You’d Best Just Shoot Me Now–Or We Can Talk Some More

Posted by Michael Baumann, Thu, February 18, 2010 04:19 PM | Comments: 101
Payroll, Posts, Raising Questions

Please excuse a brief non-Phillies related anecdote to start. I promise, I’ll tie it in later.

In the 1970s, English soccer manager Brian Clough led Nottingham Forest to two consecutive European championships, a feat no English team has equaled since. Nottingham Forest is a small-market team whose history can be defined in three eras: pre-1975, when they sucked; 1975-1993, when Clough made them into one of the top teams in Europe, and 1993-present, when they sucked again.

Clough’s mantra was to know what all your players were worth at all times, and if you could get market value for them at any point, no matter how popular that player was, to trade him in for someone cheaper or younger. Clough’s approach worked. Need a more accessible example? This is what Bill Belichick does with the NFL’s Patriots, and we all know how well that’s worked out these past 10 years.

I’m acutely aware that what I’m about to write is going to be tremendously unpopular with our readership. I can barely believe I’m saying this now. Neither do I expect a single person to agree with me.

But this is what I think, so here it goes.

I think the Phillies should:

1) Trade Shane Victorino for whatever prospects they can get.

2) Move Jayson Werth to center and Raul Ibanez to right field.

3) Sign free agent outfielder Johnny Damon to a one or two-year contract and install him in left.

If you want to skip right to the end and start questioning my sexuality and calling for me to be tarred and feathered, I suppose that’s your prerogative. I don’t think this is a slam-dunk, and I’m aware that Damon will most likely sign with either Detroit or Atlanta in the coming days, but I think that a good argument can be made for replacing Victorino with Damon. This is that argument.

This is why the thought first occurred to me. Since the Phillies started making the playoffs again in 2007, I’ve been of the opinion that the team’s first and greatest goal should be to continue to contend for an extended period of time–five years or more, if possible. So instead of selling the farm to make one run at a title (a run that, as the Tigers found out in 2006, can be derailed by something as mundane as a pitcher’s inability to throw to the bases), it’s better to continuously roll over the roster. This approach allowed the Braves and Yankees to dominate the 1990s. I thought a better model would be to emulate the Boston Red Sox, who won the World Series in 2004, then won again in 2007 with a significantly changed cast. They made hard decisions to part with key players as they got too expensive or too old, but by trading in players like Pedro Martinez, Bill Mueller, and Keith Foulke, Clough-like decisions allowed them to stay in position to contend again this year and for the foreseeable future.

This is why I supported trading Cliff Lee to the Mariners–it will make the team weaker in 2010, but in 2012, Aumont and Gilles could be contributing well after Lee would have walked as a free agent.

So why does this justify trading one’s 29-year-old outfielder for a 36-year-old outfielder? Many reasons.

First of all, Damon and Victorino are essentially players of equal value. Victorino was an average defensive outfielder last year, and a very good one in years before that. Damon is about as bad a defensive outfielder as you’ll see. Victorino hits for a slightly higher average, but Damon walks more. Victorino steals more bases, but gets caught at a rate that just about negates what bases he steals. Damon was 12-for-12 in stolen bases last year and 27-for-30 in 2007.

Damon hits for much more power than Victorino (even considering that he played last season in the New Yankee Workshop). If you want to roll all that together, in 2009, Victornio was 10th among major league center fielders with 3.4 WAR (oh, no, not that stat again). For comparison, that puts him above Curtis Granderson (in a bad year) and just below Nate McLouth. Among left fielders, Damon was 11th, posting a 3.0 WAR with similar stats (WAR takes into account that left fielders tend to be better hitters than center fielders). Damon was ahead of Carlos Lee but behind David DeJesus.

For 2010, the Bill James predictions, based on previous performance and adjusting for age, Victorino is due for a season of .283/.343/.418 with 12 home runs, 24-for-33 on the basepaths, 95 runs scored and 59 batted in. Damon, on the other hand, is in line for .278/.355/.430 with 17 home runs, 16-for-21 stolen bases, 99 runs scored, and 70 RBI. Factor in Victorino’s superior (though overrated) defense, and the two come out more or less even. So you won’t be losing much, if anything, in terms of production for the next year.

There are a few counterarguments that I think warrant mention. Let’s start with the fact that Victorino is 29 and Damon is 36. If we’re worried about the next year or two, I don’t think that Damon declines a whole lot more from this year to the next. He’s already at the bottom end of the decline curve–he’s not going to get any worse defensively (because he can’t), and while the difference between a 25-year-old running the bases and a 38-year-old is significant, the same can’t be said for the difference between ages 36 and 37. Or 36 and 38. Again, we’re not building the team around Damon, we’re just plugging him in to fill a hole until Domonic Brown or Gilles or Anthony Gose is ready to step up.

