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Thursday, December 26, 2013


Wow, why so soon with the new thread?

If Tanaka is as good as advertised, he'll give them a solid #1-2 in the future with Hamels.

If short-term outlay is the problem, they can backload a contract, though the AAV might impact the lux tax in the short term.

The only way they "should not" be interested is if he's horribly overrated, though with the mistakes their scouting department has made the last 2-3 years, I'm not sure I trust them to evaluate that.

"But they probably cannot afford another $20 million pitcher."

Even if you regard the luxury tax threshold as the Phillies' spending limit, they could easily afford another $20M contract. The problem, which is rarely mentioned, is that the Phillies have a long, and unbroken, precedent of pegging their payroll to almost exactly 60% of ticket sale revenues -- and ticket sale revenues have fallen substantially. Despite RAJ's BS about there not being any FAs out there who are worth their price tag, the real reason the Phillies have been spectators this off-season is because, with falling ticket sale revenues, they can't possibly spend big money without exceeding that made-up 60% figure.

bap, exactly, unless they want to borrow now against future revenue, which has not been their MO.

Perhaps the reports that they were looking at a signing a new TV deal early are an indication of something - to make an uncertainty a certainty? Would that give them more confidence to spend on Tanaka?

Or, have they agreed to a new TV contingent on them making a splash with Tanaka, with Komkast forking over the posting fee as a pre-payment?

WTF knows?

Signing Tanaka would change the off-season a great deal, with finally something positive to talk about. But it's all moot anyway. Not happening.

Why? 2 reasons. I believe Rube was told to keep the payroll in check. And while he always had a knack for making a big unexpected splash, Tanaka alone would not make this team a playoff-bound one. He would however absolutely solidify the rotaion, but the 'pen and bench need help too. Besides, they're not going to outbid the Yankees for him anyway.

With the new TV deal looming they can afford anything or anyone they want. If in fact that's what they are waiting on, then by all means proceed. Then again, they came out and said all that stuff about spending wisely and being near their payroll limit. If that's not the case, why have they not filled the holes needed with qulaity?? players who were available?

Rube, do it you cheap Bastid.

Phillies are the on the cusp of a huge TV deal. What better way to announce it by snagging the top Free Agent pitcher on the market.

How do you not get in this bidding war? Even if signing him means trading one of Lee, Papelbon, Rollins to free up a few million.

Can't imagine not at least putting up the posting fee. He likely goes somewhere else anyway, but why the hell not?

The name of the game in Baseball is still pitching. Good pitching beats good hitting, always has and always will. The Phils are on the verge of signing a big TV contract that will give them deeper pockets. Taking on another big contract is not a problem if Tanaka is the real deal, so that is not a viable excuse. Put up or shut up. You never hear the Yankees making excuses for spending money.

Kind of a meaningless thread...

The Phillies are not out-bidding anyone. Even if they did throw an impressive offer on the table, it wouldn't be the biggest offer he'll get.

Plus, the Phillies have no real history with Japanese players nor do they have an aggressive international presence. Even if the Phillies had a competitive offer, they'd lack some of the other intangibles that will lead Tanaka elsewhere.

I think the Phils are capped out. I didnt buy RAJ's no FA worthwhile mirage either. I mean who knows for sure but my instinct says other than some minor pieces (unless a trade is made) they are done.

If they sign Tanaka, I wouldn't mind of they basically give away other players. For instance, send JRoll packing for nothing and eat a bit of his salary. Same with Papdlbon, with likely half his salary. Lee? That would sort of defeat the point of getting Tanaka.

With Tanaka, Lee and Hamels at the top of the rotation, I do think they'd be competitive. Possibly for a wildcard. Without him, no chance at all.

The only hope for a free agent signing is if Jimenez or Santana fall into the Lohse range because they are Type A. The Tanaka sweepstakes could perpetuate it.

