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Tuesday, November 19, 2013


While Rube has been throwing extra money at Byrd and Chooch, pinching pennies with Frandsen is exactly what I'd expect. However, wouldn't it be nice if they could simply get Frandsen to come back on a minor league deal, which is what his talent level calls for and substitute Brignac for Martinez instead?

If Brignac is the instrument of Martinez' demise as a Phillie, he might get a parade down Broad Street for that alone.

"His main position is shorstop, but Brignac can also play second base, third base and both corner outfield positions."

Well, thank God. If it weren't for Brignac's ability to play the two corner OF positions, it might be difficult to get his .221/.262/.311 bat into the starting lineup.

Mini has diplomatic immunity.

Brignac doesn't have the Tijuana pictures of a young Rube.

This signing frees up Mini to be the new asst. hitting coach.

How can you argue with a cheap lottery ticket? At least Rube hasn't penciled him in to start in RF.

He's versatile. Like me.

I refuse to celebrate the acquisition of a career .573 OPS hitter on the ground that it puts our career .495 OPS hitter one step farther down our organizational depth chart. Just as I don't need a governor on my car to prevent me from driving 100 MPH through Chinatown in San Francisco, the Phillies don't need Reid Brignac on their AAA roster to keep Mini_Mart far away from the major leagues. All it requires is an infinitesimal amount of common sense.

Besides, anyone who has watched the Phillies over the last 3 years knows damn well that, even if we acquired 10 major league utility infielders, Mini-Mart would, somehow or another, find his way onto the 25-man roster at some point during the 2014 season.

Ever since the Gnome left the utility man role has gone to pieces.

Do you think Rube might consider one more aging ex-Phil?

I have the pics. Him, not so much.

@BAP, yeah, but he was ranked the #17 Prospect prior to the 2007 season and his seven-year old scouting report is glowing.

I love old reports.

LA-worthy rant, b_a_p. Good work.

This team is dead in the water until the dissolution of the breathtakingly "limited" partnership. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - David Montgomery is the functional equivalent of Jerry Jones in Dallas. A bag of nonsense with a bigger bag of money.

Ruben is aptly named - prefix: "rube". He dances to Monty's tune. There is no other way to describe the team-eviscerating personnel decisions that have been around here since Howard went "kerplop".


Is Brignac the Phils' first under thirty signing this offseason? If so, two reasons to celebrate!

Corey, after a couple of good thread headers, you're getting sloppy again.
mini mart is not on the Phillies 40-Man Roster

Also, IIRC, mini mart refused his ourifht assignment to AAA and thus became a free agent.

I do not believe he's even in the organization any more.

When you get a chance to sign a guy like Reid Brignac you have to take it.

He's a straight-shooter with upper-management written all over him.

As to the thread header - does anyone think Frandsen, who can actually competently swing a baseball bat at the MLB level, will lose playing time to Brignac.

I'd be surprised if that happens.

Since 2011:

Brignac: 384 PA, .443 OPS
Martinez: 396 PA, .495 OPS

Rube should be commended...he managed to find a way to replace Mini Mart with an even worse player. That's not easy and we should all be in awe of his ability to find the absolute worst utility infielder on the planet and give him a job.

Well done Rube!

I wish I had gone to Stanford instead of GW so I could be a GM just like Rube!!!

I thought Mini-Mart signed a minor league deal with the Phillies.

I hope that the Brignac signing is to fill Hernandez's spot with the AAA club, which in turn would signal Frandsen's departure from the club. As the guy who'd be the fourth 2B on the depth chart, you could do a lot worse than Brignac: The glove's always been MLB-ready and, despite his problems at the plate, a competent defender at multiple up-the-middle positions has its uses as a depth piece.

Is there anybody who's really going to mourn the passing of the Frandsen era with the Phils? He's a utility IF: If ever there's a type of player who comes and goes, it's this one. Hernandez is cheaper, is a markedly better defender at 2B, is better on the basepaths, and gets on base more often. The only argument for Frandsen is that he can mash LHP as a bench bat, but that's likely going to be Darin Ruf's job. (Yes, yes. Inverted splits at the MLB level, but several thousand MiLB PAs indicate he's much better against LHP than RHP.) I suppose there's also the fact that Frandsen's a below-average defender at 3B while the jury's out as to whether Hernandez can handle the position: To my knowledge, there's never been an attempt to try Hernandez at 3B because the glove stuck at 2B.

I've always said that what this team needs to compete for a postseason playoff spot is to get younger at the all-important AAA utility infield position! Another great move by RAJ.

Im not sure but you would think they would have Hernandez take some reps at 3B in Winter Ball. Unless he is/has I dont see the Phils plopping him at 3B. If Rube version of creativity is to stock up on Utility fielders and over the hill players we in deep mud.

