Let’s Get Excited

On Twitter this afternoon, loyal reader/follower Matt Jedruch (@MattJedruch) sent this to me:

twitter.com/mattjedruch/status/279320051016953857

I get the general impression that, with the disappointing 2012 season and the lack of a big free agent signing or trade, there isn’t that much enthusiasm going into 2013. The bulk of the roster is either aging and injury-prone or young and unproven. Perhaps the malaise of Philadelphia sports in general plays into that as well, since the Eagles and Sixers are depressing and the Flyers aren’t even playing.

I, however, can think of a few reasons to anticipate the return of Phillies pitchers and catchers in just a couple months.

5. Phillippe Aumont

Remember these?

 

A strong argument could be made that Aumont was the most exciting player to watch last season, though it was only for a brief period of time spanning 14.2 innings at the end of the season. He featured a mid-90’s fastball that creeped into the 97-98 MPH range at times, as well as a devastating slurve with about 15 MPH of velocity separation from his fastball. As he did in the Minors, Aumont struggled with control more than you’d like and it is expected to be an issue again in 2013, but the soon-to-be 24-year-old still has plenty of time to figure it out before the Phillies become reliant on his powerful arm.

4. Erik Kratz

A cynic might say that getting excited about a 32-year-old journeyman catcher and a career Minor Leaguer is depressing in and of itself, but Kratz is a great story. The inimitable Sam Miller captured it best at Baseball Prospectus back in September, pointing this out:

As you could imagine, there were plenty of frustrating seasons. Kratz told MiLB.com that he thought about retiring, and he worked construction jobs on the side to support his family. (He shot himself in the hand with a nailgun, but didn’t tell Toronto.) But perhaps the most frustrating year was 2004, which he spent most of on the disabled list—without, he says, an injury.

“I was on the phantom DL every time,” [Kratz] said. “I [mostly] sat in extended [Spring Training]. Just because, the year before, I was up there in the top three or four on the team in almost every offensive category in short-season [ball]. It was a hard time.”

On May 22, the Phillies recalled Kratz from Triple-A. He pinch-hit in that night’s game against the Washington Nationals. In the eighth inning, he hit his first career Major League home run at the age of 31, a solo shot off of lefty Tom Gorzelanny. The Phillies sent him back to Triple-A two days later.

When Brian Schneider was placed on the disabled list at the end of June, the Phillies recalled Kratz to take his place. He played sparingly, but eventually assumed an everyday role when Carlos Ruiz suffered from plantar fasciitis in his foot. Between July 24 and September 5 in a span of 110 trips to the plate, Kratz hit 7 home runs and drove in 21 runs while posting a .296/.345/.592 triple-slash line. 15 of his 29 hits went for extra bases. Ruiz had been the linchpin to the Phillies’ offense all season long, but thanks to Kratz, they didn’t skip a beat when the Panamanian had to go on the disabled list.

Ruiz will miss the first 25 games of the season due to a suspension for testing positive for amphetamines, meaning that Kratz is the heir apparent at the outset. Once on the fast track out of baseball entirely, Kratz may be the Opening Day catcher for one of the most successful teams in baseball in recent years. That’s pretty cool.

3. A Healthy Freddy Galvis

No, Galvis won’t be starting any games. He will likely serve as a late-game defensive substitute for third baseman Michael Young and/or as a pinch-runner, which is a good thing because he can’t hit. Galvis posted a .267 wOBA in 200 PA prior to a season-ending back fracture in June. Only 25 hitters took as many trips to the plate with less offensive success than Galvis. Where Galvis impressed last season, though, was on defense as it seemed like he made a spectacular play on a nightly basis.