PLM, my instinct says "mo" also, but they did surprise us with the Lee signing, so I guess it's possible.

I wouldn't wager anything on it, though.

OTOH, Joel Sherman of the New York post seems t othink the PHillies will be in the mix, at least initially:

Link provided by MLBTR.

I can't bring myself to think Tanaka because it seems like a complete pipe dream to me. You never know but I highly doubt it's happening.

Let's be overly positive here...

With a healthy Howard, consistant presence in RF with Byrd and not the dancing Elephant Young hasn't that alone counted as some improvement? With Chad Qualls role replaced by Linclon and Munson it couldn't be much worse, right? With Ruiz starting the season with the Phillies won't that amount to some improvement? Let's continue with Zombie Halladay gone and retired can't we assume some better production from the starting rotation?

Now come January when the Phillies shock the world by adding the TWO best Int FA's (Tanaka and MAG) in the offseason the media will have to call this offseason somewhat sucessful.

True awh..

My best-case scenario involves a certain NL West team dipping into their limitless reservoir of D8llars and signing Tanaka, then unloading one of their outfielders to us while keeping all but a relatively small fraction of his remaining salary.

Korey Seidman, number one super guy.
Korey Seidman, writes quicker than the human eye.

He's got style, a groovy style,
and a website that just won't stop.
When the going gets tough, he's really rough,
with a Korey Seidman chop (Hi-Ya!)

Korey Seidman, number one super guy.
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Korey Seisman, he's Phana-rific (gong!)

By the way, I want the Mets to splurge on this guy, he flames out in 2 years and cripples their pitching budget for 5 years.

Shelling out to acquire Tanaka is exactly the kind of intelligent, proactive move the Phillies ought to be making in advance of their new TV deal.

It'll never happen.

Philles gonna sign Cruz? This thread is pointless and offseason is ova for team. How many days till pitchers and catchers?

aksmith: Signing Tanaka wouldn't be about 2014 to me. It'd be about the future, which is why if trading Cliff Lee was a necessary reaction to make room for Tanaka, I'd do it.

Obviously apply all of the basic assumptions, like that Lee would return considerable talent and that Tanaka doesn't command a 10yr deal, etc.

CS, unless you are aksmith and give the Phil's an F this offseason, most people agree that the team improved some over last year while costing no players or drafts picks and avoiding bad long term contracts. That is at least a C+ at the moment. Of course the PPP will always p over any moves while the rest of us will wait until we see how the season actually occurs.

With a lineup that can't score runs, what's the point. He will lose games 2-1, 1-0, 3-2 just like the aces they already have. One ace, two aces, or much really doesn't mean much if you can't score runs.

Proper - By not giving any aging free agents long term contracts and not giving up any draft picks, the Phillies elevated their score from an F- to a solid F. I don't consider Byrd anything more than a second hand bandaid. Better than Delmon Young? Sure, but everyone is better than Delmon Young. And by extending arb offers to Mayberry and Frandsen, Rube has spent any goodwill capital earned by dumping the Young twins.

But the F grade does not solely reflect this offseason's moves because they cannot be considered in a vacuum. The tying up of tremendous amounts of payroll in Howard, Papelbon, Adams and Rollins has necessitated moves that would have ordinarily been considered the realm of small market teams. While keeping Utley, Lee and Hamels are probably good moves, and even Chooch on Aderall is defensible, the other contracts have constrained the ability to add talent such as Tanaka.

Yes, I'm a tough grader. But an offseason that demanded creativity has seen none. And the need for creativity was only created by past mistakes by our GM.

Chooch got 3 yrs and has to produce at historical levels for a catcher 35+ to justify the value.

You to be have delusional to think this team really improved or put itself in a better position for the longer term.

