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Thursday, December 03, 2009


There's a first time for everything (a returnee finding success)

I was/am definitely a skeptic on this, although Polanco is one of my favorite ballplayers of the past decade, but I am starting to trust Amaro - he knows what he's doing.

Other than the length of the contract I think it is a good deal and the right move.

Brian Mazone.

Old Phan: I think we win 4 games more in 2010. Not because of Polanco though. Instead because of a full year of Lee and Hamels reverted back to win 15-18 games.

Kutztown: Well I think it is a flat rate. That is what I am saying. The rate is figured out as if every game sells out though. So that no shenanigans can occur. For the Phillies every game does sell out, so the Phillies make out well on the deal. However, for teams like the Nats and Pirates obviously they lose. We aren't talking about a lot of money here in the grand scheme of things. But both the players' and umpires unions get the same amount that is awarded towards pension plans.

JW: Aren't you normally opposed to homecomings for players?

Bay: I am opposed to possibility of Juan Castro as 2010 third baseman.

Next up: Pitching Depth

Lee, Hamels, Blanton and Happ are great, but they will need more than Moyer, KK and Drabek to make 162 starts over the season.

Polanco must have the right clubhouse presence for a return to Philadelphia. I would think the legs go before the arm and third base could be a perfect fit. He could also gain about twenty pounds and maybe grow three more inches to add some pop.

JW, seems to me that is a pretty large "con". And biggest problem with the signing. How can you rely on a guy to play a position that he hasn't played in 4 years? Let alone the last time he played more than 15 games in a season at 3rd was 2002 when he was here!

I am very very very surprised BLers are only looking at this signing as upgrading the lineup. We don't need to upgrade the offense. We were 4th in MLB in runs (1st in the NL), 3rd in MLB HR (1st in NL), 4th in MLB in RBI's (1st in the NL). Why did we need to upgrade offense? Polanco's range is not as good as Feliz's eithier.

I can name about 10 plays just thinking now off the top of my head that Feliz has made that saved us runs/games. How about that double play in last years world series against Tampa? Can Polanco make the play? Doubt it.

I am not saying now I wanted Feliz back. But at least someone defensively lateral to him that plays the position in the past year! I wish we made an offer to Beltre. He is the best of both offense and defense.

From the previous thread:

"Drabek could be ready by mid-season (and if he is, he will be much more then a 5th starter)."

denny, your evidence for the above comment is waht, exactly?

" I see no reason to imagine Polanco wouldn't be a competent enough third baseman. Not much range, but he can catch and throw just fine."

RSB, "Not much range"? The last I checked 2B required more range than 3B. Polanco just won his 2nd GG at 2B.

Are you serious? Really?

"How many more games do people think the Phils win in 2010 with the Polanco upgrade?"

Old Phan, based on an analysis I did late last night, Polanco alone probably adds one win. However, what's more important is the pitching. they'll have a full year of Lee - not just 2 months, and hopefully Hamels rebounds. IMHO, Blanton pitched just about as well as he can for most of last season. It will be interesting to see what they get out of Happ for a full season.


awh: You and I again for the 4th time this offseason posted identical posts.
You responded:

"Old Phan, based on an analysis I did late last night, Polanco alone probably adds one win. However, what's more important is the pitching. they'll have a full year of Lee - not just 2 months, and hopefully Hamels rebounds. IMHO, Blanton pitched just about as well as he can for most of last season. It will be interesting to see what they get out of Happ for a full season."

I wrote:

"Old Phan: I think we win 4 games more in 2010. Not because of Polanco though. Instead because of a full year of Lee and Hamels reverted back to win 15-18 games."

I am a bit more optimistic in win total. However, our analysis/reasons seem to be the same.

Good luck to Pedro Feliz.

He always showed up to play and played through a back injury that would eventually require offseason surgery.

He helped the Phillies win 2 NL Pennants and a WFC!!!

Not that he couldn't have been better, but the team results were very, very good.

At this point I think it's safe to say that the Feliz signing was a good one.

tommy, STOP! @#$%^&*(

You're freaking me out.

