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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Comments


If the best pintch hitter you can use is minimart then you have to ask who is evaluating talent

"Either way, there's a lot of work to do for the 73-89 club and it should be a busy next few months."

Yup. Gotta re-sign Hallday & Kendrick & Chooch & Bernadina, force as many terrible, incumbent coaches on Sandberg as possible, raise ticket prices again & generally continue to embrace the status quo with a truly stupendous attitude of denial.

repost:

Thoughts on the postseason now? Dodgers haven't been playing well lately and I have no confidence in the Braves. I think the NL rep will come from the Central. Feels like it could be the Pirates year, but the Cards would be my 2nd choice. Not even sure about the AL...it's wide open and the 2nd WC isn't even decided yet

repost:
goba - Plus a healthy lineup and a more consistent bullpen? There's potential there. Not having the Youngs, Nix, Mini, etc. also goes toward that "28 game turnaround."

Raising ticket prices has nothing to do with improving the team.

People who b*tch about ticket prices are the lowest common denominator. Nobody is holding a gun to your head to purchase the tickets.

I like Kevin Frandsen. What a nice (and true) comment to make on his part:

Kevin Frandsen ‏@KevinFrandsen 3m
Huge thanks to ALL @phillies fans! Over 3 million of u came to support a tough year. Most playoff teams DIDNT eclipse that mark! #bestfans

GTown: What honestly brings joy to your life? Drowning kittens.

Like Iceman said- if you don't like what they charge you for tickets than don't go to the games. You're whining about inane things is stupid and pollutes the board.

Please throw another hissy fit swearing off the team and head over to The 700 Level where you can be king of the dorks.

GBrettfan: While I don't think the Phillies should keep him, Frandsen seems like a decent guy. Certainly can't be faulted for a lack of effort.

73-89 is actually a good result for this team. There is a serious lack of talent. I don't think Amaro realizes that; I bet he thinks he had an 85 win team that had bad luck with injuries.

Frandsen got the Tug McGraw good guy award this year for professionalism and "intangibles" (I still think he'd be a good addition to the bench)

Thankfully it is over. Ugh.

Phillies need to fix/get lucky with the rotation next year. So much risk with all the options I see, not sure there is an 'easy' answer.

I'd like an improvement over Frandsen honestly. Not sure if that is possible but a lefty mashing backup 3B who could play another position might be available to platoon with Asche. I see nothing worthwhile in Free Agency though.

Hernandez gives Phillies a backup 2B. Mayberry gives Phillies a lefty masher who can play all OF and 1B, hopefully as platoon for Howard. Galvis might take the backup INF role and maybe his defense is worth platooning with Asche.

I loved that he got that award, can_of_corn. I like him for the bench, too, but I wouldn't be upset if we replaced him (as long as it was a worthwhile replacement).

For you devil worshipers out there, Rollins, Kratz, and Miner all finished with a .666 OPS. Galvis just missed at .668.
With that last hit, MM passed 2 pitchers in OPS, but still behind 6 others at .350.

Fire RAJ and hire anybody from the St. Louis or Tampa Bay FO. Hell, hire the ticket taker or parking lot attendant from either organization, you'd still probably come out ahead.

This season did feel a lot like the late 90s when the Phils would have a few bright spots but overall just be an overall bad team that didn't do anything particularly well.

Those teams would bring in a couple of veterans who didn't work out, shuffle through an inordinate amount of players, and expose the lack of organizational depth & talent by Sept.

The only difference this year is the Phils had one the #2 highest payroll in MLB. In the late 90s that was #20 or lower every single year (reaching a low of #24 out of 30 teams in '99)

Given that they already named their new manager (Sandberg) and they have already committed close $120M next year to just 8 players, it is almost certainly going to be a boring and tepid offseason in Philly.

It's a team clearly on the decline without a good chance of contending next year for a playoff spot. No FA is taking a value-deal here this offseason.

