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Monday, November 30, 2009

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most boring. offseason. ever.

Yep.

Lowell ain't cheap. Ain't a bargain, either.

I hope their "brief" talks were, "Hey Mike, you still old?" 'Yep' "OK talk to you next year".

PS - second post since the WS, yeah it took me a while. hi.

It will get more interesting tomorrow, which is the deadline for offering arbitration. Polanco, a Type A, likely won't get the offer, which means he can be signed without loss of a 1st rounder.

I'd be fine if the Phils traded cash for Lowell. But I'm not parting with any prospects unless Roy Halladay is involved.

Unless we trade Ibanez for Lowell and sign Matt Holliday.

Transcript of Rube's end of the call:

"Sorry? You want what?!?"

Epstein repeats himself

"This is Mike Lowell we're talking about. He can barely stay healthy. Not gonna happen Theo."

Click.

Greg V-
I actually had the same exact discussion with my brother on Thanksgiving when talking about the Phils off-season. I said "don't be surprised if they do something totally wacky nobody's thinking of like try and sign Matt Holliday." The "problem," as you also noted, would be that we'd have to unload Ibanez. Can you imagine Holliday in this lineup? Wow.

I actually think this off-season is going get a lot more excting than people anticipate. LIke it or not, how much longer can this team stay together before management gets too much of a pain threshhold for the crazier contracts that are coming to Howard, Hamels, Werth and Vic? Wwith the way the Skanks are spending and the Red Sox desparately trying to match them, the window of winning another WFC with this group will not be open long. Of course, we could just keep reloading and spend like whores like the Yanks and Sox, but I don' see it happening.

Well, Werth is 99% gone after 2010.

Lowell's age is an issue. But if he is a bargain, it's worth the chance. He probably needed more time to recover from hip surgery than he took last season. I would not be surprised to see a bounce back year especially with a return to the National League.

joe, you may be right about Lowell having a bounce back year, but that still doesn't mean the asking price is something that other teams are willing to meet.

Suppose, for instance, that the Epstein asked for a top prospect, say...Michael Taylor, for Lowell. IMHO, that is not a price that the Phillies are willing to pay. I don't think they'd even be willing to part with anyone who's further away from MLB than Taylor. Travis D’Arnaud for Lowell would not float either.

So, while I like Lowell and do think he'd be worth the risk, it will all depend on what the Red Sox are willing to accept in return.

I don't see the Phillies being willing to part with a top prospect for 1 year of Lowell.

Actually joe, I think an "average prospect" might get the deal done from the Phillies' standpoint. anything higher and I think they'd pass.

I'll use phuturephillies definition:

"Average prospect: These guys are fringe starters in the big leagues, more likely a 4th OF or a utility infielder, but maybe a starter on a bad team. Guys who have the repertoire to start, and could hang on in the bigs as a starter, but without much upside will go here. Good relievers go here, guys that aren’t dominant but who will probably find themselves as serviceable 7th/8th inning guys in the majors."

Joe and awh, I think you've got the Lowell situation pretty pegged. Could easily have a bounce-back year (and imagine that patient bat in our line up) but trading anything of significant value would be a blow.

One other thing to consider, even if the asking price for Lowell isn't exorbitant. We'd have one year of Lowell and then be back in the market for a thirdsacker. Here's the not so pretty list of 2011 free agents:

Garrett Atkins (31)
Wilson Betemit (29)
Geoff Blum (38) - $1.65MM mutual option
Jorge Cantu (29)
Eric Chavez (33) - $12.5MM club option with a $3MM buyout
Bill Hall (31) - $9.25MM club option with a $500K buyout
Wes Helms (35)
Brandon Inge (34)
Mike Lowell (37)
Jhonny Peralta (29) - $7MM club option with a $250K buyout
Aramis Ramirez (33) - $14.6MM player option
Scott Rolen (36)
Ty Wigginton (33)

Looks like it might be smarter to invest in a third baseman this off-season.

Certainly not a bad idea for Ruben to kick the tires of the competition a bit. The agents of the top third base choices out there know the Phils need one. Can't hurt for them to see that the Phils are checking out a variety of options.

