Jack McCaffery Wears Bad Idea Jeans

Long-time Daily Times columnist Jack McCaffery had a doozy published today. He has a suggestion for the Phillies and it’s wearing Bad Idea Jeans. Let’s jump into it FJM-style, in honor of their reunion on Deadspin yesterday.

The title of his column is “Valdez might make Rollins expendable”. If not for the “might” qualifier, I’d have had McCaffery committed.

One year, Aaron Rowand is winning hearts for displaying his, the next year his Phillies uniform is a throwback. Pat Burrell rode into the ballpark on the front championship-parade float, then was told to leave the joint with everyone else. Cliff Lee won two World Series games, and soon after was traded for three wobbly promises.

One of these things is not like the other. Aaron Rowand and Pat Burrell were two aging, injury-prone outfielders (which are easier to replace than their shortstop counterparts) and Lee was a highly valuable commodity with one year left on a very affordable contract.

McCaffery ultimately brings the trio up to compare them to Jimmy Rollins. But consider that Rowand was replaced by Shane Victorino, Burrell by Raul Ibanez, and Lee by Roy Halladay. The Phillies either broke even or made a significant upgrade, and in the case of Halladay, they were able to sign him to a below-market three-year contract extension. If we assume for argument’s sake that Halladay and Lee pitch at equivalent levels, would you rather have Lee for one more year or Halladay for four?

The question that no one wants to ask: Does it have to be Jayson Werth who leaves, and not Jimmy Rollins?

Yes. Werth’s heir is apparent: Domonic Brown. Jimmy Rollins‘ heir would be Wilson Valdez. The Phillies traded away one of their better shortstop prospects in the Roy Oswalt deal, and otherwise have no one ready to step up and provide Major League-level production. The Phillies also exercised their club option on Rollins for 2011, and Werth is expected to command as much as $100 million on the free agent market (although I think he will eventually have to settle for something in the $70 million range).

It’s becoming a nightly ritual, as predictable as the mascot mounting the dugout roof. Charlie Manuel meets the press a few hours before the game, shrugs, and says he doesn’t know exactly when Rollins again will be his shortstop.

I think this is because they don’t want to place Rollins on the 15-day disabled list, even if they place him there retroactive to September 9.

If Jimmy Rollins wasn’t close to returning, he’d have been placed on the disabled list. While he has been sitting on the bench, the Phillies were fortunate enough to play exceptional baseball, winning their last ten games and increasing their lead in the division to six games over the Atlanta Braves. There is no rush to get him back.

And, yes, Wilson Valdez has been productive recently. That is likely why the Phillies have been extra cautious with Rollins. But in no way, shape, or form do the Phillies think Valdez is an equivalent player to Rollins, and neither should anybody else.

Then, he plugs in Wilson Valdez and sees remarkable major-league defense and enough offensive punch to know that the reserve infielder’s .260-ish batting average is no false dawn.

Wilson Valdez: career .268 wOBA.

Jimmy Rollins: career .337 wOBA.

Even this year, a season during which Rollins has been placed on the disabled list twice and once more missed significant playing time, Rollins is way out-producing Valdez offensively: .319 to .288 in wOBA (.324 is average). With similar plate appearance totals, Rollins has stolen 17 bases in 18 attempts; Valdez has stolen five in five attempts.

Over the last three seasons, Rollins has way out-performed Valdez defensively, ~11 to ~5 in terms of UZR/150. However, Rollins has had the luxury of nearly six times the amount of defensive innings as Valdez. Even considering Rollins’ recent injuries, one would be very generous to even call the two equivalent defenders.

Valdez has been a nice stopgap for the Phillies given all of their injuries. He has made a positive impact on the team, for sure. But to use 342 plate appearances and 421 defensive innings as the basis for replacing the franchise shortstop? That is wearing Bad Idea Jeans.

“You know something?” Manuel said. “I don’t know if he can hit .260 playing every day in the big leagues, but he can definitely help you defensively. He’ll save you some runs. He’s hit .300 in the minor leagues for his career. And there’s not too many of those guys left down there either. He definitely held his own this year. He has about 300 at-bats (314 heading into play Wednesday). And 300 is kind of a ‘chance’ in the major leagues. Domonic Brown has 100 at bats. That’s not a good chance. But 300 is a chance.”

Chris Shelton, 2005 in 388 at-bats: 18 HR, .870 OPS. He didn’t play in the Majors in 2007 or ’10, and in limited opportunities in ’08 and ’09 he struggled mightily. 300 at-bats is not a sufficient sample size. It takes 500 plate appearances for OBP, SLG, OPS, singles rate, and pop-up rate to stabilize, and 550 for ISO. In 300 at-bats, you may get an idea of the player’s plate discipline or propensity for hitting ground and fly balls, but that’s about it.

Valdez might not hit .260 in the bigs, but he can hit .245, which Rollins is hitting this year, or .250, which Rollins hit last year.

What Rollins does, that Valdez does not, is hit for power. He gets on base more as well, but in recent years that hasn’t been his calling card. Rollins also steals bases more often and more efficiently. Although Valdez is 5-for-5 this year, he came into this season with a 4-for-9 track record.