Couple that with a limited FA pool along with a bloated budget & declining payroll, Amaro either blows his wad on a player he really wants and is left with table scraps to fill out the rest of the roster or takes the middling approach he did last offseason trying to fill all of the perceived holes via trade and FA at moderate/cheap prices.

To me, it is a question of whether Amaro can put a competitive product out there next year or if he puts out another sub .500 team despite spending a ton of money in the process.

Don't see anyway Amaro keeps his job next offseason unless this team somehow stuns me, turns back the clock, and somehow either makes the playoffs or is a team that is in playoff contention until the last week but just fails short (87-88 wins).

The Phillies were able to get to the #7 pick in the upcoming draft. So there is that?

Given that they already named their new manager (Sandberg) and they have already committed close $120M next year to just 8 players, it is almost certainly going to be a boring and tepid offseason in Philly.

It's a team clearly on the decline without a good chance of contending next year for a playoff spot. No FA is taking a value-deal here this offseason.

__________________________________________


Well- MG sees the future. Might as well wrap up Beerleaguer until February

To me, it is a question of whether Amaro can put a competitive product out there next year or if he puts out another sub .500 team despite spending a ton of money in the process.

Agreed. My feeling is the past couple of seasons point toward the latter as being the overwhelmingly likely scenario. r00b has backed himself into a corner which would take even a capable GM years to escape.

What kind of spring does Franco have to have to replace Asche? Doesn't matter he'll start at LHV.
Who is the backup catcher? For that matter who is the starting catcher? See more of a split between the 2 than in previous years.
#1 prediction: Ruf will be traded.

It has kind of amazed me how fast the Phils' fans have seemingly soured on this team.

Not exactly sure what is the reason either.

Is it because the under 30 crowd who packed CBP the last few years because it became a popular place to hang out is a fickle crowd with limited discretionary budgets who largely abandoned the team in the 2nd half this year?

Is the personas on the team or lack thereof?

Is it the FO and how Amaro and Montgomery are perceived?

Is it that Philly just isn't a very good baseball town that when the team isn't doing well fans will choose to spend entertainment dollars elsehwere?

Is it just more of a market issue where the Phils are charging a premium price (top #4 MLB average ticket price) for a product that isn't perceived as high quality or value?

Is it just part of the change in our society where people have even shorter attention spans and when a team isn't good they quickly lose the attention of the general public which has so many other things it can spend its free time on?

Curious to see the TV ratings for this season for the Phils that will come out in a few weeks and how they approach the early part of this offseason from a marketing perspective.

TTI

Given the FO skill in talent evaluation, how much hope do we have even at #7?

Bring back Pat Gillick...

TTI - With only about $25-30M to spend to fill out the rest of the roster unless Amaro pulls a stunner and trades Lee, you don't have to be a swami to see it being a pretty boring offseason.

Phils already made their two biggest moves when they named their manager (Sandberg) and resigned Utley already.

Amaro has also pretty much told you who will be the starting 9 next year with some questions about the corner OF spots and at C. In the rotation, it is Hamels/Lee/MAG/KK if they offer him arbitration.

Doesn't leave much except some secondary moves and tinkering.

Phils already made their two biggest moves when they named their manager (Sandberg) and resigned Utley already.

Those who felt ditching Pence & Vic & re-signing Hamels would constitute r00b's "big", "offseason" move in '12 weren't taken seriously, but that's exactly what happened. I imagine you're right on w/ the Sandberg/Utley thing, & maybe another underwhelming trade or acquisition in the M. Young/D. Young mold.

I also think every one of those possibilities you listed plays a part in the relative lack of fan enthusiasm, 1,3,4 & 5 in particular. Even people who aren't baseball fans will pay to attend games when a team is winning & popular.

That said, the Phillies remain in far better shape, fan-wise, than they were in the late 90s. What the FO does (&/or doesn't do) over the next few seasons will play a large role in determining whether that remains so.