With Derek Jeter owning multiple Gold Gloves, I don't put too much stock in the award. PP will be serviceable at least, average at best at 3rd. I hope he has started the arm strengthening program for the long throw. I think the deal is fine. Probably 1 year too long, but what do you do when your organization has no infield depth?

awh: I watched Polanco play third base for the Phillies when he was younger and he didn't impress with his range. Did he really leave that different of an impression with you?

I mean, I'm in agreement with you about the guy. He's no liability at the position. Why nit-pick over this one thing I said? His range is average at best, but so was Feliz's. The real question is probably his arm, but I recall that he was just as accurate a thrower from 3B as Feliz.

Someone on the last thread asked why there was a need for us to compare us to the Red sox and Yankees.

Because those are some of our top competitors.

The Phillies' strength is their position players, but in terms of value, we are way behind the Yankees and Rays. But despite the lack of a DH, the Phillies still have a lineup that can compete with the Red Sox and Angels. In the NL, no one is close, and the only team within the same zip code are the Brewers. In terms of pitching, we are middle of the pack, and far below the top contenders. The Rockies, Red Sox and Braves lead the league in that regard. In fact, in terms of overall value, the Dodgers, Rockies and Braves got similar or more value out of their players than the Phillies did last year largely on the weakness of Phillies pitching.

Bottom line, the Phillies are becoming less and less cost-efficient every year due to the large salary increases for players like Howard whose performances won't increase as dramatically as their salary. This makes their long term sustainability less and less feasible given that they play in Philadelphia and not New York or LA. But putting a surge in now at the expense of future years may be worth it in the eyes of management and fans.

We all know our lineup is "explosive", this helps us move more towards "consistent". I like that a lot. He just needs to not break down in 2010 for me to be happy.

"Drabek could be ready by mid-season (and if he is, he will be much more then a 5th starter)."

denny, your evidence for the above comment is waht, exactly?

He is a potential ace. And he has been deemed "untouchable" by the Phils FO. If he starts the season and pitches like Tommy Hanson did this year in the minors for Atlanta (which is entirely possible), he will force his way up by mid-season. If he is as good as Rube and Chuckles seem to think he is (or will be), then he will be on a "Hamels-like" fasttrack to the bigs.

I also forgot to add Moyer to that list of potential 5th starters to START the 2010 season. And as I already said, Rube has already proven that he WILL go out and add a starter (or two) in mid-season if he needs to.

There is ZERO reason RIGHT NOW, to spend millions of dollars on a Randy Wolf or a John Smoltz. Its really not that imperative.

If those 1-4 wins credited to Polanco come in the postseason, I'll be happy.

I still think we'll miss Feliz's defense, but I'll be only too glad if proven wrong.

I think it is silly to say 'we don't need to upgrade the offense'. It always helps to upgrade any part of your team. Anyone who watched the World Series should have no problem with the idea of the Phillies upgrading the offense.

I wanted to add to the conversation about Polanco an opinion expressed by Jody MacDonald & Ron Dibble on XM. They agreed that Polanco is best suited to bat 2nd in the lineup, and they also agreed that moving Victorino down to 7th is not the best use of his talent and speed. Thoughts on moving Vic? (I know, most of you would prefer to move Rollins down and have Vic lead off. But he needs more plate discipline, too, I think. And either way, we'll lose speed at the top of the order.)

denny b. - Drabek is a potential ace. Sure. Drabek is also a potential #5. In a few years, he might be a #3. If he performs anything close to Tommy Hanson, that'd make him our #2 starter which would be fantastic. But what signs are there that Drabek is even close to sniffing that? I don't think they're close; not by a loooong shot.

Jonesman: Great point. Especially, when the player added brings something different to the table than the player subtracted (i.e. not swing at first pitch, actually do something other than ground out).

I'm a little sad to see Feliz go. Yeah he was frustrating as hell at the plate, but he was a joy to watch on the field.

My favorite Feliz memory: August 22 (I think), 2008. Extra-innings game against the Dodgers. Feliz hits a 3 run walk off HR to win it.

Welcome back, Placido. Please make us warm to you quickly a la Raul Ibanez.

Now... let's get some bullpen help.

Great move. Last year was an off year but a contact/plate discipline hitter is going to decline in general much slower than a power hitter. And if the signing doesn't work out, they always could trade him for a relief pitcher who sets his servants on fire.

