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Thursday, January 23, 2014


Remember when Jim Thome was blocking a young Ryan Howard (the first time Thome was here), so they traded him?

Why is it different now that Howard is the one blocking not just one, but several, different and likely better options that will actually carry us further into the future?

What's that you say, the contract? Oh...

(basically, the Phils doubled-down on Howard and are now paying for it in spades)

"GM Ruben Amaro Jr. made a comment at the winter meetings about how uninspiring the free-agent class was, and actually related Garza to Kyle Kendrick in a way that made statheads shudder.“Kendrick has 64 wins. You know how many wins Garza has? 67,” Amaro said to reporters in Orlando."

I'm literally shaking in fury right now. How did... how did this man become the general manager of a major league baseball team? He's using the same reasoning that a 9-year old does while drafting his fantasy baseball team. By comparison, I'm less offended by the idea of a new amendment being passed allowing 3rd terms and G.W. Bush was elected again.

Nice header and all, but I wonder how Mike Adams feels about team chemistry... guess I'll never know.

Asche has to prove he can hit enough to stick as an everyday 3B. MLB average was .259/.324/.404 at 3B and the average split among qualified 3B (20 players) was .268/.336/.417.

Asche didn't do that last year and I can't see the Phils sticking with him beyond next year at 3B unless he puts up a line of say .260/.320/.410 next year as the starter.

I am really interested to see if he can stick though and what he does this year offensively and defensively.

One of the few players to be genuinely interested on a day-to-day basis to see how his development is going and how his defense looks.

Really interesting to see if Balfour stays healthy or not for TB after the O's pass.

I bet he does because they have had a great track record the past several years on relievers.

Contrast that to the Phils and M. Adams who almost immediately proceeded to break down after the season started.

WP: The difference was Thome wasn't hurt, and he wasn't as expensive (even by 2013 inflation, he was only making 10-16MM/year).

Also, it wasn't just to make room for Howard that they traded him. That was the trade that brought in Rowand, Gio, and a semi-promising-looking Daniel Haigwood.

I have my doubts that they would have traded Thome exclusively for salary relief/freeing up a position. Especially since they included money in the deal.

To clarify, Thome was hurt in '05, but he didn't have a track record of injury at that point... And to be fair, he did a pretty good job staying on the field for the next 3 years, and not too bad in the year after that.

Looks like the Garza deal ain't quite done.

Hard to believe, but a new thread already!

Posted by: Willard Preacher | Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 06:52 PM

WP, I know, I know...

"But still: Three prospects, three talks or attempts at position changes.


Ryan Howard."

Short memories?

Jordan, this may have been before your time, but when Howard was tearing it up in the minors they actually worked him out briefly in LF, though he didn't see any game action (he was horrible).


Jim Thome.

MG, good post on Asche at 7:03. You neglected to post Asche's SSS 2013 line:

.235 .302 .389, 179 PA

He won't stick doing that.

And I'm not sure the Phillies stick with him anyway if Franco is pushing him and tears it up again in AA/AAA, depending on where he starts the year.

If Franco is the kind of hitter that can come in and put up a .280/.335/.500 line, then he's gonna bump Asche out pretty quickly, IMHO.

They won't let that kind of power waste away in the minors, and Asche might get them back a prospect or two, or maybe some pitching.

Good point last thread about good relief pitchers still being signed this late and it is really bad we aren't in on any of them. Even if you think the bullpen has a chance of being okay this year it would behoove you as an organization to go and add guys who can provide depth or be legitimate in the pen. O'Flaherty is one of those guys. I think Mitchell Boggs would add nice depth too but he may not necessarily be legitimate in the pen. He would be a little better than a lottery ticket.

Wonder if Asche can beat this line...


Cyclic, who dat?

Let me guess... No-Hit Nunez?

No, wasn't him. Who?


Yeah, I just found it. Duuuh.

Lets face it the Phillies are closer to last place then first place in the division

There are also plenty of questions about Asche's defense. He makes a lot of nice plays & has a good throwing arm. But he is way too inconsistent when it comes to the routine stuff.

