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Sunday, February 16, 2014

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Howard, down to 350, is in the best shape of his life.

He does look skinnier his face looks less round. If that matters any...I say hell hit 40...#$%?

clout, I heard it was better than that. I heard it was 345.

From the previous thread:

Buster, yep, both Frandsen and Mayberry received GUARANTEED arb contracts.

Unlike Bonifacio's contract, a non-guaranteed arb contract, where, if he is released, the Royals only owe 1/6 - 1/4 (depending on the timing of the release) of the contract.

Apparently, the Phillies gave them guarantees in return for a reduces salaries.

Lively discussion in last thread re: Ethan Martin.

Martin, like Aumont, has a great fastball and workable secondary pitches, but absolutely no command at all.

Guys like that nearly always end up in the bullpen and Seattle, as well as most every scout, concluded that was the best place for Aumont and moved him there. The Phillies insisted on making him a starter and he not only lost a year of development, but seems to have been screwed up ever since.

Could the same thing happen with Martin? Sure, but one thing's in the Phillies favor: Martin has never been considered as good a prospect as Aumont in terms of raw stuff. (Aumont is so screwed up now he may be off most prospect lists, but scouts over the first 4 years of his career were higher on him than on Martin over the same period.)

In short, even if everything goes right with Martin he's unlikely to be more than a #4 SP or setup man. Aumont could be a star closer. Of course, if their command stays where it is now, neither will have a career at all.

If Frandsen doesn't play well in ST, I don't think the Phillies would have any hestitation eating the $900k. That's chump change.

Howie is keeping his 6-pack under wraps of a padded corset.

Maybe Bud will end his reign by breaking out the 30,000,000 super juiced baseballs hidden in dry storage.

Clout, I was surprised you didn't weigh in on the Martin discussion earlier.

As I posted on the last thread, I don't know what the best development path is for Martin, but working as a starter almost up until the time he was on the big club did not seem to hurt Madson's development.

Thus, maybe the Phillies think it will help Martin's development if he's a starter and has the opportunity to work on his pitches over extended innings instead of short stints.

Also, as you accurately point out, Martin's command is lacking, maybe SO lacking that he has no shot of making the club this season except in an emergency role as he did in 2013 - whether he's a SP or RP.

That's why I don't understand the apoplexy of posters here because the Phillies aren't immediately converting Martin to a reliever.

Some have stated that upon conversion he might be the 7th best option for the bullpen. I haven't seen him demonstrate the command yet to justify that assessment.

All this debate is interesting, especially since the Phillies relative lack of success in developing really good pitchers over the last half-decade or so is lurking in the background.

Always can trade Frandsden for another utility fielder or a reliever with a career 7.00 ERA in the minors with some upside.

Bud the will announce David Montgomery as his successor who will in turn announce the implementation of the RH next season.

Oops. That's DH.

clout, I agree on Frandsen's money. they'll eat that if they have to.

Howard's smiling because he just left the bank and saw his remaining balance.

What does Craig Kimbrel have in his war chest that Aumont, DeFratus, Martin & Rosenberg don't have.

Bad twist in Burnett's contract:

The mutual option is worth $15 million if exercised by both parties. If the Phillies decline the option, Burnett could active a player option for $7.5 million, according to a CBS Sports report.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sports/phillies/AJ-Burnett-deal-includes-option-for-2015-limited-no-trade-clause.html

So basically, if Burnett gets hurt or sucks royally, he costs $23.5M for his year. Great.

Of course he can't and he won't even get close. The real issue is how he reacts to being benched vs LHP once he shows he can't do much against them.

Sandberg is going to have a tough job this year managing veteran expectations on PT and using then more sensibly than Cholly did with a bit of rest. Also has to deal with a few guys including Papelbon, JRoll, Burnett, and even Lee who aren't always the most easy players to deal with,

"Buster, yep, both Frandsen and Mayberry received GUARANTEED arb contracts."