"It's a team clearly on the decline without a good chance of contending next year for a playoff spot. No FA is taking a value-deal here this offseason.

Couple that with a limited FA pool along with a bloated budget & declining payroll, Amaro either blows his wad on a player he really wants and is left with table scraps to fill out the rest of the roster or takes the middling approach he did last offseason trying to fill all of the perceived holes via trade and FA at moderate/cheap prices."


* * *

Is there a 3rd option? Because it sounds like a lose-lose to me, unless the middling approach works better next year than it worked this year.

MG: Even if it is just secondary moves and tinkering that does not mean it has to be awful. If something is only interested in star players I can see being bored but the biggest problem with this team has been depth. I can be excited if Amaro spends 30 million wisely to bring in guys to strengthen our issue.

As to your sleuthing on the issue of why fans have soured- I can answer that easily.

1.) Fans by nature are front runners. So a team that isn't competing will not have as many people show up to games.

2.) The Charlie thing soured a lot of people on Amaro and the organization.

3.) The football team that the Phillies had stolen a lot of attention from have a brand new coach with a high tempo offense. It is leading to a 1-3 start but they have some excitement there and one of the games while the Phillies were still playing was a against the guy who was the coach here for 14 years.

This isn't rocket science.

Another thank you to fans:

Jake Diekman ‏@JakeDiekman 1h
Thank you @Phillies Phans for all the support this year!! Nothing like the CBP during a home game! Best fans in the game hands down! #MLB

Yeah, a busy winter is not in the cards. Figure KK and Ruiz will be back and the starters are pretty much set. Shuffling in some new riffraff to replace some of the existing backup riffraff won't change a thing.

Thanks for keeping us up with the tweets, GBF. I really appreciate that. I hope Jake will be back in the 'pen next year. I also saw on tv at Fan Appreciation Day he was greeting the fans at the gate.

TTI - Yeah depth has been a real issue but that $30M is going to go real quick too if they resign KK and Chooch. Basically look at FA veterans who are close to the veteran league minimum or not much more to round out the rest of the roster then.

As for it being simple, I have seen a couple of interesting numbers/studies where the halo effect of a good season doesn't last as long as it used to in terms of attendance. I think your right on the other reasons although I don't think that many fans will really care/remember what happened with Cholly beyond this offseason.

Maybe they should have let him have one final appearance before the homecrowd to say this goodbye but a couple of key players including Lee and Halladay basically said the team had quit on Cholly & they were playing horrendously at the time. Cholly desired to be fired. Agree it could have been handled better but no reason why he should have been left to let the organization remain listless the final 6 weeks of the season either.

Attendance went down, but it wasn't terrible, by any means. It's a no-brainer that a contending team will be a bigger draw, and even yet, the Phillies had decent support. I think Phans are looking for a reason to come and to cheer.

GBrettfan - They had a lot of ticket sales but had a huge rate of no-shows especially in Sept. Played in front of a bunch of more than half-empty seats in Sept.

Here's a dismal fact: none of those monsterous contracts referenced by MG comes off the books after 2014. Adams is it.

MG: People saw it for what it was- Charlie was given a bad hand and got fired because he didn't win with it. That really felt like a sea change in how people perceived Charlie and the FO.

Also- I am not sold that Chooch and KK are automatically back next year. Also, I have thought for a while Lee will be traded this off-season. His comments the other night make me really think that.

I know what Amaro has said on all three of these guys, but I always find it funny that people call him a liar but then believe everything that comes out of his mouth.

That is a good point, MG, and it will be interesting to see how far ticket sales dip being 2 years removed from contention on the heels of a truly lousy season. I do think that people are still keen to support this team, however.

Amaro has a challenging off-season ahead of him, without a lot of money and many an improvement to make. Which means he needs some crackerjack talent evaluation. (Do we have that on staff?) A Midas touch would help, too.

I thought they would honor Charlie later in the season. Next year, perhaps?