The second major counterargument is that replacing Victorino with Damon would kill the Phillies defensively. I have no response to that other than to say it’s true. Last year, the Phillies had average-to-above-average outfield defense. Werth, while he’s a very good right fielder, would probably only be a mediocre center fielder. Ibanez, who is adequate in left, would probably be a bad defensive right fielder, and we’ve already been over Damon. I’m basing this argument on the idea that a Damon-Werth-Ibanez outfield, while not a good defensive threesome, would be enough to get by with such a small outfield. This assumption could be dead wrong, and if it is, I withdraw my objection and concede. But if it’s not, I think it’s a possibility worth exploring.

The third is that Victorino’s good enough as a center fielder–why get greedy and try to catch lightning in a bottle? This is probably the best reason not to trade Victorino and sign Damon. After all, Victorino is about an average center fielder, and it’s not like the Phillies need him to be Mickey Mantle. They’ve already won two pennants and a World Series with him, and they stand a good chance to win more. He’s signed at a fairly reasonable 3 years, $22 million. That’s not a bad deal for a player of his quality, assuming he produces in 2010-12 the way he did in 2007-2009. Another perfectly valid point. I just think the Phillies can do better.

Fourth is the platoon split issue–Victorino is a switch hitter, while Damon is a lefty, and the Phillies already have an extremely lefty-heavy lineup. To that, I say that Victorino’s OPS against lefties was only about 10 points higher than Damon’s last year, even considering that he’s a switch hitter. I’d take that hit.

Ok. On to how Damon’s better.

The whole point to the Cliff Lee deal, as I’ve said, is that you shouldn’t bank on hitting the jackpot one year when you can have a good chance of winning for several years to come. Victorino is one of the most vastly-overrated players in baseball. He has blinding speed but doesn’t cover as much ground defensively as slower players, due to bad jumps and bad positioning. He walks some, but not very much. His stolen base rate, particularly considering how well the other Davey Lopes disciples on the team do, is unacceptable for one of the fastest players in the league. These things, along with his total lack of power, suggest to me that once his legs go, he doesn’t have the peripheral skills to continue to start for a good team. And now that he’s about to turn 30, that decline might come sooner than you might think.

Everyone looks at Victorino and sees a charismatic, speedy, high-average, good-defense guy and thinks that he’s an all-star. But when you take even a cursory look at his stats beyond what you’ll see on the back of a baseball card, you’ll see someone whose reputation is writing checks his performance can’t cash.

So why not sell high? Granted, your prospect haul for Victorino wouldn’t be great, but if the recent deals for Nate McLouth and Curtis Granderson are any indication, I say you can get a decent-quality AA or AAA hitter and a long-term pitching prospect for him. For a team that’s just traded in almost all its quality top-level prospects for three starting pitchers over the past 2 years (Lee, Blanton, and Halladay), the added prospects would come as a relief.

All of the things Victorino does poorly, Damon does well. He has mid-range power, is an excellent baserunner (as we Phillies fans know all too well), and would fit perfectly into the No. 2 spot in the order. You could even structure the lineup as Damon, Rollins, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Polanco, Ruiz and not have more than two same-handed batters next to each other. Or bat Rollins first, Polanco second, and Damon seventh. It doesn’t matter to me.

One thing that doesn’t come to mind right away with Damon is how cheap he’ll be. Victorino, while reasonably-priced, makes an average of $7 million and change a year for the next 3 years. Damon’s agent, Darth Boras, overplayed his hand with the Yankees, demanding far more than his market value after the World Series. As a result, he’s still unemployed and desperate for work. Last year, the Angels pulled a similar deal off with Bobby Abreu, who wanted eight figures a year and got a one-year deal for $5 million once the market settled. I think Damon could be had for less, but we should view the Abreu deal as a baseline. Try to sign him for a year and $5 million. By the time that year is up, one of the Phillies’ outfield prospects ought to be ready to step up, and you’ve still got another season to try to find a young replacement for Raul Ibanez. The difference between Brown or Gilles’ pre-arbitration salary, plus Damon’s one year on one hand, and Victorino’s three years on the other might give the Phillies the spare cash to re-sign a more valuable player like Jayson Werth or Ryan Howard.