They shot for mediocrity at best this offseason so far. That's it.

i think most here agree that chooch has been underpaid thus far. it's nice to see a little morality on the part of the phils in slightly overpaying him to the finish line. he doesn't have to be "historic" to satisfy me or his contract.

rube and monty are shooting, in part, for nostalgia and hoping it will sell this year. it may. if only they all could take adderall.

which reminds me, what is the current MLB policy on testosterone supplements? certainly ball players in their 30's should be allowed to use otc products like androgel, if their dr. says they have low T.

Would love Tanaka...but that's still a move for the future. He's only 25, could team with Cole in a couple years to anchor the rotation of a new contending core. But it wouldn't make them contenders in 2014, sadly. Rube has thoroughly screwed this team for the next couple seasons.

Smitty, but the problem with your grading system is that your basing the grades for this offseason on events that happened 2-3 years ago. The Howard extension occurred in 2010. The Lee contract was before the 2011 season. Rollins was before the 2012 season - 2 years ago.

Sure, you can say that those moves impacted this offseason, but they ought to be included on the grades for THOSE offseasons in which they occurred.

You know the old saying about hindsight...

I am no FO apologist, but I will acknowledge that, abstractly, some things that occur in the future are not foreseeable at the time they occur. For example, specifically, who could have foreseen that Halladay would break down in 2012/13 to the extent that it would force him to retire? Who could have foreseen in January 2007 that Chase Utley would develop degenerative knee problems that would affect him at the end of that contract?

So, you can only evaluate moves/trades/singings they make in the context of the information they have at the time the moves are made, not looking back with the benefit of hindsight.

The Papelbon signing was not terrible as far as the talent of the player was concerned at the time of the signing, but it was an overpay (whether slightly or otherwise), and it was premature.

Adams, OTOH, was probably the least noteworthy move they've made in the last several years.

Better than Delmon Young? Sure, but everyone is better than Delmon Young.

You could do worse than Delmon Young.

Dude may be 25, but you gotta wonder how much wear and tear there's been on that arm. Japanese baseball is brutal on pitchers at all levels. Stay away.

good point, RT. on the other hand, "thanks" to the cuban government mag has many fewer miles on the arm. yet he has an elbow issue. you wonder if the phils will just run him out there until he needs tommy john. he could miss a year or more of his contract. i guess that's why he was so cheap in the end. or maybe they will baby him in the pen to prevent that.

They should look instead at Professor Toru Tanaka. He'd be a lot easier on the payroll.

Even with their attendance down last year the Phils were one of the highest grossing teams last year. I'd say go for it. Lee, Hamels and Tanaka, it would be three days of lights-out pitching and then a two day crapshoot.

I never care about the money. With the exception of Montgomery all the Phil's owners are billionaires.

I can see it now. Tanaka will pitch nine innings every outing because of our feeble offense. He'll then proceed to blow out his arm which is undoubtedly already overtaxed. Then we'll be stuck with a 100M mistake.

I like NPB players. Just not pitchers. Japanese pitchers scare me.

I read an article a few years ago about a study that showed the main factor in whether a pitcher blows out their elbow and needs Tommy John is not simply volume of pitches thrown, but rather the angle/trajectory of their arm throughout their pitching motion.

It explains why some pitchers can go their whole careers and not need TJ, while others need 1 or even 2. The article even suggested that careful analysis could predict which young pitchers will likely need surgery at some point in their careers.

That said, I have no idea what pitching motions MAG or Tanaka have. Or if any clubs are actually employing something like this (we can pretty sure the Phils aren't.)

Speaking of offseason grades, the worst part about the current situation is that the only free agents set to come off the books after 2014 are Kyle Kendrick and Mike Adams (with one of Rollins' options a sure bet to be picked up).

