Why Buy the Cow When You Get the Milk for Free?

David Murphy notes:


Using K% instead of K/9 yields similar results among lefty relievers:

Jake Diekman falls down the list, but his 26.7 percent strikeout rate was above the 21.9 percent NL average for relievers. The Phillies’ two off-season additions, Mike Adams and Chad Durbin, posted strikeout rates under 20 percent last season. What percentage of the high leverage innings do you think the Phillies will give to the less effective veteran retreads instead of the more capable, younger arms like Bastardo, Horst, and Phillippe Aumont?

Despite an awful first half that should have been blamed almost entirely on Chad Qualls, the Phillies finished 2012 with one of the best bullpens by defense-independent standards. Their collective 3.24 SIERA was sixth-best in all of baseball, featuring the second-best strikeout rate at 26.1 percent (behind Cincinnati at 26.2 percent). The bullpen was the last area that needed an upgrade, yet nearly half of the money GM Ruben Amaro spent this off-season went to the bullpen.

The $5.85 million that the Phillies are paying Adams and Durbin this season could have gone towards a better fix for their corner outfield situation, or perhaps a starter better than John Lannan. Not that such an event would have turned them into NL East favorites over the Nationals and Braves, but either or both teams could fail to live up to expectations and the Phillies could capitalize on that, old age and all. And the second Wild Card is still there. This is just one example of the many small mistakes the Phillies routinely make that snowball over time.

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  1. Cheesecrop

    February 16, 2013 06:31 AM

    I notice everyone is jumping on Revere’s case. I don’t necessarily think it’s such a bad deal.

    One thing nobody mentoned is that Revere’s career so far has been spent in Minnesota, which had a slightly lesser lineup than the Phils, & that he was playing in Target Field, which plays as a slight pitchers park.

    If Revere does have an upside, it will be coming for a slightly better offense, & in a park that rate’s as a somewhat hitter-friendly establishment.

    Do I think this is going to turn him into Willie Mays? Probably not. But it would not suprise me to see him hit a few home runs, & snag a few extra bases, in addition to the speed & defense he brings. Just a thought.

  2. Phillie697

    February 16, 2013 11:42 AM


    “Just because some teams succeed with young players, it doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea.”

    Please explain when it is then. You mean there are risks you have to take when you’re the GM of a MLB team? You don’t say…

    And no offense, I rather have 2 WS in three years than winning one in 2008 and then watch the team managed to the ground by some shitty ex-OF. You’re damn right I made some good examples on how teams should be managed.

  3. Phillie697

    February 16, 2013 11:43 AM


    “As far as the Papelbon signing goes, it was made in the 2012 offseason, when the Phillies had a much different perspective about their future.”

    I’m SO glad you made that comment. I’ve been goating Pencilfish to make it for three days now… You mean our esteemed GM was just reacting? You don’t say. Good GMs anticipate. Dumb GMs react.

  4. Phillie697

    February 16, 2013 11:56 AM

    “I’d like to mention that Belt and Heyward were two of the absolute best prospects in baseball.

    The Phillies young relievers (which if you recall, was the subject of this story) aren’t quite of that caliber.”

    Yeah… Because 14.0 K/9 and the 2nd best K% out of ALL LH relievers doesn’t qualify as one of the best. In fact, his 14.0 K/9 was only under two relievers you would no doubt call “uber prospects”: Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman. Are you just arguing for arguments sake now?

  5. Phillie697

    February 16, 2013 12:01 PM


    Sorry to burst your bubble…

    2012 MLB Park Factors:

    Target Field (Minneapolis)
    1.044 1.031 1.030 0.989 1.905 1.082

    Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia) 0.968 1.087 0.952 0.989 0.710 1.080

    Besides an ever-so-slightly higher HR rate, which isn’t going to help Revere, CBP is a significant WORSE park for hitters than Target Field. In fact, look at that triples depression, 1.905 to 0.710. That’s gonna hurt Revere badly.

  6. hk

    February 16, 2013 12:03 PM

    Park factors are nearly irrelevant to Revere. He never hits the ball further than 300 feet.

  7. Jonny5

    February 18, 2013 09:54 AM

    More relief pitchers = good thing. Just look at the train wreck of last season. Was it 16 blown leads by the BP? Was it more? I’d rather forget.

  8. hk

    February 18, 2013 10:56 AM

    Jonny5, how does more relief pitchers = good thing? Last year, they signed the veteran reliever Chad Qualls, a signing that was criticized by many on these boards. Qualls was responsible for many of those blown leads that you mention. More relief pitchers = a bad thing if better relief pitchers are stuck in Lehigh Valley while more expensive and comparable or worse ones pitch for the big club.

  9. Jonny5

    February 18, 2013 12:40 PM

    Chad Qualls is a terrible pitcher HK. I should rephrase. Better relief pitchers= good thing. I knew right away it was a mistake and I’m not even on the payroll.

  10. hk

    February 18, 2013 03:35 PM


    What makes you so sure that Mike Adams, whose K% dropped from 26.7% in his age 33 season to 19.7% in his age 34 and whose BB% rose from 5.1% in his age 33 season to 7.5% in his age 34 season will not decline further this year and next? Also, is Chad Durbin really a better relief pitcher? If so, how so?

  11. Cutter

    February 19, 2013 10:15 AM


    I assume the reliever you’re talking about is Bastardo? The same Bastardo who is expected to have a key role in the bullpen this season. So I’m not sure how that even applies.