You say that as though it were a known fact when, only a few days ago, you were lecturing lorecore and a few others on TGP for not being aware of the $250K out-clause in Mayberry's contract.

Sound the alarm. Savery DFA'd. Grab a bat Joe. Halladay gives up his number 34! Wake up BL.

A 37-year-old pitcher who essentially says, "Maybe I'll retire. Okay, wait, I guess I'll come back for another season."

Boy, I hope this one doesn't blow up on us.

"There's the saying, "Actions speak louder than words."

But, right now, Howard’s words are better than nothing."

I'm going to go ahead and disagree with this sentiment. Empty talk is not better than nothing. It is the very epitome of nothing.

Poor Savery. He has a very impressive set of skills where he can be both a AAA-level pitcher and a AAA-level hitter. But nothing quite good enough for MLB.

I watched Savery hit at LV. Too much of a line-drive-up-the-middle-hitter.

Tough luck for Savery. He did everything he could to stick at the MLB level and doesn't did have enough. Best of luck to him landing somewhere else where he might get a shot to make a MLB this year.

"So basically, if Burnett gets hurt or sucks royally, he costs $23.5M for his year. Great."

I knew RAJ wasn't capable of drafting a straightforward one-year contract. In fairness, if you'd told me that we had signed A.J. Burnett for 2 years, $23.5M, I would have said, "I'm not thrilled about the 2nd year, but I accept it as the price of getting him for one year." Bottom line: it's not the great, no-risk move we originally believed it to be, but it's still a good move.

Except, bap, this is a 2/$23.5 contract ONLY IF HE SUCKS.

"Also has to deal with a few guys including Papelbon, JRoll, Burnett, and even Lee who aren't always the most easy players to deal with."

In what bizarre universe has Lee not been 'easy to deal with'?

"Except, bap, this is a 2/$23.5 contract ONLY IF HE SUCKS."

True, it's like a 2-year deal without the upside of a 2-year deal.

Iceman - the '13 MLB All Star Game line up schtick was probably not a plus for Cliff Lee's likability quotient.

""The thing we have in common is our kids. He's a great dad. My son, because he has four sisters, probably would rather spend time at A.J.'s house when I'm not there. I've got a great deal of respect for him not just as a baseball player, but as a dad as well. You can tell how much he loves his kids and family.""

When BAP said a few weeks ago that Burnett was a jerk, you can be sure it was stuff like this that helped convict him in his Internet court of law.

cut- that has nothing to do with what Lee is like to deal with.

Lee wanted to be traded last season midyear and made if fairly apparent. Doubt he changes his tune if this team is basically out of contention by July.

This could be the season that gets RAJ fired.

Totally off point, but in light of the Dempster info this morning, what's the chance Ryan Madson ends up with the BoSox?

Dempster's a starter, so his decision to sit out the whole season has no bearing on whether the RedSox sign Madson. But it will definitely put them in the market for one of the decent remaining free agent SPs -- of which there are a surprisingly large number.

re:dempster. he is now refered to as the pitcher who beaned arod last year. i didn't know that if you hit a batter in the elbow that it is considered a beaning.

"You say that as though it were a known fact when, only a few days ago, you were lecturing lorecore and a few others on TGP for not being aware of the $250K out-clause in Mayberry's contract."


New info, bap... new info.

Did I get under your skin somehow when I posted this?:

"Some have stated that upon conversion he might be the 7th best option for the bullpen. I haven't seen him demonstrate the command yet to justify that assessment."


:)

I must've missed all those Cliff Lee trade demands last year at the deadline- after which he went on to post basically identical numbers with Sandberg as manager as he did in the first half.

There's no evidence whatsoever that Lee is, or will be, difficult to handle.

Nice to hear the big man sound so confident.

I would love nothing better than to erase the mental image of him collapsing in the batter's box with a completely torn tendon And replace it with the "Get me to the Plate, boys" version.

