What Is the Roy Halladay Contingency Plan?

Roy Halladay had to leave yesterday afternoon’s spring training affair due to a stomach illness, continuing what has been another ugly spring for the two-time Cy Young award winner. Halladay had allowed six runs in 2.2 innings of work in his previous start, an outing which was followed up by reports of low velocity readings and concern from scouts. Naturally, Halladay’s continued spring malaise has led many to worry about the right-hander’s ability to contribute in 2013, though catcher Erik Kratz and manager Charlie Manuel both insisted Halladay is fine.

That does bring up the ugly question that needs to be asked, though: if Halladay isn’t able to go at some point during the season, what do the Phillies do? Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan sit behind Halladay on the depth chart at #4 and 5 in the rotation, respectively, and would be bumped up a slot in his absence. Who would be available in case of emergency?

  • Tyler Cloyd: Aside from a bad final start on September 27 last year, Cloyd was surprisingly solid in his first taste of big league action. As advertised, he was stingy with the walks and surprisingly missed bats at a 22 percent clip in 33 innings of work. He projects as a replacement-level starter at best, though, with an arsenal that isn’t likely to fool Major League hitters once they become familiar with his approach. In a pinch, though, Cloyd could be handy.
  • Rodrigo Lopez: Lopez spent some time with the Phillies in 2009, posting a 5.70 ERA in 30 innings at the Major League level, and a 4.31 in 100.1 innings with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Since then, he has spent time with the Diamondbacks, Braves, and Cubs. In 2010 in Arizona, he allowed a league-leading 111 runs and 37 home runs. He may have earned himself some consideration with seven shutout innings in spring training thus far. In all honesty, the 37-year-old is below replacement-level and isn’t likely to be any more helpful to the Phillies in a pinch than their other options.
  • Aaron Cook: Another veteran trying to keep his Major League career afloat. Since 2010, Cook has a 5.54 ERA in 318.2 innings with his strikeout rate (nine percent) barely exceeding his walk rate (eight percent). Cook, like Lannan, lives and dies on his ability to generate ground balls (57 percent) and on his defense to convert them into outs. In an infield that includes Michael Young and Ryan Howard, that may be a dangerous proposition. Though not perfect like Lopez, a strong spring showing (2.45 ERA in 11 innings) will leave a positive impression.
  • Jonathan Pettibone: Pettibone got his first taste of Triple-A competition last year, posting a 2.55 ERA in 42.1 innings. The bulk of his time was spent with Double-A Reading, though, where his ERA was 3.30 in 117.1 innings. Among prospects, he is the most MLB-ready in the system and may be the go-to guy in the event Halladay would be out for an extended period of time. The Phillies may not want to promote Pettibone to the Majors if he is only making one or two starts, since that would disrupt his routine established in Lehigh Valley, and it would unnecessarily start his arbitration clock earlier than is necessary.

There are also a few free agents left out there:

  • Kyle Lohse: Lohse, seeking a big contract during the off-season, still has not signed with a team. The general consensus is that the right-hander will have to accept a one-year “pillow contract”, but even that is unattractive to many teams since those who are not picking in the top-ten of June’s amateur draft must surrender their first round pick to sign him. Additionally, there is some skepticism of pitchers who find success in St. Louis and Lohse is one of them. Lohse is also 34 years old and has had a few bouts with injuries. Though Lohse has a 3.11 ERA in 399.1 innings over the last two seasons, it doesn’t seem worth giving up the #16 overall pick for a pitcher who didn’t face any spring competition.
  • Roy Oswalt: Oswalt could do “the Clemens” — that is, join a team around the midpoint of the regular season, as he did last year with the Texas Rangers. Making his season debut on June 22, the right-hander posted a 6.49 ERA through six starts before being moved to the bullpen. He made a few more starts through the end of the season, but it was a disappointment. In a second go with the Phillies, GM Ruben Amaro would be hoping the veteran could recapture some of his success from 2010-11.
  • Carlos Zambrano: Though without a Major League home, Zambrano did pitch for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, allowing two runs in 3.2 innings. 2012 was his worst season going by peripherals as the difference between his strikeout and walk rates (3.4 percent) was the lowest of his career. Still, he is only 31 years old and does not have an extensive injury history.