But by sitting on Victorino, you’re missing out on the chance to get at least one, maybe two major league-quality prospects and eliminating just enough salary wiggle room to keep the real valuable players on the team together. And in the famous words of Ricky Watters, “For who? For what?” To keep your seventh-best position player instead of trying to keep a competitive team on the field for years to come.

This is exactly the kind of tough decision that the Red Sox, Yankees, and Braves made during their runs. Remember, we root for laundry, not players. I’m not saying that trading Victorino and bringing in Damon is certainly the best move, but in order to build the kind of sustained dominance that I’m sure we all aspire to, you need to take the Brian Clough approach. There can’t be any kind of irrational emotional attachment that keeps you from even posing the question: Can the Phillies be better in the long-term without Shane Victorino? My gut says yes, and at the very least, it’s a question worth exploring.

Avatar of Michael Baumann

About Michael Baumann

Michael Baumann has written 229 articles on Phillies Nation.

Michael is a graduate student at Temple University who lost his childlike innocence when, at the age of 6, his dad let him stay up for the end of Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Unsettled by the Phillies' recent success, he has threatened over the years to leave the team he loves if they don't start losing again, but has so far been unable to follow through. Michael spent 4 years as an undercover agent in Braves territory at the University of South Carolina, where he covered football and soccer for The Daily Gamecock before moving back up north. He began writing for The Phrontiersman in June 2009 before moving to Phillies Nation in January 2010.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan Hoffman

    Hey Michael, I like that you are thinking outside the box and asking legitimate questions. A few notes, though.
    I think it is naive at this point in time to say Victorino is a mediocre-to-bad CF based on the UZR. UZR can fluctuate easily from year to year, and a weighted moving average is a more accurate depiction of a player’s true talent, of which Victorino showed much of in the years before 2009.
    Losing Vic, and moving Werth and Ibanez to CF and RF, respectively and bringing in Damon for LF will probably net the team a deduction of about 2-2.5 full wins. Thankfully, this presents us the question that we can relatively answer.
    If you keep Victorino you get 2 wins, which are being valued at about 4 million. However, at the position in the standings the Phillies are projected to be in, each win in the 85-93 gap is worth more than a normal win. So lets say those wins are worth more like 5 million.
    So, lets say Victorino throws out a 3 WAR year, then he is worth about 15 million If we assume a .5 WAR regression, and the Phillies are still in the competitive gap, lets say his services in the 2 following years will be about 12.5 and 10 million in 2011 and 12, respectively.

    So that is 15+12.5+10 = 37.5 million. Now take the NPV of that and we get approx 34.8 million at the PV of his salary which is 20.3 million. 34.9-20.3=14.6 million in value.

    Now under your proposal it breaks down like this.

    Johnny Damon:
    Let’s assume 3 WAR at 5 mil is 15 million – 5 million salary = 10 million.
    However, moving Ibanez and Werth will subtract about a win for Werth and about .75 from Ibanez. So 1.75 x 5 = 8.75. So 10-8.75 = 1.25 million dollar value.
    (This is where it gets compicated)
    Lets assume a 3rd and a 15th round draft pick as comparables to who you would get in a trade. The 2 combined are estimated on average to give about 10 wins of value in the 6 years they would be under team control. There are many different ways of how you should value these players on a dollar basis and clearly any player can do anything regardless of draft position, but this is the best way to go.
    Under this assumption these two players are probably worth about 20-25 million dollars, but then that must be brought back to present value so to be honest, when added to the 1.25 million from Damon, I would say this is about close to a wash, though it may favor the Damon and Trade move. However, that is also more of a risk.
    So, in conclusion, I think we could go either way based on-the-field value.
    However, Victorino is beloved in this city and is a very marketable star, and not that Damon isn’t himself, I don’t think I would make the move…but it would be close.

    Now…as for trading Werth…

  • Posts: 0 John

    While I certainly agree that Damon would be a bit of an offensive upgrade, I’m not convinced he would be an overall upgrade when defense is factored in. How would the extra runs he may produce weigh against runs he would allow due to poor defense? Seems like it’d wind up being a wash to me. Also, if the driving force behind this is to free salary for a Werth contract, wouldn’t you need Werth to sign a contract similar to Shane’s in order for it to work?

    This may be quite niave to think, but I’ve been hoping that Werth will work with RAJ & co to find a way to stay with the team. It’s still tough for me to believe, but the Phils are actually a team people WANT to play for these days. Remember, Roy Halladay wants to be here, resigning players are using terms like “no-brainer”, we have a class orginization; I think that makes a big difference. Again, maybe I’m niave, but I’m hanging onto the notion that Jayson likes to win and wants to continue doing so.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew

    can not lose victorinos glove. Werth makes enough mental mistakes in right he is not a very instinctive player he cant play center.
    can not happen

  • Posts: 95 Paul Boye

    Avatar of Paul Boye

    I’m very glad to see such a good number of open-minded comments.