Given how impressed Amaro is with 'Production', Asche's RBI total also matters and probably his AVG and SLG more than his OBP.

Amaro would be likely content with Asche if his OBP is average/below average if he surprises a bit this year and hits close to 20 HRs as a regular while having a decent RBI total.

It's important to remember that Asche also takes a while to acclimate offensively to each level. If the Phillies stick with him a while, he's likely to improve. If they make a fast decision, not so much. And really, what the heck are they playing for anyway. Might as well have Franco in AAA for the season and see what Ache can do in extended playing time. That's the luxury of not being a good team.

On another front. Now that Garza's off the market, how would a Hudson type 2 year contract for Arroyo look? Say 2 years, 24 million -26 million? He'd look okay slotted behind Lee and Hamels and ahead of Kendrick/Former Fausto. That would let them find out what they have in MAG. And Pettibone can get healthy, hopefully. Yeah, it's unlikely they'll spend money like this. But he's certainly old enough to play for Rube and we haven't really had a crafty guy since Moyer left.

aksmith: Arroyo would be a mess in CBP.

How different is CBP than Cincinnati's park? I thought they played pretty similar.

.259/.306/.393 (.699 OPS) or 82+ OPS and 26 HRs and 140 RBIs for Feliz in 291 G here in 2 seasons

FWAR had him at 2.9 WAR.
bWAR had him at 1.8 WAR.

A popular target for criticism on Beerleaguer or never had the advertised power or defense he was supposed to provide when signed. Wasn't a terrible player but he wasn't very good either.

.281/.330/.356 (.686 OPS) or 86+ OPS and 13 HRs and 121 RBIs for Polanco in 344 G here in 3 seasons

FWAR had him at 6.7 WAR.
bWAR had him at 2.9 WAR.

Always thought it was kind of ridiculous that praise Polanco got in general from the saber-crowd from mid-2011 on. He was already breaking down by then and it was embarrassing how much of an easy out he was in the '11 playoffs. Struggled to hit anything with authority from August on that year.

M. Young's line was given earlier in this post. He wasn't an outright bust but his defense was as bad as advertised and he really tailed off offensively before he was moved.

bWAR had him at 1.4 WAR. fWAR him at -0.2

Before that the Phils went with the 3-head suck monster of Helms/Dobbs/No-Hit Nunez (another horrible FA signing by Gillick) in '07 and

In '06, it was Bell until he was traded and then No-Hit.

Bell had one good year here ('04) and Polanco had a good year his first year here in '10.

Otherwise it has been a decade of mediocrity to garbage at 3B and a position the Phils have yet to fill adequately since Rolen was traded in '02.

Really hope the Phils let Asche play the entire year and see what he gives them at 3B regardless of what Franco does in the minors this year.

If he puts up subpar offensive numbers again and is inconsistent defensively, then they gave him a 1 1/2 years basically where he didn't show he could even be average at 3B as a full-time regular.

Rolen out, Thome in, Howard waits. Now we're getting somewhere.

The image of Ryan Howard trying to field left in the majors will entertain me for the rest of the evening.

Don't forget to add Singleton to the list of prospects he blocked.

Way back then, I remember a few seconds of video aired (taken, I believe, in Clearwater or Reading) of Ryan in LF. It was indeed entertaining. The trial was futile and short-lived.

I wonder what sort of contract Howard would have gotten if they had negotiated an extension midway through the 2011 season, after his decline in 2010 and 2011 was evident. Obviously if they had let him go all the way to free agency he would have had trouble getting any sort of long-term deal with his injury.

The timeframe might have changed if they only signed Rolen. I'd call a meeting of the AWR and after a few rounds of Irish Whiskey, hear the thoughts on this matter. No doubt a Donnybrook between the Senior Advisors would be the result. Poor Ruben.

So the Darrin Ruf fetish has spread to Comcast.

How is it possible for one player , no matter what he's paid, to block several prospects?
Unlike Bugs Bunny he can only play one position at a time.
And only takes up one roster spot.
If anything a high salary would favor putting prospects, who are cost controlled, on the roster over the more expensive trades or free agents.
Is Howard blocking Ruf? - yes.
The others? -No.