Remember, Galvis was brought up as a shortstop with the intent to take over for Jimmy Rollins. The Phillies signed Rollins to a three-year contract extension though, while Chase Utley had to miss the first three months of the season, so Galvis moved a few feet to his left, making a seamless transition. Now, with a presumably healthy middle infield, Galvis fits in as a defensive replacement at yet another position late in games for the defensively-deficient Young, who makes plays like this:

2. Chase Utley

Remember the last time Utley was in the starting lineup on Opening Day? It was 2010 and the Phillies were just returning from a second consecutive World Series appearance. It feels like ages ago. If the baseball gods are kind enough, Utley may find himself back in the #3 spot when the Phillies open against the Braves in Atlanta. Phillies fans everywhere may then rejoice as the second baseman continues what may end up being a Hall of Fame career. With a career 53.3 rWAR and 53.8 fWAR, he could retire right now and there would still be an argument to enshrine him, but there’s no doubt the UCLA product still has plenty of baseball left in him.

No, Utley doesn’t have as much power as he once did, but he still compares favorably to other second basemen. His .173 isolated power last season ranked fourth among all second basemen with at least 350 PA, trailing only Robinson Cano, Aaron Hill, and Ben Zobrist. He was one of ten second basemen with double digits in homers and steals, and he did so in 200-300 fewer PA than players like Omar Infante and Dustin Ackley. Let’s not forget about Utley’s defense, which is still by all accounts above-average. Oh yeah, and his base running. Baseball’s all-time leader in stolen base success rate was 11-for-12 last year with a bad lower half. Hopefully an off-season of rest will put some pep back in his step.

1. The Lefties

It doesn’t get much better than Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. The Phillies lay claim to arguably two of the three best lefties in baseball, the other being Clayton Kershaw. Hamels continued to impress in 2012, finishing with a 3.05 ERA and the fourth-best difference between strikeout and walk rate (19%), behind Max Scherzer, teammate Lee, and NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. In late July, the Phillies ended months of anxiousness by signing Hamels to a six-year, $144 million contract extension, spanning his age 29-34 seasons. The lefty hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down as he has compiled five consecutive seasons of at least 31 starts.

Lee has had a quality run as a Phillie, too, even though it has been split into two sections. In the last two years in red pinstripes, Lee has compiled an aggregate 2.76 ERA over 62 starts with the National League’s best difference between his strikeout and walk rates, at 21 percent. Lee, now 34 years old, looks as good as ever and will make another run at a second career Cy Young award, which would make him the sixth player to win the award in both leagues (also joining teammate Roy Halladay).

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60 comments

  1. Mike

    December 13, 2012 06:52 PM

    So basically, we should be excited for a relif pitcher that struggles with control and has yet to pitch a full season, a journey man back up catcher (who I love just as much as the next guy)because he’s been treated poorly by other teams, a 2B/SS/3B who can’t really swing a bat all that well (and that’s coming from a guy who was thought Galvis was going to be the next Cano), an aging 2nd baseman who probably won’t last a full season and is a shell of what he used to be, and two out of our five starting pitchers? Does any of that, does anything on this roster make you remotely believe that they can be a playoff team? Is this even a team that can finish above 4th place in its own division? Are there any “sure things” on this roster? We are “hoping” the young bullpen arms are better than last year, “hoping” that Doc bounces back, “hoping” that Howard and Utley stay healthy the whole year, “hoping” that Ruf and Brown prove they can hit major league pitching, “hoping” that Revere’s arm can reach 2nd base. There are too many question marks, in my opinion, to be really excited about this team at all. I know its a long season and anything can happen, and no one ever wins in the off season, but Bill, and I love and pretty much agree with everything you write, what should we REALLY be excited about, that can REALLY make us believe that this team has a serious chance at even making a playoff run?

  2. Bill Baer

    December 13, 2012 06:56 PM

    does anything on this roster make you remotely believe that they can be a playoff team? Is this even a team that can finish above 4th place in its own division?

    what

  3. mac

    December 13, 2012 07:18 PM

    does anything on this roster make you remotely believe that they can be a playoff team? Is this even a team that can finish above 4th place in its own division?

    … how about the fact that despite half a season without Utley and Howard, and a second half of the season with both at somewhere between 50-75% health, a horrific bullpen that didnt improve until very late in the season, a staff that saw unusual struggles from cliff lee and roy halladay on the mend, an absent centerfield after the trade deadline, an absent 3rd base most of the season, an injury to their second string 2nd baseman….

