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Monday, November 18, 2013


"The deal, a source said, includes a $4.5 million club option for a fourth season."

Stark tweets:

#Phillies deal w Ruiz pays him $8.5M in each of next three seasons, with a $4.5-M option or $500,000 buyout. Also can block deals to 4 teams


Don't hate the deal when considering the alternative options. By that third year, Ruiz will be a backup, or at least that's the hope.

That 3rd year is likely gonna bite us in the arse but its a pretty reasonable deal overall...lower AAV than most of us thought.

Good for Chooch, that he gets paid.

Bad for the Phillies, of course, but Amaro has screwed this franchise up so much that I can't honestly say I care about one more deal, and I generally like Chooch, so my happiness that he's getting rewarded for his service is enough to offset the depression of knowing that this franchise has entered the dark ages.

Three years with an option? Only in the land of Amaro. Amazing. The dollars are fine and three years? Yeah, one year too long. The option? That's insane. But this contract, with the newly legal Adderall prescription, at least has a good chance of holding its value. And there's not a lot out there to replace a guy like Chooch. So, I will not complain about this deal. And on a dollars per season basis, it's actually right in line with what Chooch is likely worth, a rarity for an Amaro contract.

May as well pencil in that 500k buyout in year 4...somehow I doubt we'll be keeping a 39-year old Chooch around for 4.5 mil.

Now that the man can legally take them, pump him so full of Adderall, that he doesn't blink once between April and October.

I guess getting younger will have to wait a few more years, not the Phillies had any feasible catching options in the minors.

Stark says Phils hiked AAV and added 3rd year because Red Sox were in negotiations with Chooch up until the end.

Chooch's gambit to squeeze an extra year out of Amaro worked.

Has Rub ever NOT given the extra year to a player he's targeted?

Well that's impossible. Amaro always bids against himself.

****Yeah, one year too long. The option? That's insane. ****

Pretty much the story of Rubes GMship.

This strategy seems to point towards a 1 year flier on halladay and a big signing right before christmas...

Well, since the Phils and the Red Sox are in the exact same position as franchises, it made sense that we were the two teams bidding for Chooch and that we just *had* to outbid them.

I don't think 26/3 for chooch is all that unreasonable...Club options are fine, give him 1,000 club options if he wants, doesn't mean the org has any intention of exercising them.

Wait to see what salty and pierzybski get before saying this is an overpay. Ruiz is easily #2 in the market for catchers. I think this is just the going rate...

one year too long. No you are wrong. It's the Amaro way. Rube's old folks home!

Stark: "I've heard Red Sox were in Ruiz negotiations right to the end. It appears Phillies guaranteed 3rd year & hiked AAV to keep him."


by my calculations, that leaves the phillies ~17-20 million (AAV) for 4 roster spots.

I think salary inflation is around the corner which could mitigate this to some extent, but even so, it's hard to imagine Chooch being worth $8.5M at age 38.

That Hunter Pence for Tommy Joseph trade looks like a stroke of brilliance now . . .

DH Phils- OK, so the phillies fully intend to basically eat $8.5 M in 2016. What are the other options for catcher in 2014?

I think roob is a boob and acts like a noob. However, this era of free agency is about overpaying or not paying at all.

Honestly, who cares about the dollars and years. It's just more evidence of RAJ not looking for unique and innovative solutions to fix what ails this team. Need a catcher? Look to the FA market. Oh, we know this guy! Lock him up for 3 years. Done.

It's lazy and definitely the exact opposite of what's going to pull this team out of the rut in which it currently finds itself. Chooch is most decidedly on the downside of his career, and will almost assuredly not provide surplus value to this team going forward.

Just another nail to ensure us that the next half decade is going to consist of some pretty brutal baseball.

That Hunter Pence for Tommy Joseph trade looks like a stroke of brilliance now . . .

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Monday, November 18, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Out of curiousity, what do the Indians think about the Cliff Lee deal in 2009? What about the Blue Jays' side of the Roy Halladay deal in 2010?

I'd hate to see what RAJ's off-season would have looked like if he had decided NOT to "get creative."

Chooch can earn $500K each year with 125 starts behind the plate, so reports Salisbury.

The money is largely irrelevant to me. It's just the idea of a 3-year contract to a 35-year old catcher, for a team that should be focused on rebuilding. And a 35-year old who just had a pretty poor 34-year old season.