"There is ZERO reason RIGHT NOW, to spend millions of dollars on a Randy Wolf or a John Smoltz. Its really not that imperative."

I'm not a huge fan of Smoltz of Wolf, but I can assure you that Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, Moyer, KK, and Drabek will not all be healthy and effective enough to make all 162 starts this year. Pitchers get injured. Sometimes two or three are injured at the same time.

Last year they needed starts from Bastardo, Rolo, KK, Pedro, and Lee. In previous years, they have traded for Blanton, Lohse, and Moyer. What if this year they don't have the mid-level prospects to make such a deal? They need to get depth now to last a full season.

I also believe signing Polanco after last year's signing of Ibanez and this year's signing of Schneider shows someting about Amaro.

I think we'd all agree that these are veteran players well respected in baseball for their work ethic. Professional players who will fit right in with our clubhouse and with our manager.

"They elected not to exercise their $5.5 million option to Pedro Feliz, one of the weakest run-producing third baseman in baseball over the last few seasons."

Really? You're talking about a guy who had 82 rbi's and hit .336 with runners in scoring position! Now I'm not saying Feliz was an all start but how about doing some research before posting a complete fabrication?

Moving Vic to 7th lets him loose on the basepaths. He doesn't have to hold the first baseman on for the lefties coming up next in the order. Next, there is a lot of incentive to move up to second to take out the DP possibility with Catcher-Pitcher coming up. Plus, messing with the opposing pitcher might result in even more favorable pitches to Chooch.

I also would NOT be surprised to see a major uptick in suicide squeezes next year with Vic on third and the pitcher up.

J.R.- you listed 7 pitchers, we only need 5 of them to be healthy at a given time, and for the playoffs, we only need 4. Why pay big money for a guy who will not help in the playoffs? The Phillies need to think like a perennial WS contender, because that is what they are.

The Braves, for their part, signed Saito. Probably buying high, but not a bad signing, depending on the numbers.

wow...RBI and BA w/RISP in a most recent season are your primary pieces of evidence against that argument? The word 'outlier' comes to mind concerning Pete's BA w/RISP last season...

Joel V: Feliz benefitted from having a significant number of runners on base during his time here in Philly. Just about any 3B in baseball would likely have had MORE RBI had they been swapped out for Feliz.

You can look at Feliz's OPS+ to see how he compares with other 3B in baseball in the most important stats of OBP and SLG.

The Saito and Wagner signing seem to signal the end of Gonzalez and Soriano in Atlanta. Seems like a wash at best for the Braves.

Polanco is definitely the kind of bat we can use in this lineup. 3 years seems a bit much. The big question is, of course, how he'll play at 3B. The versatility is a plus, though. I think in the end of the day Armaro deserves the benefit of the doubt. Remember how much better Ibanez ended up being in the field than Burrell and last winter not many of us saw that coming. Armaro has definitely earned some faith from us and he just filled 3B at basically the same price it was last year so now there is some money for pitching. Is Gonzalez asking too much?

Range is a nonissue, as awh correctly notes. The only worry would be Polly's arm and everything I've read said his arm remains very good. Remember, he was a SS when he came up.

FWIW, I completely agree with denny b's analysis. Amaro has said as much: There will be no SP added this winter. There WILL be a seriously improved bullpen. I expect what's left of the money goes for that. Which means we're talking about a Brandon Lyon or Rafael Soriano, either of whom could be strong setup or closer should either Madson or Lidge fail, while providing insurance against Romero's failure to recover from injury.

P.S. mvptommy's comments about Feliz's great range are hilarious. Feliz had below average range last season. He's SLOW. Sure-handed, great arm, never throw the ball away. But range? Did you watch the games last year?

Here's a surprise -- Castro was signed for $700K this year and an option for $750K next year. That's cheaper than Bruntlett was this past year. Good job Amaro Jr.!!

GBrettfan: Polanco is one of the best #2 hitters in baseball: Great contact rate, knows how to bunt, excellent at the hit & run, never strikes out etc.

The best possible lineup would be Vic #1 and Polly #2. Vic's cut down on his Ks and raised his OB.