I'd rather bring back Michael Jack. I'm sure they're comparable at this stages of their respective lives.

The Phillies are in a jam, with no MLB ready third baseman under control. In fact, I think the 40-man roster has only 4 infielders at the moment (Howard, Utley, Rollins, Dobbs. Ouch. No depth.). That's a tough spot for Rubin and may force him to take a chance on a player like Lowell. And with no infielder poised to take third base in 2011, why not look at Lowell as a two-year option?

As a Boston transplant living in South Jersey, I watch 100+ Red Sox games, so I am biased in favor of Lowell. When healthy, he's among the best, if not the best, on Red's list above.

The Sox need to land Adrian Gonzalez to make all of this speculation worth it.

I agree with awh and joe on Lowell and not NEPP's predictable silly emotional response.

All reports say that he can be had for a modest prospect (I think he could be had for organization filler) and that the Sox are willing to pay at least half his salary.

He'd be a $6M one-year stopgap and quite likely much cheaper than Beltre. If Lowell is healthy there's no reason to think he won't be every bit as good as Beltre (look at their career #s) even at age 36.

FWIW, and everyone here knows how I feel about defensive metrics (mostly worthless including UZR), his range factor was slightly above league average last year despite his injury. His OPS+ was 106. Beltre, considered a superstar by Beerleaguer posters, had an OPS+ of 82.

Third base is not really a crisis situation for the Phillies, we're talking about the 7th hole hitter (8th if Ruiz was given his proper due). Even worse case scenario we go back to Feliz or Polanco its not gonna kill our offense.

The real crisis is what the Yankees, and to a lesser extent the Red Sox, getting Halladay means. We are without a doubt the favorite to get back to the WS, but if he lands on either team we don't stand much of a shot.

If I was Rube I'd take a super-aggressive charge at Halladay. If for no other reason if our competition gets him we'll see him twice in the WS.

Given that Toronto would prefer to deal out of the division (regardless of what they say publicly) and Halladay will only accept a trade to the Red Sox, Yankees, Angels and Phillies we have a decent shot at this, the problem will come on the money end.

I think we can get it done for Brown/Happ/Gose/Cosart - I don't see any team offering up a player of Brown's caliber in any proposed deal floating out there. In addition they'd get a proven, price-controlled #3 or #4 pitcher in Happ. Gose and Cosart are above-average prospects.

Money wise, its tight, giving up that package we'd need a negotiating window with an extension averaging 22M/yr or so. For this year we'd have to fit in about 15M (plus other cheap parts) in salary but I think it could be done if ownership is willing to bump it up just a bit to 150M.

As for the following seasons, signing Lee would be challenging but I'm not sure why we should be so adverse to big contracts to proven, money pitchers/players. I'm happy to roll with a few average players like Feliz/Kendrick and some good young prospects when I've got Utley/Howard in the middle of my lineup and Halladay/Lee/Hamels in the rotation.

lowell would be a stopgap to what? another stopgap?

Would'nt mind Mike Lowell, especially at 6m. Would'nt mind Tejada either at the same price. Tejada will probably get a better deal though. He'll be non -tendered and be one of the 1st players signed.

thephaithful: until Hewitt figures out the strikezone and how to use an infielder's mitt.

I think Lowell is an interesting option. He fits my first criteria: he can field the position, which makes him at least as attractive as Beltre for a variety of reasons.

Who thinks the Phils should offer arbitration to Scott Eyre as well as Chan Ho? If we don't offer arbitration to Scott (since Ruben's made it clear he doesn't want to spend much on him), what are the chances we can sign him anyway, as opposed to another team taking him first? And does it matter? I liked Scott myself, but if JC is back healthy, he becomes less important.

I just remembered Scott's on record as saying he'll only play for the Phils or retire. If that's true, then presumably the Phils don't have to offer him arb. in order to retain him.

JBird: Hewitt is being moved to the outfield, so there goes that.

I agree with the overall feelings on the board that Lowell would work for me as well. The only concern I have is his age. I know what the numbers say but at some point he has to fall and who do we have to back him up?

With Beltre, he is much younger and with a couple million more per year, you can lock him up for 3-5 years.