Kevin Cooney: "And I'll say that I don't believe this is all on Ruben. I think a lot of the sentimentality comes from Dave Montgomery's office."

Exactly. He hires his ignorant friends, he cannot bear to fire his ignorant friends, & he has no clue how to run a baseball team. Which is why the Phillies will remain stuck in reverse while other franchises compete, & win.

"Out of curiousity, what do the Indians think about the Cliff Lee deal in 2009? What about the Blue Jays' side of the Roy Halladay deal in 2010?"

I'm sure they think those trades were awful -- and well they should. What's your point?

The Indians made the Postseason last year, & I'll bet they'll make several return trips before the Phillies get anywhere close. Sometimes you have to tear it all down & start over. The Phillies are refusing to do so, & digging an ever-deeper pit.

I agree, it's not all on Amaro. I mean, sure, he's not helping. But Montgomery and the ownership group clearly have priorities other than doing whatever is necessary to build a winning organization.

That's fine, it just sucks for us fans, because it's a competitive industry. There's 30 teams trying to win. If you're not doing the most you can to try and win, it isn't going to happen.

I think the odds are more likely than not that we're headed for a significant drought of meaningful baseball in Philadelphia. Well, at least we have those DVDs of 2008...

hindsight is 20/20 and prospects are a roll of the dice.

Noname, you're providing breathtaking analysis.

Actually, it would be kind of fitting if Tommy Joseph had a breakout year at AAA, while Chooch repeated his poor 2013 season. That would create Ryan Howard-Darin Ruf II -- in which a younger, and probably better, player is blocked by a declining player with an unmovable contract.

Granted, the odds of Joseph having that breakout season are not all that great, but you could have said the exact same thing of Darin Ruf before 2012. Much of what happens with prospects is a matter of dumb luck. But, when our GM keeps doling out jobs to old, expensive players with declining skills, he makes it difficult to capitalize on that luck when it does happen.

OK, boys and girls, the next time I tell you a player (in this case Chooch) will get at least 2 years and that there is probably a team out there that will give him 3, don't argue.

In this case, it was the Phillies that were willing to give him 3, and that's probably because he had a 3 years deal on the table from someone else.

"hindsight is 20/20 and prospects are a roll of the dice."

I think the Beerleaguer archives will reflect that I was horrified by the Pence-Joseph trade on the day it was made. This ain't hindsight.

Noname, you're providing breathtaking analysis.

Posted by: Fatalotti | Monday, November 18, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Thanks! I don't think this topic requires "breathtaking" analysis. I patiently wait for your anaylsis to "take my breath away". Waiting with "bated breath"!

Classic "dead money" at the end of a contract.

Ruben's plan, code named "1983," is proceeding perfectly so far.

"hindsight is 20/20 and prospects are a roll of the dice."

I think the Beerleaguer archives will reflect that I was horrified by the Pence-Joseph trade on the day it was made. This ain't hindsight.

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Monday, November 18, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Where are all of your offers to be the next GM? I bet any of the 30 clubs would DIE for a GM that can correctly predict the future of all prospects...especially when that person can see into the future and predict career threatening injuries!

Today is declared national BAP day for correctly guessing that Tommy Jospeh was and will always be a bust.

Celebrate as you will, beerleaguer.

In what possible way would be better off having kept Hunter Pence?

Rube would've given him the 5-year, $90 million extension the Giants just gave him. You really want that? Or, he'd be leaving and sure we'd get the first-round pick which may be more worthwhile than Tommy Joseph now, but at the time, no one would have argued that a 20-year old catcher at AA was less valuable than a first-round pick in two years.

I don't understand the revisionist history that longs for the glory years of Hunter Pence.

I don't know if this means much, but he didn't start catching until 1998 when he was approaching age 20. Perhaps his shelf life is a little bit better than most 35 year old catchers, even with the injuries of recent?

It just keeps getting better. AARP Park.

"Just as we shouldn’t buy into the narratives pitched by Wins and RBIs, we shouldn’t buy into the narrative that every deal signed by Ruben Amaro is a bad one, or that every contract for a catcher on the wrong side of 30 is a bad one."

" At this price, they just need him to be average for the next couple of years. That’s a very reasonable expectation."

Starting to wonder if Ruben has a substance abuse problem and also is posting as Noname on this blog...

bay_area_phan: Really... a Darin Ruf/Tommy Joseph comparison?

