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Notes From the Winter Meetings: Monday

Posted by Paul Boye, Mon, December 06, 2010 09:15 PM | Comments: 42
2010-11 Free Agency, Posts

A good Monday evening from central Florida, where baseball’s Winter Meetings have kicked into high gear. The Swan and Dolphin resort in Lake Buena Vista, not far from Disney World, is the center of the baseball universe through Wednesday. I’m here to look for a job, but that won’t stop me from moseying around the resort, trying to take in all that I can in this short time.

The Winter Meetings double as a job fair. We all know that players, agents and club executives are all present for negotiations, but the jobs available aren’t restricted to the ones on the field. I spent this past season working for Baseball Info Solutions, a company that converts every single pitch from every single game of a full season into data and numbers that can be used to evaluate pitchers in new ways. Now, as I look to move forward in my career, I’m talking with clubs and teams and their representation at the Major/Minor League job fair. It isn’t glorious, and few posted jobs are for immediate work at the Major League level, but it’s already a rewarding experience.

Across the way, in the second half of the two-hotel resort, there’s even more activity. The MLB Network, MLB.com and ESPN have all set up shop for live, on-site broadcasting, delivering news when it happens from where it happens. Not only that, the sight of reporters, players, agents, managers and broadcasters is constant. Charlie Manuel made an appearance, as did White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, superagent Scott Boras, national and Phillies reporters like Ken Rosenthal and Todd Zolecki.

I’ve yet to see Cliff Lee, sadly.

There is a palpable sense of excitement all throughout the resort area. Maybe it was just me soaking in every aspect of the scene that I could, but there’s a feeling in the air not unlike the one you get when you go to your seat at an actual ballgame. The pace is frenetic, and the news is constant. Even better, nearly everyone is accessible. In the course of one day, I managed to shake hands with everyone from Giants manager Bruce Bochy to former Philly and current broadcaster Mitch Williams to ESPN columnist Keith Law (who, by the way, I should be having a conversation with for PN this week. More on that another time). The entire baseball world is here, and it’s awesome.

The coming days should, hopefully, yield even better things. I’ll be tweeting as I go, but I won’t be there to break news; I’ll leave that to the professionals. There may not be much Phillies news to break this year, at least in relation to recent offseasons (unless, of course, you consider Jeff Francoeur newsworthy), but there will still be plenty of exciting things to come, and I hope to share them with you all.

UPDATE, 8:48 pm (Pat Gallen): Mike DiGiovana of the LA Times is reporting the Phillies have interest in trading for Juan Rivera of the Angels. With LAA serious about Carl Crawford joining an already deep outfield, the 32-year old could be on his way out, and at a friendly price to the Phillies.

Rivera hit 15 home runs and knocked in 55 runs a year ago in only 124 games (455 plate appearances).  Two seasons ago he was a major power source for the Angels, hitting 25 home runs. He’s in the final year of a three year deal which will pay the outfielder $5.5 million. It’s expected the Angels would pick up some of that salary making him another decent platoon option.

They’ve already shown plenty of interest in Jeff Francouer (perhaps too much) and have been linked to Matt Diaz.

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Paul Boye has written 58 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    MLB RUMORS report that the Phils are considering Juan Rivera as a platoon partner with Dom Brown. Also, Jeff Francoeur and Matt Diaz.
    Any other player rumors about the Phils floating around. Also, it is reported that the Phils are considering bringing back Cliff Lee. I can smell those trade winds.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    Good luck with your job search, Paul!

    The winter meetings are a lot tamer than they were 30 or 40 years ago. There’s that old story about the time that an intoxicated Paul Owens traded a young Larry Christenson & Bob Boone to the Tigers for two guys that were washed up (Jim Northrup & Bill Freehan) at 2AM after a night of drinking. When Ruly Carpenter found out the next morning, he personally called the Tigers and called off the deal.

    I’m Ted Bell.

     
  • Posts: 0 betasigmashag

    I know there is a lot of talk of a platoon partner with Dom Brown for left field, but I am not sure Dom is ready, he should re work is long swing in the minors IMO. Also I am not sure the Phillies need another 32 year old outfielder. I am hoping the can find a more long term younger player knowing that Raul is off the books after next year, and hopefully Dom would be ready for his left field spot. I feel that the Phillies do have some trade bait in the minors even some of the pitching to get a decent 20 hr 70 RBI .280 RH bat. I do not know who, which I guess is dumb of me cause I do not have solutions just ideas. I know the debate on Upton goes on but I really feel he would be a great fit here, he has lead off potential which could move JRoll down to 5 and Vic down to 7th with Raul at 6. So I put it to the great minds of psedo gm’s out there who could this long term guy be

     
  • •Interestingly, Amaro spoke of a potential platoon in right field involving Ben Francisco and Ross Gload – not mentioning Domonic Brown, who hit just .069 in nine Dominican Winter Ball games before returning home last week. Asked if he would prefer Brown to play every day than split time in the big leagues, Amaro said, “If we had our druthers we’d rather put Domonic in a position to get the at-bats that he kind of lost last year and prepare himself to improve his outfield play, base running, etc. In a perfect world, we don’t need Domonic to make our club, unless he really pushes us, unless he shows us in Spring Training that he’s ready to take that next step.”