These rose colored glasses really take the glare off the snow. You gotta try 'em.

sounds like ruf is going to feel howard's eyes burning through him all season. the bambino hit 46 dingers at age 34. that would be an excellent season for big piece.

and ruth did that in only 135 games.

"and ruth did that in only 135 games."


Yep, but Ruth also had the advantage of that short porch in RF at Yankee Stadium. At the time the RF foul line was only 295 feet long.

thanks for the context, awh.

"Except, bap, this is a 2/$23.5 contract ONLY IF HE SUCKS."

True, it's like a 2-year deal without the upside of a 2-year deal.

Posted by: bay_area_phan
************
Right. Try to imagine a scenario in which a healthy and still-effective A.J. Burnett avails of his $7.5M player option for 2015. I can't think of one.

However, it's easy to envision a broken down and/or completely ineffective 38-year-old AJB availing of it.

In fairness I too would have done this deal, but it's not nearly as attractive as with the mutual option. The idea is to de-link failures this season (of any kind) to future possibilities of contending. RAJ just went some distance to undermining that goal.

If Burnett is healthy and effective, the Phils and he will probably agree to the option. If he's broken down and ineffective, considering he was contemplating retirement and would be pitching for a team that didn't want him, and is probably going to suck, I don't think its a foregone conclusion that he would exercise his part of the option.

bittel, one of the posters over at TGP pointed out that because of the way the deal is structured, what counts RIGHT NOW for AAV purposes are the guaranteed 15MM and the player option of 7.5MM.

So, for 2014 lux tax purposes it's effectively a 2 year $22.5MM deal, or 11.25 AAV.

If the Phillies exercise their option, or Burnett takes the buyout and goes elsewhere, then the AAV gets recalculated.

Waht11.25 AAV means is that they may have room for Madson.

I always saw Ryno's confidence as a good thing. Lord only knows how much his drop in production was due to being physically impaired. Every Phillies fan wants to see if he is truly healthy and, if so, what he can do now that he is. We are obviously stuck with the guy and have no choice at this point in time but to hope he is healthy and plays well.

What buyout? Is there a buyout? It's an option for 2015.

Oh, nevermind I see what you're saying.

Meyer: "What does Craig Kimbrel have in his war chest that Aumont, DeFratus, Martin & Rosenberg don't have?"

The ability to throw a baseball where he wants.

Mike G, it's a 1/$15MM, with a $1MM buyout,

OR a 2015 $7.5MM player option

OR a 2015 $15MM team option.


He can also earn incentives in each year up to $1.75MM.

So, if the Phillies exercise the buyout, he can counter with his $7.5MM player option and void the buyout - that is, he doesn't get the $1MM buyout if he exercises his player option.

So, for lux tax purposes, the highest amount of money guaranteed right now is 2/$22.5MM.

If the Phillies exercise their option, it gets recalculated to 2/$30MM.

Now, Mike G, this scenario is possible as well:

Burnett pitches - not too well - and the Phillies exercise their buyout. Burnett's agent has a feel for the market, and Burnett accepts the $1MM buyout because they feel he can score a better contract on the open market than the player option.

The point is it's actually a pretty creative win-win for the player and the team, because despite the $15MM the Phillies have to pay Burnett in 2014, it only counts 11.25 towards the lux tax.

If the club wants to keep him around, he gets paid. If the club wants a discount next season he can work for that by exercising the player option, or take the buyout go find greener pastures if he thinks they're out there.

Joe Savery was the 19th pick of 2007 draft because he threw 95 mph in college and had a heavy sinker. His velocity then proceeded to drop every season until by 2011 he could barely reach 90 mph and they were ready to convert him to a 1Bman.

Was he hurt? The Phillies never said. Last year, after pitching very little for 3 seasons, his velocity got back up to low 90s. But he's now entering his age 28 season.

I think the guy hurt his arm, never told anyone and the Phillies never picked up on it.

