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Monday, December 09, 2013


SP is a weakness for the Phillies but its probably their strongest area right now given the gaping holes everywhere else.

I'm not sure how removing Dom Brown from what was already a historically bad offense will do to really help them.

"I'm sure Rube's counter to the comments on the hole in his swing was "But he hit 27 HRs last year!""

NEPP, funny comment, but the stupid thing about other teams insisting that Brown has a hole in his swing, is that you can actually say that, and be accurate, about almost every player playing today or who has ever played.

Otherwise they'd all bat 1.000.

NEPP, I agree with your comment above. For some reason, they seem to think that their offense will be fine.

As of right now, I think it will be better than last season, but I'm not sure how much.

Then again, that might be why they're trying so hard to improve the pitching. the new stat dude may actually be having an impact - they may actually understand run differentials now - and if that's the case, they may have made the decision that the best and most efficient way they can improve the RD is to add pitching.

The possible plan:

1) Trade Brown if possible, for a young SP

3) Add a LH OF bat to platoon with Ruf (Sizemore? Kubel? Trade?)

4) Trade Papelbon to free salary

5) Sign FA SP for depth and to round out rotation

So they would have

C - Chooch
1B - Howard/RFD/Ruf
2b - Utley
SS - Rollins
3B - Asche/Franco
RF - Byrd
CF - Revere (unless they trade or Rule 5 for an upgrade)
LF - Platoon Ruf/RFD - LHbat

NEPP - why do you repeat the descriptor "historically bad" in reference to the Phillies' offense? I don't think they've been good, or even mediocre, but what futility records did they set or approach?

awh, you had me until I saw the black hole in the OF portion of your lineup - always a good rule of thumb that when you can type the phrase "or Rule 5 for an upgrade" you have significant opportunities...).

I'm all about capitalizing on ANY player who might return value that can be carried for several years down the line, but you're right in that, to do so with Brown, kind of defeats the purpose when you then field an OF that looks like that.

Then again, RAJ is firmly in the camp that begins every conversation about the 2014 offense "As long as Howard, Rollins, Utley and Chooch stay healthy..."

Franchise wise, they scorer fewer runs in 2013 than they had in 25 years...1988 was the last time they had such a low Runs Scored per Game. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 1972 to see a lower Runs Scored per game number.

I'd consider that historically bad.

awh: "Then again, that might be why they're trying so hard to improve the pitching. the new stat dude may actually be having an impact - they may actually understand run differentials now - and if that's the case, they may have made the decision that the best and most efficient way they can improve the RD is to add pitching."

Well, then, that stat guy is useless. A run is a run is a run, whether it's scored or prevented.

Thanks. I'm glad I asked. I can now incorporate it at Christmas to one up any relatives complaining about some other aspect of the team.

"This is the third consecutive offseason Ruben Amaro Jr. has talked about improving the team's outfield defense."

Ah, finally the Delmon Young signing is understandable to me.

I have no problem trading Brown if the team gets back another young player who is several years away from free agency.

The justification for trading Brown is that the deficiencies in the rest of his game offset much of what he provides at the plate.

In 2013, the Phils were at, or near, bottom in offense, defense and pitching. It is possible, however, to improve both pitching and defense without losing anything on offense by trading Brown and signing the right free-agent outfielder.

If they can get a good, young pitcher for Brown, the pitching could be middle-of-the-pack in '14. They can replace his bat in free agency, particularly if they were to sign Choo. Choo would also be a defensive upgrade over Brown if Choo plays a corner.

"For some reason, they seem to think that their offense will be fine."

Well, when Howard comes back and drives in 100 with 39 HRs, everything will be fine. Amaro told us so himself.

I'm confused on the part where Amaro thinks this is selling high. Unless he has a very low opinion of Brown indeed, Brown was decent last year, but hardly set the world on fire.

derek - Don't hold your breath, after that Tweet that GMs have noticed Brown's defense and the holes in his swing.

This was an amusing exchange between beat reporters:

Todd Zolecki ‏@ToddZolecki 1h
Big things happen at Winter Meetings: 10 years ago, Cards traded Drew and Marrero for Marquis, King and Wainwright.

Followed by:

Matt Gelb ‏@magelb 1h
@ToddZolecki Three years ago, Phillies Rule 5ed Michael Martinez in this very hotel.