"Don't forget to add Singleton to the list of prospects he blocked."

Not really, krukker. Singleton hasn't made it to MLB in Houston's system and they have no one blocking him.

He's not ready yet - might be this season, but up to now, no.

"Way back then, I remember a few seconds of video aired (taken, I believe, in Clearwater or Reading) of Ryan in LF. It was indeed entertaining. The trial was futile and short-lived."

bonehead, thanks for jogging the memory. Yeah, I vaguely remember that too. Funny stuff.

Wishful thinking has me hope this kind of story comes down from CSN to turns fans more against Howard so that nobody notices how much salary the Phillies pick up when they trade him. It would truly be a case of not understanding that we get it already. As if they are afraid of the casual fan backlash that would happen if they actually improved the team by losing Howard

Hilarious, if it were true. Which it isn't. So, now I'm depressed again.

Ont he plus side, this can be the new norm of crackpot conspiracy theories with the team owning BL. :-)

Always thought it was kind of ridiculous that praise Polanco got in general from the saber-crowd from mid-2011 on.

Huh? Who was singing his praises at that point?

The Phillies ownership just don't get it. It is something that the Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, Boston and other top tier teams seem to get - that major-league baseball is more entertainment than sport in this day and age. That's why they continually go after the "Marquee players" like Tanaka. Sure it's expensive as hell, but it excites the fan-base. It sells tickets and commercial air-time. And, if the signings pan out, it gets you back in the postseason, which sells even more tickets and commercial air-time. Think small and go home.

Oh, and just to back up my point a bit, the Phillies are scheduled to be on national TV only once during the 2014 season. That's how much excitement Amaro has garnered with his off-season moves.

it's show business, baby. and monty ain't no flo ziegfeld. yet he seems to be offering some kind of phollies. middleton should be embarrassed. ruin and gentleman dave should be history.

aksmith sets the trend! Maddux and LaRussa going into HOF with blank caps!

Blank caps making a statement.

It's hard to tell what the FO is thinking with regards to Franco. Historically they've kept many prospects down longer than they should, but how long is Asche's leash if Franco is tearing it up in the minors and Asche's struggling? Franco would at least sell some tickets. I'd hate to think that's how the Phils make decisions but with Montgomery and Amaro you never know.

Jordan Hall: I agree with the premise that Howard hurts the team in more ways than just dollars, but I am completely baffled about the math of how Howard is blocking Asche and Franco.

The whole concept of committing to a 1B in the future for 7 years (2 control years + 5 year ext) is the type of fundamental shortcomings that Amaro and this organization have that end up causing basically every move they make to be wrong.

It's the easiest position on the diamond to move a player if needed, yet they put a premium price on filling it, while also making it a priority by doing some prematurely.

(basically, the Phils doubled-down on Howard and are now paying for it in spades)

Posted by: Willard Preacher | Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 06:54 PM
Amaro: You always double-down on Production baby.

BL collective: I'm just saying maybe not this particular time.

Amaro: Always double-down on Production.


Amaro: always double-down.

So many posters here are forgetting...


Production™, baby.

Howard has been a boat anchor forever and the reason they lost the WS to the Yankees. Wade tried to dump him on the Pirates for Kip Wells but lucky for them they said he'll no !

Hugh-- Damn right it has.

This was a pretty good article on Good Phight.

Basically, with this roster, there's no reason Ruf shouldn't see 350-400 PA this year. Team is going nowhere.

Scott Rolen's 2nd long term contract is blocking Ashe and Franco. Why oh Why?

Y'know, we're probably gonna need a new SS next year. Maybe they oughta try Franco out at short.

I heard Ruf is gonna take some reps there. Shame he's blocked by Galvis!

My prediction for Howard this year is .237/.298/.432 with 21 HR's. Rube will be impressed with his team leading 21 HR's and remind us of all the time he missed and injuries he overcame. We're going to have to watch this play out for three more years. They won't bench him, platoon him or buy him out.

