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Phils Scout Wrong White Sox Relievers

Posted by Michael Baumann, Mon, May 24, 2010 01:12 PM | Comments: 62
Analysis, Posts

It has been reported that agents of Philadelphia subterfuge are in Chicago. According to the rumor, Phillies scouts are examining two White Sox relievers, J.J. Putz and Bobby Jenks.

It’s good to see that the Phillies, having witnessed the rash of injuries to their late-inning relievers (Lidge, Romero, Madson) in recent months (and the maddening inconsistency of Danys Baez and David Herndon) are taking steps to rectify the situation. I’d even say that the White Sox, now seven games under .500 after being expected to contend for the division title, are in a position to cut payroll and throw in the towel on the season. The Sox also have a surfeit of effective relief pitching. As such, they’d be a perfect trading partner to the Phillies, a team trying to find a solution to its most dangerous weakness.

But Jenks and Putz aren’t the White Sox relievers the Phillies ought to be looking at.

Because he’s not a closer and he pitches in a different league and a different time zone, I’d wager that many of you have never heard of Matt Thornton. But if he’s not the best reliever in the game, he’s in the conversation.

Thornton is a 6-foot-6, 34-year-old lefty who finished last year second among relief pitchers in WAR, behind only Jonathan Broxton. This season, he’s struck out 26 batters and issued only two unintentional walks in 17 IP. Over the past three seasons, batters swing and miss at his pitches in the strike zone almost 20% more often than the average pitcher. He throws hard (his fastball averages about 96 mph), gets ground balls, misses bats, and doesn’t walk batters. Worried about him being a lefty-only guy? His career platoon splits are negligible. There is literally nothing more you could ask of a reliever than what Thornton has delivered to the White Sox this season.

Are Putz and Jenks serviceable relievers? Certainly. Putz is having a good season, and has had even better in recent years (last year’s meltdown with the Mets notwithstanding). Jenks is the co-owner of the record for most consecutive batters retired, has a blistering fastball, and has been generally solid since taking over the closer’s role for Chicago in 2005. But both are flawed. Putz did melt down last year, and Jenks, in addition to always having had control problems, has seen his strikeouts drop and his home runs go up.

Are Putz and Jenks as good as anything the Phillies have? Sure. But Thornton’s better than either. The Phillies have traded for quality pitching often and wisely over the past three seasons, but they have paid dearly for Lidge, Blanton, Lee, and Halladay in both money and in young talent. If they trade for some combination of Jenks, Putz, and Thornton, they will pay dearly again from an increasingly thin pool of bargaining chips. So if you’re going to give up what few prospects you have left, it makes sense to get the best. And the best is Matt Thornton.

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: 580 Brian Michael

    Avatar of Brian Michael

    I can see the signs now if trade talks get serious: “Jayson is Werth more than that Putz”

     
  • Posts: 580 Brian Michael

    Avatar of Brian Michael

    I’d also like to see the Phillies look into Joakim Soria. Don’t think it would take too much to pry him from the Royals, and he’s got a pretty decent contract that could keep him in Philly through 2014. He’s only 26.

     
  • Posts: 580 Brian Michael

    Avatar of Brian Michael

    The phillies wont trade brown, and cosart is untouchable, cant figure out what it would take to get a thorton or putz? There isnt much left on the farm, only mathieson at triple a who is really looking good, and brown and maybe aumont at reading?

     
  • Posts: 580 Brian Michael

    Avatar of Brian Michael

    Uh……do you think that the White Sox know how good Thornton is? Maybe they don’t. Do they have WAR in Chicago? Mikemike….Cosart untouchable? C’mon man. I would love to get another lefty in the pen. J.C. is looking pretty good lately, too. Kinda. I still think Eyre will be back. Don’t the Phillies, at some point, have to make a decision about Werth if they know they’re not going to sign him? And if they do, should they trade Werth in the next few months or just let him walk in the off season with “squatt-ah”? As good as Werth is, and he is fabulous, can you just watch him go and not get something back. THOUGHTS. If a team wants Werth now, and will sign him to an extension, should we trade him if we can get the following?:

    1. A righty bat for the outfield; and
    2. A good bullpen arm.

    Just asking a question.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 580 Brian Michael

    Avatar of Brian Michael

    I just checked Thornton’s stats. Damn, he’s good.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Dave S

    It wouldn’t take much to pry Soria from KC? Are you crazy? It would take a ton, if not just for the reasons you mention, but also because he’s a legitimate top line closer.

