The Gelb 40-Man Exercise

Alright, I’ll play. Won’t you join me?

My original plan was to sort groups of players into their likelihood of hanging around – bunched off into groups or “houses,” which would have been a totally original idea – but I ended up getting a little sad coming up with names of former players for the house titles. “House Abreu” made me miss having a stable right fielder.

So we’ll do this procedurally. Hey, it’s what I know best.

The Sure Things

All of these players are stone locks to be ON the 40-man. I don’t see much question in that, barring some crazy, unforeseen deal of some sort. These players either have big money attached or occupy a position where depth is not present. What’s more, these are all players you likely want to be on the roster, too. Presuming health, of course. So that puts us at 8/40.

The Stellar Relief Corps

Ah, the bullpen. What a lovely list of names that is. Adams and Papelbon are making bank, so they’ll be around to start the year. Bastardo is an Arb2, but is effective and will likely be worth the payout; Aumont, De Fratus, Diekman, Horst, Rosenberg and Savery are all pre-arb, most (if not all) with options, so they’ll be kept around as interchangeable depth at worst. Stutes is interesting, because he’s battled injury and has been performing inconsistently for some time, but Cot’s has him accruing enough service time to Arb1-eligible this winter. Personally, I see his cost staying low (sub-$1M) because of the missed time and ineffectiveness in 2013. What wouldn’t surprise me, in Stutes’s case, is a very short leash and a place near the head of the line for roster cuts if any other additions are made.

Garcia has pitched like an Indy league guy who started the year in A-ball (which he did), Jimenez projects as Arb1-eligible with LH depth already ahead of him. Miner is nothing special after resurfacing in the Majors, Robles is again showing major command issues in Triple-A and Valdes’s days as a swingman don’t seem quite as valuable once he’s entered his arbitration years. So now, we’re at 18/40.

* – Ramirez was designated for assignment in early August, so I’m not even completely sure if he is still on the 40-man. The Phillies site lists him as on, but either way, I don’t see him on it next season. FUTURE EDIT: Ramirez is with the club. He’s obviously making an impression on me.

The Catchers and Infielders

McDonald and Young are impending free agents, and neither have a reasonable place on the team in 2013, much less 2014. They’re gone. I see Ruiz as returning on a one- or two-year deal, mainly because the internal options are unappealing or not ready, and the free agent options outside of Brian McCann represent little or no likely upgrade. I can easily see Chooch returning. Beyond that, it’s status quo. Frandsen’s production has taken a hit, but he could still be useful as a bench bat making under $2M as an Arb2. And so, given those additions, we now stand at 24/40.

The Outfielders

Next to the bullpen, the outfield needs some of the more serious attention and remodeling. A starting right fielder needs to be found, and effective, cheap depth would be preferable. Bernadina’s presence finally makes Mini-Mart permanently expendable, while Mayberry and Wells are made redundant by Ruf and, in a prognosticating way, are likely to be pushed out by an external acquisition. Mayberry is by no means a bad player or one not worth keeping around in different circumstances, but the magic of latter-2011 JMJ seems a distant memory. Sadly. That puts the body count at 28/40.

The Rotation Options

If all health were equal, I’d actually prefer Lannan over Kendrick. Lannan will make less than Kendrick in 2014 – an Arb4 year for them both – but his knee issues have raised a red flag. What’s more, the potential signing of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and the supposed intent of making him a starter means the rotation possibilities are even more crowded. Some fat has to be trimmed. That being said, it wouldn’t be bad – a pleasant surprise, maybe – if things are reversed and Kendrick goes while Lannan stays. At least, the production should be somewhat similar for less. That call will boil down to health, though, and I’m not sure there’s a call to be made on that yet.

And so we sit at 32/40. That’s light, but roster redundancies could force the 40-man to be thinner; realistically, four or five spots should be open for Major League additions, with the rest being available for depth adds.

That’s one quick take. What about yours?

 

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44 comments

  1. Chris

    August 27, 2013 06:56 PM

    My take is that I wish we had more quality guys! It seems like there are endless questions and mediocrity in each category. At SP, I think the Phillies will give a long hard look at bringing Halladay back, right or wrong. Personally I don’t want Lannan to pitch in a phillies uni again. Kendrick actually fooled me(and others on here, admit it) for a year or so. Too bad he regressed again. He’ll prob cost too much in arb to make sense bringing back.