We all know that won't happen, of course.

Joel V: This may come as a shock, but no one thinks the best measure of a player's offensive value are RBI+RISP AVG. Reason being that RBI are totally driven by who bats in front of you and RISP AVG deviates wildly year to year.

What do they consider the best measure? OPS+ So what you need to do is compare Feliz's OPS+ with that of all other major league thirdbasemen with enough PAs to qualify.

In other words, "how about doing some research before posting a complete fabrication?"

len39: The Braves not only get Wagner and Saito, they get two #1 picks PLUS two sandwich picks because Gonzlaez and Soriano were Type A.

I don't think the Phils will sign either Gonzalez or Soriano.

Notice the Phils pursuit of Polanco intensified *after* Detroit declined to offer arbitration.

I truly believe that the Phils want to keep their 1st round draft pick. After all, it's our best chance to sign a toolsy player with little chance of ever making the big leagues ;-)

In all seriousness, Type B FA Brandon Lyon will be the #1 target and I hope we get him. Add JJ Putz with an incentive-laden deal and I'll be happy with what they do in the pen.

I can't imagine we'll sign any starter. Lee-Hamels-Blanton-Happ-Moyer. Fill it out with Kendrick, Bastardo, Carpenter, etc. when necessary. Make a trade near the deadline if necessary.

While going through, I saw that Howard's career BA is higher than Rollins'. The leadoff guy usually has an OBP around .350, or at least one of the top-3 on the team (amongst the 3rd and 4th hitters). The leadoff guy also usually has an avg around .280, or probably the second highest avg on the team after the #3 guy. And of course be a high-steals guy.

Rollins has the 9th highest career OBP on the Phillies amongst batters and the 6th highest BA. And the 9th highest OPS+. However, he does lead in steals by a wide margin.


OPS+ needs to be considered alongside games played or PA for a better sense of offensive value. That said, Polanco and Feliz played in about the same number of games last year -- 150+ (although because Polanco was playing in a DH league and higher up in the order, he got something like 50 more PAs)

As of right now, I like the Polanco signing. I think he improves the line-up and gives the Phillies more flexibility to change their look based on when players need a day off, when Rollins or Victorino is hot or cold. The versatility makes the team better. He may start off as the #7 hitter, but if Rollins starts 2010 like his 2009, it is a lot easier for Cholly to make a drastic switch. If Ibanez has a big slump, Francisco slides into the 7 hole for a few games and Polanco or Victorino or Rollins hit 6th. This sort of flexibiity is valuable and should keep the team fresh into October.

The real test will be when Beltre, Figgins, DeRosa and Tejada sign. Right now Polanco seems priced right, but we will all be screaming bloody murder if Tejada signs for 1 year and 7.5 million, or Beltre for 3 years and 21 million. Is it a year too long? Lets see what the other free agents get before determining Polanco's value in the free agent market.

I'm optimistic a return to the NL and a hitter friendly park are good for Polanco, and what we lose on defense we will more than make up for on offense.

Everybody is harping on Polanco's defense but I am more concerned about his ability to handle fastball and his bat speed. Phils are signing this guy to be a .300 hitter who makes good contact.

If he suddenly loses enough bat speed to become just a .270 hitter and hit less balls to the gap (Polanco had a fair amount of doubles last year), he isn't a plus offensively. In fact, the Phils will once again have one of the worst 3rd basemen offensively in the league because of Polanco's limited power.

Guys in their mid-30s can lose their ability to hit fastballs overnight and I just hope it doesn't happen with Polanco.

clout: Correct, they're in line for 4 extra draft picks... but they also lost their own 1st round pick for signing Wagner, right?

So far Amaro has signed 2 FA (Schneider who is 33 and Polanco who is 34) who are under 35 and only 1 FA (Castro who is 38) over 35.

Amaro definitely needs to acquire some more "savviness" and "veteran presence" by signing at least 1 or 2 more geezers.

A very nice move. The NL representative in the World Series just got better. No doubt, the Debby Downers and Negative Nancy's will whine about this move just like they did about the Ibanez signing, but this team just moved that much closer to the 2010 WFC, with a better shot at winning than they had last year.