An infield bench of Galvis backing up third and short, Hernandez as Utley's sub, and Ruf platooning at first with Howard is solid. That means it won't be done.

Off topic, but funny: xxx reports: Chris Branch of USA TODAY reports:

With Ruiz in the fold, the Phillies no longer have an opening at catcher, something they desperately need.

Mini threw up some powerful offensive numbers at LV last season. Red Brickbat will need a monster year to match that output.

Rube is like a Batman. Batman has a utility belt Rube has utility players.

Michael Martinez? Please remove his reference from your article. It's burning my eyes.

Martinez was not resigned despite a number of reports that stated so back in October. As of this moment, he is a FA and has no affiliation with the Phillies

To follow-up on above, MM was outrighted on October 3rd and elected to become a FA on October 7th. He is not currently listed on the Phils 40-man and he does not appear in team transactions for the Phils or LV at any time after his October 3rd outright. He's no longer with the team - at least for now

Rule 2000 in Monty's organizational handbook clearly states that a player must be signed before any book signing event takes place. Mini will be signed before his book hits the stands.

I doubt the Phils could have signed Johnson on a 1 yr deal similar what the Padres did without offering him significantly more. Johnson live in Las Vegas and had a strong preference to stay on the West Coast.

Curious to see how Murphy does though next year for the Indians. 2 yr/$12M is a bit more than I thought he would get but he would have been a potentially attractive option in LF to platoon with Ruf.

"The glove's always been MLB-ready and, despite his problems at the plate,..."

Juums, to that I respond as would John Pinette:

Oh, Nay Nay!

This team has had problems scoring runs, not defending up the middle. As long as Rollins, Utley and Revere are in the lineup the up-the-middle defense will be fine, and if Hernandez is at 2B and Galvis at SS it won't suffer too much. (AAMOF we'll find out in a couple of months whether Galvis' defense is now superior to Rollins'.)

Nay, Nay, Juums, this team scored 3.77 RPG - 13th in the NL and 27th in all of MLB.

They need guys on the bench or as org depth who can actually HIT.

The Brignacs of this world - all glove, no stick - populate the minor leagues and, if necessary, can be acquired for "some dude" or "cash considerations".

So, I beg to differ. Given the existence of Galvis and Hernandez in the org, IMHO Frandsen is a much more valuable depth piece than Brignac, even if he's not as Versatile™.

For all of you Kyle Kendrick fans, I'm going to make your heads explode:

Tim Dierkes did a writeup over at MLBTR about the Josh Johnson deal with the Padres.

Discounted Josh Johnson Is Low Risk, High Reward For Padres

Because it may be applicable to KK soon, this quote will make you guys feel like your in this movie.

"The going rate for a #3-4 type starter is around $14MM..."

Frandsen is valuable in the minors on this team, but not so much in the majors.

Hernandez does better at 2B, and can backup CF as well, plus he's probably a better overall hitter (Frandsen plummeted back to Earth in 2013, indicating 2012 may have been just as anomalous as many thought it was). Galvis can backup SS and do better at 3B. Ruf can be 1B platoon/backup and LF backup - plus he should be is able to mash LHP.

Frandsen seems like a good guy, but with his age, sub-standard defense, and below-average bat, he's the odd man out in our infield backups. If he accepted a posting at Lehigh Valley, that'd be another story... But he's outta options, and it's tough to argue it's worth dropping a Mil and a 40-man spot on a guy who's only going to see MLB action if we get at least 2 injuries, including one to an under-28 player.

awh - Where did you get $13-$14M? The was just one poster and was benchmarked against any previous FA signings the past few years.

Isn't our #3-4 starter slated to be MAG? KK would be more than 4/5. Which, to be fair, I think is his general talent level (though a "good" 4/5).

That's the trick with depth signings, isn't it? You can either have someone who can hit well for their position or someone who's a plus defender: Not both, as if they could do both, they wouldn't be someone who'd sign for what you pay depth pieces. (And with guys who hit well, they've usually got a pronounced platoon split.) Given that utility infielders tend to be called upon to play premium defensive positions, doesn't that militate towards the all-glove side of the spectrum? But if you can get Frandsen back on an MiLB deal, all the better, as you put Frandsen at 2B and can move Brignac over to SS. Depth is a strength, after all, and it's nice to have a stockpile of guys with different skills (as Frandsen and Brignac both do) so that you can tailor your call-up to your needs.

On Kendrick, while I'm not exactly a fan, I'd say I'm one of the more steadfast advocates of tendering him a contract. So I have to ask: What does the Johnson signing have anything to do with KK? As the Phils have always needed at least one SP, regardless of what they do with KK. All of the questions circling around Kendrick were whether the Phils should open the can of worms of looking for two SP in this market instead of one.