The mutual option does make it quite an interesting contract. Basically the Phils are insured against him pitching great in 2014 and wanting to leave in 2015. They get him for $15M in that scenario, a reasonable price on a team-friendly one-year term. If he pitches well and the Phils find a way to contend the next two seasons, RAJ looks very good.

Conversely, if the team does poorly and Burnett sucks/gets injured, you will basically have a slightly more expensive 2013 version of Mike Adams on your team again in 2015, when that's the last thing you want.

I wonder if the analytics guy had anything to do with the creativity of the contract?

Cue the fake dialogicians.

Call a meeting.

bittel, the Phils don't have insurance against him pitching greatly in 2014 and wanting to leave. The $15 M is a mutual option. He has to want to come back at $15. If he feels he can get more, he can decline and test the market.

awh: Believe it or not, I am every bit as skeptical as you about Ethan Martin's ability to be a viable major league reliever. The guy can't throw strikes and, if you can't throw strikes, it's pretty hard to succeed even in a bullpen role. But I am even more skeptical of his ability to succeed as a starter.


Conversely, if the team does poorly and Burnett sucks/gets injured, you will basically have a slightly more expensive 2013 version of Mike Adams on your team again in 2015, when that's the last thing you want.

Posted by: bittel | Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 02:52 PM

Once again, that's assuming that if he sucks/gets hurt he exercises his player option. Considering the fact that he'll be 38, was already contemplating retirement, and would be pitching for a team that didn't want him, and according to most experts will suck out loud, I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that he'd exercise that option.

Mike G, it's a 1/$15MM, with a $1MM buyout,

Posted by: awh™ | Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 02:26 PM

I missed the part about the $1MM buyout, thanks.

Iceman - except all the stories that came out before and after Cholly was fired about how rotten the clubhouse chemistry and mood were.

You should know that I think those are generally worth a hill of beans especially in baseball. Didn't say it would effect lee's performance in the field but do you think he was happy-go-lucky when he said he wanted to be moved if the Phils weren't going to compete and his fruatration about the lack of run support. Lee to his credit didn't apparently let those frustrations spill over the field last year but it never easy to deal with a star employee who openly comes out and says he want to be elsewhere unless the situation improves.

Right, mutual. So in effect there's a range of performance within which the Phils and Burnett would agree on $15M, but above that range Burnett probably opts out and beneath it the Phils are stuck paying him $7.5M.

Mike G: why wouldn't Burnett go through the motions of being on a team for $7.5M if it meant he didn't have to do much for it? You're right, he might not. But why? It's the last $7.5M he'd ever earn playing baseball.

Lee IS difficult to deal with. Remember the sunflower seed incident?

Bittel, unlike us normal people, Burnett has made multi millions in his career, that 7.5M is really not that much money. The guy was already contemplating retirement. Why would he want to travel with the team all summer and be away from his family, start every 5th day for a team that probably will lose more than it wins. Especially if he's truly finished. You really think he'd just go through the motions on a team that doesn't really want him. I guess he might, but I just don't think it's a slam dunk that he will.

Pettibone is hurt now ... Gonzalez apparently sucks ... Gaudin is gone ... Hamels is hurt ... quick question: does our rotation look better or worse than it did 2 weeks ago?

MG: As I recall, the Red Sox clubhouse chemistry was rotten in 2012. Turned out to be a good omen.

For cry'in out loud. Call Gaudin and Savery back to the fold. Hurry.

MG- there were certainly reports of a toxic clubhouse. I didn't hear anything about that coming from Lee, save for the sunflower seed incident where Amaro was 100% in the wrong.

You understand that everything you're saying is idle speculation, right? As long as you can acknowledge that then I guess there's nothing to argue. You're speaking of this like it's a known fact that he's a problem in the clubhouse.

Gonzalez sucks? How has this been established?

Burnett has made multi millions in his career, that 7.5M is really not that much money. The guy was already contemplating retirement.