As mixed as I am on Polanco right now, he is better than the flotilla of players the Phils have put out at 3B the last 4 years which has included such legends as Feliz, Nunez, and Helms.

Channeling Stephen A. Smith, the Phils finally got someone with a bit more "lineup upside" at 3B.

CJ: Yes. They collect 4 picks and lose 1.

flipper: Wow. Given that you were the #1 Feliz cheerleader here from the day he was signed, attacking any and all criticism of the man, no matter how well-founded, I'm surprised to see you say that.

Philly blunt -
also would NOT be surprised to see a major uptick in suicide squeezes next year with Vic on third and the pitcher up.

With Cholly calling the shots, I'll be surprised if they doi it once.

Conservative estimate of Polanco's 2010 season:

159 G, 239 H, .365 AVG, .407 OBP, .443 SLG, .850 OPS, 14 HR, 154 R, 76 RBI.

****CJ: Yes. They collect 4 picks and lose 1.****

Someone should explain that to all the Braves fans screaming murder over the $10 million commitment they just made to their bullpen. It would probably make them feel better to realize they'll likely have a minimum of 4 Top 50 picks next year.

Flipper, as a "Feliz cheerleader" I am surprised at your comment as well, considering that the Phils did in fact get to the WFC the last 2 years, and I'm not sure how adding Polanco, while an upgrade over Pete, is going to make that much of an overall difference in the win column. Here's hoping.

.365! If he hits .365, I'm legally changing my name to Placido Polanco

How else will he get 239 Hits??? He'd have to hit something like that.

I'm shocked that I have no opinion on this pick-up. I am completely willing to take a wait and see attitude before casting any opinion on picking up Polanco. I guess while I wait to come up with an opinion, I'll play some music.

Oh, here's one that fits....the Shangri Las "I Can Never Go Home Anymore."

NEPP - He never walks (something like 5-6% of the time). So if he bats 2nd he could get to 700 AB. This is a joke but in 2007 he had 200 hits (.341/.388/.458). If he could turn his 37 walks that year into 37 hits, then we'd be talking.

So far, I'm liking Amaro's moves. Considering what he's done over the past couple of years, Rube deserves the benefit of the doubt. Polanco is a genuine pro who will get the job done, and Schneider will be a very capable back-up behind Chooch. Shore up the pen and we're ready for another run, boys!

"Given that you were the #1 Feliz cheerleader here from the day he was signed,"

Funny, clout - given that I wasn't even posting on BL until well after Feliz was signed.

Once again, I was never a Feliz "cheerleader." I just never got why so much animosity was directed at a good fielding, mediocre-hitting, #7 hitter in the batting order.

None of that means that while Polly is probably a downgrade defensively, he is a significant upgrade offensively - so in balance, the team will be better.

I'm not that concerned about his age. He will be a solid player for one, probably two years. I'll let the Phillies management worry about his age (and Ibanez's) in 2013, when there might be any number of replacement possibilities that there's no way anyone can predict this far out. In the meantime, we're in a better position to put one or two WFC notches in our collective belts.

Carpe diem.

I have often said over the years that the team would have done much better getting rid of David Bell instead of Polanco in '05, so it's nice to finally right that wrong and bring him back! I think he's still a great player and he can also provide much needed insurance behind Utley. I would not be surprised at all if the team also signs DeRosa as the 5th outfielder/backup infielder.

clout - Braves will definitely benefit from the added picks, as long as the teams that sign them aren't crappy teams in the top 15 picks looking for new closers.

But for the next year, I would say Soriano/Gonzalez are greater than Wagner/Saito. If you're talking about the Phillies getting old, take a look at the Braves' new bullpen backend.

I would have kept Feliz under contract for another season at $5 million and seen what could develop after the 2010 season. Feliz had better numbers than Polanco last year as far as HR and RBI, and that is his natural position.

Signing Polanco for three years with him being 34 makes no sense at all. $18 for three years also makes no sense, the Tigers didn't want him anymore, why should the Phillies?

Guys the post said "one of weakest run producing third basemen". I doesn't matter how lucky Pedro was to be in the Phillies lineup and I'm not contesting how mediocre he was as a hitter overall. But you cannot ignore he got hits when people were on base and produced runs, as evidenced by his 82 rbi's and .336 batting avg with risp.