    As far as Thornton is concerned, ChiSox know how good he is. I think they want to give him the closer job now, which is why Jenks is available. Jenks should be available for CHEAP, think Thome from when we had him, and had Ryan waiting for the 1B job…only Jenks isn’t as valuable.

     
  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    Damn you have me scratching my head !!!! Great article, a lot to think about. We surely need relief and I believe that David Herndon — because he is a sinker-baller — will get better with experience and innings pitched. Sinker ballers tend to improve as they get a little “tired” or “fatigued” because their balls have more bite. But I may be just stupid. Thornton does look damn good.

     
  • Posts: 0 Scotch Man

    Pat Burell is 4th in DH votes for the All Star Game! Do what you do Phillies fans! Vote for Pat!

    http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/the_sporting_blog/entry/view/67060

     
  • Posts: 0 The Second John

    The Phillies should start building for the future as well as for now. And in my opinion, I think they need to keep their lower level prospects so they can develop. Let’s not kid ourselves in thinking that our core is not growing older. They are aging really quick, they’ll need replacements soon. I’m not saying I’d be opposed to trading for anyone. However, I would be opposed to trade for someone like Thornton who would demand a couple of the Phills’ blue chip prospects.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Second John

    Wow, I apologize for the grammar mistakes made in the comment above.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Jenks…. Ergh

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Your not trading Werth unless your double-digit games back, with his situation you do take the draft picks and hope their good ones if he walks. I know Lee will be brought up here but it was a different situation because the Phils had to replenish the prospect pool with a view to 2011/2012.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I think if you can get = value for Werth and fill his position, you could do it. For instance, lets take a hypo. Would you trade Jason Werth for Victorino and Madson (if they were on another team of course) In the Phils position, I would because that equal value. It would really depend on the package because he is NOT resigning. As for the Lee situation, our minor leagues still stink.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    From what I’ve read, Thornton will not be traded because he will be the Chisox’s closer when they figure what to do with Jenks.

    Also, the Phils are only doing what all teams do: they are looking “just in case.” The front office is still relying on the return of people from the DL, and will only trade if absolutely necessary. That is, they will only make a trade if Lidge and Madson don’t return, or are horrible when they do.

    Seeing as how Werth would only be a rental, or that another team would have to sign him to a very expensive extension, I think the Phils would only get back prospects (although they would be very high-end prospects). If they’re out of the race, yes, I’d trade him for the right chips. If they’re still in it though (and everything says they will be) they’d be foolish to give up Werth. Also, I’ve yet to read anything that says the front office knows they won’t re-sign him, so The Dipsy’s trade question is premature.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Well were polar opposites on our views on the minor league system…

    If a team wants Werth it’s because their making a run and want to add a power bat to the heart of their line-up purely as a rental. NO team is going to take away a promising/established everyday outfield and a set-up man. I get your example but it just aint happening unless another teams GM is intent on self-destruction. If you can find an AL team with a realistic corner outfield/SU package suggest it but it’s stretching baseball trading traditions.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    But your not trading Werth in the middle of a pennant race when your the favorites to win the NL after back-to-back Series appearances… That’s the reason there’s the compensation system, it is what it is.

    I get trading for Jenks but not for anything of value, he’s making a ton for a guy who can nowhere near justify that salary and is a non-tender candidate supposedly because of it. I’d hate to see the Phils try and cut corners with the closers role the same way we did with Helms, Jenkins etc or even worse cripple our payroll going after a guy like Papelborn.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I understand that the odds of getting equal value for Werth are long. But if that opportunity somehow presents itself, the Phils should consider doing it? Hey, maybe Boston or LAA or NYY go brain dead and decide they want Werth and don’t wanna wait until the offseason to get into that feeding frenzy? Not probable. Not impossible, either.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    The chances though are on a par with Seattle trading King Felix… There’s no recent precedent for it cause it just doesn’t make sense for both sides. For the team that gets him he’s still walking unless you pay him more than he’s expected to get on the market AND give up two of your core who the Phils want. On the Phils Amaro would be crucified for trading a possible career year Werth during a title run.

