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Thursday, August 08, 2013


Now Jack can rave about this.

Not knowing what they could have turned Utley into by trading him, this appears to be a fair deal for both sides. Viscerally, anyone who didn't want Utley to be a career Phillie just can't have a heart. But practically, unless the front office is willing to do a lot of spending internationally and possibly lose a first round draft pick in a loaded draft, this team is unlikely to be good for a pretty long time.

It's funny. Yesterday, I said that I really enjoy watching Utley and Lee play baseball, but I don't enjoy watching them play on a team that has no chance to win. I think it was Jake who said "How can you say a team with Utley and Lee has no chance to win?" Well, they're on the team now. They're both relatively healthy. And the team sucks. And I have trouble trusting Ruben Mr. Production Amaro, Jr. to surround them with winning pieces. That's how I can say that.

But now that Utley is re-upped, how about Rube trades Lee by waiver claim to the Dodgers for their top three prospects, or to anyone for similar, and throws in about 7 mil per season to make it work.

Yep, difficult to imagine a team with Lee and Hamels ever competing.

Now back to bashing Rube.

Does Three Prospects have a better chance than Lee to be a top ten pitcher over the next year or two?

They've already gotten what will likely be the best years of the Lee contract. If they're able to trade his age 35+ seasons, get out from under the contract, free up money for younger talent AND land some quality prospects in one fell swoop, you'd have to be off of your rocker not to trade him.

As for Pap, if they're willing to find a taker for his contract and his loss of velocity, I'd move him for organizational filler and chalk it up to a lucky opportunity to undo a mistake.

I do believe the owners are committed to winning, as evidenced by the high payroll & contract extensions-even with attendance dropping in '12 and '13. I just hope they have what it takes. Too many FO blunders since Gillick stepped down.

There are positive signs heading into 2014. The youngsters are improving the offense, and the rotation should be a team strength. The bullpen & bench need a complete overhaul. They can't cross their fingers and hope for the best like they did for 2 years. They need a plan, and I just hope they have one.

Biddle 6inn.,no runs but 7 bb. Can't they find someone who can teach pitchers to throw strikes? All the stuff in the world is useless without some control.

Martin threw the ball very well today...for about 60 pitches. Then you could visibly see his stuff tail off and his control go with it. He lost 3-4 MPH on his fastball as he reached 80 pitches. Was pretty over-powering with it the first time through the order.

His future (hopefully starting this year) is in the bullpen.

Trust me, had Amaro had a hot-shot second baseman in the high minors, Utley would have been gone at the trade deadline. Today was all a dog and pony show.

No, not going to trust you on that one.

Dragon - Maybe there's a reason the Phillies haven't been grooming a hot-shot 2B - because they always intended on keeping Utley here until he retires.

Or, this bleepin' clueless organization learned - when we did - that Freddy Galvis was stoked to the gils on PEDs...

Freddy's suspension was Chase's heaven. I honestly believe that there were -0- takers for Utley on anything more than a 1-year deal.

Dragon, define "hot shot", please.

What level of production in the minors, and what projected ceiling in the majors.

You see, even in an injury shortened role, Utley is still one of the top 4-5 2B in all of MLB. Period.

If he manages to stay on the field for 140 games he'd be top 3.

Also, you're forgetting, he was probably in the top 3 players in all of MLB between 2005 and 2009.

So... best player at his position and top 3 in MLB in the past...

and still one of the top 5 players at his position in MLB.

That's a pretty high ceiling for any "hot shot" prospect to live up to.

cut, I have a different opinion. He probably would have gotten 2 years with an option someplace else, and some team might have been crazy enough to gove him 3-4 years guaranteed (at perhaps a lower AAV).

Remember, the Pujols, Fielder and Hamilton contracts were pretty recent.

Oh cut, you are awesome. Galvis getting suspended is the reason Utley came back strong.

You can't make this stuff up folks.