I like Lowell, too. Agree not to give up much for him. And we need to grow some infielders - hope the scouts, player development, are working on that.

On another note, good luck to Chris Coste - just not when the Mets play the Phils!

Lowell is also interesting because he can be used to spell Howard at 1B against a tough lefthander from time to time.

Of course, the issue would then become "Who's on 3rd?".

Michael: I was being sardonic.

We're making a mistake by focusing on 3rd base in the off-season. Feliz has a great glove, and is certainly an asset in the field. He also shows some fits of competency at the plate. Our achilles heel continues to be pitching - we need to firm up our starting rotation. I'd prefer bringing Drabek up and look for another proven performer. Just think of a solid 5 man rotation that looks like:
Lee
Hamels
Drabek
Blanton
???
...and is backed up by the personnel we currently have in the field and at the plate. I'll take it all the way to the WCS.

Too early for sardonics.

I'm all for testing the youngsters, but Drabek didn't prove to me that he's ready for the bigs yet and I would not rush him (see Floyd, Gavin). I do like the idea of bringing in a pitcher with upside (escobar, Harden), but an upgrade at 3b would be great and do wonders for the lineup.

I suggested Lowell awhile back. I would be all for it. And punting the 3rd base issue one year down the road is a plus, not a minus, in my book. Better to punt the issue one year down the road than to make a 3 or 4-year commitment to someone who's old (DeRosa, Polanco) or not very good (Beltre).

Next year's FA crop of 3rd basement isn't great, but neither is this year's.

I wonder if DaveThom is still going to remain in his role of President of the Chris Coste fan club, now that Chris has signed with the enemy?

NEPP, great transcription of the converstation between Rube and Theo.

Today is a great day for me. Having moved from the Philly area to New Orleans in the late 70s, the Saints gradually replaced the Eagles as my main NFL rooting interest. They fit the mold for me as a fan as the Saints lost most of the time, just like the Eagles and the Phillies of my youth. It's hard to believe the hapless New Orleans Saints are 11-0. It has to be the change in defensive coach that has made the difference. Having Drew Brees doesn't hurt, either. The Miami Dolphins braintrust had the first shot at Brees, but they judged that he was too short. (They must read BL.)

>Of course, the issue would then become "Who's on 3rd?".

I keep telling you, I don't know is on Third.
----

So, apparently, Halladay is demanding a trade in the offseason - do you dump happ to do it? Or do you see if you can do it with a handful of magic beans named drabek?

****I agree with awh and joe on Lowell and not NEPP's predictable silly emotional response.****

What the hell does that mean?

I think Lowell is worth a shot at the right price. It just depends what that price is. If we do that route, we definitely need a legit backup and not a Juan Castro/Greg Dobbs platoon.

****but Drabek didn't prove to me that he's ready for the bigs yet ****

Drabek is most definitely not ready for the Majors yet. He still needs to work on getting LHB out as his splits are pretty extreme at the AA level. He'll probably figure it out but at this point, he's not there yet.

I think DaveThom's only allegiance is to Coste, not the Phils or any baseball team. He will now support the Mets, until they disappoint him by dumping Coste.

Lowell scares me. He's certainly got more talent than David Bell had, but he shares Bells' penchant for nagging injuries.

Bed Beard, I'mnot sure the Mets will dump Coste.

One look at the dreck that is available at the backup catcher position around MLB is all it takes to understand that if Coste can return to form in the batter's box (.250 - .270), then he'll probably stick with the big club all season.

I have defended Coste on this board in the past when he got criticized, not so much from the standpoint that he was a great receiver or the next coming of Johnny Bench, but more from the standpoint of "Look what else is out there".

Not much has changed since those days.

The chips are starting to fall. From MLBTR:

'Rockies Offer Arb To Betancourt, Marquis, Not Torrealba, Beimel"

I wonder what it would cost to get Harden?

Cubs Choose Not to Offer Arbitration to Harden

Awh: I mean whenever it is that they do so-3 months from now or 3 years from now.

I havent heard much about Harden/Bedard/Sheets/Escobar... are any of those guys "supposed" to be healthy by the beginning of 2010 or are they of the Pedro-mold who don't plan on being ready to pitch until the late summer?