TTI is exactly right that the frustration with Charlie's firing was that he wasn't the one who assembled the team, yet was the one held accountable for the failure of the team. It is how these things work. (What GM would fire himself?)

I heard on the radio that Atlanta had 2.5 million in attendance this year. Isn't it amazing that with a contending team they mustered fewer fans than Philly? (Even with a half-empty stadium, however, that chop is still deafening.)

I hope the Phils don't try to compensate for a mediocre team by upping the sizzle at CBP to lure the otherwise uninterested public. There can be a fine line between a fun atmosphere and a theme park.

Lastly- yes I know "eternal optimist" "FO apologist" blah blah blah...

but I don't think the Phillies are as far away from being in the playoff hunt as others seem to think. I'm not saying they will be a playoff team definitely or that it will be easy.

The team finished 17 games back of a Wild Card. I would never argue they could've made up 17 games over the course of a year but they did have a clearly not himself Halladay, Cloyd, Miner, and Valdes start 27 games. They also had a complete bullpen meltdown in the first half basically. I do think if you can fix the bullpen and sign soem decent options for the back of the rotation you can add 10 wins to the team. Probably not enough for the playoffs but it has you playing meaningful ball deep into September

Lee is definitely a candidate to be traded. If it happens, ppl will be shocked at how little a return he brings, not because Rube sucks, but because of the huge contract and the Phils unwillingness to eat any significant amount of it.

Doc's $20 million contract comes off the books. Now we just need to find someone who can pitch like first half KK and be paid like 2013 KK.

Guy I think the Phillies will look at as a starter: Scott Baker.

Reds won 90 games and the Rangers/Rays won 91 games.

Last year the Cards got in with 88 wins and O's with 93 wins.

2nd WC still needs to likely win 90 games and this team has too far of a gulf to traverse that in a single offseason with a limited payroll flexibility.

If they did have one or two really promising rookies on the horizon who would make a real impact next year or the ability to add 1-2 top-tier FAs, I would fee differently about this offseason and this team's chances next year of making the playoffs.

To me, it is whether or not Amaro can put out a competitive product next year that is at least .500 or slightly better. No reason this team would be a top #5 in payroll and put out such a poor product.

TTI - I'll pay attention this offseason. There are actually a couple of potential decent value buys among the 2nd/3rd-tier FA starters. Just a question of whether the Phils can sign one and if they get lucky on the injury/results front.

The biggest question heading into next season yet again is the freaking bullpen because the Phils have $20M tied up in a guy who had nothing since Labor Day (Papelbon) from a stuff perspective and a guy who might not even pitch next year (Adams).

It hasn't been the money that Amaro has invested in the pen. It has been the additional years on the contracts he has given to veteran relievers at moderate to large dollars.

If Papelbon had only gotten a 3-yr deal (there wasn't another team supposedly willing to offer him a 4th year or at the dollars he did get), the Phils could possibly moved him this offseason or at the very latest at the trading deadline next year if he wasn't terrible. Instead they are stuck with him for at least another year and likely longer.

and a guy who might not even pitch next year (Adams)

____________________________________

Do you know something on Adams?

Hey, the Phils have two CY winners, two MVPs, and an infielder who was second in all of baseball only to Pujols. What's not to like?

> Mayberry gives Phillies a lefty masher who can play all OF and 1B,
> hopefully as platoon for Howard.

He flat out cannot play CF or 1B. And his line this year against LHP was .240/.296/.460. Time to move on.

on 2014 needs:
In no particular order...
starting Catcher
#3 starter
A few bull-pen pieces

Once those are filled, perhaps some bench upgrades and/or some other pitching depth signings.

Shane - If they fill all of the needs you list, they still won't make the playoffs.

Mayberry sucks. Sign a corner outfielder like Hart and move Ruf into the Mayberry role.

"With that last hit, MM passed 2 pitchers in OPS, but still behind 6 others at .350."