You know what's really cool? In Chase Utley's worst year he's a 3 WAR player.

awh - and with less marquee players hitting FA, there is a good chance Utley would've gotten massively overpaid on the open market.

I don't know why but I am feeling more optimistic about next season. Things could turn the right way pretty quickly if these young guys (Brown, Revere, Asche, Ruf, Pettibone, Martin) work out and the vets (Chase, Howard, Lee, Hamels) stay healthy. they could have a decent shot next year. Obviously, that goes without saying that Rube needs to address the pen in a big way - I think Martin should move there and eventually become the closer, perhaps - but he needs to sign two legit free agents. I know that is easier said than done.

If a few of the highly touted prospects live up their billing, this team could be dangerous starting especially in 2015.

Maybe I'm just being overly optimistic.

And I really want to see Alfredo Gonzales here.

And I left Jimmy out on purpose.

wsny - Mike Adams was a legit free agent.

RebBurb: Chase Ultly has Chondromalacia patella. He might go down before the end of this season. For good.

Yea, he's a hot commodity on the FA market.

Regardless, don't let your strawman wither. You go, man!

He was old, he got hurt. I'm not necessarily counting him out next year - if he can stay healthy he could become a big contributor in the back end.

And that is why you get at least two. better odds.

cut - What strawman are you talking about? You defined Galvis's suspension as the reason why there were no takers on Utley. Am I incorrect?

Which poster said that the average fan underestimates how good Utley is? cut_fastball is one of those fans.

Freddy galvis taking PEDs sealed Utleys fate, and the Phillies declined developing prospects who can play 2b to allow Utley to stay in philly his whole career...

No comment.

100% agree with Denny on Martin. He's a marginal starter due to command issues and the lack of a good third pitch. His power arsenal would play very well in the bullpen.

Cut - Beltran's a perfect comp for Utley. People thought Beltran was done after the microfracture surgery, which has heralded the end of careers of other top athletes (e.g., Grady Sizemore, Tracy McGrady). Once Beltran came back and proved he was healthy, he got 2/$26M from the Cards. Utley's knees haven't been an issue for over a year now, so he would absolutely have received at least a 2-year offer (and possibly more) from somebody.

Jroll cleared waivers - ouch he has less trade value than I thought.

lorecore - They have a prospect who can play 2B, he's now playing CF.

They have other prospects that could potentially play 2B, but they are not, because Utley is here to stay. What is so difficult to understand?

Colonel - cut_fastball said there wasn't a single team that would've offered a multiyear deal. You must be talking crazy.

And cut wonders why he gets roundly mocked on here.


    ...Beltran's a perfect comp for Utley. People thought Beltran was done after the microfracture surgery, which has heralded the end of careers of other top athletes (e.g., Grady Sizemore, Tracy McGrady). Once Beltran came back and proved he was healthy...

You make the prima facia case. There's no evidence Utley's taken heroic measures to allay his 2-knee ills. Chondromalacia patella is incurable.

I can't recall a season in the last 3 where Utley '... proved he was healthy...'. His last 150-game season was 2009.

Whatever. Views through rose-colored glasses don't usually generate huge returns.

Does this season count as a healthy one or do you think he's developed some sort of chronic oblique injury? Perhaps his knees caused that?

Eyeball test says Chase has the knees under control. It may be more difficult for him to keep them in game-shape as he ages, but for now it looks as if he's turned that corner.

cut: Utley is only guaranteed the full $15M in 2014. 2015 is down to $10M, with a $5M bonus for PA, and every other year is an option. The Phillies wisely though of all the things you are mentioning, and built a contract that protects them to a great degree.

Wait, wait. Utley isn't recovering from anything, he isn't coming back from anything, or developing any degenerating condition.

Utley HAS chondromalacia. Like, right now. And yesterday. And tomorrow. It can't better. It can't get worse.

So why the tears, Cut? He's doing alright.