Unless they can trade some players away at the deadline, we are looking at the same team in 2015.

yes,..nothing like a gazillion dollars for an unproven pitcher to really shake things up. And look at the possibilities...8-10 wins and 12-15 losses? How about getting everyone healthy and developing a minor league system rather than over paying for unprovens and out of date products

That's ok glanville, b/c if Utley/Howard/Rollins all somehow magically have injury-plagued, subpar seasons, they'll definitely bounce back in 2015! I mean, what are the odds of that happening 4 years in a row?

that's interesting, nokwurst. i've only seen a short clip of mag pitching to a righthander and he was going up and inside with heat. i seem to remember him really snapping off his pitches. that's got to be hard on the elbow too.

I see this thread header, and then look over at the CSN links and see an article with nearly the same title, and it reminds me of this post by WP:

"I stopped making BL my "first go-to" each day when the threads became stale regurgitations of CSN drivel, after JW cashed in. The only reason I come back is because, believe it or not, the comments and discussion below the drivel, while a shell of its former self, is still better than most other cookie cutter Phillies blogs.

Posted by: Willard Preacher | Monday, December 23, 2013 at 03:58 PM"

AK~ You're absolutly correct in your assessment and your grade. RAJ needed to be very creative and flexable with his moves, and just like the past 2 off-seasons, we've seen none of that.

That being said, I understand why Chooch was re-signed and I understand why Byrd was signed (I just don't agree with the money part of it). But given what it was/or is going to cost to be bring a higher profile offensive player than Byrd, I understand.

Even the pitching market is crazy. Neither the rotation nor the 'pen was upgraded though. While I gotta believe RAJ is thinking about doing something else (what, I don't know), my hunch is that they're done. What we see is what we've got. RAJ's cautiousness this off-season will probably cost him his job. While he's made some good/great moves in the past, his twenure has been much less tahn steller. He's exposed himself for what he is, which is over-matched for a GM position.

Here's a video of MAG pitching:

NO! Aged starters that were declining when healthy and no farm system!

Thanks awh™, I'll have to check out that MAG clip at home (work filter.)

Inquiring Mind I'm 100% with you! So sick of what Krapcast has done to this once proud Blog.

thanks awh. looks like i miss-remembered. his delivery looks pretty smooth. it is almost as though he is trying to keep his elbow pretty quiet, throwing mostly with his shoulder. he looks like a fly ball pitcher that would be perfect for billy's new moneyball.

DPat, there you go, again...

OK, what "creative" moves could r00b have made given the obvious budget restrictions that Montgomery has placed on him?

And the pitching market is "crazy"?

Do you even realize that you are giving support to r00b's position by saying that because he said the EXACT same thing?

I won't let him off the hook like that. That's what all the new TV and online money - which BTW the Phillies share in - is doing by giving even mid and small market teams additional capital to sign players. Take a look at what Minnesota has done. You may not agree with the signings, but they have the money and so do the Phillies. The Phillies are getting the same money from those MLB operations as teams like the Twins, and the prices for pitching are the new reality in the marketplace.

Now, if r00b were to come out and say that he doesn't see the benefit of signing the available guys at the dollars they're asking for because the 2015 crop of free agent starting pitchers will be better...

...then I could get behind that. But he hasn't said that, and there is no evidence that Montgomery will bite the bullet and raise the payroll ceiling, especially since gate receipts will probably decline again in 2014.

That still doesn't change the new reality that relief pitchers are now being paid handsomely too, and that is not likely to change.

IMHO I believe that they really want to see what they have in the young guys before they make any other significant trades for a RP.

No one will outbid the Yankees for Tanaka.
No one.

AWH~ I have no answer for you really. All we know is what we see which isn't much. And yes, even with the "crazy" pitching market, and the fact that I agree that you don't give old, overweight, 40-year old pitchers like Colon 2-years and 20 million, does that mean you don't do ANYTHING?

Even with the offense, Not saying we should've signed palyer "x" or "y", but Marlon Byrd @ 2/16? Really?? THAT'S market value for HIM. Or was Roob just acting out of desparation?