If you ask me, I’d call upon Cloyd for a short-term fix and Pettibone for a season-long fix, if necessary. Cloyd’s arbitration clock has already begun and doesn’t stand to gain anything more by consistently being in Triple-A, so he could be someone who makes a couple starts here and there throughout the season as is necessary. Pettibone would benefit more from pitching every fifth day, something which would only be guaranteed if Halladay were to land on the disabled list for an extended period of time, and something he would definitely get with Lehigh Valley.

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  1. Sean C

    March 18, 2013 07:52 AM

    There is only one answer for a season without a healthy Halladay: suicide.

  2. Richard

    March 18, 2013 08:13 AM

    Lohse’s situation is weird, and a signal that the union made some poor, short-sighted choices in negotiating this latest CBA. The whole qualifying offer business makes no sense at all – or the nature of the offer is goofy, and works against both players’ and teams’ interests. The Cardinals clearly had no desire to re-sign Lohse, and knew he wanted a bigger deal, so it’s no skin off their nose to make a qualifying offer they know damn well he will not accept. Now no one can sign him, unless they’re either ok losing that pick, or have already lost a pick.

  3. xDelta07

    March 18, 2013 08:23 AM

    Ugh, if Halladay ends up being hurt like last year, this is going to be a long season. Hamels/Lee, assuming Lee returns to form, is not enough to win this division and might not even be enough to make the playoffs. What once was a positive outlook for the season is quickly souring thanks to all of these issues with Halladay.

  4. Jonny5

    March 18, 2013 08:31 AM

    The sky is not falling yet folks. There is a possibility that he really does have a sickness to deal with. With that said, having a contingency plan is NOT a bad idea ever. BTW, look at Dom Brown go. #brightspot

  5. joecatz

    March 18, 2013 08:53 AM

    Bill, I agree on the arbitration clock portion of Pettibone vs. Cloyd, but how does a short term stint vs. long term stint differ in regards to pitching every fifth day for Pettibone? it’s not like hes gonna miss starts if halladay is out for two weeks. he’d just fill in on his schedule.

    The only reason you promote Cloyd over Pettibone there is if you feel Cloyd is better suited for major league batters at the time, developmentaly.

  6. Bill Baer

    March 18, 2013 09:00 AM

    The back-and-forth between LV and Philly, though not far, would get old quickly. A few different Phillies have done it in recent years and talked about the toll it took. I don’t recall off of the top of my head who they were but that’s why I brought it up.

  7. nik

    March 18, 2013 09:07 AM

    if Halladay is out a significant amount of time, I give Cloyd a few starts on a short leash. However, if the team looks competitive, I roll the dice and bring up Adam Morgan sometime around late May after he’s had 5-6 successful starts in AAA.

  8. philk

    March 18, 2013 09:33 AM

    Since when did spring training become so anally scrutinized. Spring training is a time to try things and arrive just at the time when the season begins. Roy Halladay will get his juices flowing when the season starts. Give us all a break until then – please! People and analysts are putting too much pressure and significance on spring training results.

  9. Pencilfish

    March 18, 2013 09:52 AM

    I recall you advocating sending Ruf to AAA to get more experience, since he’s never played above AA. Pettitbone has just limited experience in AAA, so what makes you think he can pitch in the majors? Maybe he is, but there isn’t much evidence right now.

    Given the uncertainty with Halladay and Cook’s opt-out clause in his contract if he’s not on the major league roster by March 24, the Phillies may put Cook in the BP as the long man, which makes him a convenient choice to replace Halladay for a few starts. If Cloyd is a replacement-level player at best, then there’s no big drop-off in using Lopez or Cook, while giving the GM more roster flexibility going forward.