2010 was shortened due to thumb surgery, which has nothing to do with his knees. How many games has Utley missed this year because of his knees, cut_fastball? He changed his offseason training regimen to accommodate the condition, and all the evidence shows that it worked. Your argument to the contrary is pure conjecture and speculation. If he can average 120 games a year for the next couple seasons, this deal is a WIN for the Phils. Tell me how many 2B in MLB put up an 850ish OPS with even average defense for the position. Go ahead...the list is pretty fvcking short, and it includes Chase. Signing him at a reasonable salary on a short-term deal is pure win. Getting a reasonable facsimile would cost 20 mil+ per for 7+ years in the offseason (Cano).

Jake: You are out of our mind if you think that the Phillies intentionally haven't gotten a good 2B prospect while Utley has been missing games for the past few years.

The fact that the best thing they have going is Cesar Hernandez is not a tribute to how good Utley is, its a tribute to how poor their farm system has been. And Hernandez was demoted to AA to start playing CF the day after Revere hit the DL. He has since been hurt as well, but his position change was a ploy to get him to help in the majors in 2013 - not prevent him sending Utley packing.

If I couldn't have signed Chase, I would have offered Cano 10yrs/$300M.

general fyi - highly touted 2B prospects are rare, and most successful MLB 2B that do make it almost always start elsewhere in the field.

If you sort the draft for 2B in the 1st round, its the shortest of any of the positions by far.

In fact, Chase Utley has been worth more WAR (57.6) by himself than every single other 2B ever drafted in the first round combined (40.0)

Cano for 10 years? don't be crazy Ruben, that wouldn't have gotten it done. 18/500, that would make a statement.

It's lining up for Corey Hart to be the acquisition for next year's offense.

I'd be fine with that. I'd love Choo, but there does come a point where you have to avoid your entire lineup being LH.

We're already past the point of no return re: the left-handedness of the lineup, though, aren't we? I mean, assuming that we try to fill 3B on the cheap next year, we're looking at Revere, Asche, Utley, Howard, and Brown being LHB. With five-eighths of your regular positional players being LHB, it's doubtful you'll be able to construct a lineup that doesn't have a place that's exposed to a LOOGY.

Especially when Rollins is not a middle-of-the-order bat and the it's likely our C will not be hefting serious lumber. (Assuming he's a RHB at all.) I'm not really sure the handedness of the other corner OF will really matter that much, especially if it's someone who actually can hit LHP. (Whether Choo's career .239/.336/.337 line constitutes "hitting" LHP is an open question. Or at least hitting it well enough to provide a modicum of lineup protection.)

Still think the Utley signing was done under the assumption that the NL will have the DH in 2014 or 2015.

The DH coming to the NL next year would certainly save the Phils from themselves, wouldn't it? As it'd finally let them trot Ryan Howard out there every day while also saving the team from his very dubious defensive qualities. It'd also neatly solve the issue of what to do with Darin Ruf, letting him return to his natural position and still open the door to making a run an upgrade at the corner OF.

Which is why the DH won't be coming until the first year after the Howard contract expires. Just to spite us, I'm sure.

Juums: I can certainly see your argument, as well, and generally I agree with it. The team needs good hitters, period, and Choo is the best hitter available. Teams aren't going to suddenly stock themselves with 80% LHP to shut down one team. I do think it will make them susceptible to late-inning situations, but they already are, and one hitter won't change that.

I think in the case of Hart, though, they have a unique situation to get a massive upgrade at a below-market rate that they really couldn't find anywhere else. The risk is certainly there, coming off two knee surgeries, he will not be as good as he once was offensively- that's why he'll be significantly underpriced. And his numbers- .857 OPS and 87 HRs from 2010-2012, a near .900 career OPS against LHP- are worth much more than he will command on the open market. He's exactly the type of guy that's missing from the offense, and he just happens to play the position that the team has been trying to fill since Werth departed.