Brown is too young for this team. Plus, Rube doesn't like hitting... all you have to look at is this team the past 4 yrs.

The Phillies did what three years ago? Man, do I suddenly hate three years ago.

And about Choo. He is looking for something like the Ellsbury contract. Translation? He is not going to be playing for the Phillies until sometime after his 37th birthday and third knee surgery.

DOM had a qualified season of 127 OPS+ after making his debut in 2010.

There have only been 7 pitchers who have debuted since 2010 and had a qualified season with a ERA+ of at least 127.

Jose Fernandez
Matt Harvey
Chris Sale(twice)
Yu Darvish
Hisashi Iwakuma
Jeremy Hellickson
Travis Wood

Top 4 are either untouchable or command a ton more than the Phils could put up.

Hisashi Iwakuma makes the list as 32 yr old coming over from Japan who already makes $7M year before arb kicks in. He has been quite outstanding in the MLB, and flies well under the radar. Finished a qiuet 3rd in the AL Cy race last year. I don't think Seattle is looking to deal, but anything is possible I guess.

Travis Wood is actually a pretty interesting idea. He's be even more 'sell high' than DOM i think, as I don't view him as having much upside like I do with DOM, but others might. Cubs are said to be looking to move pitching, and they have plenty of openings in their OF.

Jeremy Hellickson would be the ultimate sell high/buy low trade, as he's coming off his worst by far after an amazing run through the minors and a very strong start to his career. He got a bit of what he deserved, as he's been pitching well above his peripherals, but not as much as his 74 ERA+ indicated.

Both Hellickson and Wood have 1 less controllable year than DOM.

I don't see the value in moving Brown for young SP unless they're getting a young, power OF bat in return as well or the SP they're getting is a Taijuan Walker or Archie Bradley type. They might be a little thin in SP, but they're not exactly overflowing with outfielders expected to more than extra pieces.

I'm no Brown fan, but if you are going to ship out 27 HR's, 83 RBI's, youth and a low salary, you better get something worthwhile in return.

I hope Brown goes on to have a great career & becomes a phillies killer over the next 3-4 seasons. Cause with Amaro heading this ship, its going to at least be that long until this team is competitive again

If you lower the bar a bit on innings pitched or ERA+, Quintana and Santiago both come up, and they both are still pre arb like DOM.

I don't like either. Too shaky resumes for me.

You people wanted creative and it is apparently what he is trying to do.

It would also probably move Ruf to a starting job.

If the Phils were to trade Brown for a young pitcher, it should be obvious that there would be another transaction in which they acquire an OF.

An OPS+ of 127 for a position player is not equivalent to an ERA+ of 127 for a starting pitcher. It would be great, though, if Amaro can find another GM who thinks that way.

derek: yeah i know, just trying to create a list to identify some pitchers who have similar service time + breakout season

Amaro needs to try something like this, though this trade specifically doesn't match up all around:

Philly sends Brown to Seattle and Franco to Tampa Bay

Seattle sends Walker to Tampa Bay and Hultzen to Philly

Tampa Bay sends Odorissi to Philly and
Enny Romero to Seattle

NEPP: "Franchise wise, they scored fewer runs in 2013 than they had in 25 years."

And the NL scored fewer runs than anytime in a couple decades.

Context, my man, context.

A better measure is how far below the league average did the Phillies fall and was the gap wider than its been in the past 25 years?

Lorecore - I do think that you identified the level of pitcher that the Phils could reasonably expect in return for Brown.

Either Hellickson or Wood would be a nice return for Brown. The problem with Hellickson is that he gives up too many homers.

Oops, spelling is "Odorizzi".

Not to beat this into the ground but, to me, it's not Dom's OF defense that's particularly problematic. It's that, with Dom, Utley & Howard & maybe Asche, we're locked into a lineup with 4 LH hitters whose ability to hit LHP ranges from "ok but declining with age" (Utley) to "barely acceptable" (Dom) to Mini-Mart-esque (Howard, Asche). And, unfortunately, we're locked into two of those guys for the next 3 years.