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    I’m wondering what Amaro plans to do about infield depth. Surely he won’t go into the season with Valdez as the only back-up.

     
  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Saw that Jay, RAJ abruptly dismissed Brown’s chances of being a serious candidate for the roster even. He just brushed it off basically saying that hes not ready and theyll probably sign someone. He said hey if he knocks our socks off in the Spring then thats different but as of now hell start in AAA.

     
  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    And, his demeanor was extra shady and elusive tonight when asked about making a big move for someone, which means someone’s getting traded or something is up. You can tell when hes up to something big.

     
  • Posts: 0 Dan

    Whatever happens, I hope Ruben does the right thing and the Phils win the World Series in 2011.

     
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    Geoff, the hopes are still not trashed for the talented Mr. Brown. I dont quite get the entire reasoning for his abrupt exit from the Dominican League – If Dom can turn into that 5 tool stud we all hoped for, the team would absolutely rock in 2011.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew

    He’s not going to be ready though. With being brought up prematurely he missed way way too much development time on the bench this season, which is essentially what RAJ was referring to. Granted his being brought up was necessary at the time, but it still removed about half of the season in AAA for him. Give him some more time in minor league and he’ll be ready for 2012 in full color.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew

    Also if RAJ were to somehow convince Lee to come back to Phi, I would cry. I would literally come to tears with joy.

     
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    Paul, good luck with the job hunt. Sounds like a job made in heaven actually.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Paul, bring us back a heat map of Ruben’s suite at the hotel indicating in which part of the suite the most trade talk is going down. Thanks.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Marc H

    Rivera is an interesting idea; I like this option MUCH better than Diaz/Francoeur.

     
  • Posts: 0 Dave

    I too like Rivera as a power bat behind Howard (I’m assuming that’s where he would hit). Does anyone know anything about his defense?

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    He’s not a good defensive player. He was benched a few times in Anaheim because of defensive lapses. If you read the Angels message board, he doesn’t look like a fan favorite there:

    “Did he gain more weight and is slower now? Are his eyes actually giving him problems? Does he just not care anymore this year? Or is it all three?”

    “I think it’s something with the eyes. He just isn’t reading the ball well at all this season. Last season he was slow, but he read the ball off the bat well, so made up for it with good routes. This season, I don’t know if it’s the lights, all the advertising plastered all over the stadium, or what. But when it’s hit, he’s not reading it well at all, and unlike Torii, doesn’t have the speed to make up for a bad read.”

    “To be honest, I don’t care what it is. I just know he sucks and needs to go.”

    “Rivera plays defense?”

    “He is slow and lazy. Blame it on eyesight if you want.”

    “Well, his speed which was only average to begin with, went downhill when he broke his leg. I know he has had some bad plays, but I think calling him lazy is overstating it.”

    Reading out of town message boards is a good way to find out about a player in the eyes of people that actually see him play on a daily basis.

    I’m Ted Bell.

     
  • Posts: 0 Marc H

    Any interest in Jeff Francouer is too much interest; he’s not better than what we now have and please don’t read that as a Ben Francisco endorsement.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I agree that Francouer basically sucks….but it WAS mentioned yesterday that Charlie was quoted as saying that he can fix his swing. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ll take that as something fairly positive.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Apparently the Nats didn’t read any of the Phils’ fans message boards, or they would have realized that Werth couldn’t drive in runs, was a complete bonehead on the basepaths, was rude to fans, and never paid much attention.

    I’m being sarcastic, of course. But just because fans think a player is lazy or can’t see, it’s not necessarily true.

    I’ll trust the scouts rather than the fans, because every team has a few Jeffs and Andrew from Waldorfs in their ranks.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    jeff and Andrew from Waldorf are fans???

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    I’d agree George, except for the fact that there isn’t one positive comment in that thread about Rivera:

    http://www.angelswin.com/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=41001

    It’s very similar to when the Yankees acquired our old friend Bobby Abreu. I remember Mike Francesa going on the air at WFAN and saying what a great fielder Abreu was. He had a great arm and even won a Gold Golve! Of course, if he had just asked the average Phillies fan, he would have known different.

    I’m Ted Bell.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    Juan Rivera:
    -11 dWAR in 2010 as an outfielder.
    5 errors in LF in 2010, 1st in the AL
    2.07 range factor as LF, 4th worst in AL

    0.8 WAR as a hitter in 2010

    Between his offense and his defense in the outfield Rivera amounted to a -10.2 WAR last year…

    I’m Ted Bell.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    Via Twitter:

    Buster_ESPN: There is a growing speculation among rival agents and executives that the Washington Nationals are going to throw a HUGE number at Cliff Lee

    I’m Ted Bell.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I’m tellin ya….Werth and the Nats COULD have the last laugh before it’s all said and done.