  • Posts: 0 Bob R

    No way- Shane is young, won a gold glove, covers alot of ground and has a decent arm. Forget signing Damon-a waste of money-his best years are behind him and he is going to go downhill quickly.
    We already have many outfielders to choose from with questions about most of them. How does the new contract affect Shane? Can Raul and Werth duplicate last years performances? Brown has great potential but at this point who knows? Francisco?-a mediocre hitter-useful as a late inning defensive upgrade for Raul in left, but a below average centerfielder. Mayberry?-not sure about him but has shown some nice flashes of talent. So do you do anything now? No let’s wait and see their performances this year and then make the call.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Y.

    Why all the negativity towards Vic. The guys a 2 time gold glove and a pretty good #2 hitter,

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I’m on board with the “hatred” (maybe the wrong word…let’s use “strong dislike”) towards Johnny Damon…

    I don’t care how this MIGHT make sense on paper…on the field it would be a disaster.

    And as for Werth playing center..I think that wouldn’t be the worst thing..”he makes enough mental mistakes in right” someone said..

    True… he makes some mistakes…but he also makes some incredible plays and has an absolute cannon for an arm…so his defense in center wouldn’t necessarily scare me one bit.

  • Posts: 0 George

    There are a number of reasons NOT to do this Damon/Victorino thing, most of which have been mentioned. The two most important reasons to me are:
    1. Damon can’t play defense.
    2. The pay difference would be negligible. Vic’s pay is really reasonable, given his talent.

    There’s a reason why Damon hasn’t been signed yet, besides his agent’s ridiculous demands. He’s no longer perceived by most teams as an adequate outfielder.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    I agree with the concept, and admit I’m not a huge Vic fan (Jeff, while a decent hitter, he’s a terrible number 2 – no situational hitting ability, won’t put his bat on his shoulder when a pitcher is struggling to throw strikes, gets by on the bases more by pure speed than baserunning skill, much better suited either for lead off or bottom of the order), but you completely lost me when you went with Damon. He’s a nightmare in the outfield, can’t play every day, and he’s old. With all his faults, Vic gets on base, scares pitchers with his speed, plays solid d, and is a value at his current contract.

    The guys to look at are those whose contact is nearly up, will command a new contract that they may not live up to, or guys with big contacts, have a perceived value that isn’t quite there (or is readily available at a cheaper price), and you either have a back-up in the farm or can get a few major league ready prospects who have a skill that you are lacking. For the Phils, this is Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Blanton, Hamels, Polanco. I’d put Rollins in the list, except there aren’t a lot of ss out there. Not suggesting that any of these guys should be dumped (all are guys I like to watch, and have contributed greatly to the Phils success over the past few years), but you listen to offers.

    I agree with the premise, maybe even with Vic (everything is for sale), but replacing with Damon would be a disaster (I’d sooner fill in with Brown or Gose to get a ss prospect and an mlb ready starter).

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Paul – God bless. But I don’t believe the fact that a lot of people really hate this idea doesn’t make them close minded. Even if one thought it might be a good idea, it would never make sense to shake up a team in the middle of a world series run, not now. Trading Shane for prospects may have been a good idea 3 months ago, but not on the even of spring training. Also, remember, you fellas are thrusting the WAR metrics onto a readership that only knows what they see and they view in the context of traditional baseball wisdom. Does that make them right and you wrong? Not necessarily. That said, you can’t be surprised by the hostitlity.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Dave

    Sign Johnny Damon? You have to be kidding. I would stop watching the Phillies if they signed that ahole, I’m disappointed that you would even consider such a thing.

  • Posts: 0 SpinJamin

    I think this article is based on the fact that you think Victorino’s defense is overrated. I find that unbelievable. I mean Werth would definitely be a good enough center fielder for this scenario to make sense but Victorino covers so much ground its insane. His arm is pretty good and do you remember the Braves game? I don’t know where you are justifying Victorino’s defense is barely above average. I’d like to see some actual numbers that justify this because I watch pretty much every game and Victorino makes pitchers life a lot easier. Plate discipline is your only valid argument. Victorino is horrible at working a count and doesn’t have good situational hitting. If you even remotely think of trading someone it would be Werth. Werth’s value is high and putting Damon in there to play for Werth would sacrifice power, but you’d get more for him in prospects and Werth is too streaky in my opinion especially with a lineup that seems to have enough power. Trading Victorino just isn’t a sound baseball decision in the least unless you are robbing someone of prospects in the process.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Replacing Werth with Damon?? What are you smokin’??