  10. Bill Baer

    March 18, 2013 10:01 AM

    1) Ruf was very old for playing at Double-A

    2) Ruf has changed positions (1B to OF)

    3) Pettibone will be MLB-ready this year according to every trusted prospect expert I’ve read, including Eric Longenhagen.

    4) There’s a vast difference between playing LF every day and hitting 6-7 and slotting in the rotation at #5 and pitching once every five days.

  11. Pencilfish

    March 18, 2013 10:21 AM

    If people want to rationalize Pettitbone as MLB-ready based on his AA stats, fine, but there isn’t much of track record above it.

    Second, you are slotting Pettitbone as a #5, so I assume your rotation is Hamels, Kendrick, Lee, Lannan and Pettitbone, splitting Hamels and Lee. That looks like a scary (in a negative way) rotation. I would hate giving up the #16 pick for Lohse, but you think the Phillies can compete with the Nats and Braves with Kendrick, Lannan and Pettitbone? Signing Lohse may be the lesser of two evils, specially if the Phillies are competitive in the early going. Your proposed rotation is more likely to melt in the summer heat than a rotation that includes Lohse, insuring empty seats at CBP and a possible fire-sale in July.

  12. Bill Baer

    March 18, 2013 10:33 AM

    Why would you split Hamels and Lee

    you think the Phillies can compete with the Nats and Braves with Kendrick, Lannan and Pettitbone?

    I don’t think they can even with a healthy Halladay. And I don’t think a fire sale would be a bad thing, though I also doubt the Phillies would do that. But this discussion went like way off the rails.

  13. Seth B.

    March 18, 2013 10:45 AM

    Isn’t the real question: what if Halladay has no apparent injury but simply struggles? I’m picturing something like what happened to Lincecum last year. In that case, I imagine they are less likely to do something drastic, like signing Lohse or even giving Pettibone a shot. But, really, what kind of evidence does it take the Phils to say ‘this isn’t our guy’?

  14. LTG

    March 18, 2013 11:27 AM


    I’m not sure that the teams’ interests are hurt by the current qualifying offer system. It looks to me like teams have refused to give up picks for players (Bourn and Lohse) whose future value is questionable but would command high prices in an open market. It is always in the teams’ interests to suppress player cost, and this is an effective means to that end. They might lose out on some short-term production but they would have had to take a loss long-term to get that production.

  15. hk

    March 18, 2013 12:07 PM


    If you were opposed to the Phils signing Anibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson, neither of whom would cost the 16th pick, when I proposed doing so (instead of spending on Adams, Durbin and the Youngs) to be the #4 starter this year (#3 if Halladay’s 2012 being a pre-cursor to his 2013) and the #3 starter for 2014 and beyond, I would think you would be horrified with squandering that pick for Kyle Lohse.

  16. Dan K.

    March 18, 2013 01:18 PM

    Since the discussion is about who takes the spot in the rotation if Halladay is unavailable, it’s worth mentioning Adam Morgan. If Halladay is unavailable in the later part of the season, he’d also be an option (especially if Pettibone takes a spot from Kendrick or Lannan due to ineffectiveness).

  17. Nick

    March 18, 2013 01:43 PM

    I’ve argued previously that one of the ways the Phillies make up 10 wins from last year is via Roy Halladay. Halladay was barely worth a win last year compared to 8 wins in 2011. With continued bad new swirling around Halladay, baring a unlikely revival of the Phillies elderly hitters (Howard, Utley, Rollins, M. Young and Ruiz) OR the emergence of Dom Brown and D. Ruf as prime time hitters, the Phillies are looking at another .500 team here.

  18. amarosucks

    March 18, 2013 01:49 PM

    Contingency plans and ROI are foreign concepts to the GM. He is the worst. I would not be at all surprised if he signed lohse. He’s that bad at his job.