Ruf was a non-prospect before a breakout year at age 25 at AA. Joseph reached AA at the age of 20.

I think that's all I'll add on this one.

"Today is declared national BAP day for correctly guessing that Tommy Jospeh was and will always be a bust."

When did I make a prediction about Tommy Joseph's future? I merely said that I hated the idea of trading Hunter Pence for a shot-in-the-dark prospect. As a result of that trade, RF has been manned by the likes of Mayberry, Delmon Young, Casper Wells and Roger Bernadina for the last 2 seasons -- and we just went out and gave a 2-year deal to a 36-year old player who's trying to reduce his breast size.

Gotta keep those tween girls happy through their growing years and make sure Chooch is around until he is using a walker!

Good signing by RAJ even if it is a little too long. At least we know what we've got.

I love Chooch as much as the next guy but 3 years? C'mon. It's 1 or see ya. As always thanks for the good times but this team needs to get serious about its future. It is absolutely maddening to see how this front office operates. All they care about is name recognition among the 25 men on the roster as if that will be the savior for declining gate #s.

BAP: So you would've supported the 5-year, $90 million extension for Hunter Pence then?

2 things:

1.) When I said months ago the book by Salisbury painted a picture of Amaro being a puppet for Montgomery I was taken to task saying it had spotty sources and all that by JTroll and others. Now people are starting to see the truth from beat writers.

2.) I am curious. Not in a gotcha way. But just generally curious at what option other people think the Phillies should've taken at catcher.

Ugh. Mediocrity abounds and the Phils are locking that in more and more with each move this offseason through '15.

It would be nice to know though what role and to the extent that Montgomery placed in this decision although I imagine Amaro was given a firm budget and is trying to fill what he considers as offseason needs without Montgomery necessitating that Chooch be resigned. Solid player but he is not Utley.

If I were Chooch, I'd have taken the Red Sox deal even if it was fewer years & dollars, just to play on a good team that has a real chance of going to the postseason.

Does anyone wonder why you never hear anyone that works for the organization bad mouth it? Imagine how much the pay the mailroom guys? I need to work for them. They love to overpay for either a) past performance or b) no performance at all. Monty is a tonedeaf fool.

GBrett, has it ever occurred to you that Chooch may think this team has a chance to go to the postseason?

Gotta Get Younger (TM)*

*gotta get younger whether you get better or worse (TM)

Beerleaguer makes slow work days more enjoyable sometimes...

"a Darin Ruf/Tommy Joseph comparison? Ruf was a non-prospect before a breakout year at age 25 at AA. Joseph reached AA at the age of 20."

KAS: Huh? I didn't compare Ruf & Joseph. I merely used Ruf as an example that prospects can break out suddenly and unexpectedly and, when you give out 3-year deals to declining players, you're blocking any prospect who might develop within the next 3 years.

If Joseph is more likely to break out than Ruf was (which he probably is), that's MORE reason to dislike the Ruiz contract, not less reason.

TTI: I'm not sure what he'll get, but I would've liked to see if I could get Dioner Navarro on a 1-year deal, maybe with a vesting option for a second year. He's 5 years younger, had a nice season last year, is a switch-hitter that crushed lefties last year (and this team needs righty bats as we know), and is pretty solid defensively.

I meant that Chooch isn't a player like Utley/Lee/Hamels where Montgomery would dictate that Amaro has to resign him.

TTI: That John Buck/AJ Pierzynski platoon would've been awesome.

2.) I am curious. Not in a gotcha way. But just generally curious at what option other people think the Phillies should've taken at catcher.

Posted by: The Truth Injection | Monday, November 18, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Not sure there was another great option, but what is this team trying to accomplish in 2014? If it's contending for the playoffs, they are delusional. If they're just trying to tread water with an old, mediocre team for a few years, then carry on. I would rather just tear it down and deal with a terrible team for a couple years, because as I've said many times before winning 80 games year after year is worse for your franchise than winning 70 for a few years and rebuilding.

TTI: I think people (including many posters here) just want to see something different. Whether or not that different option is the better option is up for debate, but it shows in a lot of the arguments around here that is what some are interested in. They don't care that Ruiz might be the best option for the next few years (I'm not arguing he is) but they would rather see another face in that position.