  • Posts: 0 Blocky

    I agree with Michael that Victorino is one of the most over-rated players in baseball. That said, I would rather take my chances with a Mayberry/Disco platoon in right (with some more days off for Ibanez in left) and with Werth taking over center than I would thrusting Damon anywhere on the field. And that’s not just my hate talking, I just don’t trust his defensive ability at all. Simply moving Victorino to get what we can get for him allows us to open up a spot for Mayberry and Francisco to get more playing time.

    To SpinJamin – I saw that Braves game, and that was an unbelievable play. There are a lot of plays that Victorino makes that look unbelievable, and that has a lot to do with what Michael was talking about. Bad positioning + poor jumps + blinding speed = catching up to a ball just in time. Once he gets past 30 and that speed starts to disappear, I think we’ll end up seeing a lot more balls fall in because (to quote Michael) he lacks to peripheral skills to get by after 30. Bottom line – once his speed disappears, he will lose just about all of his value. He’ll become a defensive liability and a contact hitter with no power and terrible plate discipline.

  • Posts: 0 SpinJamin

    First off I want to say I really don’t like Johnny Damon at all and I think this whole article is a ridiculous conversation anyways, but I’m bored and I’ll talk Phillies with anyone.

    With that being said. I’m just not one of those people that overrates Victorino, he is what he is. Very passionate player with a lot of talent and lets his emotions play into his game a lot as by his lack of plate discipline and frustrating at bats that he has during the season. But I am all for his defense. It’s pretty damn good. You can’t find guys that can cover ground like him anywhere and I’m not convinced that he’s in bad positions all the time. He takes chances by playing shallow to help out his pitchers and I think it works wonders for those lame ass bloops that drop in. The only knock on him in CF I really give him is that he isn’t great at reading the ball off the bat. You don’t see an upgrade in defense in CF over Werth or Rowand when he was here? To me its pretty obvious he is better.

    As for Werth, I think he has way more value at this point and would command more prospects(which is really the whole point of this article). To me Werth is not an essential cornerstone piece of this team, he is a great compliment to an already good team(Phillies lineup has plenty of power). I don’t like to look at the World Series and see the flaws there and go thats what we need to improve unless they are issues that have been present all season……..pitching depth. Victorino is enough offensively and has a knack for big hits. The offense for the Phillies is the least of their concerns. Plus Victorino in the 6th or 7th hole is gonna be pretty damn nice to have.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    While the concept of trading players if they are overvalued is valid this is NOT an example. Firstly you state that the contract in place “He’s signed at a fairly reasonable 3 years, $22 million. That’s not a bad deal for a player of his quality”. So, we know his value and he is NOT overvalued by your own admission.
    Second point – you admit “Granted, your prospect haul for Victorino wouldn’t be great,” so really what is the point?
    Now, why not really push the envelope which is where I thought you were going. Why not trade Howard for prospects? I am not convinced that Howard is really worth the $20 million/yr considering his strike out rate and rally killing at bats vs LH pitching.
    I am sure we could get some really great prospects for him and there are plenty of power first basemen available each year to plug in. Now that would be an interesting article and debate. Seems this article was drive by Damon’s availability.
    This has to be the worst article I have seen on this site.

  • Posts: 0 Matt

    Having an outfield of Damon and Ibanez at the corners would be comparable to just putting that bronze statue of Mike Schmidt in to play third base. That would be a terrible defensive OF. Hey, why stop there? Let’s bring in Adam Dunn to man center field, too. Now THAT would be a great defensive outfield!

  • Posts: 0 Evan

    I think that an OF of Ibanez, Werth, Damon is just too poor defensively to get by. Damon is already pretty weak in the outfield, he’s another year older and not getting any better.

    That and Victorino isn’t the kind of player you mess with. He’ll probably have a slow decline over the years he’s under contract, but he’s fairly cheap for what he provides. Victorino is projected to be worth $11 mil next year by WAR. He’s not going to get slow overnight.

  • Posts: 0 Common Sense

    I can’t believe you spent so much time writing such garbage. I wish I could have that 5 minutes of my life back. Trade Shane Victorino ???WTF and sign Johnny Damon. DOUBLE WTF!?!?!?!