Right now MAG is a wild card. He could be a #3 starter, or he could crap out. One hopeful fact is he didn't learn his trade in the Phillie farm system.

Frandsen's only value is as a strong RH bat off the bench. He suffers from Mayberry disease in that he cannot hit RHP and should never be used vs. RHP. So, of course, like Mayberry, nearly 75% of his ABs were vs. RHP last season.

If the Phillies cannot use players the way they're supposed to use them then said players have little value.

If the Phillies cannot use players the way they're supposed to use them then said players have little value.

Posted by: clout | Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 10:02 AM

I'm hoping Ryne Sandberg can improve on the Phils' recent performance in this area. We shall see...

The 2013 Phils were poor in all three areas - offense, pitching, and defense.

Prior to signing Byrd and Ruiz, the Phils had $50 million to spend before incurring a luxury tax. $50 million is not enough to correct all the team's problems. It may not even be enough to turn the offense around.

With a little luck, however, $50 million could be enough to fix the pitching and the defense in 2014.

The metrics indicate that the Phils' poor defense cost more than 100 runs in 2013. That's about ten games. A team at the opposite end of the defensive spectrum, the O's, were about 19 games better than the Phils on defense alone.

The team cannot do much about the infield defense other than to play Howard as little as possible and to have a solid infield bench defensively. It is in the outfield where the Phils can make the biggest improvement defensively. That's why I am in favor of trading for Bourjos. I am also in favor of replacing Brown with a better all-around talent like the Rays' Jennings.

The pitching can be improved by adding two SPs and trading Kendrick, who is a no. 5 with a low ceiling. Unfortunately, two of the targets with much higher ceilings than Kendrick are already gone - Josh Johnson and Hudson. That leaves guys like Garza, Haren, Kazmir and Colon (?). I would also add Tanaka, but I think he is the longest of shots, and I don't like the idea of a huge posting fee.

If they make the right moves, it is possible for the Phils to enter 2014 with solid pitching, a solid defense, and a still-weak offense. That should be enough for a .500 record.

derek - As of right now, MLB has no agreement with Japanese Baseball with regards to a posting system, so Tanaka isn't even available. That could, of course, change in the future. But We may as well forget about Tanaka entirely, regardless of how long a shot he may be anyway.

derek - That would have been a more sensible approach instead Amaro is pursuing a 'check mark the box' approach and in the process signing a bunch of aging, over-the-hill veterans to moderate deals in terms of deals and dollars.

BBR appears very confused about Frandsen's platoon splits in 2013. It claims he had 88 PAs against LHP, but 110 against LHSPs.

Fangraphs claims 88 against LHP, so we'll go with that, which was 32% of his PAs this year.

Last year, he had 32% of his PAs against LHP as well... He just drastically overperformed against RHP (put up a .762 OPS). He also had fewer PAs against LHP in 2012 than 2013.

In 2010, with the LA Angels, he had... 32% of his PAs against LHP.

In 2007, with the SF Giants, he had... 39% of his PAs against LHP.

In 2006, with the SF Giants, he had... 10% of his PAs against LHP.

So in the 5 years where he had at least 100 PAs (2 with the Phillies), only in one of them was he "used the way he was supposed to be used."

Here's a write-up on our top 20 prospects from a guy at Interesting that he has Crawford ranked over Biddle.

The take-home lesson of this list is that our minor league system really sucks.

Rube and Montg. seem to like guys who produced in 2007. We are locked everywhere but 3rd. Howard and Jimmy have to go. Give Jimmy to the Cards and eat a piece of Howard's contract to whoever will take him. If Jimmy blocks the deal then tell him he competes for a job in the spring with Freddie. Can't take a guy with his offensive numbers and just hand him a job while the young guys continue to be blocked from competing. Move Utley to 1st, Asche to 2nd, and let Franco start the year at 3rd. Franco can flat out hit. He has power, hits for average, and get this, he doesn't strike out a lot. Struck out once in his first 48 at bats in Reading. Let him fill out in the bigs. Sign a stud pitcher and let Biddle compete for the number 5 spot instead of letting him waste bullets in the minors. We are kidding ourselves if we think this team as it stands is suddenly going to improve. Jimmy, Ryan, and Utley are what they have been the last 3 years, not what the brass hopes they will be as in 2007/2008. And, Ruf, how does Rube bash him in the press when all the guy has done is produce. I realize the strikeouts, but when you weigh his body of work it beats what we have. Rubes prize pick last year, Ben, has the worst arm in baseball, takes bad routes, and gives runners the extra base time and again, yet Rube complains about Ruf's defense????Montgomery shows great weakness in allowing this all to go on.