  2. Ben

    August 27, 2013 07:40 PM

    I would be surprised if Cloyd and Gillies don’t get outrighted. I think that leaves room for JMJ.

  3. Ben

    August 27, 2013 07:54 PM

    Also, the following guys need to be protected on the 40-man or face the Rule 5 draft:

    Kelly Dugan
    Aaron Altherr
    Cameron Rupp
    Brody Colvin
    Perci Garner
    Tyler Knigge
    Mike Nesseth

    There are some guys from LATAM who are also Rule 5 eligible but I doubt they’ll be picked so the guys above are the ones worth talking about. With all the bullpen guys already on the 40 I don’t think any of Colvin, Garner, Knigge or Nesseth get protected. But Rupp, Altherr and Dugan are sure things.

  4. RdngJhn

    August 27, 2013 08:03 PM

    Rosin and Nesseth will both be protected IMO

  5. MattWinks

    August 27, 2013 08:20 PM

    Tommy Joseph also up for protection and a very interesting case

  6. Joecatz

    August 28, 2013 06:48 AM

    There’s about a zero chance possibility IMO that Raj leaves Joseph unprotected, IMO. The PR nightmare would be ridiculous.

  7. Jake Murphy

    August 28, 2013 07:16 AM

    Knigge, Colvin, Garner…NO chance on 40 man

  8. SJHaack

    August 28, 2013 07:56 AM

    I have had this discussion about JMJ a couple of times, and I think he’s on the team. Even with a mostly forgettable last two seasons he has over an .800 OPS against LHP both years and .860 for his career. It’s only 400 PA, but it is actually 400 PA. He can hit them for enough power and be just disciplined enough to be worth having around if he’s used judiciously.

    BBRef hates his defense, but he can at least stand and not make me cringe at 4 different positions, which is a surprisingly useful commodity on a team where everyone’s older than he is. He’s just now hitting arbitration, and yes there are lingering memories of The Schierholtz Incident, but management seems to like him and I can’t imagine he makes anywhere close to $2m. ON.

  9. SJHaack

    August 28, 2013 08:01 AM

    I just checked and almost all of his negative defensive value is in CF. If you keep him from having to play out of position there, his defense is basically passable and you have a RH power bench bat.

  10. Ben

    August 28, 2013 08:21 AM

    JMJ was picked off twice at second base within a month. Does no one else think that he should be jettisoned for that alone? I mean, it’s hard to be picked off from second base. And he managed that feat twice.

  11. Robby Bonfire

    August 28, 2013 08:33 AM

    Interesting how RAJ saw fit to acquire Lannan, a gob of spit the Phillies used as a batting practice pitcher during his time in Washington. Why would you acquire someone who can’t get your hitters out?

  12. jim

    August 28, 2013 10:52 AM

    Puzzles me as to why there was absolutely no mention of Doc on the 40 man. I think he will resign here and although no longer the #1 on the staff, he at least will be a more than efficient starter on next year’s staff. Kendrick appears to be trade bait.

  13. Mark66

    August 28, 2013 01:01 PM

    Keep Halladay, let Howard go. Keep Wells and Mayberry,let Collier and Gilles go. Pitching always prevails over hitting

  14. SJHaack

    August 28, 2013 05:48 PM

    What do you mean “let Howard go?” Just… pay the last $85m of the contract with no possibility of any return? Why would anyone do that?

  15. Joecatz

    August 28, 2013 06:52 PM

    The issue with JMJ comes down to dollars. We see him as a 4th OF, but the guy had 296 AB in 2011, 479 in 2012 and he’s at 327 for 2013.

    The only OF with more ABs for the phillies this year is Brown. If they tender him a contract it’s not gonna be cheap, and if they risk going to arbitration, he stands to make 2-3mm based on service time and at bats alone.

    Basically, he’s gonna get paid like a 1st year eligible starter.

  16. Mark66

    August 28, 2013 09:53 PM

    Please release Bernadina, a big mistake. Just saw him go 0-6 vs Mets. Too many other players that can hit.