    … despite all of that, they were at one point only 3 games out in september….grant it, it was because of that newfangled 5th playoff spot, but guess what, that will be there this season as well.

    just imagine if a couple or more of those things improve?

  4. mac

    December 13, 2012 07:21 PM

    also the offseason is not over yet, and good news most/if not all the pitfall free agents have been removed, and i still suspect ruben to make some moves regarding OF, bullpen and that 4th/5th starter. it’s not spring training yet.

  5. Aaron

    December 13, 2012 07:25 PM

    To maybe add a 6 spot to the list-anyone excited to see what Dom Brown (assuming he doesn’t get traded) or Ruf can do with more regular playing time? Just with the bat, of course. Bill, I’m sure you can find a few gifs of Brown/Ruf moonshots!

  6. Phillie697

    December 13, 2012 07:38 PM

    We have Halladay, Hamels and Lee, and people are acting like we should throw in the towel. Boy maybe you should move to Kansas City for a change; I hear that hope for their baseball team every year is purely optional.

  7. Frank Reynolds

    December 13, 2012 07:39 PM

    There are things I am excited about for this coming season. I agree with Bill Aumont is pretty close to the top of my list. I am not a big believer in Ruf but it would be awesome if he could prove the majority of scouts wrong. It would be good even if Ruf could at least show he can be trade worthy for a little while. I am looking foward to watching Dom Brown too. I am hoping a number of guys can improve from last year Tony No Dad, Howard, Doc, and Young. A lot hope there but I am sure everyone is hoping for the same thing.

  8. Phillie697

    December 13, 2012 07:48 PM

    Sigh… Only a spoiled fanbase, and I mean SPOILED, would see a #3 pitcher with a SIERA of 3.62 JUST LAST YEAR as somehow being a disappointment… Wanna know how many playoff teams last year had a #3 starter with a better SIERA? Two. Nats and Tigers.

    Halladay may not be what the Doc we knew and love anymore, but washed up he is not.

  9. LTG

    December 13, 2012 07:49 PM

    Despite my unpopular sobriety concerning Dom Brown, I am most excited to see whether he improves. I love watching his at bats.

    Second is Utley shoving his HoF creds down the writers’ collective and figurative throat.

  10. Joe

    December 13, 2012 08:20 PM

    “Is this even a team that can finish above 4th place in its own division?”

    As long as the Mets and Marlins are still in the division, yes. Even if only a few of the if’s break right, they should finish better than last year–at least record-wise.

    I’m excited to see what Ruf can do next year. I expect him to prove the doubters wrong.

  11. John Paul

    December 13, 2012 10:17 PM

    At this point, I’d like to see if RAJ focuses on preventing runs by securing the back end of the rotation and maybe a solid 8th inning vet. Even with our current OF which is full of hope and optimism, taking care of those two needs and a healthy line up should equal at least the 90 win bar to make the playoffs. Not the big splash we’re used to but as they say in business, if you don’t change it up, you become irrelevant one way or another.

    I would be interested in a trade for Trumbo though, probably cost more than it’d be worth I’m afraid.

  12. John Paul

    December 13, 2012 10:20 PM

    Never mind, just heard he is not available.

  13. Hog

    December 13, 2012 11:10 PM

    Bill unless I missed some awful news, you forgot the return of Mike Stutes as something to look forward to in 2013

  14. TomG

    December 14, 2012 04:59 AM

    I have a MAJOR bone to pick with this pollyannaish, grossly rah-rah post:

    Freddy Galvis moved a few feet to his LEFT to play second!

    Other than that, I’m on board with all of these reasons to be excited. I guess my biggest concern is: How soon will Utley be available (opening day, I hope, I hope, I hope), and how much Utley will there be? Even if he is a mere four-fifths of Utley – let’s call him “Utle” – I’d take him over any other 2nd baseman in the game. Yes, even Cano, but that, admittedly, would be for sentimental reasons. Mostly because I can’t imagine a post-WS-win Cano “accidentally” saying “World Fucking Champions!” Thinking of that still gets me misty-eyed.