You'd want Feliz @ $5million again? Ew.

RISP only seems to matter when they don't happen, not when they do. Strange how that works.

Yep, Old Phan, a big hit is evidently just luck. For what it's worth, I'd rather be lucky than good.

As for this move, I expect that Polanco can hold his own at 3B. Don't need alot of mobility but, 34 is hardly old and you don't win a GG at 2B w/o some agility. If his arm was strong enough 4 years ago, it's strong enough now.

He should provide them with more runs by virtue of his ability to get on base. although, my guess is he's just as much of a DP threat as Feliz.

As for 2 years down the road, I didn't expect Amaro to let one 34 year old go and sign another one for 3 years but, he obviously doesn't think 37 is old. As a business move, I think it will be interesting to see how the rest of the 3B market plays out. I guess he's making hay while the sun is shining.

MLBTradeRumors has Figgins likely going to the Mariners for 4 years, $30+ million (guessing $8 million per??)

It's pretty simple:

When looking backward to see if a player was successful, stats like wins, saves, runs scored, and RBI are the only ones that matter. When looking forward and attempting to predict future performance, those stats are meaningless.

Some stupid right here in this thread lately.

MVP: Enough with the stuff about Polanco at third. He played third in college, he played third with the Cardinals, he played third with the Phillies, he played a game there in 2008. This is not moving a guy who has never played the spot to third. This is moving a guy who has had extensive experience at third back to third.

Do I think he'll make tons of great perfect throws like Feliz? No. But his range will still be there and he's still a Gold Glove caliber fielder. Also, he seems like the type of player who is going to bust his butt working on the groundballs to get a feel for it again fully.

He'll be fine.

Anyone know the deal yet on the mutual option?

He'll wanna exercise it and the Phillies won't so how much will we have to pay him then?

And he could very well be the only .300 hitter in our lineup as no one else seems to want to do that.

Joel V. appears to be in the running for next year's MVP(Tommy) award.

So now the rumor is Figgins to sign a 4 year deal with the Mariners for an amount above $30 million. And that is out of the Phillies range? Give me a break. Polanco at $6 million and Figgins at $7+. Something wrong with this picture? Looks like Amaro screwed up.

Hitman: FoxSports is reporting the deal will be $10-12M a year, not $7M. The Phillies clearly weren't willing to go $10M per year on Figgins. I'm guessing Beltre will get $8-9M per year. Polly at $6M sounds about right. This doesn't look like an Ibanez-type mistake.

This is for denny b.: Did you see who was in that Jake Fox-Aaron Miles trade today between the A's and Cubs?

Matt Spencer, the throw-in in the Joe Blanton deal. He had a nice year, putting up a 289/.345/.488 slash-line between A/AA. Probably starts the season at Sacramento.

His K/BB ratio isn't very good, but he's pretty solid defensively and could end up being a decent LH bench guy if his HR power continues to develop in Trip A.

He was the Phils 3rd rounder in 07.

Meant to say Iowa, not Sacramento. Iowa is the Cubs Trip A team.

I'd at least wait until Figgins signs before we say he was a better bargain. It's not even clear that Figgins is better. Career stats are Polanco 303/348/414 and Figgins 291/363/388. They're very similar players. Also Polanco has been playing in one of the best pitcher's parks in baseball in the AL, so one would expect his numbers to be better in the NL.

He's a clear upgrade offensively on Feliz. That being said I would still like to add an infielder who might be capable of starting for an extended period of time. The Phillies have been very lucky with the lack of injuries to their lineup, and the odds are actually quite high that one of the three starting IF goes down for a decent period of time.

I'd love to be able to have DeRosa, too, but that's probably being too greedy, right? What a bench addition that would be.

Someone will sign him to start. Oh, well. A girl can dream.

Perhaps Jamey Carroll would be a possibility. At 273/351/350 he would not be a horrible liability if he had to start for 30 days or whatever. He also played in the outfield some last year. I think that's about as good of a hitter as you can get to come be a backup.