And has there ever been another guy to hit the BA/OBP/Slugging trifecta? A .175/.175/175 slash line, with only 12 Ks in 40 ABs.

Not to mention, unmatched versatility!

Can't wait for spring training...

"on 2014 needs:
In no particular order...
starting Catcher
#3 starter
A few bull-pen pieces"

Re-signing Chooch isn't going to do anything toward improving us; it will merely restore the status quo.

And the problem with finding a No. 3 is that No. 3 starters aren't all that good. And, since this isn't a team that's going to win many games with its offense, the only possible recipe for fielding a winning team next year is to have a lights-out starting rotation. Finding your garden variety 3, 4, and 5 starters to field in the 3, 4, and 5 spots in the rotation makes for an average rotation, not a lights-out one. If we have any chance of being a good team next year, we need a No. 3 starter who would be an ace or No. 2 for most other teams.

Cliff Lee is a better hitter than Michael Martinez. And he can pitch, too. Versatility™

With today's lopsided loss, I believe we also grabbed the coveted third worse run differential from Miami -- only Houston and Minnesota were worse.

So, we just need to improve offense, defense, and pitching, then we're all good.

we need a No. 3 starter who would be an ace or No. 2 for most other teams.

_______________________________________

No we don't. Besides I think if you keep Lee, MAG is your #3 starter and it sounds like he should be fine in that role.

The key will be the 4th starter. If they can get Kendrick to sign a cheap deal- fine. I'd rather they go outside the organization but whatever. I would also keep Lannan and let him battle guys for the #5 spot with the loser getting the long man role.

Finally I'm here.....

With today's lopsided loss, I believe we also grabbed the coveted third worse run differential from Miami -- only Houston and Minnesota were worse.

You are correct. -139 Runs, worst in the National League. It's almost impressive how bad Philadelphia managed to be despite spending roughly $89.5 million more than Minnesota, $129 million more than Miami & $143.3 million more than Houston.

Fish had a better run differential than the Phils did and the Mets won today to finish ahead of the Phils.

This was a cl@usterfuck of a season any way you look at it.

To be fair, G-Town, most of the guys doing the (non)scoring for most of the season accounted for a relatively small percentage of that salary.

And to top it all off, 830AM in Reading, "Your Phillies Station", cut off Franzke & LA after 6 innings for the Eagles. I was forced to end the season with TMac.

timr: Which is a large part of the problem. Hamels had a down year. Halladay stunk. Howard stunk. Papelbon was generally OK, but even more than that he wasn't really needed. Rollins was meh. Adams was an injury bust. Chooch was suspended, & finished w/ his worst season in 5 years. Kendrick stunk. And so on ...

Basically, too much money tied up in too few (aging, injured) players, & none of the above save Hamels figures to be much better in '14. I expect most of the guys doing the (non)scoring for most of next season will account for a relatively small percentage of overall salary, as well.

Teams that are good generally will have a lot of money tied up in four or five players. That's normal. Those four or five generally are the stars of the team.

OTOH, teams generally have very little tied up in the bench and the last five guys in the BP.

So, for teams with a big payroll, that leaves a significant amount of money left for the remaining 10-11 players.

Teams are lucky when one or two of their best players are cost-controlled.

When this team committed the money that it did to Cole Hamels, it ended any realistic chance that they're going to make any drastic improvements via free agency until at least 2015.

Unless they can find a way to unload Howard or Pap, or unless they just commit to a full rebuild by trading Lee, this team is what it is. They might be able to do enough fine tuning to make them wild card contenders, but the days of Phillies divisional dominance are over for the foreseeable future.

Amaro has followed the Steinbrenner template for success without having the tools necessary to gamble at that level. He would have been better served to look at how St. Louis has worked to stay in contention.

"It has kind of amazed me how fast the Phils' fans have seemingly soured on this team.

Not exactly sure what is the reason either."


MG, how about this:

Some of us who have been FOols supporters in the past (or at least acknowledged they ddi 'some' good things) are becoming aware that r00b and the FOols are NOT going to get this team back to the top.