It goes without saying, but batting average is not a metric worth using to evaluate the abilities of baseball players.

And if he can, then why spend close to $9 million on a 32-year-old, injury-battling Rollins next season if that same money could be invested in Werth?

Werth won’t cost $9 million. At the very least, expect the average annual value of Werth’s free agent contract to be at least $15 million. Don’t be surprised if it’s $20 million.

As mentioned above, the Phillies have a replacement for Werth and he happens to cost only $400,000. Rollins + Brown, for $9.4 million, will out-produce Werth + Valdez for $15.5 million.

This is without mentioning that Rollins is a fan and media favorite, unlike Werth. The Phillies risk alienating a part of their fan base, however small, by abandoning Rollins. It’s not good business.

Not that the Phillies can’t afford Werth, Rollins, Shane Victorino, Cliff Lee and the hidden baggage fees for airlines. They can.

If the Phillies’ owners wanted to, they could out-spend the Yankees I’d imagine. But is it smart, and would they make money by doing so? Probably not. As much as we loathe the hidden owners, whom we picture as silhouettes laughing evilly in their dimly-lit offices counting stacks of $100 bills, it is in our best interest for them to continue to make money. Spending an extra $25 million “just because we can” isn’t smart; it’s risky, and oftentimes dumb. How many championships did the Yankees win after relaxing the collective grip on the wallet going into the 2002 season? With a homegrown group, they won four World Series and lost another. From 2002-08, they reached the playoffs in six straight seasons and made the World Series just once and they lost.

Spending money does not always equal success.

And if they allow Werth to leave at season’s end and blame it on the cost of doing Scott Boras business, they should be ridiculed by the close to 4,000,000 people who will have just completed a full season of sellouts.

Even casual readers of this blog — and most of the Philadelphia sports media — know how big a fan of Jayson Werth I am. I have put in a lot of effort trying to educate the fan base so that they can understand and appreciate his skill. But even I can admit that it may not be in the team’s interest to engage in a bidding war for Werth’s services. That is especially true if it comes at the cost of replacing Rollins for Valdez.

There is no reason the Phillies cannot afford to keep their own players, financially or otherwise. They have the cash.

This logic needs to go another step: is spending the cash sensible?

Bill Gates has a ton of money. He has the cash to throw a fistful of $100 bills into a paper shredder. Should he do it?

But if they won’t, and that’s where it is headed, then why not look at what is, not what used to be, and realize that Werth is peaking and Rollins isn’t?

This may very well be the case, but one needs to look at who would be replacing each player. As mentioned above, Rollins + Brown will outproduce Werth + Valdez.

Additionally, if it is so obvious that Rollins is becoming such an unproductive player — one such that Valdez is deemed a reasonable replacement — then what team would take on his $9 million salary? Or would the Phillies eat the $9 million to get prospects?

Why not consider moving Rollins for value — for a back-end-of-the-rotation starting pitcher and the salary relief — and use his money to fund a Werth re-signing?

With a 2011 rotation that includes Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, why would the Phillies focus on the back of the starting rotation? With Joe Blanton as a #4, the Phillies have a lot of candidates that could take the last spot, including Kyle Kendrick (again), Vance Worley, and others. It would make sense to trade Rollins to fill an obvious pressing need, but not to fill a #5 spot in the starting rotation.

Why not trust Valdez at shortstop, which is what they have done often enough this year to draw the honest conclusion that, yes, he can play regularly for a contender?

Because Rollins is still much more productive than Valdez? With similar PA totals, Rollins has 2.1 WAR compared to Valdez’s 0.5. Only 0.6 of Rollins’ WAR advantage comes from the not-yet-reliable defensive metrics.

Could the Phillies drag Jonathan Sanchez out of San Fran for Rollins, who probably could be nudged to approve a trade to the Bay Area?

Mental exercise: assuming they were not teammates, would you trade Rollins straight up for Joe Blanton?

  • Sanchez: 4.22 career xFIP
  • Blanton: 4.37 career xFIP

At the time, giving up Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman, and Matt Spencer for Blanton was considered too much.

Additionally, why would the Giants trade Sanchez — one of their best pitchers this season — for an aging, injury-prone, declining shortstop especially considering their home ballpark?

And if so, would they ever lose with a Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, Sanchez, Joe Blanton rotation? And with that arsenal, wouldn’t a splendid defensive shortstop — Valdez, for instance — be enough?

Again, this isn’t the appropriate question. It should be: would the Phillies win more with Rollins, Brown, and their home-grown #5 starter than with Valdez + Sanchez + Werth?

Rollins has been a special Phillie, the 2007 MVP, a leader-type. But he cannot continue to be top-of-the-order energy drain.

So move him down in the lineup.

Shane Victorino is better suited for the job.

So move him up in the lineup. This is irrelevant to justifying crowning Valdez the heir apparent to Rollins.

Rollins, no longer close to a 30-homer threat, is better toward the middle of the order — but that middle of the order would be flat without Werth.