  19. Richard

    March 18, 2013 01:52 PM

    LTG – You are of course right when you say this: “It is always in the teams’ interests to suppress player cost, and this is an effective means to that end.” I’m usually able to keep this in mind, but let the short-term production loss (by maybe a couple of potential teams) affect me too much.

  20. Pencilfish

    March 18, 2013 02:04 PM


    That’s where details matter. You were talking about signing Sanchez BEFORE Spring Training started. Sanchez got a 5/80 deal. Jackson signed a 1/11 deal. Lohse would have to come at the right price and length of contract obviously. Lohse has very little leverage 2 weeks before the start of the regular season, so maybe he would come cheap.

    “I would hate giving up the #16 pick for Lohse” — repeated for emphasis in case you were speed-reading my earlier comments. However, one has to wonder if signing Lohse is the less of two evils, as I said.

  21. hk

    March 18, 2013 02:34 PM

    Squandering the 16th pick for Kyle Lohse should be a non-starter, not a lesser of any evils. Edwin Jackson got $52M/4. Sanchez got more. According to SIERA, Jackson and Sanchez were better than Lohse in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and in some of those years, they were much better. Next off-season, when the Phils need to fill their #3 starter spot, it will not be at all surprising if they pay more than the Cubs paid Edwin Jackson for a lesser pitcher than Jackson nor will it be surprising if they squander their first round pick to do so.

  22. amarosucks

    March 18, 2013 02:48 PM

    In case anyone has forgotten, lohse can’t pitch at cbp. (see matsui, kaz…’07 playoffs). Pretty sure Lohse blamed the ballpark for allowing that grand slam.

    No way I’d surrender a first rounder for him.

  23. Ryan

    March 18, 2013 03:01 PM

    I’m not sure whether or not I’d give up a second rounder for Lohse…

  24. EricL

    March 18, 2013 03:43 PM

    As of July 9th there is no draft pick loss associated with signing Lohse, so if he’s interested in a Clemesesque pillow-contract, that becomes an option, if the Phils are in contention and they need to solidify the rotation.

    Also, I don’t think Oswalt’s season was nearly as bad as it seemed last year. His peripherals were actually very good, but he was burned by some really bad luck. His HR rate spiked to a career high 1.68/9, which was nearly 60% higher than his next closest seeason and his BABIP against was a robust .378, a full sixty-two points higher than his next highest season. His rate stats were very good (22.4% K rate/4.2% BB rate), and if you normalize for the HR-rate outlier he put up a nice 3.27 xFIP.

    None of that is to say I think the Phillies should sign Oswalt, I just think his performance last season wasn’t nearly as bad as it seems upon first glance.

  25. Pencilfish

    March 18, 2013 04:06 PM


    The 16th pick will not necessarily yield Strasburg or Harper’s twin, so let’s not assume as if that’s a certainty. Having said that, the Phillies need some high-draft picks, so protecting is *probably* the right thing to do. Since so many teams have passed on Lohse (and Bourn previously), most GM’s agree with that. Still, one has to consider what kind of FA it might yield. Nothing wrong with due diligence.

    Next off-season is too far away to project anything. The Phillies may re-sign Halladay to a contract that cost us less in $$ and years. Perhaps, one of the minor-leaguers will surprise us as a mid-season call-up, or RAJ may come up with a trade mid-season. Assuming that a new #3 pitcher in 2014 will cost us more than Jackson can only be charitably described as premature.

  26. Pencilfish

    March 18, 2013 04:19 PM


    I think without Halladay of 2010/2011, the Phillies are greatly diminished. We made it to .500 in 2012 with a hobbled Halladay, Howard and Utley. If Utley/Howard/Brown and a more experienced BP perform better this year, we should contend at least for the 2nd WC with a hobbled Halladay.

  27. Andrew Cleveland Alexander

    March 18, 2013 04:22 PM

    I predict that Adam Morgan is going to throw a significant number of innings for the Phillies this year.