    As far as when the right time to play young players is, I’m not sure, but it probably isn’t when you’ve got an older, veteran team with a limited window to win.

    And you’re right, Amaro didn’t anticipate things well. He should have obviously anticipated that Utley and Howard were going to miss a huge chunk of the season. He should have anticipated that Roy Halladay would suddenly become mortal. He should have anticipated that Stutes and Bastardo wouldn’t match their 2011 success.

    And yes, I would also rather have 2 WS titles in 3 years…which is what Amaro put the team in great position to do over the past four years.

  12. Phillie697

    February 19, 2013 01:58 PM


    We have a $50M man pitching the 9th. We have another $12M man pitching the 8th. When you say “a key role” in the BP for Bastardo, which one were you talking about? Long relief? That’s neither very key nor his forte.

    People keep saying we signed Mike Adams because we lacked good RH reliever… Except we didn’t sign Mike Adams to be a situational pitcher. We signed him to be the 8th inning guy, and in Cholly’s School of Baseball Management, that means he’s pitching the 8th inning period, regardless of who’s coming up. Bastardo’s role just got DIMINISHED, so I don’t know what you are talking about when you speak of this “key role.” He should be better than just a LOOGY.

  13. Cutter

    February 19, 2013 04:11 PM

    I envision Bastardo in a similar role as JC Romero from 2007-2008, and I would call that a key role.

    Personally, I was in favor of adding Adams. After the problems that the Phillies had in the 8th inning in 2012, it seems that the more capable late inning arms on hand, the better.

    If Bastardo proves to be the most worthy of the 8th inning, then that’s where he’ll likely end up, just like in 2011.

  14. Phillie697

    February 20, 2013 11:08 AM

    Apparently $12M isn’t too much for you to buy an insurance policy. You should join RAJ’s staff.

  15. Jonny5

    February 20, 2013 04:09 PM

    HK, it’s baseball. How are you sure his numbers won’t improve? One season of decline? Really? Ok. Well look, they need a bullpen, and Adams should be better than Qualls by far. Durbin is probably going to be barely worth a roster spot and I would rather see young guys from the farm pitch than him. I just can’t scorn the move to sign Adams when the bullpen was sooo frigging bad last season. Adams should be a good relief pitcher for the Phills this season.

  16. hk

    February 20, 2013 04:56 PM


    You’re right, it’s baseball and I’m not sure his numbers won’t improve. Similarly, you’re not sure his numbers won’t decline further. For $6M per year in his age 34 and age 35 seasons, he better pitch like he did when he was 30, 31 and 32 and not like he did when he was 33.

  17. Phillie697

    February 20, 2013 06:05 PM


    Any way you cut it, there are uncertainties, be it going with Adams or any of our youngsters. You know what’s not uncertain? If we don’t sign Adams, we save $12M. That’s the very point I, hk, LTG, and others is trying to make. There WAS a cost to getting Adams, and nobody is willing to talk about it, instead want to focus on how good he might be; mind you, he might not be good either, but it’ll cost us $12M to find out. Whereas it’ll cost us pocket change to find out if Diekman or Horst or Aumont or Valdes will cut it.

    Paying $10 bucks for a $1 lottery ticket is pretty dumb when you have 4 or 5 lottery tickets that costs you 5 cents.

  18. Jonny5

    February 20, 2013 10:46 PM

    12 million for 2 seasons from a pitcher with a good track record? Why do you care so much about the money? They have it to spend. Did you want them to spend it on Hamilton? They have the money and aren’t at the lux tax threshold. It’s not my money, I don’t care. In this case, this season the money doesn’t really matter much I think. It’s not like we get discounts on our seats when the team saves money on payroll. And the only people keeping these young guns you mentioned from pitching is themselves. If these guys can pitch they will be used, its one of the great things about the sport.

  19. Phillie697

    February 21, 2013 12:27 PM


    Because it’s money we can spend next off-season, or maybe spend it on players who might be worth $12M. Plus, not only do you spend $12M on someone who isn’t worth the money, you block other young players who might be around to contribute significantly the next time we are serious contenders for the WS from developing INTO talents that we might want to keep for that next push. All for what? So fans like you can feel slightly better about a loss season? Like I said, I like to WIN, not to make people feel better. They’ll feel plenty good when we WIN.

  20. Jonny5

    February 21, 2013 04:01 PM

    Naaaaa man, there wasn’t anyone to pick up for the money. They picked up Delmon Young for heavens sake. And it’s 6 million next season, not 12. Fans like me can feel slightly better about a loss season??? WTF are you talking about? I think Young will help this team, and I don’t care about his salary because it is of no consequence this season. There was nobody else to pick up more worth the contract than Adams and they aren’t at the lux tax threshold. You pretend that the Phillies are broke or something and need to plan like the Mets or Padres do. The Padres have followed your model here for how many years? Look at them. ’nuff said. Nobody is trying to make people feel better, they are trying to win games. Now, with that said, anything can happen, it’s baseball. I just don’t think this move deserves this amount of ire is all. It’s fine if you hate the move, maybe you’re right, but I don’t think you are. Isn’t that ok too? I like letting the young guys get their chance as much as the next guy but not so much I put all my eggs in that basket. You suggest a bullpen that could very well be worse than last season without adding depth. This is almost like ceding this season, which I do not/ can not agree with ever.

  21. Phillie697

    February 21, 2013 05:50 PM

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree. “This is almost like ceding this season, which I do not/ can not agree with ever.” That’s the attitude of a fan, not one that should be had by a GM.

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