With Pedro, Benson, Lopez, Chacin all signing here in the past few years, I've got to believe the Phils would be open to taking a look at one of those oft-injured possible high ceiling type guys.

Harden? Good question. He's had 2 relatively healthy years in a row (just under 150 IP both years). He's great when he's heatlhy but you're lucky to get 20 GS a year from him. We won't pay the price for a part-time guy like him.

Looks like the Mets will get Blanco as a backup catcher as well as Coste. That sucks for Coste.

phaithful -

i don't know why more late-stage career guys, especially pitchers, sit out half the season and then are in it for the run.

Clemens did it a couple years. It worked out well for Pedro this year. I mean, whoever signs Pedro for next year should immediately put him on the 45day DL, wrap him in styrofoam, and put a "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL AUGUST" sticker on it.

I mean, are there any league rules against this? Seems to me that there are a lot of pitchers who could crank it up for 16 starts, but would be destroyed if they had to crank up for 30+.

PhilliesRed nailed it - if you get Lowell you're left with the same problem next year but without the decent crop of free agent 3B to fill it. Putting someone from the farm system at 3B at this point is wishcasting. There isn't even anyone worth discussing. They need to fill 3B for several years, not one, and that's the mindframe the Phillies FO should be taking.

That's why a guy like Beltre on a 3-4 year deal would make the most sense.

Joe: I do... $$$.

Yeah, or Figgins.

Phillies sign Brian Schneider!

phaith -

then structure the deal knowing full well that they'll be playing half the season, with incentives to match. The only question is whether or not there are league rules against this as policy.

I mean, hell, sign Thome to sit on your DL until August and then break him out... or Pedro, or Glavine....

Jon Heyman reports the Phils have signed catcher Brian Schneider.

Am I late on this news?

thephaithful: Harden isn't hurt.

Solid signing. Schneider is good as a backup. Bad as a starter.

well, at least we don't have to worry about him being a phillies killer....

Now, can we stash Tim Redding in the LV?

I like the Schneider signing...I like it alot. He's what Bako was supposed to be...a very good defensive catcher.

Phils sign Brian Schneider as backup C. I like the move, and I actually suggested it back in September or so. I think Charlie likes the platoon split at catcher, and Schneider is way better than Bako.

I really like the Schneider signing.

He's only 33...2010 will be his Age 34 season. I love this signing.

He's also a lefty so he can give Chooch a day off against tough RHP.

Career splits:

vs LHP: .235 AVG, .307 OBP, .313 SLG, .620 OPS
vs RHP: .255 AVG, .327 OBP, .389 SLG, .716 OPS

.255 .327 .389 .716

"if you get Lowell you're left with the same problem next year but without the decent crop of free agent 3B to fill."

To me, that 2010 FA class actually looks about the same as this year's, only without the one marquee name like Figgins (who doesn't really count, since he's seemingly not within the Phillies' universe of possibilities). The other thing is that things can change in a year. Maybe some new FA-to-be will have a big year. Maybe we can make a trade. Maybe we draft a college third baseman who can be major league ready in relatively short order. Maybe some new 3rd base prospect emerges in our minor league system.

Locking a guy up for 3 or 4 years sounds good in theory, but only if the guy is worth locking up for 3 or 4 years. Are we confident that Adrian Beltre (a glorified version of Pedro Feliz) is someone we want as our starting 3rd baseman for the next 4 years? Do we really want to give a 2 or 3-year deal to a 35-year old player (DeRosa) who can't field & who's coming off a season in which his offense badly declined? I'd choose Lowell over either of those options.

Correction: 2010 will be his Age 33 season. He just turned 33 in November.

Schneider fits like a glove. As good or better than just about any of the names we've been throwing around here. Plus we won't have to pitch too him.

That's a good signing.

I'm glad Schneider is no longer hitting against us, he always killed us for some reason. He should be a solid back-up defensive catcher. Hopefully he will be more healthy this year.

Schneider's career CS % is 38%.

2009 - 34%
2008 - 33%
2007 - 31%


That is huge. I really like this signing.