  28. hk

    March 18, 2013 04:24 PM


    Whenever someone critiques a GM’s move at the time the move is made or makes a prediction about a future event, of course one can claim that the critique is premature. Of course if we waited until we saw the results of everything before commenting, you would probably say that hindsight is 20-20 and that no one could have predicted that things would turn out the way that they did.

    After the ’08 season, when many on here complained about RAJ unnecessarily overpaying Moyer and Ibanez in both years and dollars, was your response at the time, “assuming those contracts will be over payments can only be charitably described as premature.”? When many on here applauded the first Lee trade and criticized the second Lee trade, did you call the (both positive and negative) responses “premature”?

  29. Pencilfish

    March 18, 2013 05:36 PM


    Saying it won’t surprise you if the Phillies pay more for a #3 starter and/or squander a first-round pick is definitely premature, because of the reasons I stated above, and because you assume the Phillies won’t have a (protected) pick among the first 10. In effect, you are criticizing the GM on purely speculative future moves that you deem likely to happen. Viewing RAJ in such a negative light distorts one’s perception of reality.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think RAJ has made his share of bad moves (ie, trading Lee the first time), and I will leave it up to you to point to a good move of his ๐Ÿ™‚

    What do you think of Pat Gillick’s tenure as a GM, specially the trade of Freddy Garcia for Gio Gonzalez?

  30. amarosucks

    March 18, 2013 05:54 PM

    Gillick’s tenure was much more good than bad. Getting rid of abreu, getting victorino/werth for nothing, acquiring blanton for nothing, the lidge trade, etc.

    Amaro’s tenure has been littered with mistakes. It started with the howard extension and has been a succession of terrible moves (ibanez, papelbon, polanco, young, young, picking greene over bradley, adams — I think he will be a mistake as well). His awfulness is not nascent, it’s the norm.

  31. hk

    March 18, 2013 06:48 PM

    What I know about Gillick’s tenure is that he took over a team with a $95M payroll and added enough that when he left 3 years later, the team was a World Champion with a $98M payroll, a number of star players in their primes and a top 10 farm system. Did he make mistakes? Sure, but he made more good moves than bad.

    I don’t view RAJ in a negative light. I view the majority of his moves as such, but I was very favorably disposed towards the first Lee trade, the Rollins re-signing, the second Pence trade and the Victorino trade. I also liked the Revere trade to begin this off-season and I would have been very happy if all that he did this off-season was trade for Revere, sign Eric Chavez to platoon with Frandsen or Galvis, keep Nate Schierholtz to platoon with Mayberry or Ruf and sign Anibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson. I think for comparable money, the team would be in much better shape for 2013 and 2014 than they are now.

  32. GB

    March 18, 2013 09:27 PM

    Not sure how someone could argue “getting rid” of Abreu was a good move by Gillick when Gillick himself at the presser to announce the trade was clearly depressed having to move Abreu i.e. it was a salary dump mandated by ownership and I remain convinced Gillick wanted to move Burrell since those had been the rumors for months before…the revisonist history of moving Abreu to “allow” the younger leaders to emerge, while absurd regardless, did not come out until later as an evident rationale for the salary dump…and the performance of the team to finish that season was seen as causation when it really was coincidental…

  33. Pencilfish

    March 18, 2013 10:29 PM


    You seem to prefer the “cheap” moves rather than the “splashy” moves by RAJ. That’s how the Phillies used to operate for a long time, save the occasional “splashy” move such as signing Lance Parrish in 1987, which was a big bust. Hopefully, the Phillies will never go back to those days, living in the shadow of mightier and wealthier franchises like the Yankees and Red Sox. Hopefully, the Phillies spend whatever is necessary to win more WS titles from now on, and not behave as if we are a small-town franchise, like the Tampa Bay Rays or the San Diego Padres.