A lot also depends on what Ruf is, and how the team decides to proceed with him. Do they go with him in the OF? Do they try to trade him? Do they keep him on the bench and platoon him with Howard? If they decide he's a starter, they won't need Choo or Hart- the OF is set. Personally, I'd like to see him kept on and platooned with Howard at 1st, and hopefully the new manager would be more flexible with inserting him in the lineup against a tough LHP, or in the late-innings when a LOOGY comes in to give Howard his automatic K. He's also fine insurance if Howard continues to have injury problems or is just plain ineffective.

In that case, Choo would be fine. If they continue to stick with Howard, come hell or high water, I think Hart at a discounted price would be the ideal fit for the lineup.

Also, Choo's numbers against LHP are positively Span-ian:


He does have almost 150 points of OPS on Span in that category, but that's not saying much.

The Phils have already picked up their right-fielder for next season. His name is Casper "The Friendly" Wells.

It's a fair deal for both teams. Utley wanted to stay here and the Phils desperately wanted to keep their most popular player before the next TV deal is negotiated.

Phils are certainly more competitive too even if Utley is what he is this year (and '10) which is 3-4 WAR winner and plays in ~120 games.

I will give Amaro a lot of credit here. The Phils didn't want to make a long-term dollar commitment to Utley this offseason given age (35 this Dec) & health-issues. Rightly so.

I would be willing to bet Amaro had the terms of this deal in place though even this past offseason and the reason the Phils made this announcement now is because of the stream of continual bad news (most recent being the MAG negotiation snag) instead of waiting until this offseason.

It still kind of pisses me off though that it took Utley and his agent to find the trainer in Arizona to come up with a routine that was effective in treating his condition.

Ultimately I don't think it would have made a difference in where the Phils ended up in '11 or '12 but it would have been nice to see Utley on the field for another 60-80 games instead.

Why do people think the Phils signed Utley because they anticipate the DH rule coming to the NL?

They made a 2-year commitment to him and I would be stunned if they didn't intend (and Utley too) for him to be the starter at 2B.

If his defensive liabilities become such an issue at 2B next year, they might move him to LF in '15. That's a possibility.

If Asche proves he can hang in there against LHP, I think the lineup for better-or-worse is already set for 2014.

1B- Howard
2B- Utley
SS- Rollins
3B- Asche (possible cheap RH alternative to help against LHP)

LF- Ruf/Brown
RF- Ruf/Brown
CF- Revere

4th OF- Mayberry
C- Ruiz (he will resign)

The questions will be with the pitching staff (Lee and/or Papelbon possibly moved in off-season; what happens with the Cuban kid and building the bullpen) and the makeup of the bench. And who manages the team (although, I think that is easy to see too who that is going to be).

Franco will start 2014 at Lehigh. As will Biddle and Dugan and Adam Morgan. Those will be the next-in-line top callus if the team needs reinforcements next year and they produce.

denny b - Yeah. I wouldn't be surprised if Amaro doesn't go after a corner OF bat even if the Phils don't have much money again to spend on it.

Asche at 3B depends upon who is 2-month trial addition goes.

Killer on this team's roster is the $20M sunk cost with Papelbon and Adams. One guy who might not even pitch next year (Adams) and another guy is in decline and a clubhouse/chemistry issue.

Basically a .500 team at best and possibly worse though.

I think with the philles dire catching depth. Tommy J looking bust. Rupp back up and Valle ugh. Salty is still high on my list. He would flourish in this park. And rupp as back up. Corner OF spot is questionable. Maybe you pair ruf with someone and rotate him to 1st vs tough LH pitchers. I still gotta believe he has produced and cont to. Bullpen major concern heading into offseason.