  17. Mark66

    August 28, 2013 09:58 PM

    Yes I would let Howard go. He never deserved the contract he was given. He hasn’t hit anything since….Swallow the very big mistake and move on. That what sports are all about. But you have to be man enough to admit the mistake was made.

  18. Kevin H

    August 28, 2013 11:48 PM

    Mark66 spot on! As a former econ professor, it pains me to know so many bright people irrationally consider sunk costs in their decisions. So it’s not enough to make the mistake of owing Howard $85 million, you have to compound the error by foregoing better options and allow him to hurt the team for three more years.

  19. Steve

    August 29, 2013 05:18 AM

    @Mark66 and KevinH – as horrible as RH was this year, basically playing on one leg as he obviously overcompensated for the Achilles and hurt his knee, he is still worth keeping until a better all around option presents itself. Let him come back to ST next year, give Franco 3 months to become a 1B and you’ll probably get something in return for RH next year. A lineup with Asche at 3B and Franco at 1B will be significantly better defensively and offensively. You are 100% right, he is a sunk cost but can you honestly tell me a healthy, motivated RH doesn’t bring more to the table than Wells, Martinez (he is still at AAA), Frandsden, Bernadina, Young (D or M) and the other cast of characters we have been running out there. Is there someone on the 40 man roster you are afraid of losing because RH will be on there? Please name him and back up your silly comment with some rational, logical thought of what you are replacing him with and why? A platoon of Ruf and RH at 1B isn’t the worst thing with Ruf getting at bats in RF/LF against Righties. I want to see Franco on the roster by July 2014 but let him learn 1B at AAA.

  20. hk

    August 29, 2013 05:26 AM

    Kevin H,

    I’ll bet that most of those commenting on here understand the concept of a sunk cost and many have even used it when discussing the need for the Phils to dump a player or two over the years. However, many of those same people know that, despite significant injuries this year, Howard produced a .370 wOBA vs. RHP’s, so they believe that, at a minimum he can be a valuable asset if he’s used properly (e.g. platooned at 1B). Still others think that, if he can just get 100% healthy, he’ll return to some form of his prior self next season. I doubt anyone on here who believes it would be foolish to release Howard feels that way while simultaneously expecting Howard to provide little, no or negative value over the next 3 seasons.

  21. Phillie697

    August 29, 2013 09:46 AM

    @hk,

    I’m fine with releasing RH. Don’t think it will EVER happen though.

    You forget one thing in your analysis of sunk cost: In order to recoup whatever possible value you want to get out of RH, you are preventing someone else who can provide more value than him at 1B. What matters isn’t just what he has left to provide; the opportunity costs matter too.

  22. Phillie697

    August 29, 2013 09:48 AM

    @Steve,

    You’re joking if you don’t think anybody with half a brain can’t find someone who will be better than RH at 1B out there. The internal options aren’t what we are limited to.

  23. hk

    August 29, 2013 10:40 AM

    Phillie697,

    I’m not forgetting that part of the sunk cost equation. I’m just suggesting that just about everyone on here advocating for keeping Howard understands sunk costs and that they are advocating keeping him because they still expect that he can produce a sufficient WAR – sufficient to justify keeping him, not sufficient to justify the contract, of course – if he’s healthy. There’s no one on here saying let’s keep Howard and pay him $85M even though we believe he’ll produce negative WAR in 2014 through 2016.

    Also, I didn’t miss the point about sunk costs and the opportunity cost of keeping RH means missing out on someone else who might provide more value. I just think that this is somewhat similar to the debate that we had when the team traded for Michael Young. At that time, I said that Young’s production should be based not on WAR, but on wins above what you would reasonably expect Frandsen to provide if he had been kept in the role and the same applies to RH’s replacement. Those who advocate keeping RH think that maybe he can provide 1.5+ WAR if healthy and that the team would be hard pressed to get an upgrade at a reasonable price.

    When you release Howard, who are you signing in free agency? Napoli? Mourneau? Lind (only if the Blue Jays don’t pick up his option)? Kendrys Morales?

  24. Phillie697

    August 29, 2013 12:10 PM

    No, I’m more thinking about trading for an all-bat and no glove fringe prospect in the farms of, say, the Reds, Tigers, Angels, Dodgers, or even the Royals, teams that don’t have a foreseeable opening for a bat that can only play 1B. I can easily see finding 1.5 WAR 1B for half a million while giving away only one of our litany of back-end starter (at best) prospects.