You could be right, but Burnett was a Yankee for awhile, and thus may have studied at the Clemens-Pettite School of Retirement Declarations. These were masters of the art, remember. Between those two, must be close to $100M extracted from teams post-retirement declarations.

So I'm a bit skeptical about his intentions.

c'mom, you know he's gonna suck. they've pretty much admitted he's looked like crap so far. don't you think an actual cuban prospect could have gotten a better contract?

Glad this board is real positive!

Realistically, it's pretty unlikely that Burnett will be so bad as to not be worth a one-year $7.5M contract in 2015. Josh Johnson, who had a 6.20 ERA and only 81 IP last year, still got 1 year, $8M in free agency because he's Josh Johnson. Burnett is a lot older, but he has the same reservoir of past performance to fall back on. Even if he were to have a disappointing 2014 season (i.e., 20-25 starts, 4.50-ish ERA), he'd still probably decline that one-year, $7.5M option because he could very likely make more on the FA market. Given the relatively slim chances of that option ever being exercised, it's really not that onerous.

I'll agree with you, bap, on the assumption that this contract has an end-of-season disabled list/injury clause.
I didn't hear specifically about it, but isn't it fairly standard?

"c'mom, you know he's gonna suck. they've pretty much admitted he's looked like crap so far. don't you think an actual cuban prospect could have gotten a better contract?"

All right, I'm convinced.

"awh: Believe it or not, I am every bit as skeptical as you about Ethan Martin's ability to be a viable major league reliever. The guy can't throw strikes and, if you can't throw strikes, it's pretty hard to succeed even in a bullpen role. But I am even more skeptical of his ability to succeed as a starter."


bap, I think we agree. But until I see Martin's command improve I really don't see him contributing to the 2014 big club in any meaningful way.

Thus, whether he's a reliever in LV or a starter (where he'll get the opportunity to work on his pitches more) is not going to matter much.

I could care less if MAG looks like crap in spring training.

He hasn't pitched in 2+ years competitively and it was kind of ridiculous to pencil him in for a roster spot.

Phils need at least 3-4 months to really get a good look at him & see what he can do at AA/AAA. If his offspeed stuff is below average and he gets lite up as a starter into Aug., then yeah maybe it is time to start considering him a 'bust.' Ditto if he goes on the DL and has a serious elbow surgery which caused some teams including the Yanks to back off.

Someone already explained this (to no avail) to BAP on TGP, but Martin's control problems are tangibly connected (at least so far) to how deep he pitches into a game. His walk rate doubled after 25 pitches last year, and his numbers across the board are worlds better in his 1st/2nd innings of pitching (or first time through the order, however you want to look at it). I don't remember any such connection with Aumont.

bittel: "Gonzalez sucks? How has this been established?"

Pay close attention to this blog. The conventional wisdom is wrong nearly 100% of the time. If the majority says he'll be good, then you'll know he sucks.

Ah dang Joe Save was cut.

"Someone already explained this (to no avail) to BAP on TGP, but Martin's control problems are tangibly connected (at least so far) to how deep he pitches into a game."

Looks like I opened the floodgates by comparing Iceman favorably to some of the TGP posters. Since the minute I wrote that, he's done nothing but potshot almost every post I write.

As for this issue being explained to me . . . those splits were based on all of 40 major league innings. And those same 40-inning splits show that he was still wild as hell when he pitched relief at the end of the year (5.14 walks per 9 innings). But I'd be curious to see his minor league splits for some real insight into the relationship between his wildness and the fatigue factor.

I can relate to a minute of honesty relating to a lifetime of misery.

BAP- you practically invited me to do it.

Honestly though, I don't have much more hope for Martin than you do- but I do think saying he falls into the same category as Aumont is unfair. I can't find detailed minor league stats either (if anyone knows where you can find them, I'd love to know), but Martin showed marked improvement when moved to a relief role (he had one poor appearance in game 158 with his control), with his strike % going up 10% (SSS, admittedly). His stats, not coincidentally, get worse the deeper he got into an outing, both starting and relieving. Aumont never showed even the slightest flashes that he was capable of putting together 2-3 batters where he knew where the ball was going, and the stats reflected that.