While “flat” may be exaggeration, I agree that the Phillies become too prone to LOOGY’s in swapping Werth for Brown. But again, this is irrelevant to McCaffery’s main argument.

The Phillies are going to have to long-range budget for another Hamels raise. That will impact the Werth decision.

Not really. If anything, the contract extension awarded to Ryan Howard severely impacted the likelihood of re-signing Werth. $125 million contract extensions can have that effect.

But were they to plop Rollins’ $9 million atop the $7 million they are already spending for their leading right-handed power hitter, the Phillies could satisfy any Boras demand for Werth.

Yes, Werth for $16 million. Sounds reasonable. Oh, Werth wants guaranteed money over a period longer than one year? Zounds!

No, it would not be a popular move. The Burrell, Lee and Rowand moves weren’t popular either.

They also fall under categorically different circumstances.

Winning sure seems to have a certain appeal, though. Check the turnstiles. Monitor the ratings.

In all likelihood, they would win less with this proposal. Even if they broke even, they would be spending a lot more money to do so.

And if it comes down to one or the other, the Phillies would win more in 2011 with Jayson Werth than with Jimmy Rollins.

Luckily it doesn’t come down to one or the other. Rollins has nothing to do with Werth’s chances of staying or going.

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42 comments

  1. Hunter

    September 23, 2010 03:30 PM

    I read the article, and I think it contains the kernel of a good idea, in spite of the fact that the author takes it in a ridiculous direction. The thing I think he has correct is that this team should no longer count on Rollins being an elite shortstop going forwards.

    Rollins is getting older and aging. You quote Jimmy’s career wOBA, but I wonder whether that has any relevance for the future Jimmy Rollins. Jimmy’s 09-10 seasons have had wOBAs of .316 and .319 respectively (which is still good from the SS position, but definitely not what one expects from an “elite” SS). One season can be an outlier. But two? Maybe. But equally you could make the argument that what you you’re going to see a gradual decline from here on out.

    Is an approximately 2.5 WAR shortstop worth whatever it’s going to take to re-sign Jimmy Rollins? Is Jimmy going to be willing to take a paycut for the 2012 season if his numbers don’t rebound?

    If not, what does the organization do?

    Looking at Rollins right now and projecting his future should be a wake-up call to the organization. I think realistically, you have to project Rollins as a league average shortstop going forwards and be willing to (not over)pay him accordingly.

    *That* is where the article should have gone…not “Jimmy isn’t worth it, pay Werth instead” which, as you correctly point out, is nonsensical on a variety of levels.

  2. PHLPVD

    September 23, 2010 03:35 PM

    On the note of being vulnerable to LOOGY’s:

    If you were given the task on Opening Day next season, based on what you have seen so far this year, how would you assemble a lineup consisting of Chooch, Ryan, Chase, Polly, Jimmy, Raul, Vic, and Dom?

  3. Phillies Red

    September 23, 2010 03:41 PM

    Money aside, I’m not sure it’s the worst idea, if you really believe that Valdez can play at above replacement level and that Jimmy could return a league average pitcher. Let’s assume Valdez is a 1 WAR player, and that Brown is a 2.5 WAR player in his first full season.

    Option A:
    Jimmy – 3-4 WAR (is that fair, I don’t even know? But I’m basing it on his pace for this year and his previous seasons’ WAR)
    Brown – 2.5 WAR
    Kendrick – 0-.5 WAR(or other replacement level pitcher, which is what I’d assume Worley is next season)
    Total: 5.5-7 WAR at what, $10M (Jimmy’s $9 and two non-arb eligible players)

    Option B:
    Valdez – 1 WAR (this is likely generous)
    Werth – 4.5 WAR (he’s gonna pull in around 5 for the third straight year, but let’s regress a little, right?)
    Average pitcher – 2 WAR
    Total: 7.5 WAR at, let’s take a guess here, $20 million ($16 for Werth and 4 to be split between league average arb eligible pitcher and free agent Valdez)?

    Actually, yeah, this is pretty stupid. Let’s call the difference between the options +1 WAR for B, but it costs you $10M+ for that extra win. Why not just spend the $10M on a league average pitcher and not get locked into a long-term contract with Werth that will take him into his mid-to-late 30s?

    If Jimmy were to get healthy and be productive next year (say 4+ WAR) and Brown were to be decent in his first season (say 3+ WAR), then it’s even more idiotic to trade Jimmy to sign Werth. Basically, that money should go to a league average pitcher or a righthanded option to platoon with Raul/Brown. Or hell, just save some money and sign Valdez again to be a backup.

  4. Jeff

    September 23, 2010 03:47 PM

    Where is this guy getting the idea that the Phils didn’t want Burrell back after ’08? He turned down a “reported” offer of 2yrs/$22m to sign with the Rays for 2yrs/$16m. I put reported in quotes b/c they actually offered him more.

  5. awh

    September 23, 2010 04:12 PM

    “Valdez might not hit .260 in the bigs, but he can hit .245, which Rollins is hitting this year, or .250, which Rollins hit last year.”