  25. Phillie697

    August 29, 2013 12:12 PM

    Besides, if the 1B you hope to extract value from has a ceiling of 1.5 WAR and can only go down from there, that’s not really an option you want to take, even if you are paying him $85M.

  26. Phillie697

    August 29, 2013 12:15 PM

    Hell, I rather put Ruf at 1B full-time and sign Ellsbury or Cory Hart for that matter than keep trotting Howard out there.

  27. hk

    August 29, 2013 12:33 PM

    Phillie697,

    You are taking this conversation way off track. My point in my response to Kevin H was that most (all?) of the people on here who think it’s crazy to dump Howard think that way not because they don’t understand the concept of sunk costs, but because they think a healthy Ryan Howard can still provide value. Personally, I think a platoon with Howard, if healthy, and Ruf is the best way to address 1B next year, so I am not in the camp that says release Howard (at least until I see him have one hopefully healthy season).

  28. Phillie697

    August 29, 2013 12:55 PM

    @hk,

    “at least until I see him have one hopefully healthy season.”

    The problem is he might never be “healthy” for a full season ever again. By the time you’re “sure,” the 3 years are up.

  29. hk

    August 29, 2013 01:07 PM

    The problem is he might never be “healthy” for a full season ever again. By the time you’re “sure,” the 3 years are up.

    On the flip side, he might have a healthy season or three and he might provide value starting 70% of the games and getting 95%+ of his PA’s vs. RHP’s.

  30. Phillie697

    August 29, 2013 01:16 PM

    @hk,

    Sure. That’s why GMs get paid big money to make big decisions :) All decisions have risks :)

  31. Phillie697

    August 29, 2013 01:34 PM

    BTW, have you seen Ruf’s splits? Don’t know if he’s the best platoon partner for Howard :)

  32. hk

    August 29, 2013 02:07 PM

    Phillie,

    Below are Ruf’s splits prior to his stint with the Phillies this year (with OPS vs. LHP first, followed by OPS vs. RHP):

    2013 AAA – 771/743
    2012 Venezuela – 1593/849
    2012 Majors – 1326/845
    2012 AA – 1313/894
    2011 High A – 1037/845
    2010 High A – 786/768
    2010 Low A – 1402/800
    2009 SS-A – 969/866
    2009 GCL – 775/791

    I don’t put much stock in his splits in the SSS of this season and expect him to hit LHP’s better than RHP’s over the remainder of his career.

  33. Phillie697

    August 29, 2013 06:01 PM

    @hk,

    The problem with that analysis is that it adds ANOTHER big question mark to Ruf’s current performance (questionable power, questionable home/away splits, now questionable L/R splits too???), which means you’re predicting Ruf to play a role similar to what Gaby Sanchez did/is doing for the Pirates this year. While I may agree with you that’s what Ruf ultimately is (minus the decent defense of Sanchez), I don’t WANT him to be.

    That said, there are worse things than being the caddy to Ryan Howard’s gimpy ass.

  34. LTG

    August 29, 2013 06:10 PM

    RE: the sunk cost question

    Injury is not a reason to release him. If he’s injured he isn’t taking a 25-man roster spot. Of course, his injury risk is a reason to sign someone like Hart who can play OF and 1B.

    If Ruf were less of a mystery going forward I’d be more convinced that releasing Howard is the best move.

  35. Phillie697

    August 29, 2013 10:03 PM

    @LTG,

    You serious? Who the hell are you going to find to take his spot if he’s injured in, say, June? It’s not like we can just magically spawn a 1B on command.

  36. Kevin H

    August 29, 2013 11:09 PM

    My sunk cost comment isn’t so much about Howard’s value as a player but about the logic I read over and over that they have to stick with him because they have money tied up in him. That being said, if he’s the best regular 1B option for them, then they should be actively looking for a better one because the only two Phillies who played regular 1B in my (50+) lifetime at an older age were exceptionally great and durable (Schmidt in 1985 and Pete Rose). Howard is more Greg Luzinski, Dick Allen, and Pat Burrell- guys who were basically shot or retired at 34. If they want to carry a Matt Stairs/Jim Thome player, Howard would probably be as good as anyone in that role and keeping him there would be fine. But in any other role they can certainly do better.