    Gillick is a smart man. He took Ed Wade’s talented and incomplete team, added a few pieces here and there, got lucky the team did not suffer any devastating injuries and voila, a parade down Broad St. ensued in 2008. It was the perfect situation: expectations were low, Bowa was gone, the star players were at or near their prime, and he had some money to work with. He smartly retired right after getting his 3rd ring, insuring he would be worshiped as a god in Philly for bringing the 2nd WS ring ever for this long-suffering franchise. He left to RAJ the task of managing higher expectations, exploding salaries and demanding fans who compared him negatively to Ed Wade’s draft mastery and Pat Gillick’s experienced touch.

    RAJ guided the Phillies to 3 straight post-seasons. Maybe the party is really over, and he should get his share of the blame for failing to win another WS, but a more balanced analysis should also credit him for extending the window of opportunity. Very few people understand that this window is not open for long. Aging stars, low draft-picks, injuries all conspire to close the window. Even the Yankees cannot escape it.

    Signing Sanchez might have extended this window, but there are too many decisions next winter (Halladay, Ruiz, Utley). If the team implodes in 2013, not only are many of the aging stars gone, but players like Lee, Adams and Papelbon can become trade bait. Against this potential backdrop, signing Sanchez to a long-term deal would be unwise, which is something you and I agreed to disagree a while ago.

  34. hampton

    March 18, 2013 10:53 PM

    hk wrote:
    I don’t view RAJ in a negative light. . . I would have been very happy if all that he did this off-season was trade for Revere, sign Eric Chavez to platoon with Frandsen or Galvis, keep Nate Schierholtz to platoon with Mayberry or Ruf and sign Anibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson. I think for comparable money, the team would be in much better shape for 2013 and 2014 than they are now.

    Interesting point of view. Love to have Sanchez but without Adams one couldn’t say the bullpen was materially improved over last year’s debacle (which can clearly be said now). And as weak as Young may be at third, Chavez was probably worse last year.

    And it’s not exactly comparable money except for this season. Sanchez gets very expensive after 2013.

  35. Andrew Cleveland Alexander

    March 18, 2013 10:58 PM


    I have little to add to GB’s point on the Abreu trade, except to say that he was one of the best all-around hitters in Phillies history, period, and it’s symbolic of this city’s ignorance that fans think the Phillies won in 2007 because of that move, rather than in spite of it.

    I would like to take issue with another of your citations of Gillick’s brilliance: the Lidge trade. While like everyone I have a soft spot for Lidge because of his incredible 2008 and the way it ended, the fact is that the player traded for him–Michael Bourn–has compiled six seasons in which he was cumulatively a 19 WAR player. Even in Lidge’s best year (2008) he was worth only 2.3 WAR, far less than Bourn’s average performance.

    Look, before anyone jumps on me, I agree that WAR has a lot of faults as a stat. But the point is: the Lidge trade was far from a clear winner for Gillick if you look at the exchange objectively: essentially one year of elite 9th-inning pitching for five years of a young, cheap centerfielder/leadoff hitter who developed into a legit All Star.

    In fact, the Lidge trade has come back to burn the Phillies far more, statistically, than any of Amaro’s trades so far. (Of course, the jury is still very much out on Singleton, Cosart, Santana and Gose. I think we can agree that D’Arnaud, whatever he becomes, was a fair price to pay for the roughly 17 WAR Roy Halladay brought in 2010-2011.) Of course, like any fan, I’m more than happy to live with the loss of Bourn since the 2008 season ended with Lidge on the mound. But had a couple of balls bounced the other way during that season, and the Phillies hadn’t won it all, we would almost certainly be talking today about the Lidge trade as a huge blot on Gillick’s record.

  36. hk

    March 19, 2013 05:49 AM


    1. The bullpen was materially improved by releasing Qualls last year. When you remove Qualls’s stats plus those produced by other relievers who are no longer in the organization (Lindblom, Herndon, Contreras and Sanches), you see that the relievers who remain in the bullpen produced pretty good stats. As my friend pencilfish would most assuredly agree, it is a little premature to say that Adams materially improves the bullpen.