Not if they continue to do things the same way.

And now we enter the winter of our discontent.

As many of us have said, the Phils' FO problem is not just Amaro; it's also the decision-making by the limited P/S headed by Montgomery. A clean sweep of the front office would be nice.

Since it is unlikely that the Phillies ownership structure will change because of a couple bad seasons, the best available option would be to fire Amaro and replace him with a man of stature like a Pat Gillick, someone who will insist on a lot of autonomy before he will accept the GM job and who will be granted that autonomy.

The next GM should also be a guy who uses modern statistics as a tool for evaluating players, but who also recognizes the indispensable role of good scouting. I think this would be a stumbling block for the Phillies since I believe it's the ownership group and not just Amaro that eschews sabermetrics.

Oh! Hey! Almost forgot!

season = over

I'm reading here and as now all of the speculation being thrown around does not and will not matter. If in fact they only have ~30 million to spend, that will not fix what ails them and there is no guarantee that the FO will spend it.

While Lee could be traded, he may not be. The team needs at least 2 starters. Trading Lee will mean they need 3.

But averaging 3.5 rpg simply will not cut it. And the offense is an area where RAJ completely loses focus. Lee's last start is evidence of that. As I've said before, I've little faith in RAJ to get it done. And we shall see.

I pretty much believe with the money committed to these aging less productive players we are going stuck for 2 more years. Basically echoing what another poster said. I have to assume any trade of Lee will involve us eating $$. Then we still need get another starter. Not sure what the net benefit will be unless Lee demands to be traded or some uber prospects are tossed in. We have Hernandez and super utility Galvis and Ruf i see them probably moving on from Mayberry.

While Lee could be traded, he may not be.

________________________________________

That is some dynamite analysis DPat.

Also- have you complained about the offense in the past. Can you please highlight a post where you've done it?

Phillies needs, in order:

1. good Reliever
2. pretty good Reliever
3. Catcher
4. decent Reliever
5. 4/5 starter

The reason for trading Lee is simple. He is 35 years old.

The Phils are not contenders, nor will they be until at least 2016, unless the team were to make major changes. It is not expected the Phils will make the necessary major changes.

Although he is a top pitcher now, it is a reasonable assumption that Lee will no longer be a top pitcher in 2016. Rather than waste Lee's talents on a losing team, it is better to trade him for young, talented players who will be productive in 2016 and well beyond.

A trade of Lee comes with an important caveat: because of Lee's salary, he is not likely to net the Phils a nice return unless the Phils eat 40-50% of his salary.

There is no point in trading Lee if the Phils cannot get back at least one or two young, future stars. This means the Phils must eat a lot of Lee's salary (Because most prospects don't pan out, they should seek major-league ready prospects from AA or AAA who are more likely to be successful.).

Even if the Phils are willing to eat salary, it is still possible that the best offers are not so attractive. If that's the case, then the Phils should not trade Lee.

I wonder what Hernandez's trade value is. His value is as a 2B and he's blocked for 2 years. I don't think sending him down will help him improve, he looked pretty hopeless in CF (SSS, I realize). I'd certainly look at a trade for a player in a similar situation. Ideally, an OF with power or a ready-enough-for-the-majors C. If nothing's there, then keep trying the super-utility experiment.

Oh! Hey! Almost forgot!

season = over

Then let me be the first to post for 2014: season = over.

Before the gotcha patrol jumps all over me, that is a joke. It might hit close to the bone, but there's a 1% chance Amaro has a masterful off-season.

I think Hernandez would certainly be picked up by the Rule 5 if he was sent down next year.

Barring an act of god, this team will not be competitive next year.