    Plus when you look at the Yanks, Sox (who are very unlikely to make desperation moves) or the LAA there’s only one name you can come up with who’s tradable outfield… Nick Swisher…

    Are you taking Swisher and say Robertson (cause your not getting Joba or Hughes) for Werth? HELL NO
    Delcarmen and Hermida? HELL NO
    Reggie Wilits and Kevin Jepsen? HELL NO
    Mariners aren’t giving you Guti
    David Murphy and Frank Francisco? HELL NO
    Twins would never happen
    Tigers have less to offer than the Angels…

    Sorry but thats the reality

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff of Nova

    One bad weekend and here come all the rumors

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Someone might covet Jason Werth to the extent that they would extend him if they can make the deal. Ellsbury/Bard? Dodgers? In the end, they will keep him and make the run unless somehow they can free up payroll…which leads me to my ultimate mad scientist deal: Ibanez and Madson for Manny and Sherrill.

    McCourt would like free up some cash. Manny is a tremendous hitter and makes 20m. We’ll take him and give back Ibanez’s contract stretched over two seasons. The Dodgers might like that. I don’t know if they’re in love with Manny right now. Sherrill gives us the LHP and stud reliever and Madson goes back as the guy who makes less money and is as good as Sherrill, but just cant close games. We take back short term payroll and Manny comes off next year, clearing the space for Werth. Any takers. Sure, Manny is a whack, but he is a hitting genius. He’ll poison the locker room? He has two WS rings and he loves Charlie.

    Jimmy
    Chase
    Jayson
    Ryan
    Manny
    Polanco
    Shane
    Chooch

    Any takers?

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Here is the question that I need to ask Ruben:

    “What do you want?” He pushed to hard to sign Ibanez and Moyer and made great moves for the future with the Howard, Vic, Utley and Rollins extensions.

    Does Ruben want to become a perennial NL East contender or will he be satisfied to gather anothe WS visit and hopefully win.
    To me, Ruben has some room to move and the opportunity to do it. Its crazy that Lidge took another cortizone shot – he’ll probably kill his arm trying to regain some of that 08 magic but the reality is it aint happening. Madsen has gotten the spotlight time and time again, he does not want it. I think a move has to be made. Not just for this year but the next few. If Ruben wants to carry on this winning tradition, he will continue to make sharp moves. I think too besides Madsen, Herndan, Baez and Romero are all trade worthy.
    Jeff, we kinda hope that Ruben might want some of the same things for the Phils as we do.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    And I am confident Dispy, that the Phils will find a way to sign Jason Werth.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Brooks, not to be an a-hole.. but cmon! JaYson, MadsOn, HerndOn…

    :x

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Brooks – I believe that Ruben has very little to do with signing Werth. If the owners green light the cash, he will sign him. If they don’t, he won’t. Its that simple. I just don’t think they wanna be tied into Werth for 6 years at huge money. 3 years, ok. We can’t have everyone (even though we should :)

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 shag beta sigma delta

    Dipsy you are crazy, you really want Manny hear he is all done can not play defense, and as seen last year in the end can not catch up to inside heat any more, and Sherill in the playoffs was bad also. I do not want either of them. I know no one on here believes it but Jayson will sign with the Phillies before he even hits FA.
    As far as the bull pen is concerned, I really just do not get it. JC is coming around as of late. Herdan their is a reason he was rule 5. And why not bring some of the guys we have up and try them out instead of trying to figure out a trade. Build from within works

     
  • Posts: 0 shag beta sigma delta

    And it will not take 6 years to sign Wreth in Philly, he wants to play here he will take 4 or 5, and before you start ranting about this is his one shot to make his money, I am sorry but 4 or 5 years 60-75 million is a butt load of money and he would take it to stay here, then get 3 more at 10-12 million being a DH in LA

     
  • Posts: 0 shag beta sigma delta

    Dipsy I hope you have not left already I miss arguing with you

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    I like 4 shag but 5 would be nice.

    thanks for pickin’ manny, someone had to!

     
  • Posts: 0 Jim

    since its an off day and given the current situation…. The flyers for the ashburn?

     
  • Posts: 0 Aaron

    I think this discussion will all be in the past once the core of our bullpen comes back healthy and gain a few games under their belt.