    Good luck in 2013, Chase Fucking Utley!

  15. Shawn1973

    December 14, 2012 06:50 AM

    When is everyone going to wake up and realize Dominic Brown STINKS! I am so sick and tired of hearing about this scrub, get rid of him and end it! Put Ruff in right field and get a left fielder that can hit the ball. Get a relief pitcher and a half and a 5th starter that won’t make you cringe every time he is on the mound and go win a World Series!

  16. Bob S

    December 14, 2012 08:58 AM

    I like the list Bill. I would’ve put a healthy Howard/Utley at 2. I think with a full offseason of rest for both of them, they could finally be at full strength for preseason. Also, if the Phils were prepared to offer Hamilton upwards of 25M per year, you gotta think they have around that much left to play with. They could still get a Swisher/Ross type corner OF, maybe Mike Adams as a setup man, and depending how much they spend on corner OF, anywhere from a Marcum to a Jurrjens as the 4th starter. This could still be a very competitive team in a division that features the Marlins and Mets to beat up on every year. I could really see the Braves, Nats, and us make out of the division this year with how bad the bottom of the division will be.

  17. ColonelTom

    December 14, 2012 09:21 AM

    That Michael Young GIF… Wow. Every bit as bad as the play itself is the fact that they had him positioned straddling the foul line – his right foot starts in foul territory! How bad must he be going to his backhand?

  18. Max

    December 14, 2012 09:26 AM

    “Put Ruff in right field”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha *takes breath* ahahahahahahahahahaha

  19. hk

    December 14, 2012 10:05 AM

    ColonelTom,

    That was exactly my first thought when I saw the GIF posted on another website.

    Question / informal poll: Will Youk be worth $6M more than Michael Young in 2013 (leaving out the fact that Young also cost Bonilla and Lindblom)?

  20. Jesse

    December 14, 2012 10:21 AM

    @hk Yes, yes he will. I don’t hate the Young deal as much as I am puzzled by it. If Young was the best we could do, we should have just stuck with Galvis/Frandsen and overpaid somewhere else.

    Also, anyone else confused by us going after Ichiro? 2/$14M isn’t a terrible deal for him, even at his age, but don’t we have to have someone in the outfield with good OPS numbers?

  21. LTG

    December 14, 2012 10:24 AM

    I’m surprised Trumbo isn’t available. Of the three extra regulars (Bourjos, Morales, Trumbo) I would have thought Trumbo is the expendable one. He is not as good right now as Morales. And Hamilton will need the DH spot by the end of the contract; so, Trumbo possesses less long-term value than Bourjos.

  22. LTG

    December 14, 2012 10:26 AM

    Hannahan was the real bargain signing at 3B for the Phillies. He’s a lefty with the right splits for a platoon and plays average defense. But then Charlie would have to use a platoon, and he clearly hates that. Frandsen/Hannahan with Galvis as the utility guy would have been a good solution.

  23. Joe

    December 14, 2012 10:29 AM

    I don’t think Ruf should play RF either, but I’m not sure it’s any more laughable than Dom Brown being out there. Other than his arm, what about Brown gives you the impression that he belongs anywhere in the vicinity of a major league outfield position?

    Yeah, I don’t get the Ichiro thing either. One no-power, slap hitting outfielder is more than enough.

  24. hk

    December 14, 2012 10:41 AM

    LTG,

    Or Eric Chavez, who has a similar profile to Hannahan. Is the general manager really hand-cuffed from doing what’s best for the team because the manager insists on using sub-optimal strategies?

  25. Phillie697

    December 14, 2012 11:11 AM

    @LTG,

    Hamilton needing DH by the end of the deal isn’t a reason to trade Trumbo now; they could trade him later.

    @hk,

    Like I said, if that really is what RAJ is doing, if it was me, I would tell Charlie, “You old douchbag, go pick up a book on managing or go talk to someone better than you, or you know what, you can pack your bags and go manage the Royals for all I care.”