The reason I harp on this ad nauseam is because the problem goes far beyond just having a wretched offense against LHP. It also creates a complete lack of flexibility when it comes to trades and free agency. This off-season is a perfect example. I count 5 FAs who would have significantly upgraded the Phillies in an area of need (Choo, McCann, Ellsbury, Granderson, Salty). But 4 are left-handed & the other is a switch-hitter who can't hit LHP to save his life. Because of our lineup, every last one of these guys was out of play & we ended up with Chooch & Byrd. Basically, we're maxed out on LH starters. Trading Dom would allow us to start Ruf in the short-term, who would probably come close to matching Dom's offense & isn't any more of a liability on defense. And it would give us more flexibility for future improvement.

That said, I sure as hell wouldn't trade him just for the sake of trading him. It would have to be a solid return.

2000, Phils scored NL worst 708 runs, 103 runs below average.

Terrible in 1997 as well, but thats about it in terms of offense. They've regularly been at or above average over last 25 years.

awh™ - Why would anyone trade for Hultzen? He's already 24; he's not pitched a day in the majors; and he will miss the entire 2014 for shoulder surgery.

As I write this, I think you were making a small joke.

@awh: I like creativity, but that's giving up a ton of offense. It doesn't matter how much pitching the Phillies have, their line-up is old and doesn't produce enough runs.

How about this:

Brown, Papelbon and $5M/year for him to the D-Backs for LHP Tyler Skaggs, RHP Jake Barrett, 1B/3B Brandon Drury and RHP Matt Stites. Then flip Skaggs to Cardinals for RHP Carlos Martinez and OF Stephen Piscotty.

With that deal the Phillies get a young SP in Martinez, young OF bat in Piscotty, a pair of young bullpen arms that throw gas and strikes and a potential replacement for Ryan Howard in a couple years.

To recycle an earlier proposal, Dom Brown + a mid-level prospect for Desmond Jennings.

Jennings is a much more well-rounded player than Brown; he's young; he is right-handed; and while he hasn't matched Brown at the plate yet, there is untapped potential.

For the Phils, they get a defensive upgrade in the OF, a good base-stealer, and a needed righty bat.

For the Rays, they get a left-handed bat to plug in between Longoria and Myers.

"DPat never changes. The off season ends on Black Friday, and the Winter Meetings end at 4:47PM of day 1."

I swear some people just don't get it. Since RAJ's been the GM, other than Cliff Lee, what he done at these meetings? Absolutely nothing except make Rule 5 selections.

He's talking about trading Brown for a SP. Why? Because that's the only player he can trade. That's why. And if he does, how is he gonna replace Brown's numbers offensively? He isn't. So an inept offensive team becomes more inept. So I believe the rumors are nothing but talk. And talk is cheap.

That brings us to Papelbon. I get why they want to trade him. But then who closes games? Won't matter because they won't win enough.

Has it ever occurred to any of you that the Phils were linked to many players this year as in the past, but hardly ever manage to pull the trigger on anything major that helps the team? For this team the meetings are just a waste of time. You will see once again.

ok so inside mlb just skipped through what was supose to be a RAJ interview...guess he's busy on a trade...

Derek, said nothing about his shoulder surgery, so I just did a quick down-and-dirty with top prospects in the system. Sorry for the "mistake", but it wasn't a serious proposal as much as just a demo of something RAJ might have to do to get any kind of return for Brown.

Yeah..besides making a huge signing at the winter meetings what has he done there.

And DPat is back to telling us about guys we should've signed.

Can you and JTroll go start your own board and pollute the Internet that way?

Indians are looking to possibly move Masteron.

I'd do Brown and 1-2 prospects for Masterson in a heartbeat if Masterson would immediately sign a 5 yr/$75M extension as a part of the deal.

Sign an OF and a veteran reliever and call it an offseason.

DPat, you're just being silly. Brown is not the only player they can trade. If they can trade Kratz, then just about anyone else on the roster can be traded.

"But then who closes games? Won't matter because they won't win enough."

DPat, you do realize that you contracdicted yourself, no? :)

awh: He doesn't. Did you miss last week where he told me I only seem to argue with people I disagree with?

nd DPat is back to telling us about guys we should've signed.

I'm not arguing. Whom Did I say they should have signed and when did I say it?

I'm merely pointing out that he'll do nothing in the meetings once again. If you disagree with that fine, I don't care.

How about a package of Brown, Hernandez and Asche for Price?