This is a really, really bad team that was even worse than its 73 win record. This is a team that is closer to a 65 win club and there is no reason to believe with Rube in charge of the personnel moves that it will get better going into 2014. All of the major pieces are on the wrong side of 30 and will be a year older. Baseball players aren't fine wines, they dont get better with age. The upcoming "young" players are all complimentary pieces at best, not stars you build around...this includes Dom Brown. If Dom Brown is your best young player, you're in a world of hurt as a franchise. The minors are pretty much devoid of impact talent...especially at the upper levels. There are no game changers in the pipeline in the near future. Payroll is bloated and locked into those declining aging players. Even if there was a ton of money, none of the FA options are really worth it anyway. The game has changed and the guy making the moves simply doesn't understand and simply isn't qualified to even begin to do his job.

It is going to be a rough several years in S. Philly. Even if they fired Rube right now, it'd probably be 3-4 years before this team is challenging for the division again.

Sorry if that sounds negative but that is 100% the truth and I think deep down all of us know that. Right now, its 1994 all over again...anyone who lived through that period of "Phillies Baseball" knows I'm right.

PLM, that wouldn't be Rule 5 but if he is out of options, he would have to be put on waivers and like you say, get picked up.

If he's just a utility guy the next 2 years, and maybe not so good of a utility guy, the Phils will extract only a part of his value. Trading him for like value in a place where they need help is an optimal strategy.

Guess we don't have to pay attention to the Phillies for the next 3-4 seasons. There's no way they're competitive because several posters say so.

The 1994 analogy makes no sense. The 93 team caught lightning in a bottle but were coming off a 70 win season in 92.

You really think the Phillies were a flash type team the past 7 years?

I realize it looks dark but I think people are making things worse than they actually are which is surprising considering there is enough negative to focus on.

Feel free to pay attention to them. I know I still will. However, if you think this team has any shot at all in 2014, you're insane.

Even if they went with the trolling FREE AEC plan and took payroll to $230 million, they're still not a playoff team.

1994 as in that is just how bad this team will be going forward. You'll have a couple of star players like Rolen and Schilling and a bunch of crap surrounding them.

Please tell me what "positives" I should be focusing on?

The Aging core?
The barren farm system?
The bloated payroll?
The incompetent boob in charge?

I'm curious as to what I'm missing here.

TTI never said you should be focusing on positives but the strawman argument is a good one.

Most everyone here is an amateur, and I'm more amateur than most. Still, I imagine that the Phillies need to think 3-5 years out and not really consider next year. They need talent at all positions and they need to reduce the salary drain from a handful of under-producing, aging stars.

The Phillies traded future development for immediate performance in 2009-10-11, unloading the farm system for players that could win a world series in the short run (and then they didn't.) It should not surprise anybody that what's coming up from the farm clubs today is average or lower.

I'm not the guy to recommend specific moves that would accomplish the rebuilding, but I expect it would look something like this: trade Lee and Rollins, let Kendrick and Ruiz go, dump Papelbon, and get back as many, talented minor leaguers as they can. Eat whatever salary they have to eat in order to move those players. Add Ryan Howard to the list if that's possible (which I doubt.) Then commit to building on a young team for the next three years, until the payroll is down to mortal levels again.

I'm in favor of keeping Utley and Halladay mostly for what they bring to the clubhouse, and maybe adding them to the coaching staff at some point in the future if they're open to that. Somebody's got to train the young'ns.

Of course, this presupposes that somebody in the front office knows what minor league talent looks like. I don't have much hope on that score. But that doesn't change the prescription. The team has to cut its losses and rebuild.

I'm not trying to make a strawman argument, Redburb. I'm just asking for some positives. I simply dont see any to get excited about.

Scott Rolen was on the 94 Phillies?

What were his stats that year?

TTI, the PERIOD between 1994 and them starting to be good again...ie the Schilling and then Rolen years where we had pretty much crap players with 1-2 stars each year.

Stop being deliberately stupid and actually list some of these mysterious "positives" you seem to think we should focus on.

phil: "I imagine that the Phillies need to think 3-5 years out and not really consider next year. They need talent at all positions and they need to reduce the salary drain from a handful of under-producing, aging stars."