And even using dennyb's 'eye test' (which I normally think is worthless), Martin's control of his fastball is at least slightly harnessed (and looked much better in one-inning doses), unlike Aumont, who may as well be closing his eyes when he throws.

Martin does need to improve control of his curve if he ever wants to be an above-average reliever. But I don't think he's nearly as hopeless as Aumont.

Again, if Kendrick goes down for the season or a big part of it, Martin as a starter will be thoroughly evaluated; probably until his 6+ ERA incites a team revolt.

With the Chad Gaudin deal falling through, I'm reasonably confident the Phillies will sign another SP to a minor league deal -- especially if Pettibone is still having injury issues. It will probably be someone with a 5.78 career ERA, but they will sign someone.

Or maybe Burnett could be our long relief guy next year...for 7.5 mill...Did I get that right...?.....I hope he has a good year for us.

There's been a few times Aumont fires off a beautiful sinker i think thats a sinker. I wouldnt want to see him in many high pressure or anything past the 7th. He doesnt seem like he has the mental toughness. Seen a few times he had that im skeered look.

Best of luck Howard. I hope you do, I hope you do.

Clout: of course Savery came out hurt. He went to Rice.


Briefly looking at what SP is left on the cheap. This Jon Garland seems to fit RAJ mold.

Saw a 12-6 hook from Aumont once; can't remember when. Supernatural.

Problem was, it landed about 20 inches from the plate on the first base side; again it could have been Ruiz catching, but who cares? A pure, unadulterated wild pitch.

They said Koufax was a LH with unhittable stuff and unmanageable control. Lefties bloom late - Koufax ended with a brilliant career. Unfortunately, Aumont only bats left. Maybe a sliver of hope?

Aumont has thrown some pitches over the course of his young career that are among the best I've ever seen.

The problem is they're about 1 out of 100, and the other 99 are pretty horrific.

That look from Aumont seems more of an aggressive, anxious look of a mountain dog not a deer. I believe this guy needs to approach his future closer job with more of a good-natured, self-assured approach, unlike the latest fad of the crazed lunatic closer shtick of the recent decade. This big guy has feelings and needs reassurance.

Get Halladay and Lidge and now Burnett on this project pronto.

Remove the anxiety and aggressiveness and you have a relaxed Phillippe entering the game with a smile and a nod to Ruiz, maybe saying something to Cody at 3rd, kicking some dirt at the rubber, looking at the crowd, smiling again and throwing the 1st of a series of the most unhittable pitches known to baseballkind and then then loving the hitter and his respect for the game. I like this thought and hope it comes true.

"This big guy has feelings and needs reassurance." I agree reminds me of this scene.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee925OTFBCA

So now the Phils are just taking 'precautionary measures' with Pettibone from even throwing a bullpen session due to surgery soreness? Right.

Same thing that bothered Pettibone all last year and took what was supposed to be a 1-mont long injury and prevented him from even throwing off the mound again until Nov.

Phils ineptitude at handling injuries the past 2 years has been staggering and Amaro has a legit point about wondering how the team would have done if they would have had good health. He has played a role in this including with Howard but you have to wonder what Sheridan and the medical staff are doing.

Sheridan has suffered an horrific slump since his award.

Phils really need to bring in another veteran possible starter who would be willing to sign on a minor league deal or minimum with veteran incentive upside.

Minimal depth to begin with and that was before the questions regarding Hamels/Pettibone and the season-ending injury to Morgan.

No idea who would be the 5th starter if Hamels/Pettibone would be shelved to start the season. I guess it would be Martin for sheer lack of alternatives.

McClure should just pick out a relief guy or 2 and stretch him out - old style. WTF.

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