking about this as if it's a realistic possibility? It's not.

Ruben: "I haven't been mandated to go and shed payroll. I've never had that mandate."

Exhibit A of why public comments about trades/etc. from your GM are useless lies.

It likely comes down to a choice of winning 70-80 games with the current lineup or 60-70 games after a selloff. Which is better long-term for the franchise?

Truth Injector,

Papelbon for Castellanos is an absolute no brainer if it's possible. But I'd rather have Utley and Lee on their contracts than Choo and Santana for what they will they will probably got. So then it depends on the prospects Utley and Lee get. If they are close to what I proposed, do the deal, and I agree that could be a decent team. (Although it would have pretty terrible BP problems)

I want to be able to predict what can happen in the future too. Please tell me how....

I also love how people don't understand the phrase "best case scenario" It's like they just enjoy being a window licker.


nokwurst isn't afraid of making bold moves, apparently. Maybe he should be the new GM.

I want to be able to predict what can happen in the future too. Please tell me how....

Posted by: The Truth Injection | Tuesday, July 02, 2013 at 09:33 AM

Step 1: Befriend a creepy old scientist who is known throughout your hometown as a nut.
Step 2: Agree to film his science experiments late at night at Twin Pines Mall
Step 3: Dodge gunfire and successfully maneuver a DeLorean (known for its stainless steel construction) through the parking lot up to 88 mph.
Step 4:...

Do I really need to go on?

This year's team is painfully tough to watch. But at the the time if Hamels was Hamels and Halladay didn't' get hurt -- which aren't' unreasonable expectations -- this team is also a legit contender this year in the NL East.

And for all we know Hamels will be back to being himself in 2014, and maybe Halladay is back on a pillow contract and pitches like a number 2. And the NL East is still not going to be very good.

So again, let's not blow something up for the sake of blowing it up. We need serious value in return for what are valuable players.

Red Sox signed Rafael Devers - one of the big int'l FA that the Phillies were linked to - ($1.5M).

NEPP: You give me steps from one of my favorite movies.

You win a million Internet points.

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