Starting the season with 4 outfielders looks likely, and in any event better than having Castro as your only backup at 2B and SS.

Last player that did "OK" when they came back a second time was Dick Allen. I think it was 1975 or 76. I think he hit 15 hrs... aside from that, not sure if I can think of another players that came back and did well. I like the Polanco deal. I'd rather have Figgins but who wouldn't. Now lets go a MEGA Trade for Roy Halladay and get some bullpen help!!! P.S. - Don't be surprised that Victorino may get traded. I think the Phillies think that Brown or Taylor could play next year if they had to with this lineup now.

Three years is again (Ibanez, Moyer) one too many. I would be more than fine giving him 2/12. Not 3. Doesn't make any sense, he was not likely to get that anywhere. My prediction, Beltre will end up signing for very close to this and he is a clear upgrade over polanco at his age. The Phillies don't need a number two hole hitter that many think Polanco is, they have a leadoff guy hitting two so the joke can hit leadoff. Low risk/high reward = go sign putz and harden.

I like Polanco at 3/$18 more than I like Figgins at 4/$40.

So, I'm at B-R looking to see if I can refresh my recollection of any guy (other than Dick Allen) who had a successful return to the Phillies. And I run across the this date in baseball thing and it has two entries:

1958 - In one of the worst trades in franchise history, the Philadelphia Phillies send P Jack Sanford to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for P Ruben Gómez and C Valmy Thomas. Sanford, who slipped in his sophomore year, will win 24 games for the Giants in 1962, including 16 in a row, while leading his team to the National League pennant.

1964 - In what is a fine move by the California Angels, P Bo Belinsky is sent to the Philadelphia Phillies for P Rudy May and 1B Costen Shockley.

The guy who made these swift moves is probably dead but, the statute of limitations on panning them won't run out.

Referring to Rollins as "the joke"? Really? Perhaps you should just use that as your handle because that accurately described your post

@mikemcsaudi: If they could negotiate a two year extension, I'd include Victorino or Happ in a package to land Halladay. Both are extremely overrated IMHO.

Will, the problem is they would want three more players too. It's the same reason Halladay wasn't traded during the year. Wait a year and you can get him without giving up any players.

Buster Olney said tonight on Yankees/Red Sox Tonight, that most people think Polanco will hit 2nd for the Phils.

Said the Phils brass was concerned about relying too much on the HR ball (Larry Anderson has been harping on this for months) and they wanted a guy like Polanco in their lineup.

Vic is a very good player, but he is not really a true #2 hitter. He either should be leading off (which won't happen as long as J-Roll is here) or hitting 6th or 7th.

Hitting 2nd, with Utley and Howard behind him, does not let him run as much. Hitting 7th now (as is likely) will let him get more aggressive. Plus he can drive in some runs, with high OBP guys in front of him in Werth and Ibanez.

Is the team better offensively, with Polanco or Vic batting 2nd? Is the team better with Vic or Feliz batting 7th? I think both point to the 2010 team being better, in this regard. These are upgrades on paper.

Is Schneider (if healthy) a upgrade over Bako? I don't think anyone can argue this one.

I think the Phils now will gamble on at least one veteran bullpenner with closing experience. A JJ Putz or a Brandon Lyon sounds about right. I really would have liked to see them sign Chopper, but I bet he will find a good deal somewhere else. That guy still has nasty stuff and a lower-tier team will likely give him a nice contract to pitch in a more important role for them.

As for the rest of the bench....Who takes Stairs place? Do they think Mayberry, after his strong Mexican League season, will be the guy off the bench in the OF? Will Taylor figure in at some point in 2010, if there is an injury in the OF? Will another utility-type of player be signed to go along with Castro?

I have to give Rube credit again. Haven't even gotten to Indy yet and he has already taken care of most of the off-season wish-list. And he has done it (as far as I can see) within reason financially.

And back to Drabek for a second.... When Cholly compares the kid to Tom Seaver, methinks they think he has a nice future and he might be on the fast-track. Doesn't mean he will be ready in 2010. But don't be shocked if he is.

JW mentioned a few threads ago about Moyer needing knee surgery. Anyone know more about this, like when, or recovery time?