And I agree with your comments really, I do. I understand the restrictions and everything else. But IMO as a GM he's gotta try to work trough that as best he can. And I have a hard time buying into the "built to win" thing. If he really belives that, then something's wrong with him.

clout, I agree. Once the Yankees make the decision to violate the lux tax threshold, they won't care how much higher they go.

They only thing other teams will be doing is driving up the price.

That 2015 list makes the 2014 FA class look like a collection of Hall of Famers. Billy Butler, Adam Lind, and Ben Zobrist are 3 of the top names on that list and they all have team options that are 100% certain to be exercised. And there is no way the Dodgers are going to let Clayton Kershaw hit free agency. Same goes for Hanley Ramirez if he puts up big numbers again. So, when the dust settles, the best everyday player on the FA market will likely be fat, inconsistent Pablo Sandoval. The 2nd best player will probably be someone like Jed Lowrie or Nick Markakis (if he bounces back). The best pitcher will be James Shields, a nice pitcher but hardly an ace.

robb: "How about getting everyone healthy and developing a minor league system?"

How would signing Tanaka take away from Howard's ability to heal and for Anthony Hewitt to turn into an allstar?

Awesome article and a great example of how Beane has looked for a new market inefficiency since teams are looking for ground ball pitchers in particular.

Also building the team around the stadium since the Coliseum has been one of the 5 toughest parks to hit HRs since '05 and has above average OF territory. Pirates did the same thing with their team and focusing instead on GB, infield defensive positioning, and acquiring starters with % GB tendency.

Can't build a team around FB pitchers though at CBP. Even after moving the fences in after the initial season in '04, it is still the 8th friendliest park (out of 30 current MLB parks or better than 75% of other parks) to hit HRs.

I quickly looked and here is the Phils' starters ranks out of the last 3 years of qualified MLB starters (139)

Hernandez: 54.0% (13th)
KK: 47.4% (47th)
Hamels: 46.1% (62nd)
Lee: 45.2% (73rd)

Median has been 46.3%.

Rank HR/9

Hernandez: 1.27 (t-125th)
KK: 1.03 (t-78th)
Hamels: 0.88 (t-45th)
Lee: 0.89 (t-51st)

Median has been 1.08 HR/9.

Doesn't tell you much except that Hernandez gives up his share of HRs despite getting a ton of GBs. Interested to see why that is the case a bit more.

Why should the Phils not sign Tanaka?

There is almost ZERO starting pitching depth right now in this organization and this team doesn't even have a viable 5th starter right now going into camp given Pettibone/Morgan injury concerns, Martin's horrendous performance as a starter last year & his slated track as a reliever, and MAG's durability as a starter.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Phils do add another former MLB starter on a minor league deal before camp starts. It is why they are coming up on every 'kicking the tire' type starter (eg Mulder) that has been mentioned this offseason.

Phils have a single guy right (Biddle) who was in the rotation at AA or higher at the end of the year who might come up this year and stick.

MG, assuming Morgan is healthy he might stick, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is eventually an announcement that he needs surgery on the torn rotator cuff.

He did come back, but left a start after experiencing tightness in his shoulder...

...following a long rain delay.

Amazing. The Phillies MiL system displays an incredible lack of judgement, letting a guy, who got shut down earlier in the year with a torn rotator cuff, pitch after a long rain delay.

WTF hires these guys?

bittel, thank for the link on the "new Moneyball"...

Signing Tanaka probably wouldn't make the Phils a playoff contender this year but it does make them interesting & potentially gives them a competitive advantage (starting pitching) on which they might be competitive.

I agree the Phils have probably less than a 5% chance of signing Tanaka for multiple reasons though including the current state of the team, East Coast & Philly in general, and Phils current financial situation & willingness to spend.

Still think this team ends up like the Mets a few years ago after Minaya got fired and left a steaming pile Alderson still hasn't been able to clean up completely although they would have been possibly interesting team with a completely healthy & dominant Harvey.