    @all,

    This is a public service announcement, for those of you who don’t know already. Jair Jurrjens. Is. Awful. Period. In fact, he’s NEVER been good. He just had a VERY lucky 2011.

  26. Bob S

    December 14, 2012 11:50 AM

    @Phillie697, umm, did you not see Jurrjens’ 2008 and 2009 seasons?

  27. LTG

    December 14, 2012 12:06 PM

    Phillie,

    The premise is they ought to trade one of Bourjos, Morales, and Trumbo in order to improve their rotation. Since Trumbo is currently less valuable than Morales and in the long run less valuable than Bourjos, Trumbo seems the best candidate from the Angles perspective.

    Of course Trumbo might not get the return that Bourjos would. I expect Dickey is headed to LA and whether Trumbo or Bourjos goes will depend on what the Mets prefer.

  28. Phillie697

    December 14, 2012 03:08 PM

    @Bob S.

    You mean his 2008 and 2009 season, when he had SIERA of 4.16 and 4.43 respectively? That’s what you call good? And then to top it off, at the age he’s suppose to reach his prime and be BETTER than 2008 and 2009, he goes and put up a 5.61 SIERA season? Is that the guy you’re referring to?

  29. Mike Sanders

    December 14, 2012 03:11 PM

    This article is a sad commentary on how far the franchise has fallen, so quickly. Down I-95 they anticipate the growth of Strasburg and Harper… or Heyward and Kimbrel.. and dream of winning 100 games. We write about Aumont, and Krantz, and Galvis, and hope our aging aces can make enough starts to keep us competitive. Anyone who is excited about this team loves baseball a lot more than logic.

  30. Phillie697

    December 14, 2012 03:15 PM

    @LTG,

    IF that’s the premise. Remember, they just signed Hamilton. I would keep Trumbo around just in case, because he costs no money. Morales is more expensive than Trumbo. And at this point, the Angels aren’t exactly flushed with cash.

  31. Phillie697

    December 14, 2012 03:17 PM

    @Mike Sanders,

    God forbid people who read a BASEBALL blog love baseball more than logic. OMG the crime!!!

  32. Nate Foulk

    December 14, 2012 05:28 PM

    I hate all of these cynics! Stop whining and look at the numbers. If the Phils had had Howard and Utley the whole season, the Phillies would have won 102 games! That’s not me speculating, that’s the winning percentage after their return. This team can not only make the playoffs, but with the addition of Revere and Michael Young, it can definitely win the Series.

  33. LTG

    December 14, 2012 07:03 PM

    Trumbo will get more in a trade than Morales and the Angels are in win now mode. Morales is currently better than Trumbo.

    The word ‘logic’ gets really abused. All logic can tell us is whether premises entail a conclusion. In other words, logic is really thin on content. Excitement is NOT governed by logic, although reason might provide principles for governing one’s excitement.

  34. John Paul

    December 14, 2012 07:35 PM

    If Doc, Lee, and Hamels all stay healthy and deliver their normal numbers even with the offense they have today, the Phillies make the playoffs as long as RAJ finds a decent set up man and back of the rotation starter. At this point in free agency I think we should focus on preventing runs even though that isn’t as sexy as a 30HR Nick Swisher or Mark Trumbo.

  35. Mike Sanders

    December 14, 2012 10:48 PM

    I’ll run down the list:

    There’s lots of amusement in the air! For example, I’m amused that a fanbase with one parade in a generation is perceived as entitled. I’m also amused to have read “excited” and “impressed” in the same sentences as “Krantz” and “Galvis”, but hey, just like different things amuse different people, some people are more easily excited and impressed than I am.

    The Phillies won 81 games last year, and the net WAR of Revere and Young in 2012 compared to what the Phillies had in CF and at 3B last year does not improve the number. They won’t get the same production from Ruiz/catcher. Every other position except the corner outfielders are a year deeper into their 30s, and we’ve improved the outfield since April 2012 by dumping Pence… Ooops, nevermind the outfield. Anyway, they don’t have Worley, Kendrick was well above his baseline last season, and the Big 3 actually had a good year, in total.