  37. Joecatz

    August 30, 2013 05:15 AM

    No, I’m more thinking about trading for an all-bat and no glove fringe prospect in the farms of, say, the Reds, Tigers, Angels, Dodgers, or even the Royals, teams that don’t have a foreseeable opening for a bat that can only play 1B. I can easily see finding 1.5 WAR 1B for half a million while giving away only one of our litany of back-end starter (at best) prospects.

    Joey Votto
    prince Fielder/Miguel Cabrera
    Pujols/Trumbo
    Adrien Gonzalez

    Those are the players currently at 1B for those teams. Why in the hell would they trade for Howard and his 85 mm???

  38. Steve

    August 30, 2013 05:26 AM

    @697 Keeping RH is not he problem, again he is not preventing the Phillies from making any moves. We can discuss and seem to discuss all these opportunities around to move past RH. Until we move past RAJ, we will not move past RH in the near future unless an internal, cost effective solution presents itself. i.e. M. Franco tears the cover off the ball over the winter, in ST and AAA and RH doesn’t. Obviously, Sandberg has a better chance to move past RH than Cholly ever did.

    Our main problem with any scenario we discuss is we are not the GM and he is afraid to make moves. How the hell is MY still on this team when the Mets GM jettisons MB and Buck for some possible future useful parts.

    We are stuck where we are because our FO is stuck. They see RH as a marque name, which he is. Just as they see Chase and J-stroll. They’ll bring back Chooch and Halladay, I just hope they don’t overpay and over years.

    Insult all you want, scream about how we should just jettison RH but explain to me how you see it happening with the FO we currently have in place. Reality is, RH is here until Franco shows he’s better. I personally think he’s probably a better option today and I don’t want us to sign someone who is less talented, with less upside to add another reason to not promote him next year. I am okay with RH/Ruf platoon as I think this will give enough compared to the opportunity cost of any of the other options bantered around. I don’t see RH as a 20mil player but I do believe he will produce as 5-8 mil player so why sign that type of player if he is already on the roster.

  39. LTG

    August 30, 2013 08:49 AM

    Like I said, injury is a reason to find a versatile replacement or have a back-up plan, e.g., Corey Hart or, in last year’s market, Nick Swisher. Assuming Howard’s projected performance does not already make him a sunk cost (I’m not sure on that point), the risk of injury doesn’t push him over the threshold because he doesn’t occupy a roster spot while injured.

  40. hk

    August 30, 2013 03:42 PM

    You can add Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to the list.

  41. Pencilfish

    August 30, 2013 07:46 PM

    hk,

    From 6 years and $48M to 3 years and $12M is a huge discount. The fact that he remained a FA till now indicates the bone chips in his elbow are a major concern. RAJ has said he will go to Florida Instructional League and won’t be call up in September. MAG’s signing means there are only 2 openings in the rotation between KK, Lannan, Halladay, Petitbone and other internal/external options.

  42. hk

    August 30, 2013 08:03 PM

    I was just pointing out the he was added to the 40 man. I don’t know that he’s a lock for next hear’s rotation.

  43. Pencilfish

    August 30, 2013 08:31 PM

    hk,

    fair enough, but RAJ comments about MAG indicate he’s being viewed as a starter, and will probably start ST in that role. It will his job to lose.

  44. Simmons17

    September 04, 2013 02:07 PM

    Mayberry on, Gillies off. And not protecting Gillies makes it easier to find room on the 40-man for Perci Garner, who I think has some upside.
    I would not protect Valle. If somebody wants him that badly, they should go to it.
    I think Halladay stays on a one-year deal, unless there is a serious health setback this next month.
    I’d keep Jiminez; I think he’s looked pretty decent. I’d also seek to clear out some 40-man space by trying to trade Kendrick and Bastardo in a package before arbitration decisions have to be made. Somebody gets a couple of useful pitchers that they can easily jettison if contract demands aren’t reasonable and we hopefully get flexibility and some sort of prospect in return.
    RAJ’s rep can’t fall any lower, so he doesn’t have much to lose by not protecting Joseph. Unless they are sure he can catch down the line, he is not a prospect.

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