I agree. The best thing the Phillies can do this offseason is not get tied into any long term veteran commitments.

If guys like DOM, Asche, Ruf, Revere, Alfredo, and young reliever arms don't play well enough - then there is no way this team can win in 2014 even if they used their available money on the available FA talent.

So you start 2014 willing to sink/swim with that core.

If they play well enough to warrant some help, then you use the flexibility you preserved/added-with-trades by staying quiet in the offseason at the deadline.

If they don't - then you were damned this year anyway so no point of wasting resources on help in the first place.

NEPP: So you make a comment that on its surface is patently false and I'm being stupid?

Let me ask you this so I can fully understand your analogy:

In your mind the 1993 Phillies is equivalent to the 2007-2011 Phillies?

In my mind, the place the 2014 team is in will be pretty similar to the mid to late 90s clubs.

A really crappy team with a couple of good players.

I'm still waiting for those positives you mentioned.

I'll make a positive. The Phillies farm system is getting better since the 2011 purge and gaining the #7 overall pick only figures to help the farm more.

One negative about the farm though - this past season wasn't kind at all to the arms in the system. Biddle had a middling year, Morgan got hurt, Giles was hurt, Watson was shut down early, Gueller pitched like crap at Williamsport, Mercias needed TJ. Seemed like almost every pitching prospect had something go wrong this year.

Good to see the ppl who were dead wrong about this team already doubling down on stupid.

If they hit on their #7 pick next year and Crawford continues to develop, and they hit on another high pick in 2015, they might have a decent core to build around by 2019-2020. So there's that.

Positives I can see since TTI refuses to list any:

1. Clifton Lee had a fantastic year...2nd best by any pitcher per bWAR.
2. Hamels was pretty great too after a slow start...he should be solid next year.
3. Maybe Brown takes another step forward in 2014...though it could very well be that 2013 was an abberation too...that should be interesting to see. He hit half his HRs in 1 month this year (nearly half at least...12 of 27 in May)
4. Maybe Asche and Ruf take steps forward in full time roles next year...though they finished this year on brutal cold streaks.
5. ???

There is zero help in AA/AAA that will be ready early next year. Franco is the one guy that MIGHT contribute next year but that's a stretch before the late 2nd half.

I'm usually lousy at predictions but I made one that worked this year. When discussing the Yankees and Phils with a Yankees fan at work -- he's a generational fan who grew up outside of Trenton, so he's okay :) -- I predicted that the combined wins for the two clubs would be under 162.

The two teams outperformed their Pythags by 6 and 7, while suffering major injuries.

NEPP, they could let Sarge go.

Seriously, I wonder if his talking to the players about hitting helps or hurts. He talks about talking to JMJ a lot. On the surface it does not seem to be helping.

Ed - In this day and age, pretty much every team suffers major (and minor) injuries. We're just more aware of the ones suffered by the Phils. The injury excuse, like the bad ump excuse, is just an excuse. Successful teams expect and prepare for injuries.

Positives: Any rotation fronted with Lee and Hamels is good enough to win. Just need an offense that can eek out some runs. If MAG is a true #3, rotation can be more than good enough.

Soon the offense could feature 4 relatively young homegrown players in Brown, Ruf, Asche, & Franco. Unfortunately, that's 2 left fielders and 2 3rd basemen, but we're focusing on the positives.

I wouldnt be surprised to see Rube make a huge push for either Stanton or Braun this off-season via trade.

He really seems to want a top corner OF and both of them might be available (for the right price).

I could see the Brewers cashing in on Braun in the right deal just to be free of that stigma and controversy after the repeated PED issues.

And if MLBTradeRumors is to be believed, Rube has called Miami's FO approximately 8 million times since last winter asking about Stanton.

I dont know that either of those would be a net positive given what Rube would have to give up and what they'd end up costing salary wise (Stanton starts getting expensive next year and Braun is owed $117 million through 2021)

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