    Logic entails that looking at the above data, the odds of the Phillies winning 90 games aren’t great. The odds aren’t good either. It follows that if you tie your excitement to winning, or a World Series, or simply scoring more than 2 runs a night every road trip or two, logic directly relates to excitement. Of course, you could ignore the numbers (i.e. be illogical), or be incapable of interpreting data in general, or think that getting drunk and eating dollar dogs at the ballpark is exciting, in which case I can see why you really do think (insert player who peaked at AA-Reading) is the answer in left field.

    Of course, the Phillies could stay healthy, and Utley/Howard could hit like 3/4 hitters, and they could win 95 games. I could also be dating Heidi Klum while all of this is going on, and miss Howard hitting a GW homer off a left handed reliever to win the World Series, but neither scenario is very likely.

    Anyway, I certainly didn’t mean to cut in front of everyone in the Kool-Aid line; just saying I recognize why, in general, the fan base isn’t excited. It’s with good reason. Actually, it’s with lots of good reasons.

  36. pedro3131

    December 15, 2012 04:44 AM

    “the Big 3 actually had a good year, in total”

    Oh yea… going from 14.7 WAR in 2011 to 9.8 in WAR in 2012 is “having a good year, in total”.

    Hammels H/9, BB/9, ERA, WHIP, and HR% all went up….
    Lee saw a decline in K/9, a rise in HR/9, a nearly .7 increase in ERA, all while forgetting how to win a game for the majority of the season.
    Halladay had his worst season since 2000, and was hurt most of the year.

    In what way did the big 3 have a good year, or even remain consistent with their performances in 2011? If Halladay bounces back and Lee doesn’t have another oddity of a season, were right back in contention. The big 3 won 16 fewer games in 2012 then 2011, if they even cut that number in half you’re looking at a 89-90 win team.

  37. Pencilfish

    December 15, 2012 10:42 AM

    Want something to be excited about? Reports are that the Phillies signed Mike Adams for 2 yrs and 12M, with a vesting option for a 3rd year. The deal is pending a physical exam. If he is fully recovered from his rib surgery, Adams can stabilize the 8th inning and give Aumont, Bastardo, DeFratus, etc time to develop.

  38. hk

    December 15, 2012 11:46 AM

    Followed up by signing John Lannan to a deal for a deal that will pay Lannan anywhere between $2.5M and $5M depending upon his performance.

  39. hk

    December 15, 2012 11:56 AM

    So, RAJ decided to spend between $14.5M and $17M next year on hoping that Michael Young > Kevin Frandsen, hoping that Mike Adams is not in decline and can help a bullpen that was pretty good once Chad Qualls was removed from it and adding John Lannan as the 4th/5th starter. Personally, I would have preferred that they sign Anibal Sanchez (or another top free agent SP) and go with the status quo in the bullpen and at 3B.

  40. Joe

    December 15, 2012 12:01 PM

    “insert player who peaked at AA-Reading”

    I had no idea “logic” could predict the future, too. Pretty amazing stuff. The Phils had one of the best records in the NL in the 2nd half of last season, and that was with an OF of Mayberry, Pierre, and Brown, a gimpy Howard, the ghost of Roy Halladay, a bunch of rookies in the bullpen, and career minor leaguers at 3B and catcher. Barring some kind of perfect storm of shitty luck, there’s almost no way they won’t be better than last year. Nobody’s saying they’re headed to the World Series, or that Brown and Ruf are going to pan out. But to my mind, the question marks are part of what’s going to make them exciting to watch.

  41. Pencilfish

    December 15, 2012 01:41 PM

    hk,

    Sanchez has a career 48-51 record, 3.75 ERA and never pitched 200 innings in a season. That’s fine for a 5th (maybe 4th?) starter,
    and I agree he would be great addition to
    the Phillies, but is he worth 5 yr and 80M? Aren’t we better off spreading the available money over several players?