    This is crazy talk and a bad idea from any angle you look at it from. I honestly cant think of one good reason to sign Johny Damon. He is older, slower, hits for lower average, is obviously a turncoat of low moral character that would not fir as well in the locker room( going from sox to yankees) plus the philles would lose the Hawaiin fan base we worked so hard to corner.

    Worst blog entry every.

  • Posts: 0 Phils4Life

    As Michael Bolton says in the movie Office Space….

    “That’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard in my life”

  • Posts: 0 Common Sense

    Why trade a 29 year old gold glove all star centerfielder for some mid level AA or AAA prospects so you can sign a 39 year old player who is very bad defensively? It honestly makes no sense.
    The ryan howard trade at least would make sense from a baseball standpoint while your trade is the worst piece of garbage I have ever read in my life. Thanks for the laugh.

  • Posts: 0 Common Sense

    Oh an of course you would support the Cliff Lee trade even though that was a horrible baseball move. I think that everybody that knows baseball would agree that if Cliff AND Roy are on the same staff the odds the Philles winning the World Series this year are greater than those prospects being worth much of anything in the next three years.

    How bout them Eagles they have been contending for 10 years and how are your feelings towards them compared to the Philles. The fans want championships not a contending team. Give me Cliff Lee on the Philles staff and basically what amounts to a stone cold mortal lock at another shot at the World Series. Not some def kid, a canadian who can barley speak english and some latino pitcher than come a dime a dozen this day and age.

  • Posts: 95 Paul Boye

    Avatar of Paul Boye

    It’s better baseball to set yourself up to be a serious contender for multiple years instead of banking on one single year. It’s far from a sure thing.

    Also, a Gold Glove is an arbitrary award often given to players who are more known for offense, have established a reputation as being a good defender, or just really aren’t that good. Heck, look at Rafael Palmeiro winning a Gold Glove in 1999 when he played a grand total of 28 games at first base. That’s not an award you should judge defense on.

    Scouting and numbers have both shown that Victorino is a below-average fielder who can compensate for poor routes and reads with his speed. He hits for a nice average, but Damon makes fewer outs. All that said, I’d still prefer Victorino in CF.

    What Mike is trying to do is open your eyes a little. We know that this particular idea may not work, sure, but we as Phillies fans tend to overrate our own once we become attached to them. That’s fine, that’s fanhood. But Victorino is not indispensable, and he is no longer an elite defensive CF. Johnny Damon may not be the answer or a logical replacement, but life without Victorino is neither bleak nor unimaginable.

    Also, in the future, instead of responding with righteous rage to an idea you disagree with, take a deep breath and respond with your counter-argument. Getting mad and hurling insults is a good way to get ignored, while being rational and at least attempting to make points that are backed up with numbers or history are good ways to earn respect.

  • Posts: 0 John

    Agreed Paul, I used to do a lot more posting and writing about the Phils and baseball in general, but I became frustrated with similar types of replies that offer criticism and insult without any kind of discussion or counter argument. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t more places that fans can’t discuss ideas & theories in a civilizedand rational manner. This does seem to be one of the better blogs in that regard though. Also, nice job by the author, though I am not convinced. Just had neglected to mention that in my earlier reply.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Paul Boyle – I am open to ideas and have no problem considering any proposal. I personally recognize that Victorino takes horrible routes and is really no Gold Glove outfielder. However, the write of this article did not even support his premise. If you read my post above you will see that while Victorino is not, IMHO, an all-star, he is not overvalued in terms of compensation. The premise is to trade your overvalued assets for something of value.
    As I said, let’s talk about trading Ryan Howard. At least I believe we can get tremendous value for him. But Victorino is an average CF paid slightly below average. I would like to talk about trading Howard, what we could get for him and what we would do with the $20 million per year. Think abou this – Cliff Lee and prospects or Ryan Howard. Fill in your average 25HR first baseman (presumably a better fielder!). That is the discussion we should have.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Common Sense…

    I supported the Cliff Lee trade….for all the reasons that have been already hashed out and stated..

    But I also agree with you that this idea probably isn’t a good one.. It’s hard to believe that Michael spent so much time on this…BUT…I will have to say that it did open up the discussion…and that’s what he was probably trying to do in the first place..