    Ass-u-me that BA is a valid metric to compare players. Just assume.

    McCaffrey is still a moron.

    Valdez career #s in 711 PA:

    .239 .285 .324

    He expect Valdez – who is six months OLDER tha Jimmy Rollins – to NOT experience a similar decline to Jimmy?

    There must be a crack pipe in the newsroom.

    (And I mean no diss to Wilson. Love having a “REPLACEMENT LEVEL” IF on the team.)

  6. Jim

    September 23, 2010 04:40 PM

    Seriously Bill, you needed a whole column to beat up on a crazy guy with an idiotic idea? LOL. Just saying… I don’t think we even need sabermetrics to know this is a bad/dumb idea. Replacing Rollins with Valdez would be a dumber idea than giving Howard that ridiculous contract. The impact detrimental to the team might be less, but it certainly would be dumber. Even Amaro isn’t that dumb.

  7. Sanj

    September 23, 2010 05:20 PM

    Is Rollins a Wall of Famer? I would give it to him in a heartbeat, but does he deserve it?

  8. Marley

    September 23, 2010 05:52 PM

    Good stuff, Bill. I want Werth back but this is an awful idea.

  9. mike

    September 23, 2010 09:16 PM

    Nice post, Bill. Agreed 100%. Honestly, I would be surprised to ever see Rollins in another uniform.

  10. Scott G

    September 23, 2010 10:26 PM

    Why are you assuming that the replacement shortstop has to come from within?

    Juan Uribe will be a FA. He’s 31, and his WAR is respectable. His current contract is around 3.25 mil. I’d give him about 5 to try and keep Werth.

    Assuming you lose Werth this off season, Ibanez will be gone next season. Who replaces him?

    Why not have Werth, Rollins and Brown?

    Burrell’s career wOBA is .361. Ibanez is .351. They are also approximately equivalent career WARs probably with an edge to Burrell if you make them the same time frame. I think it is a downgrade to give a 37 year old man a bigger contract for longer period of time than a younger slightly better player.

  11. Fat Cat

    September 24, 2010 12:29 AM

    Maybe the Phils should start charging writers admission to games. That way, they would have more $ to pay guys. Like Rollins.

  12. Bob

    September 24, 2010 03:00 AM

    I agree with Scott G on this one. The Rollins + Brown vs. Werth + Valdez argument works great in the vacuum of one year. Expand it though and go one year down the road to

    Rollins + Brown + unknown LF
    vs.
    Werth + Brown + Valdez (or a free agent)

    Therefore is an unknown quantity in LF better? So you get rid of Rollins 9 million this season to pay for Werth, and Raul’s 11 million comes off the next. Plus, the difference between Rollins and Valdez is much smaller than the difference between Werth and a replacement level OF.

    The biggest problem in all this is that I doubt Rollins really has any trade value – the fact is he’s a subpar offensive SS who has had injury problems recently. He’s meant a lot to the Phillies, but sometimes you have to make an unpopular decision that will make the team better in the long run.

  13. Scott G

    September 24, 2010 06:42 AM

    I certainly would like to think that Brian Dawkins was more popular to the Eagles fan base than Rollins is to the Phillies. As much as I hated to see Dawkins go, it wore off after a while. Their organization decided it was time to move on from the aging veteran. Not saying I want Rollins gone, but I was more torn about Dawkins leaving than I would be if Rollins left if it meant keeping Werth (if that was the only way they saw it possible).

  14. bill

    September 24, 2010 08:13 AM

    Even if this guy was right, watching Wilson Valdez hit into 40 double plays a season would make me break a few televisions.

  15. SJHaack

    September 24, 2010 08:26 AM

    WILSON VALDEZ IS SIX MONTHS OLDER THAN JIMMY ROLLINS.

    I am going to retype that later, because the thrust of these arguments is that Jimmy Rollins is injury prone, and above all else, old. Calf muscles and hamstrings are not related. Having an injury in one has nothing to do with having an injury in the other, on the other leg. He’s also been one of the most durable shortstops of the decade. Guys at short just don’t play 150 games in a season, and he’s done it 8 times in (now) 10 years. Wilson Valdez has honestly been valuable to this team, but I guarantee I’d be whining every inning he was in the game if Rollins had played 140 games this season.

    WILSON VALDEZ IS SIX MONTHS OLDER THAN JIMMY ROLLINS. HE IS BAD AT HITTING.

  16. mike

    September 24, 2010 08:38 AM

    By Scott G on Sep 23, 2010

    Assuming you lose Werth this off season, Ibanez will be gone next season. Who replaces him?

    ***********

    Excellent question. Maybe they should just suck it up for a year until Ibanez comes off the books, then slide Brown into that spot.

  17. Scott G

    September 24, 2010 08:49 AM

    Mike,

    Amen.

    Also,

    You can add Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, and Sheldon Brown to the list of fan favorite (McNabb was my favorite player behind Dawkins anyway) players that the Eagles parted ways with due to age. All of them with the exception of maybe Westbrook would still be starting on this team based on abilities.