Still a chance though the Mets finish ahead of the Phils this year. Curious to see if they are going to be able to trade Davis, add another SS, and possibly 1 more bullpen arm.

Even without Harvey, I'm confident the Mets will finish ahead of the Phillies. The 2 teams were basically even last year. They added Granderson, Colon, and Chris Young; we added Byrd, Wil Nieves, and Fausto Carmona. The difference in quality between those 2 sets of transactions is gaping.

What a great fit Granderson is with Wright in the middle of that lineup.

Well, Tanaka has hired my agent and I just called RAJ. I'll make this happen. It will help me heal and take some of the weight off my shoulders. This is a done deal. Case Closed.

MG, the Mets are NOT a good analogy for the current Phillies.

You need to think it through.

Well, if Middleton & Co are involved in a Ponzi scheme in the near future, its a good comp...otherwise, not so much.

NEPP, exactly!

Masahiro Tanaka rumors: Japanese ace wants $17 million annually.

Yeah, c'mon MG, Ruben doesn't need the owners to get caught up in some Ponzi scheme to completely ruin a franchise. He can do it by the book.

jr, that's about right for a #2 starter, and about what Anibal Sanchez got from Detroit.

It's interesting to note that he's looking for #2 money, and not #1.

HT on a cool tool:

This gives you a graphic illustration of each team's present and future payroll commitments. Just click on the team to see how it stacks up, and if you click on an individual color on the team page you can see which player the color represents:

That "new Moneyball" article - the original source article - is really interesting.

Billy Beane stocks his lineup with flyball hitters, who, if The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball is correct, "found that fly-ball hitters had an advantage over ground-ball hitters, simply because they are better hitters—you can't homer on grounders, after all".

r00b has a team that plays in a homer friendly ballpark (they 8th best in MLB), yet he trades for a centerfielder who is an extreme groundball hitter.

Talk about a totally different methodology...

I don't know how to make an offer without a seven year old scouting report.

I am still a big homo.

If the Yankees or Dodgers decide they Want him at all cost, the Yankees or Dodgers will get him. They Have More Money than any other teams, the NY/LA thing, and all that Yankees/Dodgers mystic stuff behind them.. and in Japan, No foreign Baseball teams are revered like the Yankees and Dodgers. SO if they want him, one of them will get him.. and The desperate situation for Starting Pitching the Yankees are in and Suddenly the Steinbrenner son deciding to open up that Fat Wallet he has.. i think he will be a Yankee.

"r00b has a team that plays in a homer friendly ballpark (they 8th best in MLB), yet he trades for a centerfielder who is an extreme groundball hitter.

Talk about a totally different methodology..."

Yeah. He also traded his RF'der too, whose a lot better player than the current RF'der. Go figure. Would the yeam be better off now with Vic and Pence?

Amaro says the Phils are built to win. Adding what most analysts predict will be a number 2 pitcher entering his prime, and having to give nothing in return helps make that statement somewhat believable. Right now it's hard to see how they're contenders.

Tanaka brings an added bonus that none of the other free agent pitchers do - he's just entering his prime. Instead of dead money on the back end of the contract Tanaka will be near the end of his prime.

Awh, the graph shows every team in MLB has a lower payroll in 2014. Is that eight? What am I missing?

Always nice to see an off-season Albert Ross post. Where's Jack?

I think with Boston winning three World Series in the last ten years, this forces the Yankees to win the Tanaka bidding war.

I was watching some film of Tanaka today. I think the bidding will START at 17 million. Pin point control. A fastball in the mid-90s and a disappearing splitter that makes hitters look stupid.

As one of our posters here noted. He had barely over a 1 ERA with a lively ball. If he's not a number 1, he's definitely a solid 2.

As shown by the 1-0 loss playoff to the Cards a few years ago the name of the game for the fightins HAS to be hitting. They can't...and it won't matter if they put Koufax out there.
But maybe signing that young up-and-comer Marlon Byrd will help!

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