John Sickels posted his "Philadelphia Phillies Top 20 2013 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review" here:

In the comments, he mentions that if he re-ranked them right now, J.P. Crawford would slot into the top 5 "easy ... probably top 3 behind Franco/Biddle."

i like jake's idea for a darin ruf fan group called "the ruf riders." but rather than affecting a biker look, just look to history. roosevelt's rough riders had a look that would be easy to emulate. you just need the hat, a dark blue union soldier shirt, suspenders and a bandana. google rough riders and click on images for some inspiration.

2 nights ago MG hated the Utley deal when he knew nothing about it. Today he loves it.

The lesson is- don't jump to dumb conclusions.

"Also, Choo's numbers against LHP are positively Span-ian:"

- Iceman

Span-ian! Everyone's favorite Rizzo offseason move.

Looks like the speculation was true, Phillies sign #4 international prospect, Dominican 3B Luis Encarnacion. Great news.

Yesterday - "Having Chase, Jimmy [Rollins], Ryan [Howard], in some ways be the leaders of our club moving us forward, these are the type of people that I want our young players to emulate."

Today -

The ridiculousness with RAJ never stops.

Of all dumb things RAJ has said, that's the least worrisome.

Luis Encarnacion-yay!

Good news on Luis Encarnacion...our farm system continues to improve which is huge for us.

I don't know which jake is which, but both are making insane arguments on this thread.

The report says Encarnacion projects as a LF, etc.

IF he makes it to the Show in 5 yrs., Dom would go to RF, I guess, and id Ruf is still around he'd be the 1B?

Waaaaaaaaay to far in the future to project anything.

For all cut_fastball knows, Utley will still be at 2B.

Nothing wrong with a nice power-hitting corner OF.

Singing Mon for $1M leaves the Phils with over another $1M left in their bonus pool. I would like to think that if they knew $1M was all it would take that they'd have made some other moves earlier in the signing period.

Could this extra pool money be in play as part of some waiver trades?

"Singing Mon"?

Is that some new musical group I don't know about?

IF he makes it to the Show in 5 yrs., Dom would go to RF, I guess, and id Ruf is still around he'd be the 1B?

Late bloomers like Ruf often have a short span of effectiveness. It's doubtful that will be an issue. Dom will be 30 by then!

ha, one of my many misspellings. And I read that his nickname is Mon i think - i'm not sure - but i vote we make it stick since I hate typing out encarnacion.

"mon" is Encarnacion's friend, Not him?

lore, thanks for taking it as it was meant! :)

So any word on the Phils roster yet?

They've got 44 men on with Wells, with only 3 on the 60 day DL. Someone's gotta go, and they've got plenty of candidates.

Minimart's start at SS leads me to believe that he's got the inside track over MacDonald.

TTI - I said I didn't Utley signed to 3 guaranteed years. That was it. He got 2 and not even that has a pretty high PA requirement.

Would you have thought it was a good deal if Utley had got 3 yr/$45M automatically?

" I said I didn't Utley signed to 3 guaranteed years."

MG, what?

You need to check your spelling and grammar. That's indiscernible.

And, yes, IMHO 3/45 for Ytley would have been a decent risk worth taking.

As it is, the deal to which Utley/Phillies agreed is a GREAT deal for the ballclub.

I only wish r00b had waited on Howard a bit and worked out something similar with him - but hindsight is 20-20.

"I don't know which jake is which, but both are making insane arguments"

No, I'm not!

Yes, you are!




As for Howard, it wasn't even the years and dollars he got it was that Amaro got no discount for locking him up over a year and half early.

Thing I never understood about that deal although it wasn't clear if that was entirely Amaro's decision or if he got pressured by Monty and others to make that deal happen.

I have a feeling what is going to come out after Amaro is gone one way or the other in another year or two is that he didn't have final decision-making ability and often had to seek input from those above him.

I might have multiple personalities and my posts on this blog confirmed it!

Juums: "The DH coming to the NL next year would certainly save the Phils from themselves, wouldn't it? As it'd finally let them trot Ryan Howard out there every day."