    If the Eagles can part ways with that many fan favorites and bring in a convicted felon (who I think should have been given a chance because he served what society decided to be “his time”), and not really lose any physical backing by the fans, I don’t think anyone would lose a great deal of sleep over losing Jimmy Rollins when Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth (basic assumption of this argument), Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt………. .

    That was one long sentence.

  18. Heather

    September 24, 2010 09:35 AM

    ‘If the Eagles can part ways with that many fan favorites and bring in a convicted felon (who I think should have been given a chance because he served what society decided to be “his time”), and not really lose any physical backing by the fans’

    By the way, how many championships have the Eagles won in the last decade? None, right? So why are we holding the Eagles up over the Phillies as a model of personnel management?

  19. Scott G

    September 24, 2010 10:44 AM

    Heather,

    The Eagles got rid of my favorite players while they still had life in their legs. I’m not supporting this personnel decision. The point was made to combat a point made somewhere above that getting rid of Rollins would hurt the popularity of the franchise. I don’t think it would based on these things.

    Also, technically they’ve won one championship (NFC Championship), but I know what you mean. The fact that they haven’t really lost any significant backing, if any, combined with the fact that they haven’t won a Super Bowl in forever proves that a successful team like the Phillies could make a business decision to get rid of Rollins without it hurting their popularity much. All this depends on whether or not it would be a smart move, which I think is up for debate.

  20. CH Phan

    September 24, 2010 12:43 PM

    It’s odd to me that none of the Phila sports writers seem to know that both Ryan Madson’s & Domonic Brown’s agent is the demon Scott Boras. Mr. Boras managed to cut deals for them w/o breaking the Mainline banks & w/o alienating the entire population of the greater metro area of southeastern PA. So the possibility is there that he might be able to complete a deal between the Phillies & Jayson Werth. Stranger things have happened.

    I’m also at a loss to understand why everyone thinks they know exactly what Jayson Werth is asking for. I know Boras is talking PR, making Holliday-like comparisons. He’s an agent; it’s his job. But earlier this season Werth said, “I’m not Matt Holliday. You can’t compare our careers.” He probably cringed when he read Boras statement. Ruben Amaro has said a lot things over the course of this season too in reference to Werth. All FO PR. That’s his job. When they sit down to cut the deal, then we’ll know HOW MUCH, for HOW LONG. Until then, it’s speculation.

    Not sure this should’ve been said; “This is without mentioning that Rollins is a fan and media favorite, unlike Werth. The Phillies risk alienating a part of their fan base, however small, by abandoning Rollins. It’s not good business.” If it was “without mentioning” – then don’t mention it.

    If the media did their jobs well at all they’d keep their biases to themselves & fans would never know. Being a “media favorite” isn’t informational except to say they’re charming & know how to manipulate reporters. I’m not certain that’s a quality I genuinely value. It sure doesn’t make them kind, smart, or good players.

    Because Rollins is a media favorite they MADE him “popular” w/fans. Imagine that. The media shovels him to us & he loves cameras & mics. But no matter how you look at it, that’s not playing baseball. On some level the smiles & charm might sell tickets to a small % of fickle people. But teams don’t make real money by paying millions to & retaining popular players who don’t tangibly, physically contribute to the team. They make money from winning teams. Winning is good business. That’s the bottomline. That can’t be argued.

    Just as the media made Rollins popular w/fans, they made Werth un-popular for a time. They should own it. The hate-fest was begun & propelled by the same media that doesn’t call Werth a “favorite” during the team-wide slump they conveniently blamed on him. Of course Werth’s human, but he alone was not responsible for that slump. The fans bought it, lock-stock-&-barrel. Ask those same fans NOW and I’d be willing to bet 90% are bright enough to say Werth is a player who should be kept.

    As for popularity, Werth gets standing ovations from the RF seats & sells plenty of shirts. He has popularity. I don’t think many care if he’s a “media favorite” or not.

  21. Richard

    September 24, 2010 12:58 PM

    Good comment, CH Phan.

    It’s a weird situation. It seems pretty clear, from all he’s said, and the way he appears to interact with the team, that Werth would love to stay in Philadelphia, everything else being equal, and that the Phillies would love for him to stay. Does a massive payday supersede all of that for Werth? I wouldn’t blame him at all for seeking a mega-deal, but it’s true we don’t know what he’ll be seeking, or what the Phillies are willing to offer. (For all we know, factoring in Ibanez for next year only, they could arrange a back-loaded deal, again, so he makes less next year, and more in subsequent years.) I suspect he’s gone, just as most everyone else does, but aren’t the only real options, Boston or the Yankees? Not just the money, but the atmosphere? (Why would he sign a big deal to play for a team that doesn’t draw many fans? Thinking here primarily of his several recent remarks about attendance…)

  22. Bill Baer

    September 24, 2010 01:07 PM

    CH Phan wrote:

    I’m also at a loss to understand why everyone thinks they know exactly what Jayson Werth is asking for.

    We know what players of his caliber and position have asked for and received recently. Jason Bay is a good example, and Werth is demonstrably better than Bay. Saying that he would get, at the very least, a comparable deal to Bay is not egregious at all.