I think the odds of Howard posting a sub-.300 OBP are on the low side. He's only done that one year in his entire career, and it was the year he had the fewest PAs (under 300), which was also his first achilles-injury year, and we're a year+ removed from that.

Actually, the same could be said about a sub-.250 BA.

Unless Howard misses half the season again, in which case I don't think Amaro will be commenting on how he was healthy.

T or F:

The Philles will have 3 or more players (250+ PA) with an OBP above .340.

I'd say Utley, Ruf, and Abreu have the best shot (pending PA and making the roster).

Ruiz and Revere have a chance as well. Maybe Hernandez if he makes the roster.

More than likely the rest are in the .300-.320 range. But hey with a "healthy" Adams and improved bullpen, and Howard hitting 30+/100+, this team has a real shot to contend in 2014.

If more people get on base ahead of Howard, that will surely help his BA/OBP if he's not always hitting against the shift.

According to Salisbury, Adams is expected to be able to pitch before the end of April.

Neither Asche nor Franco projects as more than average on defense. At the moment both are below average. They are offense-first prospects and their bats will dictate whether they play regularly in MLB.

The issue of leash is an interesting one. The better the prospect, the longer the leash. Thus Franco gets a way longer leash than Asche.

Rube being interviewed by Angelo this morning on 94 was interesting. Stated all the obvious things like, "we need players to play to their ability," "we need to score 650-700 runs this year," "we need pitchers to pitch," ...

OK, I paraphrased a bit. But, his mantra that we're not spending money on people that we think are over valued was consistent and loud.

That said, I think the conclusion is that Rube (short of an out-of-the-blue trade yet to be seen) is relying on a lot of "hope" for 2014 - hope that people play up to the potential he remembers, i.e. - Rollins, Howard, Utley, Chooch, etc. Just doesn't make a lot of sense, given the trend in performance his "go-to's" have demonstrated over the past three years.

2014 = Amusement Factor

According to Seidman, Adams thinks the Phillies will have better team chemistry in 2014.

Clout, what kind of line do you think is the floor of what Asche needs to play regularly in MLB?

Also, what do you see as his ceiling, offensively?

Salisbury has a pretty good track record of getting information and not sugar-coating it.

For all the bullpen vs. offense discussions/debates on Beerleaguer in the last couple years, these comments from Adams were pretty interesting...

“When it comes down to it, the bullpen is what’s going to win or lose your season. The bullpen is probably the most important part of the ball club because no matter if you’re scoring a few runs or a lot of runs, if you don’t hold that lead you’re not going to win.”

Good news for all the nostalgia fans out there. Howard, Rollins, Ruiz, Utley, Byrd and Papelbon will all be back next year at a mere cost of just under 81 million. Lee isn't going anywhere because Amaro wants someone's top 3 or 4 prospects and expects them to take all Lee's salary. Hamels is the face of the team and someone needs to be on the cover of the media guide. So there's 8 players and 120 million gone. First there was Moneyball and now there's Rubenball.

A great BP can take a team, that's average in every other phase of the game, to the playoffs.

However, color me unsurprised that a relief pitcher is saying the BP is important.

Best post of the past week was by the guy who noted the importance of having your starting 8 and rotation not miss time. Bill James used to harp on this, but it is almost never mentioned on BL as being a factor in the Phillies recent travails.

"Good point last thread about good relief pitchers still being signed this late and it is really bad we aren't in on any of them."

TTI~ Very true point. When you're right, you're right. But the bigger picture is we haven't really been "in on" anyone except Scott Feldman (and that wasn't reported until he signed with Houston.

That's been my problem with this FO/GM. There are 2 ways the club could be improved. 1. FA 2. Trades. With what's been done this off-season, I can't say the club is that much improved.

Take Garza for instance. His deal is reasonable. I'm not saying the Phils should've signed him or anyone else. And I know the prices are astronomical. But wouldn't have any of the FA starters or relievers available this off-season make the pitching staff better? And yet, not a whole lot was done.

And as far as new offense, the best we could come uop with was Marlon Byrd. And RAJ thinks the team will compete. I'd like to have some of what he's been drinking.