    A big signing here. A pick-up there. A couple of high draft picks.

    There will be no surprise from this poster if the Nats are seriously contending in 2-3 years.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I liked that Amaro was saying yesterday that any player that they bring in needs to be better than Francisco, or otherwise, what’s the point…

    I really think Francisco can be a good player with regular at-bats.. and I think he’s definitely better in the field than Rivera (who sucks overall) .. and Diaz (who the Phillies are linked to, but haven’t even made any contract with his agent??)

    If the Phillies want to take a chance with Francoeur, i’m on board.. It looks like unless D.Brown has a great spring, he’ll start the year in AAA -which isn’t a bad thing for such a young kid … look what happened with Posey last year.. they gave him regular time instead of a platoon spot with Molina and when he came up he was ready to go

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    The Nats throwing money at Lee wouldn’t surprise me in the least. I wouldn’t think they gave Werth that contract if they didn’t plan on improving their horrible starting pitching. Even when Strasburg returns next year, they wouldn’t have enough, and this year they have nothing.

    Where they’re getting all the money, though, is anybody’s guess. They could hamstring themselves for years if they sign someone else to a Werth-like mega-deal.

    To Ted:

    Fans don’t always have the same clue that scouts do, but Rivera’s stats seem to really back up the fans, at least in this case. If the Phils sign Rivera, Victorino will end the season two inches shorter because he’ll wear that much off his legs covering the ground that Ibanez and Rivera can’t.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Also, with another Right OF bat .. that would let them stack the lineup every night if they wanted too

    against RHP you could start Ibanez and Gload..
    against LHP you could start Francisco and Francoeur, etc

    that might score enough runs to help offset the Werth loss.. combined with stronger starting pitching for the entire season, instead of the annual – only have strong pitching in the second half

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    They said that Cliff Lee is taking the biggest deal, plain and simple ..

    its expected that comes from NYY or TEX.. but if another team outbids them, that’s where he’ll go . . . I can’t see anyone giving him more than the Yankees will offer though

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    What I’ve read is that it’s not so much the dollars, but the years that Lee is looking for, and the Yanks aren’t going past six.

    There is a rumor floating about that Washington has offered seven years, but some club officials have denied that. Still, though, they gave seven to Werth…

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I would imagine that the Yankees somehow made peace with Lee’s wife???…

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    The National’s owner is loaded, so they may be serious. At the very least, they’ll be driving Lee’s price up even higher. The Yankees can’t be happy about this.

    I’m Ted Bell.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    I know where the Nats would get the money for Cliff Lee. The Lerners are said to be worth $2.5 Billion.

    They only had approx. 62,000 payroll in 2010. Add 18 for Werth, 5 or so for a 1B to replace Dunn (-10 for the loss of Dunn) , 2-5 for a reliever, that’s 77-80. Lee would make it approx. 95-100.

    I have no idea how motivated they are, but make no mistake, they can afford it.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    The Yankees have to feeling some kind of pressure now that Boston has bolstered….and balanced….their line-up.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Doh- meant 62 million, not thousand!

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    I’m 95% sure the Yankees will win out with Cliff Lee, the Nats tried to get Texiera too, but the Yankees usually get what they want.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    The Yanks got Tex because Boras was a dick and didn’t allow the Angels to counter the offer. Lee has a different agent, so things might go differently.

    The latest rumor is that the Nats haven’t made any offers for Lee. The Lerners might be rich, but a lot of families get that way by being tightwads. They may yet bid on Lee, but they might settle for a Pavano or some other lesser talent.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    My last comment is awaiting moderation, because I called Scott Boras what he truly was in the Texiera negotiations. My point was that Lee has a different agent, and things could therefore end differently. Lee to the Yanks is NOT even 95%, if you ask me.

    When is Phillies Nation ever going to modify their stupid dirty word criteria? One still cannot refer to anyone named Richard by their nickname.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    That’s why I always say “d*ck” or “dck”. And I’ve seen “d1ck” as well.

    All three, by the way, refer to Scott Bor-a$$.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Don’t know exactly what word George was going for there, but Chuck I don’t think Boras is a d-i-c-k. I see him more as a w-h-o-r-e!

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    There is way too much d!ck on this post

     
  • Posts: 0 loupossehl

    Boras is not a w-h-o-r-e. That term more appropriately applies to the present-day ballplayers, most of whom will sell out to any team so long as the price is right. As to Boras: he has succeeded in getting his ballplayers outrageous, record-setting contracts – one result begin that in baseball (unlike the NFL, at least so far), the franchises are grouped into a few “haves” and a junk pile of “have-nots”. Another result is that ticket prices etc. have skyrocketed, as the fans ultimately pay through the nose for these contracts. For all these reasons and more, Boras is more appropriately referred to as a highly-successful, mercenary, p-r-i-c-k.

     
  • Posts: 0 jeff

    LOSING WERTH MEANS WE S U C K. BROWN AND FRAN ARE HORRIBLE.

    BYE PHILLIES.

     
 
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