    Being a “media favorite” isn’t informational except to say they’re charming & know how to manipulate reporters.

    This is a very important quality. Rollins’ popularity means more money for the franchise. Rollins sells exponentially more jerseys and such than would Valdez.

    By no means was I saying that it was the most important factor, but it is surely a factor.

  23. Jeff

    September 24, 2010 01:20 PM

    I think people are just surprised to see a backup play so well for an extended period of time with Jimmy hurt, in comparison to how awful Eric Bruntlett was.

  24. Phills_Phaithful@UConn

    September 24, 2010 02:35 PM

    @CH Phan- Domonic Brown and Ryan Madson are far from the player that Jayson Werth has established himself to be, so comparing their Scot Boras deals made with what Werth’s will-be is sub-par thinking. Dom is an unproven, although highly touted prospect. Madson is a set up reliever. Neither of them would require a 10+ million dollar deal, and neither of their deals have a major impact on how the rest of the team’s roster shakes out.

    “I’m also at a loss to understand why everyone thinks they know exactly what Jayson Werth is asking for”
    As a loyal fan who follows everyday you should be in no way, shape or form be at a loss as to why everyone knows about where Werth is going to ask for. He has played on the same level as Matt Holliday and Jason Bay since 2007. Werth’s WAR since ’07: 2.8/4.2/3.2/4.6, Bay’s WAR since 07: -1.0/1.5/5.2/1.1, and Holliday’s: 7.2/4.8/2.8/5.1. Look at the walk-year’s though: Before going to the Mets Bay had a 5.2 (and got $66mill/4 years for it). Before re-signing with the Cards, Holliday played to the tune of a 2.8 (and got $120mill/7 years for it). This year Werth has meant more to the team’s winning than ever with a 4.6, and that’s right inbetween Holliday and Bay’s walk-year WAR’s. Bay is 32, Werth is 31 and Holliday is 30, so it’s not like they are far apart in age, so it makes sense that Werth will require a deal of similar range ($16-17mill per year).

    You missed the point in the article about “this is without mentioning.” He was commenting on how the FJM’d article was not mentioning that Rollins is a media+fan favorite.

    I liked you’re point about how media favorite can just be players who can smile and know how to manipulate reporters but you’re wrong about how the media should keep their biases to themselves. Every media outlet in the world expresses some sort of bias on every subject they discuss (CNN, Fox, ABC, etc). I can respect that you don’t value someone being thought of as a “media favorite” but I politely disagree. There’s a lot of media people out there, all of them with varrying opinions on players and people so winning over the majority of them is feat in itself.

    The media did not make us fall in love with Jimmy Rollins. They way he plays baseball, the blue collar attidude which we all love and adorn, made us fall in love with him. His 2007 proclamation that “we’re the team to beat” brought even the most dormant and oblivious fans into a sense of admiration for him and he was made 10 fold more popular when they completed the epic comeback to win the division and his prophecy came to fruition. All the media do there was replay the clip 100x’s for us, just like we already wanted.

    “But teams don’t make real money by paying millions to & retaining popular players who don’t tangibly, physically contribute to the team. They make money from winning teams. Winning is good business. That’s the bottomline. That can’t be argued.”
    This can be argued. The Tampa Bay Rays are a great team. 3rd best record in the AL, on the verge of taking back the AL East for a 2nd division title in 3 years. According to ESPN, their attendence percentage is an awesome 52.7%. Our rivals, the Atlanta Braves, despite this recent collpase are tied for the 2nd best record in the NL and are having a magical season with their manager retiring. Their attence is 60.0%. The Toronto Blue Jays, about to finish the season above .500 in the toughest division in baseball, leading the league in HR’s as a team with baseball’s first 50 HR hitter since ’07 in Jose Bautista… have a whopping 40.0% attendence rate. My best example? The Texas Rangers are the best team in the AL West, poised to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999 (not making it once in over a decade)… they have a 62.2% attendence rate and, oh yeah, they’re bankrupt. Winning is good business… but it does not EQUAL good business. Four teams, of whom 3 will occupy 8 of the possible playoffs spots and the other being the best HR-hitting team in baseball, all with sub 65% attendence rates. How much money are they really making off all this winning when the fans are not paying to go see the games? Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs are witnessing a 92.0% attendance rate and they are 14 games under .500.

    “The hate-fest was begun & propelled by the same media that doesn’t call Werth a “favorite” during the team-wide slump they conveniently blamed on him.”
    This actually came as a surprise to me. I had no idea everyone blamed that 8-17 run on Werth? I saw it as a collective issue, not one man’s problem? Is this a fact, did the media directly or indirectly blame Werth for the team’s failings? Because if not then I’d like to call into question the validity of this statement.

    “Ask those same fans NOW and I’d be willing to bet 90% are bright enough to say Werth is a player who should be kept.”

    Also, ask those same fans if they are aware of the fact that the team can’t afford to keep him. I’m willing to bet 90% will respond “Of course they can! 120 consecutive sellouts? We can re-sign him.” Except that we can’t. And we won’t. The Yankees are the Evil Empire because they are willing to throw money around to sign players. Do we really want to associate ourselves in any way with the Yankees?