They should play Ruf full time this year, package Asche, Brown & Kedrick for Mike Stanton. Trade Revere for a bag of used baseballs. 2014 outfield of

LF-Darrin Ruf
CF-Aaron Alther
RF-Mike Stanton
Marlon Byrd gives all a day off, Ruf gives Howard a day off against the Leftys that eat him alive, Abreu plays LF against thought right handlers and pinch hits.
Go Phil's

Clout: Are you being sarcastic about the second part, there?

Do 23-30 year olds miss less time than 31-38 year olds?

Phillibuster: I agree. The Phillies bullpen last year, even with Papelbon's good season, was the worst in a decade. At least 20 losses were due to a reliever being unable to hold a lead or keep the other team from making its 1-run lead bigger.

Altherr > Revere

You can't make this stuff up, folks.

Donald O: "package Asche, Brown & Kedrick for Mike Stanton."

The Marlins would be all over that, right?

DPat: Except Garza's deal is apparently not done.

Donald: You're prepared for a lot of outs turning into doubles in LF? Also, no way that gets the deal done.

Phillies most important areas:

1) OF defense
2) Bullpen

47.) Better offense

Cyclic: Altherr was declared "can't miss" by numerous BL posters back in 2010, then all those posters suddenly acted like they never heard of him, so it's nice to see him get a bit of a revival here.

Cyclic: See, you can tell that I agree about not spending time on the field by my comment, but then you go and post something like your question about age...

The answer to which is: "yes, except when they don't, which happens a fair amount." Seeing as Utley played more games than Revere and only 8 fewer than Brown; Cliff Lee made 31 starts while John Lannan hit the 60-day DL; Halladay, Howard and Adams all hit the 60-day, but so did Horst, Stutes and Pettibone; Ruiz hit the 15-day, but so did Savery; all while Rollins led the team in games started.

2013 Phillies Team stats:

Batting Avg: .248 (10th worst)
Runs Scored: 610 (4th worst)
E.R.A.: 4.32 (4th worst)

Score more, give up fewer runs. Better hitting, better pitching. Seems simple to me.

2014 = Amusement Factor

"A great _______ can take a team, that's average in every other phase of the game, to the playoffs."

LorecorE: Team doctor?

Lore: Eh, being great in one phase of the game makes it more likely that you'll win games, but the averageness in other areas can hurt more, depending on those areas.

A team with a great offense, but average SP and BP will make the playoffs less frequently than a team with a great BP but average O and SP.

I think, in general, a great rotation reduces the role of the BP due to innings pitched, so there's some overlap, but essentially the pitching in the 7th-9th innings is the one facet of the game that has the biggest impact on whether any given game for any given team is a win - barring horribleness in either O or SP.

buster: wait, what? Being great for the ~3 innings on the mound while average everywhere else is more advantageous than great at the plate for 9 innings and average everywhere else?

That is impossible.

Also, the BP's importance gets magnified in the playoffs.

"A team with a great offense, but average SP and BP will make the playoffs less frequently than a team with a great BP but average O and SP."

I'm struggling to think of a team that has actually made the playoffs with a great bullpen but average SP & offense. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure I could think of quite a few playoff few teams with average pitching and bullpen, but great offense. The 2007 & 2009 Phillies spring immediately to mind.

Philli~ Garza is taking his physical today. they say the holdup is not related to a phyical issue.

BAP: More than teams with great pitching and average offense?

Bap, I'm sure there are a couple of teams that qualify, but I can't think of any off the top of my head either.

One of the Cards teams from the '80s?

in this regard, what was the 2008 formula?

I would be curious to go back and look since the start of the WC in '95 what team comparative ranks in the NL and how many teams just excelled at one aspect (starting pitching, bullpen, offense, defense) while being average/below average on the others.

A really good bullpen could possibly carry this team to a WC but there single upgrade has been Lincoln and Adams/Bastardo/Papelbon are huge question marks coming into this season. Much more likely the bullpen is below average/terrible again this year than good.

The $20M they have invested in Adams/Papelbon irks me even more than the $25M in Howard this year.