28% against lefties in his 54-PA 2009.

Normball: I'm sure Rollins would be 100% fine with "competing with Freddy" for the job. He's slightly worse on defense and still miles ahead on offense. He wins that competition 95 times out of 100 (and gets injured in three of the remaining five). He's better than any other option we've got for SS, and it's not really close.

In an amusing coincidence, For the past 3 years, Frandsen has exactly... 32% of his MiLB PAs against LHP.

Whoops. Make that 29%.

Two signings I like better than any the Phils have made:

--Johnson for 1 year and $8 million to the Padres.

--David Murphy for 2 years and $12 million to the Indians.

Johnson it goes without saying--a one-year deal that carries very little risk. Murphy is a guy who is solid defensively and hits righties really well. He's a good addition for a contending team like the Indians because he brings a particular skill they can use. He's sort of like the Marlon Byrd signing, but he's four years younger, has not been linked to PEDs, and the Indians are actually contending while the Phillies are not. On the other hand, Murphy had a really bad year last year. Still, I think it was a solid move for the Indians.

Johnson doesn't sign with the Phillies for $8MM. He probably doesn't sign literally anywhere else in baseball for that sum.

Combination of being close to home (Vegas), facing some of the weaker offenses in the NL more often (save for the Dodgers), and playing half his games in the most-pitcher-friendly park in baseball is hard to pass up - especially on a 1-year deal to reestablish value.

Acshe,KK,and one of Galvis,Ruf, Hernandez for Chase Headley??????

buster: "It claims he had 88 PAs against LHP, but 110 against LHSPs."

the LHSP split includes every PA a player gets during a game where a LH starts the game. So the 22 PA difference means that Frandsen faced a RH reliever 22 times during a game where a LH started the game.

Yea, the Johnson deal would have been a great fit for the Phils, but I agree with others who say that really wasn't an option. Wish this team could have found a way to entice him without adding on a ton of $$/years, but admittedly not likely to have a chance.

Lore: Ahh, that makes sense (sort of... Not really, but at least it's possible to understand, anyway).

Our defense cost us 100 runs? I knew it was bad, but that really strikes me with just how terrible it was.

Acshe,KK,and one of Galvis,Ruf, Hernandez for Chase Headley??????

Posted by: jr | Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Is this an actual rumor or speculation?

What's the point in moving Asche for Headley? Especially if Franco is less than a year away?

FYI - only 4 RHBs in the entire MLB last year had more than 50% of their PA vs LHP who played as much as Frandsen(286 total PA).

Derek Norris, the A's catcher who the Nats traded away, led the league with 56.2% PA vs LHP and did so to the tune of .320/.410/.580

While I know linking to Crashburn is a taboo on Beerleaguer, I'm fairly certain there's a Longenhagen Exception to that, as he's really the only reason the site's worth reading these days. And this is, I think, the most even-handed and objective take on Byrd I've seen:

The short version: Despite being 36, Byrd's still a plus speed guy and has legitimately improved his swing mechanics. All else being equal, he's an upgrade on both sides of the ball worth the $8MM AAV. The big if, though, is that all else is equal. His health hasn't flagged yet, but if it does, he's likely to crater rather than simply decline.

But the Byrd contract's already been flogged to death. I suspect we've only just gotten started in that regard, as the kvethcing will likely be taken to a new level when the other mid-tier RHB options start signing. (E.g. Chris Young and Corey Hart.)

"At Martinez' request, the Phillies enlarged the bank of young stars during the 2013-14 off-season. As he realized how the time demands placed upon him as world governments struggled with terrorism and climate change, he knew it was crucial to groom a successor. And while even he knew that Brignac, Galvis, Hernandez and Clete Thomas might never live up to his high standards (and realizing that none matched his 6-tool ability), he felt he owed it to the game to mentor a youngster for the sake of baseball.

"Executives from across the majors sent him cards thanking him for his regard for the game they love."

-- from "Life of a Baseball God" by R. A. Marrow II

BAP: Thanks for posting that. I think is great, though not as widely known as Baseball America. McDaniel makes an excellent point about the Phillies tools-first approach: It is by definition hit-and-miss. The key is having scouts who are great in projecting the ability of raw athletes to develop baseball skills. Given the Phillies "hit" rate on these prospects, it's fair to say their scouts are average at best.

Silly to sign Headley when we have top prospects for 3rd. Not surprised however if Rube goes this route. He places great importance on experience. Problem is this team is too old, cumulatively, and too streaking on a downward pace statistically to not integrate some youth, even if we have to endure some immediate growing pains. We are not winning the division or going to the playoffs as it stands. Endure some pain and move on, we can't simply continue to lose while "not" getting younger.

This truly answered my personal problem, thanks a lot!

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