    Also, of note @ Scott G: what you said about the Eagles not winning a Superbowl “in forever” is wrong. They have never won a Superbowl. You seemed to be alluding to the fact that they had won one before and just have not won one in a long time period since then, which felt like forver. The Eagles can afford to get rid of fan favorite player because they know this is a football town. They know they can make those moves because they know everyone will drool over everything little thing that they do. The Eagles can sign Vick and make him the starting QB because they know this is a football town and they can do whatever they want and people are still going to care. The Flyers lost some fans when they got rid of Gange. The 76ers suffered HORRIBLY when they traded AI away and experienced a sort of fan-resurgence when he came back this year. The Phillies suffered backlash for getting rid of Rowand, Burrell and Lee but none of those 3 mattered because the fans have ridden the wave of success the Phillies have had despite these moves (since Rowand left the Phills won a WS, we returned to the WS without Burrell and we are again returning to the playoffs this year without Lee). If the Phillies had suffered set backs of a tough year or years following any of these 3 moves, it could have ended tragically. With the Eagles, it wasn’t managment’s fault for being stingy and refusing to give TO a better contract. It was TO’s fault for asking (note: I agree with how the Eagles handled this situation, as I’m sure most do but the fact is that it’s true. We blame the player, not the team). Philadelphia, unforuntately, has been and will always be a football town. The Eagles are Holy and can do no wrong to push us away from them. Three consecutive lost NFC Championship games and never delivering a Superbowl title has not detered even the slightest individual. That just does not make sense.

  25. Mike

    September 24, 2010 02:47 PM

    The Pirates have been making money for years.

  26. CH Phan

    September 24, 2010 04:27 PM

    Phills_Phaithfull: War And Peace. You seemed to not only disagree with but take offense at the fact that I have opinions about this article. What you didn’t disagree with you patently misunderstood, neither of which make my thinking “sub-par”. A personal attack? What is your stake in this? No matter how you look at that statement – ridicule is unnecessary. This is a blog, ppl post their ideas for discussion. Maybe go with it, or don’t post.

    I don’t have time to speak to everything you wrote. I can’t imagine anyone would. But I can try & touch on some of the low-lights.

    I’m still unsure how you so know without a doubt how much Werth will ask, how many years he’ll ask, and, therefore, that the Phillies “can’t” afford him (rather than they’ll refuse to afford him, which is very different). But – shrug – that’s your thing.

    It’s interesting how inconsistent the Werth money discussion has been over the span of this summer. Many have said he doesn’t have enough full-time yrs to be compared w/the players you compared him to. I’m saying this most especially since Werth himself said he shouldn’t be compared to Holliday (I think he said Bay too but w/o the quote here I don’t want to say that).

    Re: Boras – Madson’s good play has been needed & he’s performing very well. You don’t think Boras will make the most of this? If everyone believes Brown should take RF after Werth, how long do you think he’ll be affordable? So RF can cost us now or in a yr or 18 mos. RF will likely even cost us in rookie mistakes (like Heyward’s RF mistakes last wk). We should think about that too.

    “The media did not make us fall in love with Jimmy Rollins. They way he plays baseball, the blue collar attidude which we all love and adorn…”. Nobody else played well or had anything to say? Of course they did on both counts, but Jimmy gets a lot of media time, tv & print. Jimmy loves it. Jimmy wants it. I don’t have anything against Jimmy. I think the team as a whole wants him to be their unofficial spokesman b/c none of them want to deal w/the media. But the media shapes what you see b/c they like him.

    “Journalism – the style of writing consisting of direct presentation of facts or occurrences with little attempt at analysis or interpretation.” American Heritage Dictionary

    Opinions are for blogs or opinion pages. Journalists are supposed to present the facts and let YOU decide what you think.

    Finally, just because you do argue something doesn’t mean it should be argued, or that your point is valid. This used to be fun. Sheesh, forget it.

  27. CH Phan

    September 24, 2010 04:52 PM

    According to Jon Heyman at SI, the following:

    “Boras mentioned how Werth played center field the month Shane Victorino was out, and that will clearly be a selling point. Werth is a very good all-around player but not quite the hitter Matt Holliday, who got a seven-year, $120 million deal from the Cardinals last offseason, is.

    Executive: $85 million, five years, Agent 1: $80 million, 5 years. Agent 2: $96 million, 6 years. Me: $90 million, five years.”

    It’s staggering and it is speculation, but he didn’t conjecture about the possibility of backloading the deal IF Werth wants to remain in Phila. Maybe he’s decided after the slings & arrows of the summer that he doesn’t. Who knows. He sure isn’t clueing anyone in.

    Still 18 mil/yr is less than Ryan Howard is making NOW, before Howard’s new deal kicks in. Utley has been making 15 mil/yr for the past few yrs & his deal is up at the end of next season, isn’t it? How much will the Phils be paying Halladay & Oswalt (whenever they actually start paying them)?