Zolecki was on WIP last night late with Jody Mac and had a couple of interesting things to stay:

- Thought Gaudin makes the club out of spring training as the long-relief/swingman role and the Phils had been looking for somebody to fill that role all offseason

- Ditto Abreu making the team as long as hit he enough and that can play defense adequately enough. Amaro has mentioned since the Winter Meeting about wanting a LH bat off the bench.

- Mentioned that despite some of the flak/criticism that Amaro took for signing Abreu that there were a dozen teams interested in signing him on a minor league deal with the $800k salary if he made a big league club out of spring training.

- Big question NL teams had in signing Abreu was could he play defense in the OF at this point but scouts liked his bat and how he looked on the bases in Venezuela.

- Surprised they bought back Mayberry and that the organization isn't high on him at this point. He wouldn't be surprised if the Phils make a real effort to try to trade Mabyerry this spring to fill a perceived need or for some more depth.

- Amaro will have somebody on the Opening Day roster who can reliably backup Revere in CF and JMJ isn't it. Didn't think Byrd was being viewed as a CF option either.

- Expectations are that this is a playoff club yet. If they get out to a horrible start and are struggling by July, he expects a ton of Cliff Lee trade rumors to follow and a strong chance he gets moved at the deadline.

Zolecki seems to be pretty tapped into the clubhouse yet and I miss him not writing for yet.

- 5th starter role wasn't locked up but that Pettibone's job to lose though at this point.

- Unclear what was going to happen with Ruf but that he might be squeezed out because the Phils don't consider him as a viable OF option.

***Altherr was declared "can't miss" by numerous BL posters back in 2010, then all those posters suddenly acted like they never heard of him, so it's nice to see him get a bit of a revival here.***

No he wasn't.

****At least 20 losses were due to a reliever being unable to hold a lead or keep the other team from making its 1-run lead bigger.****

In all seriousness, I wonder what the MLB average is for those types of situations. The Phillies bullpen was horrid...I'm just curious to see how horrid they really were is all.

Does the average team blow 10 games in that fashion? 5? 15?

"A great _______ can take a team, that's average in every other phase of the game, to the playoffs."
Posted by: LorecorE | Friday, January 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Gene, I'm going to have to say "Whoopie."

MG, you have it ack-bass wards. There are far bigger question marks in the bullpen than Papelbon and Bastardo. And I don't care what Adams or the med staff say, until I see Adams back at full strength, I'm taking the position that Adams is finished.

The holdup with Garza is, he won't let me lick his balls and put his fingers in my assssssss.

Trading JMJ:

Phils do have little to no OF depth right now and it is a large reason why they brought in some many guys on minor league deals including Thomas, T. Gwynn jr, Sappelt, and Abreu this spring with a decent chance that 1 if not 2 of those guys might make the Opening Day roster.

Still trading JMJ for an arm would be a solid move especially if they can get another bullpen arm with upside or even a swingman/starter depth (marginal 5th starter).

Mayberry's best attributes (splits vs LHP and hit for power, corner OF) have been on the decline now since '11 and I don't see him magically bouncing back this year after 2 down years.

JMJ could still help a MLB team off the bench if they don't ask him to play CF or 65-75% of his ABs vs RHP. Ideally he would play LF/RF (spot 1B/DH) and get 200-250 ABs with at least 40% of them coming vs LHP.

The sooner the Phils bench Howard the better. We will continue to lose as long as he is a sure out in the 4th spot in the batting order.

awh - Agree on Adams. I expect him start the year on the DL, to pitch less than 20 IP total, and end the year on the DL.

Papelbon and Bastardo are supposed to be the solid veteran relievers and Papelbon is coming off an pretty crummy Sept & Bastardo off a drug suspension. Bet one has a really disappointing year and between that and Adams leaves the Phils scrambling for options all year.

Re Howard

Cholly essentially did bench Howard last year after May vs LHP. He said it was due to Howard's health which provided him cover but I wonder how Sandberg will handle Howard this year vs LHP.

Does he let Howard start a majority of the time vs LHP all year? Start to give him occasional rest when there is a LHP on the mound if he gets out to a terrible start vs LHP again?

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