Can somebody please explain to me why anyone would suggest moving Chase Utley off of second base? I've seen that mentioned a few times seriously in the last 2 days (I'm not referring to the tongue-in-cheek posts suggesting Werth to C, Ruiz to 3B, etc.).

Utley is widely regarded as one of the top 2 or 3 defensive second basemen in baseball. UZR should be taken with a grain of salt, but it regards Utley as the most valuable defensive player in baseball at any position.

Moving Utley to first base may have been the long-term plan when he came to the majors as a mediocre fielder, but that suggestion is completely laughable now.

DH: I think the feeling is that Utley will wear down prematurely at 2B because he plays so intensely. If Howard leaves, moving him to 1B leaves his bat in more games per year/extends his career.


I don't know the details but I read recently that whatever knee surgery he's having doesn't have an especially long recovery time, or at least not enough to affect next season because of just that.

Moyer will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee in January. Not considered a major setback. But remember he's 47.

How many surgeries is that for Jamie this off-season now? 2? 3?

His motivation (read $$) is high to come back...I'll give him that.

Utley will eventually move to 1B but lets hope its at Age 36ish instead of Age 33 or 34. He's one of those guys that is a good enough hitter that he will stay around even after his amazing defense goes away.

Part of me hopes Moyer is done and we can move on to Kendrick or someone else who can break the 80MPH barrier. Love his steadiness in '08 but he was at the end of the line in '09. He should have never been signed to a 2-year deal.

Is anyone else detecting a pattern with Rube that is scarily reminiscent of former Sixers GM Billy King? Overpaying veterans without letting the market determine the cost. Moyer, Ilbanez, and I would argue Polanco could all have been signed for less money and/or less years given market conditions.

Of course, we'd kill Amaro if he waited out the market and ended up not getting the Boras client at the end and ended up with nobody but Dobbs for third.

"I'd include Victorino or Happ in a package to land Halladay. Both are extremely overrated IMHO."

Well, Will, I'll take issue with that comment thus:

This is B*L. The very few here who have overrated Happ have been disabused of that notion. Happ's had a tremendous year for the Phillies and deserves all the credit in the world for his performance. The general consensus is that he is a #4-5 starter based on his performance in the minors and some of his periferals, and his FiP. If you think Happ is overrated you must be talking to friends who don't frequent BL.

As far as Vic is concerned, allow me to turn it around and ask:

Overrated as compared to who?

Victorino has now won 2 GG, hte second in 2009 after making only 1 (ONE) error all season(a popularity contest of sorts, yes, but he still catches what he gets to - even if it looks ugly at times) and uses his excellent speed to play a very good CF.

At the plate, Victorino has an above average OPS for his position, CF, (5th highest in MLB in 2009, 9th highest in 2008), an above average OPS for ALL OF in MLB (29th in 2008, 27th in 2009 - out of 90 starting OF) steals 25+ bases a year, and has an OPS+ of 108 the last two seasons which is above average for ALL OF in MLB.

IMHO, He would start in CF on all but about 7-9 teams (NYM, DET, LAA, LAD, MIN, CLE, BAL & maybe PIT).

In light of what I posted above, again, in what way is he overrated?


Have often had the same thought about Polanco/Bell situation and wished many, many times that Bell had gone away instead of Polanco.

Andy Martino talks about Stairs' still wanting to play ball in his blog. He commented how few ABs he had in '09:
"the lowest number of at-bats I’ve had in 14 years. It was frustrating. I’d go six, seven, eight games without an at-bat. I’d get a start and then wouldn’t get another one for 31-32 days. You want to stay as fresh as possible. I went into a funk. I didn’t get a hit for two months and it’s hard to get out of a slump when you have such great players in front of you who play every day. And they stayed healthy."

“I wanted to play, but I understood the situation. I still kept a positive attitude. I didn’t worry about my average. I was happy with my pinch-hit home runs and that I drew a lot of walks."

Just wondering, which came first: Did the bench's lack of production lead to them being used less, or did their lack of use lead to their lack of production? Should Charlie do a better job of giving his bench players starts regardless of whether his starters are healthy? (I swear I heard analysts say how Charlie did a great job of keeping his bench fresh back in '08.) Thoughts?

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