  28. John K

    September 24, 2010 07:09 PM

    you do a good job of talking about the actual tradeoffs involved, except for this part: “would you rather have Lee for one more year or Halladay for four?”

  29. eh

    September 24, 2010 10:21 PM

    Rollins is a 10 and 5 guy.

    case closed.

  30. Dino

    September 24, 2010 11:19 PM

    Re: The Phillies and their finances. Sure, it’s good if they make money, but their salaries are an expense to the corporation. The profit is over and above that. The Phillies are making plenty of $$$$$$.

    As for them spending it. most fans are pretty sympathetic to them, even though they are all super rich, but many do object to them throwing so much money on so so players. Many are overpaid ( ie Moyer, Blanton, Romero, Lidge,etc) and the extension given to Howard was questionable.

    The problem the Phillies have is that they have had no prospects that were ready for the big leagues, and that is probably their fault. They will not spend much $$ for draft picks that are almost major league ready, and I have read where they have cut back on foreign prospects since the World Series. These young guys, as we all know, are great bargains for a few years.

    We do know that all of the core of this team cannot be kept. But the Phillies need to try to keep Werth especially if he can be bought for 70 million. Jon Heyman of SI, and others, have reported that the Phillies allegedly made a 55 million $$ offer to Werth. If that’s true, they should make an all out effort to get him-15 million is less than what they are paying Moyer and Blanton.

  31. Jim

    September 25, 2010 02:25 AM

    Just want to mention this in case no one noticed… Phillies now have the best record in all of MLB. Not National League. All of MLB :)

  32. hk

    September 25, 2010 07:44 AM

    Dino: The problem the Phillies have is that they have had no prospects that were ready for the big leagues, and that is probably their fault.

    In re “no prospects ready”…have you heard of Dom Brown? In re “probably their fault”…is fault, which implies blame, the right way to qualify trading Kyle Drabek for Roy Halladay and/or trading lesser prospects like Cardenas, Donald, Carrasco, etc. for Cliff Lee last year?

    While it’s true that they don’t spend a lot for draft picks relative to other teams, they’ve still done an incredible job of accumulating talent.

  33. hk

    September 25, 2010 02:24 PM

    Correction: Cardenas was traded for Blanton in 2008 and Marson, Donald and Carrasco were traded for Lee last year.

  34. Scott G

    September 26, 2010 11:26 AM

    By the way,

    Manuel’s use of Chad Durbin last night with the bases loaded and only 1 out is the EXACT reason why he leverages his bullpen awfully.

    Just because it’s the 7th inning and he has Chad Durbin penciled in that “role”, the Phillies had to see their win streak come to an end. That is the type of high-leverage situation where you must use Ryan Madson. Awful.

  35. jauer

    September 26, 2010 08:16 PM

    “How many championships did the Yankees win after relaxing the collective grip on the wallet going into the 2002 season? With a homegrown group, they won four World Series and lost another. From 2002-08, they reached the playoffs in six straight seasons and made the World Series just once and they lost.”

    Using a team who made the playoffs 6 straight years as an argument that making money doesn’t always equal success seems a little off.

    The MLB playoff system is essentially a lottery; the best team only wins about 20 percent of the tournaments. Making the playoffs 6 straight years IS success. What happens after the playoffs start is essentially random.

    Other than that, a good read.

  36. Dino

    September 29, 2010 12:49 AM

    hk> first of all I’m referring to the period from 2008 until this year, and I’m referring to prospects that are major league ready that could had an impact on the team.

    None of those prospects you mentioned fit this criteria;in fact, none have played an full season in the majors.

    The only product I can think of is Michael Bourne.

  37. John

    September 29, 2010 10:52 AM

    Has anyone floated a platoon of Francisco (vs. LHP) and Brown (vs. RHP)? Based on this years splits for each and using team TPA vs RH/LH, it looks like a projected platoon giving Francisco 186 TPA and Brown 442 TPA would produce a combined line of .255/.317/.448, with about 36 doubles and 25 HR. Not as good as Werth, but not bad numbers, and much cheaper. Granted, their splits this year (especially Brown’s) are a very small sample size.

  38. Scott G

    September 29, 2010 11:59 AM

    A .765 OPS is not something I long for from a corner outfield position. I would expect about Even Raul is close to .800 this year.

  39. John

    September 29, 2010 01:08 PM

    I’d hope Brown would do even better next year than he has in limited time this year, and the Francisco might do a little better with more regular playing time. I was thinking of the .765 OPS as a minimum. Someone could take Brown’s minor league numbers this year, and project much better numbers. I’m also assuming LF is Brown’s alone in 2012, when Raul’s contract is up.

  40. Scott G

    September 29, 2010 03:27 PM

    Since I am 100% sure that this exact scenario is not only possible but imminent, I believe that the Phillies should trade Raul for next to nothing and agree to pay like 3-4 million of his contract. Then sign Werth. Werth + Brown is greater than Ibanez + Brown/Francisco.

    Orrrr trade Shane.

    Either of those would be fine with me, so get it done RAJ.

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