    2. How was Chavez worse than Young last year? He had an .845 OPS, a .360 wOBA and a 126 WRC+ while Young’s #’s in those categories were .682, .297 and 78, respectively. For his career albeit and injury plagued one, Chavez has been a better hitter and a much better fielder than Young and is only costing the D-Backs $3M while Young is costing the Phillies $7.2M plus a couple of young, cost controlled arms.

    3. You are right, my team has about the same payroll in 2013 as RAJ’s, but in Sanchez, it also has the best #4 starter in all of MLB, who becomes one of the top #3 starters in all of MLB if Halladay can’t go. My team also relies on a bullpen of Papelbon and Bastardo plus some combination of Horst, Valdes, DeFratus, Aumont and Stutes with Schwimer, Lindblom and Bonilla providing more BP depth. My team heads into 2014 and 2015 with $10M more on the books (Sanchez’s $16M – Adams’s $6M), but my team also has its #3 starter role filled whereas RAJ only heads into next off-season with 2 SP’s plus a 36 year old set up man that I don’t have. Considering the rising cost of free agent starting pitching, the number of quality young arms in my bullpen and the relatively barren farm system, I would rather head into 2014 and 2015 with Sanchez in the rotation and $10M less with which to work.

  37. hk

    March 19, 2013 06:01 AM


    You are right that you and I have disagreed on locking up a free agent SP in the past and we continue to do so. However, none of your “if this team implodes” scenarios are worse with Sanchez or EJax on the roster unless the team imploded because Sanchez or EJax did not perform as expected (or in a somewhat similar fashion to how they performed over the past 3 seasons). Even if this team implodes and begins selling off pieces to reload, the reloading process would be much further along with a starting 3 of Hamels, Lee and Sanchez or EJax signed for the next few years than with just Hamels and Lee. Sanchez averaged 4 WAR per season in his age 26 to 28 seasons while EJax averaged 3.5 WAR in his age 27 to 29 seasons. There are few teams in MLB who have #3 SP’s who project to produce 4 or even 3.5 WAR this year.

  38. hk

    March 19, 2013 06:11 AM


    I’m not sure how you arrived at the statement that I prefer the cheap moves to the flashy ones, but I disagree. I like the good moves. Was the first Lee trade a flashy one? Was giving Jimmy $14M per year cheap or flashy? I liked both of them. I hate all free agent signings when they look like the GM overpaid in years, dollars and/or squandered draft picks relative to how the market for comparable players played out. I put the Moyer (extra year), Ibanez (all three offenses), Papelbon (all three offenses) and Nix (extra year) signings in this category regardless of whether they were flashy or cheap. I railed against giving Laynce Nix a 2nd year last off-season and, while my commentary was premature at the time, I believe that the 2nd year turned out to lead to the team squandering Nate Schierholtz for nothing.

  39. Pencilfish

    March 19, 2013 01:04 PM


    If the team implodes in 2013, you can’t asssume the Phillies will reload. They may simply unload. I agree that Hamels, Lee and Sanchez is better than simply Hamels and Lee, but you shouldn’t assume Lee will be in Philly in 2014 regardless of what happens this season. Lee (maybe Adams and Papelbon, too) could fetch great prospects, which is attractive if the team is going nowhere for the duration of his contract.

    It’s probably unavoidable to overpay for FA’s if there are multiple teams vying for the FA’s services (ie, Sanchez). The market you refer is the wrong one. What matters is who and how many teams are interested in a particular FA. See what Pujols, Fielder and even Lee got and then compare to Madson, Lohse and Bourn, for example. The only sure way to avoid overpaying for FA’s is to wait out the market and get some “cheap” FA’s when their markets collapse (ie, Bourn, Lohse, etc). In this scenario, one can get Lohse (but not Sanchez) or Bourn (but not Upton). This is what bottom-feeders like the Padres, Rays, Indians, etc do.