    From my perspective…and I’m sure I speak for some of us (but not all)…this article was TOO LONG..honestly, I didn’t read the whole thing..just skimmed the highlights to get the main points…

    Maybe shorter pieces would be easier for us to get our arms around…Just sayin’

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    I agree that Phillies fans become overattached to their teams but as you say, they are fans. I don’t care whether this guy is from Hawaiii or whatever nickname he has picked up. Victorino’s passion results in occasional lack of focus, poor baserunning, etc. But, in total, he produces and his compensation is very reasonable.
    If we want to get something we have to give something. It has to be significant like Lee. I do not fault Amaro for the deal. Whether he picked up value or not will be seen but you have to stock the farm if nothing more than for trade bait.
    This team is built for runs but we need to improve pitching. I would like to see us talk about sacrificing a big bat for some pitching – either now or for prospects.
    I always say, all I want is good September baseball i.e. we are in the hunt. October baseball is an extra benefit. The WS is about being lucky.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I think it’s a bit more than “being lucky”…but in the postseason ANYTHING can happen….that’s why it’s even amazing that the Phillies got to the WS two years in a row.. They had to get past 2 other teams…twice….and two of those series are short series (NLDS).

  • Posts: 0 Matt

    Why do you call Victorino an average center fielder again and again? He was awarded the gold glove for being better than the other center fielders.

  • Posts: 0 Bill

    This might be the worst article i have ever read. Why would you get rid of Vic it makes no sense. He wins a gold glove and throws people out at the plate all the time but he is an average outfielder? He steals 27-30 bags that pretty good i don’t know what your talking about. Im so glad i stopped looking at this site for exactly this reasons. Writers on here don’t know what the hell they are talking about!

  • Posts: 0 brian

    You didn’t even mention what victorino does for our clubhouse. He has a presence that keeps everyone loose. That is an important trait to have on a championship contending team. I’m not saying that damon doesn’t have this trait. I am saying that victorino jokes and keeps the energy going. Much like a kruk, or johnstone.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Bill. Bill. Oh, Bill.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    If you stopped looking at this site…then why are you even on it now?

    I realize that some of the articles are…ahem….kinda out there sometimes….but you gotta admit it’s pretty entertaining..

  • Posts: 95 Paul Boye

    Avatar of Paul Boye

    They’re [the articles] meant to stimulate thought and discussion, not to incite civil war.

  • Posts: 0 Commone sense

    Stop defending the Lee trade under the premise of , “contending for years” Its a weak arguement at best. The prospects we got are NOT highly touted. Realize we traded a pitcher who has a CY young in the AL and one of the best post seasons of all time under his belt not to mention a salary under 10 mil for three slghtly above average prospects. Get a grip on reality I hope these prospects prove me wrong but the fact of the matter is that nobody that rates prospects for a living rates these three guys very high in their ability to succeed at the major league level.

  • Posts: 0 Commone sense

    the blog entry was very entertaining and it’s good to try and tinker with the team. It’s the offseason and we are all looking toward opening day. I am still bitter over the Lee trade as I think that a pitching staff with both Lee an Roy gives the phillies the best chance to win another championship. Prospects are just that prospects. We could have had one of the best rotations of all time and instead we have three players that may or may not be good. As a fan I want a historical rotation not three dudes winning games for places like reading and Allentown.

  • Posts: 95 Paul Boye

    Avatar of Paul Boye


    I understand that it’s hard to wrap one’s head around the trade, but it’s better than we trade for prospects who could be ready and [roductive in 2010 or ’11 as opposed to ’14 or ’15

  • Posts: 0 Commone sense

    No actaully I have no problems wrapping my head around something.( whatever that means) we shouldn’t have traded a cy young award winner and literally a postseason legend for a few prospects. stop trying to fluff mr amaro. I think we have a great comparison over ther at the linc. Fans don’t want a contender they want a champion. I don’t think that anybody can argue that cliff and Roy give the philles the best chance to win another world series. Prospects give the phillies a chance to contend. I don’t care about contending. Ask flyers fans and eagles fans if they are happy their teams are contenders when comparing it to parades. Contending is a word from the business stand point. It gives ownership the ability to atract a crowd year after year
    thus increasing revenue.

  • Posts: 95 Paul Boye

    Avatar of Paul Boye

    Well, what if the go-for-it-all plan failed in 2010? If we kept Lee, didn’t get the prospects, and had the extra payroll burden and failed to win the Series…what then?

    We get prospects who wouldn’t be ready until 2015, financial repercussions for going above the level of affordability, and a totally different dynamic.

    Shoot, look at the way this regime has drafted. Look up the numbers of Anthony Hewitt and Kelly Dugan. These are project guys, prospects who need a LOT of work before being ready for professional baseball. We would have NOTHING in the upper levels of our minors, lose Lee, possibly lose Blanton, and have no guarantees of signing a free agent starter. The certainty provided by the Blanton extension and the security blanket provided through the Lee trade (at least, more security than we would have had than free agent, Type A picks) make plenty of sense to me.