Funny thing about Dave Cameron's piece at FanGraphs is that I would argue that the Phils aren't really trying to contend in '14 with the moves they are making but put a stop-gap team in place that hovers around .500 until the next TV is finished.

Maybe I'm wrong and the Phils blow out their budget to $180-$185M and sign another solid starting pitcher, bullpen arm, and 1-2 more FAs. Wait on see I guess although this would really surprise me given the gate revenues hit the Phils took last year and will next year.

Jack: Probably not. In fact, I'm sure I would have been all in favor of trading him for prospects at mid-season 2013. But I damn sure wouldn't have traded him a year-and-a-half before we had to, for substantially less value than we traded away to get him.

bay_area_phan: Ruf isn't blocked. He's exactly what he should be... an extra OF bat off the bench.

Actually... Ruf is a DH who can play a passable 1B. He belongs in the AL. At best, he'd be a platoon option at 1B.

This deal also assumes Chooch will deliver about 5 WAR over the course of the deal and I'm highly skeptical of that.

BAP is an interesting fellow. To him, Tommy Joseph, rated as one of the better catching prospects in baseball by almost everyone, is a "shot in the dark" prospect, while Erik Kratz and Darrin Ruf are runaway successes.

I do think there's much to be said for TTI's point: that there were no other good options. That's why I can't bring myself to really hate this deal the way I do, say, the Marlon Byrd deal.

But, at the same time, it doesn't take Nostradamus to know that we'll eventually regret this contract. And the part which is troubling is that we'll likely be coming to regret the contract right about the same time that we should be aspiring to contend again.

To me, flexibility is more important than anything else at this point. I would be fine with a 40-year old if they were on a 1- or 2-year deal.

What kills bad teams is being locked into bad teams for the foreseeable future.

MG: Think what you will about Rube & Co. but there's no GM or owner in baseball who would make moves so they can have a .500 team. Rube thinks he's got enough core talent that, if everyone stays healthy and he adds a few small parts, they can be a contender in a weak division.

The difference between a .500 team and a 70-win rebuilding team is minimal in terms of revenues. But a contender puts fannies in the seats and sells merch.

KAS: "Actually... Ruf is a DH who can play a passable 1B. He belongs in the AL. At best, he'd be a platoon option at 1B."


"This deal also assumes Chooch will deliver about 5 WAR over the course of the deal and I'm highly skeptical of that."

MG. considering Chooch ahs average 3.4 WAR for the last 4 years, I think that he's got a shot to average 1.73 WAR for the next 3.

We'll see.

I don't understand all the whining. I really don't. Ruiz was the best option out there as opposed to overpaying Salty and McCann.

If they hadn't signed Ruiz, and instead had signed Navarro or someone lesser, it would definitely be a sign that they don't think they can compete and don't care about winning.

Look, we'd all have preferred a 2 year deal, but this is the FA market for catchers - at least the good ones - and Chooch is one of those.

Platoon option at 1B huh? If only we had a 1B that crushed righties but was horrible against lefties to platoon with him.

awh - Not really whining about this deal, just the general direction of the franchise. There doesn't really seem to be a plan in place to compete with the next generation of stars. Just desperately (and delusionaly) clinging to the fading stars of yesteryear.

Not really a plan I can get behind.

Chris in VT-
If not Chooch, then who at catcher?

Teams that can contend can talk about options. When you aren't a contender then options shouldn't enter the discussion. They need to grin and bear it for this season. But I get that they have to keep the casual fan interested. It comes at the expense of us fans on here that know this move is piss poor for now and the future.

Chris, it's QUESTIONABLE whether any of the MiL catchers is ready by 2016. Very questionable.

Sure, if he can keep from getting concussed again, Joseph is a fine prospect, but he's missed almost a whole year of development, and he's still on a "prospect".

The third year of this deal gives them another year to let some of the young guys develop, and eve if Joseph makes the Show by 2016 and takes Chooch's job, having Chooch around to mentor him is not a terrible thing.

People here are acting like they just signed the guy to a 10-year, $200MM deal. It's one extra friggin' year. Sheesh.

awh, you think this team can contend in 2014 then? And if so please outline how this happens. What needs to go right?

Last time i checked, all teams that have won the world series have fielded a catcher. Lets "Get Younger (TM)", but how at catcher? If you don't have an answer to that and/or to who else you would rather have from the current crop of FAs then your point is moot.