     
  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    Halladay had trouble with his pitches staying up over the plate yet you have to give Boston credit. They have good hitters in their lineup and when they get on a roll, they are hard to beat. Halladay is 14-15 in his career against the Red Sox now so it is clear that he has only had so-so success against them over the years. Then of course, Dobb’s error and the offense not showing up did not help matters much either.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lawrencelot

    Thornton!!! Thornton!!! He should be the target. Grab him cheap.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I think a problem that the Phils have with signing Werth is that they have already exceeded payroll with Howard and if they sign Werth, with the team constituted as is, ownership will set precedent that they will exceed payroll and not just by a little, but by a lot. AND/OR it will verify in some fans’ minds, including mine, that all that payroll number salary cap mumbo jumbo is complete arbitrary bull. That said, I hope they sign Jayson. He is turning into a great player.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Yeah, and to further that argument, Dipsy, people will then go back to the Lee situation and say, “Well, how come we have the money for Werth and we didn’t for Cliff Lee? What about that salary cap?” I can just hear it now.

    That said….SIGN JAYSON!!

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    A big assumption is signing Werth with “the team constituted as is”. Howard, Utley, and Halladay aren’t going anywhere. Ruiz is a bargain at current contract, so he’ll stay. Everyone else is fair game. The only guy I see moving during the season is Ibanez (although his contract is going to be tough to move, would have to be packaged with someone else, or part of the contract eaten). Any other move would occur after the season.

     
  • Posts: 0 Tits Mcgee

    First of all, I seriously doubt the White Sox are giving up on the year and throwing in the towel — right now.

    Thornton is a great reliever, no doubt about it … but I seriously doubt the White Sox trade him. One of the reasons being, he’s their Only reliable lefty in their bullpen. Seriously, look at the rest of their pen. Randy Williams? Garbage.

    Secondly, he isn’t too healthy himself at the moment. He is dealing with triceps soreness and has been used sparingly since the 15th.

    Realistically, I wouldn’t mind having Putz. He’s only due 3 Mil this year and could be had for considerably less then Jenks or Thornton.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Yes, Tits (did I just say that?), lest we not forget that Ken Harrelson is notorious for throwing in the towel early. Remember a few years ago when he made some dump deals when he was, like, 3 games out of first place? (Doing the right the thing all the while by the way). I feel that you can can trade Jayson if you can get a good hitting righty outfielder back and perhaps some prospects or one or two GOOD prospects (of course Werth would have to agree to an extension). I want Manny! Sure it’ll hurt.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Can we all just PLEASE FOCUS on the idea of Jayson staying instead of trading him? Maybe he won’t re-sign here. Maybe it’s unrealistic. Or maybe he will. I just think that to talk like he is gone is silly at this point…..when there is a legitimate chance that the Phils keep him.

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Dipsy, what gives you the impression that Werth has any interest in signing an extension with another organization? Werth was very likely the Phil’s priority in the off-season. When they couldn’t extend him, they extended Vic and Howard (I don’t think Ruiz or Blanton had anything to do with Werth). If Werth wasn’t interested in extending on a competitive organization that he knows/appears to like, in a city that appreciates him, and a ballpark he hits well in, why would he sign an extension to an unknown team? Everything he has stated this season indicates he wants to at least assess his value on the open market. Without an extension, Werth has no value on the market – he’ll remain a Phil this year.

    In regard to the bullpen – a truly terrible place to spend big money. The pen isn’t hurting the Phils right now – the lack of offense is. Big names rarely work out – much better off hitting the scrap heap (such as Contreras) to get you through until Lidge/Madson get healthy. If Lidge is done, I’d much rather take my chances with what we’ve got, maybe bring up Mathieson, than burn a few more prospects or take on a big contract.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Dipsy you might want to bow out before saying things like you want Manny (who’s also in a walk year)… Also how has George Sherrill worked out for the Dodgers? Not well and they gave up a package that include a stud 3rd base prospect.

    No player without 10/5 right is going to be traded in his walk year and then re-sign with that team before testing the market. Remember the Johan thing? The attitude from the Sox and Yanks was we don’t want to give up the prospect/players so we’ll blow him away in free agency if we want him that bad.