  42. hk

    December 15, 2012 03:11 PM

    Really, a 3.75 ERA would make him a 5th, maybe 4th starter? Over the past 4 years, 166 pitchers have thrown enough innings to meet the “qualified” criteria by Fangraphs. Of those, Sanchez’s ERA places him 51st, ahead of other #4 or #5 starters like Jon Lester, James Shields, Max Scherzer, Kyle Lohse, Jake Peavy, Edwin Jackson and Ryan Dempster. And, by the way, if you want to use SIERA, he’s 47th with some of the pitchers listed above ahead of him, but the likes of CJ Wilson, Matt Cain, Gio Gonzalez and Johan Santana behind him. Maybe he’s a 4th starter on a team like the Phillies or the Tigers, but there are very few other MLB teams with more than 2 starters better than Sanchez.

  43. hk

    December 15, 2012 04:16 PM

    Bill,

    Thanks. In 2006, the ERA for NL starters was 4.66. From 2009-2012, the ERA for NL starters was 4.10. If we subtract .56 from the numbers shown in the THT article, a 3.72 ERA from 2009-12 places Sanchez firmly in the #2/#3 spot, which is pretty much as I expected. It is also important to note that Sanchez rates slightly better relative to other pitchers in SIERA than he does in ERA. I mention this because I expect his ERA to suffer in Detroit because he’s going to be facing DH’s and because he’s going to be pitching in front of one of MLB’s worst defenses.

  44. Pencilfish

    December 15, 2012 04:45 PM

    That’s a good point, but do you think he is worth 5 years and 80M? Actually, for the Phillies it would have to be more, maybe 6/95 or 5/90, but for argument’s sake, let’s just use the Tiger’s contract as a reference point.

    As for Adams, Young, Lannan, etc, yes RAJ is taking a chance that they will outperform their contract. Gillick took a chance on Werth a few years ago. Lee Thomas took a change on Incaviglia, Eisenreich, etc in 1993, so it is not unheard of.

    Now if you think giving Sanchez 5/80, Hamilton 5/125 or Upton 5/75 is insane, then perhaps you can understand RAJ’s frame of mind. Let’s see if he breaks the pattern and signs Swisher!

  45. hk

    December 15, 2012 05:17 PM

    No, I don’t think $16M per year is insane for a #2/#3 starter. If the Phils would have had to outbid Detroit for Sanchez, I would have preferred that they pass on him and target another of the #2/#3 starter types like Edwin Jackson. After the trade of Worley, a deal that I like by the way, I felt that a significant upgrade to the 4th starter should have become the team’s top priority. After seeing the minimal “upgrades” on which they’ve spent $14.5M to $17M of next year’s budget, I am even more disturbed that they are replacing Worley with a lesser pitcher and one who was our division rival’s 6th or 7th best starter.

  46. Pencilfish

    December 15, 2012 06:55 PM

    The Phillies would have to outbid one or more teams to sign Jackson, too. In fact, how can one sign a #2/#3 without outbidding other teams? But we can sign Lannan and trade for Young without much competition :-). Lannan is only signed to a 1-yr contract and can be traded or come out of the bullpen if Pettitbone, Martin, Cloyd, etc outplay him in Spring Training. I don’t think this is a big deal.

    If the Phillies had signed Sanchez at 16M/yr, they would have committed ~86M for the 5 starting pitchers. Include Howard, Utley, Rollins and Papelbon, and that’s ~130M for 9 players. It would make it more difficult to extend Ruiz, Halladay and/or Utley beyond 2013. It would also decrease payroll flexibility for a possible mid-season trade.

    Given the insane contracts doled out this off-season, I think RAJ is doing the right thing and staying away not only from Sanchez, but also from Upton, Bourn and Hamilton, etc.

    PS: Ken Rosenthal reports the Phillies are aggressively pursuing Cody Ross. If true, RAJ is staying true to his off-season theme of avoiding the big FA splash, so maybe no Nick Swisher in South Philly.

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