As I recall, there was some sage Beerleaguer poster who predicted this late last season. I like the signing too. Unlike Bako, Schneider is a terrific defensive catcher (I still remember his throwing out Vic & Bourn in the same game 2 years ago). He had a down year with the bat, but he has generally been a reasonably competent hitter.

The other thing is that Schneider has been a notorious Phillies killer throughout his career, so now we won't have to face him anymore.

NEPP: "Looks like the Mets will get Blanco as a backup catcher as well as Coste. That sucks for Coste."

Who, praytell, is the Mets starter at catcher?

clout: Who, praytell, is the Mets starter at catcher?

They are said to be 90% likely to sign Bengie Molina. They don't look at Blanco as a starter from all reports.

BAP: "The other thing is that Schneider has been a notorious Phillies killer throughout his career, so now we won't have to face him anymore."

Exactly right.

I'm amazed that Schneider was able to take a physical already and we didn't catch a whiff of this signing till it was a done deal. Amaro is quite good at keeping silent when he's making a move (the Lee trade is another example of this as it came out of nowhere at the last minute last July).

Correction: It was Rollins & Bourn, not Vic & Bourn. That's more impressive yet.

Brian Schneider is the perfect backup catcher for the Phils. Really, he's been decent over his career with the stick and is solid behind the plate. He was injured most of last year, and that's why his offense dipped. Look for a return to his career norms .250ish/.700ish.

So we ended up signing a catcher who is plus defensively, is left-handed and has reasonable hitting stats vs. RHP and he's not on the wrong side of 35?

Plus he's a native of the area and, as a Phillie-killer, we won't have to face him anymore.

I can't wait to find out why this is a bad deal. The floor is yours, DPatrone. ;-)

Coste ticked off the Mets fans by telling CSN that he'll always be a Phillie at heart.

Good signing for backup catcher. I support the move. Now lets go back to discussing third base.

I have always hated Brian Schneiders snide looking face. He was easy to root against.
I guess I have to get past that.

As for Lowell, I would rather see a Tejada there. Or def Figgins but I am not sure we will see that.

Todd Z. says it's a 2 year deal

NEPP: If they sign Bengie Molina they are indeed set. Not sure I agree with the 90% though since Molina is the best FA catcher on the market and has other suitors.

Wow...a 2 year deal. Still, its a fairly low risk move considering his age.

Lowell's range was zero after the All-Star break because of injurgy. ZERO. Unless he's 100% better, forget it.

I absolutely love this move - as much as you can love the signing of a back-up catcher.

"I can't wait to find out why this is a bad deal."

He doesn't have pedigree.

Brian grew up not far from me and I've heard some good things about him through friends. It's good to see him choose a backup role with the Phils rather than pursue a starting role with a bad team.

At only 33 years of age, is he savvy enough for the role of backup catcher?

Schneider made $4.9M this past season and if it's a two-year deal I'd be surprised if he settled for under $5M total. Haven't seen any figures yet but this suggests Rube scrimped on middle INF in order to spend on quality backup catcher. I wonder if Charlie will be tempted to use him as a pinch-hitter late in games.

CJ - Agreed. The only question with Schneider is are his back-issues that plagued him through out last season resolved.

Otherwise, the Phils signed a quality bench player who can fill in for 3-4 weeks as a starter if Chooch goes on the 15-day DL. Nice to see Amaro sign a veteran journeyman who can still largely contribute especially as a bench player.

In the announcement for the signing, Amaro also points out that the Schneid has played in the NL east and knows the hitters well. Hard to imagine this makes a huge difference, but yet another small positive out of the signing. Looks like 2 years 3 million, which seems reasonable.

Considering our backup catcher has averaged about 60 starts a year, it makes sense to get someone who is capable.

On back injuries in general (as a person that has major back issues): They are never fully resolved, you just have good days and bad days.

2 years, $3 million (if true) is very reasonable.

2-years, $3M is the reported deal.

2 years, $3 million, no 2012 option, according to Martino.

Is he tall enough?

re: schneider

what you guys said.

Yet again, Amaro makes a move before the rumors even start. It's why I have little patience for Phillies fans who whine about not being part of the rumor mill for every name in the book.

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