Not so sure that being a DH will somehow allow him to hit LHP.

So a platoon DH isn't worth $25m a year?

"Thing I never understood about that deal although it wasn't clear if that was entirely Amaro's decision or if he got pressured by Monty and others to make that deal happen.

I have a feeling what is going to come out after Amaro is gone one way or the other in another year or two is that he didn't have final decision-making ability and often had to seek input from those above him."

I think this is probably pretty accurate. I assume all/most GMs need to go upstairs to get some final say on certain moves, but I think Monty meddles a lot more than is usual in front offices. Part of the reason Amaro was groomed to be the GM. Yes Man.

So the whole Ruf in RF thing is really happening, huh? I guess the reason he wasn't hitting all that well in AAA was because he was out of his natural position.

I have to admire Charlie for this, because I can't shake the feeling that putting Ruf in RF is a F@#$ you to Amaro for getting him Elmn as the starting RF.

They should definitely take advantage of Ruf's platoon splits with Howard being a LHB and's the huge difference for Ruf:

vs RHP: .990 OPS
vs LHP: .999 OPS

In all of 142 PA of course.

As long as Ruf can keep up his 1.931 OPS as a RF, he should be fine.

Mind you, that's in 9 PA.

Hey, guys! Someone just told me Chase is Jewish! WTF?! Is *that* why Rube re-signed him???

"Late bloomers like Ruf often have a short span of effectiveness. It's doubtful that will be an issue. Dom will be 30 by then!"

I seem to remember another power-hitting first baseman who made it to the show when he was around the same age as Ruf. I also recall our brilliant GM buying out his arb years and giving him a massive long-term extension. Drawing a blank on his name though... Damn...

So a platoon DH isn't worth $25m a year?

I suppose if he hit RHP at my slow-pitch, work intramural league ~.550/.600/.750 pace, he might.

Note: by far my highest ISO ever :)

"I might have multiple personalities and my posts on this blog confirmed it!"

Maybe. Or, maybe not!

jbird - I was merely speculating that the Phillies haven't been grooming a 2B because they expected Utley to stay put. I don't see how that's an "insane" argument. Perhaps you're confusing me with the incoherent troll.

Jake: to be fair, just observationally, one could claim the Phillies haven't really been grooming anyone for anything. But I would chalk that up to incompetence rather than intent.

Bed Beard - There are an awful lot of people in the Phils' FO but what I wonder is how many strategic decisions are made by Monty.

For example, Monty told Amaro to resign Howard and get it done just bringing him any numbers before a contract was signed.

jbird - That's a good point. You could also say it's incompetent for them to rely on injury-prone Utley long-term, but this is something they would do.

Per Utley:

"I've talked to some guys that have played here and moved on to other organizations. The grass isn't always greener on the other side."

Curious as to those players are. If I had to guess, I would say Burrell, Werth, and Victorino. Interesting though.

bullit - I agree, forget the bikers.

Phils signed L. Encarnion and JRoll/M. Young both cleared waivers.

Now that Asche is going to be the starter at 3B the rest of the year, it would really surprised if Young is here come Sept. 1st.

I was looking at the Phillies in the standings, being 17.5 back, and thought to myself, "wow, that escalated quickly".

jbird - From 7/23 thru 8/7 (15 days) we dropped 11 games in the standings.

Grass not greener? Can't speak to Burrell or Werth, but Victorino? He went from a team that is not contending to one that has been in 1st place for all but 2 days since back in May, and unless there is a major implosion, will get to at least the first round of playoffs. Sounds pretty green to me?

If we've learned anything from the past two years, it is that you need more than 8 MLB-ready starting-quality position players in your system (I don't count Mayberry/Frandsen, though they are good role players). Someone is going to get hurt or not perform. That is the biggest reason the Cardinals are always competitive, they have depth at the ML level. They should be looking for another OF bat in FA in addition to Ruf this offseason.

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