The Ruiz deal is "meh" - my guess is that he'll post 5 WAR over the next 3 years but not much more. On that basis, I'm okay with it. The big problem, though, is that by locking into Chooch for the next three years, we've scratched off one more spot where we could have upgraded the offense (with McCann). This fits the obvious narrative after the Byrd signing - that RAJ has decided not to sign any FAs that will require a compensation pick.

Chris in VT-
If not Chooch, then who at catcher?

Posted by: Nonamephame (Founder of the Cody Asche fan club, no scout-lovers allowed) | Monday, November 18, 2013 at 01:21 PM

As I've said before, I'm not sure I really care.

Chooch isn't going to be here when the team contends again, and what's the point in building a team that will max out at 82 wins, absolute best-case scenario?

Tear it down and rebuild.

Joe D, do I thin the tea can contend? Why are you asking me?

I pointed out that the Phillies FO thinks this team can contend, and this is an indication of that.

Do you disagree?

I don't care if they play Dane Sardinha behind the plate in 2014 because they are going NOWHERE. They need to save these resources and allocate them for future years when hopefully some of this younger talent can stick and then you need the free agent pieces to push you over the edge.

I didn't know you were speaking solely from the FO perspective, awh. I thought you were speaking for yourself. But yes the FO clearly thinks they can win in 2014.

What I don't understand is this....if they don't spend this money in the winter of 2013 does it go away next year? Are they like a regular company that operates on a budget and if said budget isn't used up they cut it? I just don't get it. It's like they are spending just to spend.

They need to save these resources and allocate them for future years when hopefully some of this younger talent can stick and then you need the free agent pieces to push you over the edge.

Posted by: Joe D | Monday, November 18, 2013 at 01:26 PM

What? I'm not sure I follow this line of thinking. Don't sign Ruiz now because the team may contend in 2016 and you'll need to sign a free agent then? Is that what you're saying?

I saved Chooch because he was not a mooch.
Like another runner in the night, wrapped up like a dootch.

Red, a deal like Ruiz's being on the books in 2016 could without a doubt prevent them from signing a legitimate piece to help them contend. Now they are signing him thinking they can contend next year when they can't.

There's too many variables to say with confidence that Chooch's $8.5 million deal in 2016 will prevent them from making a move so I have no idea how you can come to that conclusion.

The other big thing Ruiz's signing tells us is that the Phils don't believe they have a potential starting catcher among the group of Joseph, Rupp, and Valle. That's a painful truth to confront, but RAJ is probably right on that evaluation.

Andrew Knapp's probably the next guy with an outside chance, but his recent TJ surgery likely sets back his timetable by another year.

Bunch of interesting takes on the Chooch deal. Dave Cameron at Fangraphs actually defends the deal. Keith Law, as you would expect, thinks it's a terrible deal (Insider only). Our own David Murphy says it's not as bad as people suggest.

Now lets see if this gets past the spam filters...

Ugh, the Dave Cameron link doesn't work in my post above.

Try this one.

Can someone post the Law piece?

I don't like posting the entirety of someone's material, especially when there is a paywall, but I can tell you he calls it "lunacy" and writes:

"The deal, with an average annual value of $8.67 million, covers Ruiz's age-35-through-37 seasons, and it's not like his age-34 season was such a rousing success. Right-handed pitchers blew him up in 2013 (.257/.301/.335 line against), and he didn't hit any kind of velocity as his bat had clearly started to slow. He still can do damage against left-handers and is an adequate defender, blocking pitches well and nailing about a quarter of opposing runners, but taking value away with poor pitch framing."

Amaro has painted himself into a situation where no move is a good move, so we're left comparing which deals are less worse than the other.

Chooch's deal is probably right in the middle of the worst and the least worse.

It's just so sad to see people justifying the deal by saying "Well it's better than overpaying for McCann or Salty!" That doesn't make a good move.

I am not in love with 3 years for a 35 year old catcher but Amaro is in a weird spot- one of his own doing.

He has a team that can compete in 2014 IF some things fall into place for them. It isn't a guarantee by any means. Bringing in McCann or a Salty at that price they are going to get would've been bad- especially if you feel they aren't competing no matter what in 2014 and possibly 2015.

Navarro would've been an interesting option but you are getting him off a huge year, a career one I believe.

Ruiz was probably the best option of what was available- for better or worse.

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