  • Posts: 95 Paul Boye

    Avatar of Paul Boye

    The playoffs are such a crapshoot that one better starting pitcher is far from a guarantee of a series win.

  • Posts: 0 Evelyn


  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Paul -

    You can defend the Lee trade. Thats cool. But please, three minor league draft picks that have not played part high A ball is not a security blanket. The vast majority of these guys go bust and you know that. I like the Blanton extension but I don’t see how the signing of a 3.5 starter impacts on the Lee move. It was gonna happen with or without Cliff Lee.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Amen, Paul!! “The playoffs are such a crapshoot.”

  • Posts: 0 common sense

    I think it is way overstated the playoffs are a crap shoot when looking at recent trends. I think the past two years the best teams from each league have played in the world series and probably the better team won each time. So as of late I dont think the playoffs have been much a crap shoot. What is really a crap shoot is slightly above average prospects succeeding at the Major League level.

    That is the main reason you would want to keep Lee even if it is just for one more year. It gives the Phillies the best chance to win another championship and it buffers you against injury to any of your top three starters. Lets talk parades down Broad in 2010 not contending in 2012. Its a cop out by Amaro to say he wants to contend year after year because the Philles are going to contend even if those three prospects we got for Lee amount to nothing.

  • Posts: 0 Craig

    First of all, to those who are (still) complaining about the Cliff Lee trade: he is not reporting to Clearwater. Please get past it. No matter how much complaining is done, he will not be back in red pinstripes. Yes, I know the rotation would’ve been great with him, the team could’ve got better players for him, etc. I, too, would have loved to have seen the Halladay – Lee – Hamels rotation. But it’s done, he’s gone. Please move on.

    Second, I’m ok with parting ways with Victorino. I agree he isn’t as good a player as we think he is and his trade value will likely never be higher. He is playing well and his contract is attractive to other GM’s so he could bring back minor league talent. And as much as we want to keep this core of players together, Shane isn’t necessarily part of the core that we want to build around.

    That being said, I’m not sure Johnny Damon is the answer but some counter arguments to those who are totally against Damon:

    1. Back in 2006, do you think Yankees fans had similiar feelings about having to root for Damon back then? Do you think they feel the same way now?

    2. For a guy who “isn’t very good”, he was the #2 hitter for a very powerful World Series winning lineup. He must be doing something right. He’s not very good defensively, but he is a smart player at bat and on the bases… things that are a plus to ANY team.

    Finally, I think Mike’s article was well-written and thought out very well. Like most any article on this site, it is going to be an “opinion”. Just like the comments will ALSO be “opinion”. That doesn’t make anyone’s opinions any more right or wrong. I’d love to see a little less of the tarring & feathering in the comments!


  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Paul, Craig, et als. – Do you think Vic’s contract is a help or a hindrance if we wanted to move him?

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 PhxPhilly

    At this point I think his contract is a benefit. Most GM’s are trying to lock-up young talent and are willing to risk being wrong on year 3 than for a full free agent contract.
    However, the contract will make Victorino more difficult to trade his last year. His status as a Type A will be in question, he is not a true difference maker, and he likely will not be worth a long term contract. The Phillies (or another team) will probably not arbitrate him because he will not deserve a raise and therefore no draft pick compensation which is going to hurt his value to some GMs.

  • Posts: 0 Craig

    Dipsy – I think it makes him easier to trade…. this year or next. I agree with PhxPhilly as far as the final year goes. But as we’ve seen with Amaro (and other GM’s too), he seems to rather have a concrete idea on what the team is spending on X number of players… and then work the rest of the roster around that. I guess that’s easier than trying to “guess” what players will be making the following season, especially in arbitration.

    Also, if Victorino isn’t locked into a contract, certain teams may not be willing to trade for him. A monster 2010 season might make him too expensive in arbitration in 2011 for those teams.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Ok Ok…But is this even something that the Phillies are thinking of doing??

    Maybe he is easier to trade, but other than trying to figure out how to shed payroll to keep Werth…why would the Phillies trade a Gold Glove centerfielder??

  • Posts: 0 Brian Sr. of CO

    Im glad that it appears most people think this is a hair brained idea. This is beyond insanity. I can maybe understand the Damon for Ibanez, but the rest? Thats like saying we need to bench Utley because he had two straight games with an error in the 2009 playoffs (it was suggested). I dont remember who suggested Cholly bench Utley was, but my question to that person is…How did Utley do in the 2009 World Series? It it wasnt for Utley and Lee, would more than likely would have been swept.

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