Just in case anyone missed this - re: the Papelbon signing in hindsight

Asked by Zolecki about Jonathan Papelbon's contract, Amaro said he would make the signing again: "Oh, yeah, I think so," Amaro said. "The choices that we had out there with the people that were available, I'm happy with the decision. I'm not happy with the way we've played."

Honestly, a Dom Brown trade could end up really changing the dynamic of this team if conducted the right way. For example...
Option 1: Trade Dom Brown and either prospect SS Roman Quinn OR P Adam Morgan to the Rays for David Price and immediately extend price upon completion of the trade. (The Rays are looking to move Price and like young controllable players that don't cost a lot like Brown while filling a need in LF for the Rays with some power in addition to acquiring a top SS prospect or close to MLB ready SP prospect)
THEN; immediately sign Nelson Cruz to say a 4 year - 60 mil deal to play LF and serve as the best right handed power bat to slide in the middle of the order they have had in years.
THEN: Trade Kyle Kendrick to free up some $ while receiving possibly a decent prospect or possibly a guy like Peter Bourjos with the right package to serve as a very young, high ceiling 4th OF'er that can help you win now and in the future if the right package is developed.
Let a youngster compete for the 5 spot and develop and if its not working out and your in the hunt come July, then there are plenty of back of the end rotation pitchers on the block and/or waiver wire to bolster your club's chances.
Last, sign another quality pen peice.

SP Rotation: Lee, Price, Gonzalez, Hamels, Youngster (3 Bonafide Aces, 1 Potential Ace)

1. L Revere (Or R Bourjos if in lineup)
2. R Bryd
3. L Utley
4. L Howard
5. R Cruz
6. L Asche/ R Franco
7. S Rollins
8. R Chooch
**THAT is a very balanced lineup and has plenty of power potential while protecting/giving your highest paid assets (Utley/Howard etc) the best chance to succeed at this stage with a bit of infusion of youth that blends nicely.

The addition of an ace like Price automatically bolsters your bullpen because of the amount of innings he will eat up that will put less strain on your top arms and limit the opportunities an unproven arm is put in game deciding positions.
Sure payroll will be high, but who cares? Can anyone say "NEW TV DEAL!?"
Just my two-cents...

Remember when Amaro traded one of the league's most dominant pitchers for JC Ramirez, Phillippe Aumont, and Tyson Gillies? He couldn't get back a single worthwhile ML contributor. Gee, I wonder how he'll do while trying to get value back from a lesser known quantity like Dom Brown...

Prediction: Brown gets traded to an organization that values plate discipline; keeps the power that he flashed last year while becoming the .360+ OBP guy he looked like in the minors.

Phillies fill the subsequent hole with Nelson Cruz; get laughed at by the sabermetric community.

I wonder how may news organizations have articles on standby for Amaro's termination. There's no one left for him to fire. He's gotta be the one to go next year. He's just gotta be...

Fire Gillick. I'm tired of the Phillies making trades with his former teams, former signed, scouted or coveted players and clients of former agents of yesteryear. Turn the yellowed pages of that book Monty. Of course, you may want to wait until next year if you fire Ruben and want to bring Pat back.

Wow, Sandberg wants starting pitching and OF defense. Brown's a goner unless the Phillies convert him back into a pitcher.

So, even in hindsight, Rube is happy he signed Papelbon over the other options know, like Joe Nathan who cost half as much for half as many years and was nearly twice as good?

That's our Rube!

Telling comment in the interview with Ryno yesterday. He talks about balance in the lineup and mentions everyone but our 3rd baseman and Brown. Brown was our best hitter last year and he doesn't mention him.

Sandberg worked with Brown at LV.

@Buster_ESPN: The Phillies have indicated to other teams they are ready and willing to talk about Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in trades.

One of the annoying things about the Phillies' FO is that they live in the past and don't seem to realize that a player's value is diminished in trade when he has a big contract like Lee and Hamels.

I am opposed to trading Hamels, but I would be on board with a Lee trade provided they get a good return. To get a good return, the Phils need to eat a significant chunk of what will be the remaining three years of Lee's contract.

Amaro is an idiot if he trades hammels or lee

I'm exploring a trade that would send Cliff Lee to Seattle in exchange for Willie Bloomquist. It frees up some payroll for me to make some other thrifty signings and Willie offers us some versatility. He can play all over the infield and outfield, so he's a useful piece in our everyday lineup.

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