  40. hk

    March 19, 2013 01:34 PM


    The idea that Papelbon or Adams could fetch great prospects if this team implodes can only be charitably described as premature. What makes you think that teams would part with great prospects to acquire their too high and too long contracts?

  41. pedro3131

    March 19, 2013 02:37 PM

    HK, Pujols Fielder and Lee are in another world then Madson Lohse and Bourn. I agree with the sentiment behind what you’re saying, but it’s not like if teams waited a few months Pujols wasn’t getting an albatross of a contract. Those are the guys that are going to set the market regardless of when they actually sign

  42. hk

    March 19, 2013 02:55 PM


    That was Pencilfish’s point, not mine.

  43. pedro3131

    March 19, 2013 03:09 PM

    Yea, I saw that after posting. My mistake. I also agree that we’re probably over valuing Papelbon and Adams, and maybe even Lee. Even if he has another typical Cliff year, I don’t know how many teams are going to be willing to ship off top prospects for ages 36/37 with an even more expensive vesting option on age 38

  44. amarosucks

    March 19, 2013 05:01 PM

    I know what abreu’s stats were. I just think that he, lieberthal, and wolf were the ringleaders of a losing era. Removing each of those cancers allowed this franchise to move into a new era. I loved the trade at the time…the epitome of addition by subtraction. It’s no coincidence that all of abreu’s post-phillies teams failed to win anything. He is a loser, just like the current GM.

    I will agree on the lidge trade for the most part. An OF consisting of werth, bourn, and victorino would have been better than the one which won the WS.

    At any rate, my point is that anyone who brings up the garcia/gonzalez trade is missing the big picture, which is that gillick was adept at building winning clubs throughout his career (thankfully the cubs outbit gillick and the phils for soriano…otherwise we’d be looking at sunk costs in LF and 1B). Amaro has shown the propensity for ruining those types of clubs…and the inability to correct his numerous mistakes.

  45. LTG

    March 19, 2013 06:02 PM

    ” An OF consisting of werth, bourn, and victorino would have been better than the one which won the WS.”

    Michael Bourn in 2008 was a replacement level CF. Pat Burrell was an above average corner OF. In what universe would Vic, Werth, and Bourn have been better than Vic, Werth, and Burrell? Oh, I know, the counter-factual universe where Bourn developed earlier than everyone knew he would.

    The Lidge trade might have been an overpay, but not for the reason in the quote. The best argument against the Lidge trade is that the Phils would not have needed to sign Ibanez to fill Burrell’s slot. If the Phillies were deeper in the outfield, the overpay might have been justifiable. Of course, Amaro at the time probably thought the Phils were deeper in the outfield than they really were.

  46. nick

    March 19, 2013 07:35 PM

    what about c m wang. pitched pretty well in the wbc didnt he?

  47. Pencilfish

    March 20, 2013 10:51 AM


    I said *could*, not would. I also didn’t say if RAJ would eat part of their contracts, and “great” prospects is a subjective term. I didn’t mean to say we’ll get the equivalent of Strasburg or Harper for Papelbon or Adams.

    Back-end of BP pitchers are often sought-after commodities. Yankees, Angels and Rangers come to mind as teams that: a) may need and b) can pay for expensive closers/setup man in 2013 or 2014.

    Of course, this is an imaginative exercise, so I will admit I came very close to being as charitably premature as you did ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. GB

    March 23, 2013 07:56 AM

    @amarosucks – so regardless of the facts, you’d stick to your opinion that Abreu was a loser and cancer..hey one can believe whatever they want to. It still is amazing to me how a segment of the Phils fanbase bought the Phils spin hook, line and sinker as Abreu took the blame for the organization’s faults and they gave him away for nothing…also to blame one player for a team not winning “anything” is silly beyond words, baseball is the ultimate team sport where everyone must do their part to win…

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