    Talking a Werth deal is just silly, the Phils will not trade him if we’re in contention. Period.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Suggesting Manny for this team is about as ludicrous as the Jermaine Dye argument some time back. WTF??!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    I don’t know why we insist upon discussing one-way trades that depend on total stupidity of the other side or ignoring financial realities. This is not realistic and worse, makes actual trades “look bad” because of what “we could” have got. The facts are that Werth is key to this team and we are in contention, making a trade highly improbable unless Phils get equal value in 2010. Why someone would trade equal value is beyond me as they only get a partial season of Werth.

    Last I looked Manny was already at $20MM. If we could afford that we would have Lee or we could keep Werth. Stop dreaming.

    No one is taking Ibanez unless we pay for most of the third year. Money being the restriction on Werth this simply does not work.

    Assuming limits to the Phils financial situation the only choice I see is to trade Rollins. Rollins is attractive trade bait because he has another year on his contract at a reasonable rate. Trading Rollins for a reliever (not equal value) would help this year and provide cash to keep Werth beyond 2010. We have already demonstrated that we can win without Rollins. I know everyone loves JRoll but you can’t have everything. Which one is more important – Werth or JRoll??

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Doesn’t matter which is more important. The Phils won’t part with Rollins….he’s the heart and soul of the team.

     
  • Posts: 0 Pink

    The Phils may not mathematically be able to afford Werth, but at the same time they cannot afford to lose him. And I am sure the Phils organization is well aware of this, which is why I can’t see them just letting him go…especially to another ws contender, like, for example the Yanks. Just prior to the start of the season didn’t Yankees Reggie Jackson have lunch with Werth? That very well may have been their attempt to recruit him once he becomes a free agent. The Phils cannot give up arguabley their best fielder to the Yankees, no way. I’m not sure how, but I am confident they will find a way to resign him.

    Also, I really don’t think there is any way he’ll leave mid-season.

    As for Bob’s question, I’d get rid of JRoll in a heartbeat if it allows us to keep Werth. We’re winning, and can continue to win, with or without him in the line up. And hey, it’ll solve the problem of who bats leadoff.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Jimmy Rollins…..when completely healthy….completely sets the table and drives this offense. We need him. The line-up will suffer in the long run without him in there, especially come playoff time.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Before everyone talks smack on the Manny trade, I WANT Manny to be in his walk year. I want the good hitter who will go away after this year. I would never want to resign Manny. I would take Manny back in a trade where I could get rid of Ibanez. That is my point. Why would the Dodgers take Ibanez back? Because maybe they start to get more disgusted with Manny then they already are and Ibanez starts to look good to them. Manny for Ibanez. Do you do it? Do the Dodgers do it?

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 branderson

    How condescending can you be? you’re basically saying you amateur mlb fans cant possibly know who thornton is. C’mon now.

    And plus, the White Sox won’t give him up anyway. Jenks and Putz are two relievers the White Sox will be willing to part ways with.

    Jenks is two seasons removed from a great year

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Manny for Ibanez… Hell no. Ibanez may not be the best stick in the park, he may not be a gold glover but he’s a hard worker who’s a good influence on the team. Lets remember when the Phillies don’t hit, everyone doesn’t hit, Manny wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference there, the Phils don’t need more offense. The offense will have weeks their hotter than the sun, they’ll have weeks their colder than Ice, just the way they are. What has Manny done for the Dodgers apart from sell wigs and tickets for a couple of AAA games last year? As for the Dodgers, why would you sell your only meal ticket when your all about the money right now?

    The White Sox won’t trade Thornton while they feel they can move Jenks. I like Jenks fine but not for what he’s being paid.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Manny is not the Dodgers meal ticket. Kemp, Ethier, et als. are. Manny is one of the game’s great hitters. If you don’t like him that’s ok. If you think he would be a cancer on the Phils then you don’t want him. I don’t think he would be. Boston won two WS with him. Ibanez sucks…plain and simple. Here’s my problem, now gimme yours. Only the one you’re giving me hits .330.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Ibanez doesn’t “suck”. He maybe needs to be moved…as part of the plan to resign Jayson Werth….but he doesn’t suck. I’d take him over Manny any day.

    Any player that bails on his team in a playoff game so he can go and take a shower, I don’t want him on my team. “Plain and simple”!!

     
 
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