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Free Agency: Hamels, Cespedes, Backup Catchers

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, November 16, 2011 09:55 AM | Comments: 46
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

PHOTO: AP

–Once and for all Cole Hamels IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE. Just felt I had to make that clear because the rumors – nay, discussions – that have surfaced over the past few days from some of our friends at ESPN.com and FoxSports.com are just ridiculous. I understand they’re just doing their job; they have to inform but also stir up a little controversy for readership. But there is just no way the Phillies could ever trade Cole Hamels. Think Ryan Howard contract extension backlash and multiply it by 100.

(I guess there is a way, they did trade Cliff Lee. But that was at a time when they believed it was a must to fit Roy Halladay. My feeling is, they realize things are different now. They can’t sign Papelbon long term and then NOT keep the guy who will bring them into the future as their ace).

You just don’t trade a lefty pitcher that throw 94 consistently and is just now entering his prime. Small market teams do it because they can’t afford it. The Phillies can only be exceeded in payroll by the Yankees at this point, so even attempting to think about the thought of trading Hamels away is just asinine.

There isn’t even one ounce of me that believes the Phillies would let him get away. How could they justify paying Cliff Lee, who is more than four years older than Hamels, $20-plus-million per season on a five year deal and not pay Hamels in the near future? In roughly two or three seasons, it’s very likely that Hamels will be the ace of the staff ahead of Lee and Roy Halladay.

Keep buying those Hamels jerseys and shirseys – he’ll be sticking around.

–We don’t know much about Yoennis Cespedes except for what his ridiculous YouTube video showed us, which was that he likes to swing hard and is a hell of an athlete. The 26-year-old Cuban defector is in the Dominican Republic holding tryouts for several MLB teams, and the Phillies are one of them.

Ruben Amaro Jr. told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer in Milwaukee that his scouts believed they needed a closer look at the kid. Fair enough. “Due diligence” is the new chic term Amaro uses on occasion, and he used it here in regards to Cespedes, whom he called an “interesting athlete.” It’s unlikely the Phillies would sign Cespedes to a long-term contract, however, it shows they mean business by scouting him, not matter what the price may be.

Honestly, I have no opinion on this kid. It’s hard to, because none of us have seen him play or even heard his name uttered before a week ago. Our own Mike Baumann talked about the mystery surrounding the player last week.

–Amaro also mentioned at the GM Meetings in Milwaukee that backup catcher is likely up next on the to-do list. There isn’t a very good chance Jimmy Rollins signs anywhere in the next few days, so the Phillies will wade through the shallow pool of second-string backstops.

Still available are Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder, Kelly Shoppach, Ivan Rodriguez, Gerald Laird, and Brian Schneider. I openly pined to bring in the versatile Doumit (although was bashed a bit because he plays everywhere, but doesn’t play any of those positions well), but he recently turned down a one-year, $3 million offer from the Dodgers. He’s probably not worth $4-6 million for the Phillies. I’m a fan of his powerful lefty bat, but not at that price.

“Pudge” could be a fit behind “Chooch;” he’d fit well in the clubhouse for sure. But again you take the chance that his age becomes a factor. There are rumors that surfaced late last night that the Phillies are close to bringing Schneider back, but his bat just isn’t there, although his defense and the way he handles a staff is still top notch. Probably need more offensively, in my estimation. He’s now a complete liability with the bat. Who do you like of the remaining crop of catchers to back up Ruiz?

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1677 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 1190 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    If Schneider is cheap (around 1 million), I’m fully on board with bringing him back. He has a little bit of pop left in the tank. It also opens the door to guys like Eric Kratz , who might be a viable alternative if Schneider falls off a cliff mid-season.

     
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Makes sense to me, Pat. I hope you are right on this. Hamels will only get better. But, who really knows what goes on in the mind of Amaro, Jr.? I am always ready for surprises.

     
  • Posts: 0 Pat

    I like Pudge for the simple fact hes had a great career and could be a good mentor for Chooch.

     
    • Posts: 0 aladou

      Sounds good. Then we can bring in Miguel Tejada to mentor Polanco. :-) Chooch turns 33 in January.

       
    • Posts: 1190 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      Just because he likes ice-cream doesn’t mean he’s a kid, dude!

       
  • Posts: 0 Sean

    Chooch is 32 years old, how much mentoring does he really need?

     
    • Posts: 5076 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      The older you are, the more likely a mentor will benefit you. And one that caught Justin Verlander and freakin’ Nolan Ryan, are you kidding?

       
      • Posts: 0 Don M

        I’m so confused by all this mentor talk for Carlos Ruiz …. he’s only got a few years left, and by all accounts (including direct from the mouths of multiple Cy Young winners), he’s one of the best defensive catchers in the game … ….

         
      • Posts: 0 George

        Yeah, Lefty, and Tim McCarver caught Steve Carlton. McCarver couldn’t mentor a little leaguer.

         
      • Posts: 5076 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        LOL- George. Carlton and Gibson didn’t allow McCarver to talk. “We’ll make you a star kid, just keep your mouth shut”

        If only he would have listened.

         
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    I think Chris Snyder is the best bet. He has power and is a decent defensive catcher. Although he is not a lefty batter like Schneider.

     
  • Posts: 2978 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    I think I need a mentor as well.

     
  • Posts: 0 geoff

    Back after a loooong hiatus.

    So much for this bogus youth movement they have been talking about. Other than extending Hamels, I’d let Rollins go and try to trade some of these old overpaid payers to free up some payroll and get a younger, hungrier squad in place. The problem with this team was the lack of flexibility in this lineup, and the lack of heart that many of these players displayed. No heart at all. Did you see anyone weakly flailing at pitches way out of the zone in the World Series? Unfortunately, Ryan Howard has one of the worst contracts in baseball, and Chase Utley’s is becoming worse every day as well.

     
  • Posts: 0 geoff

    Basically, they have become the thing we all used to hate. I don’t mind spending big money like they do, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes its better to cut back a little bit and bring in some fresh, younger position players who haven’t gotten paid yet.

    The one thing that will really tick me off is if they sign Michael Cuddyer. They already have enough outfielders, lets see if one of Brown/JMJ can actually take hold of the spot. There is absolutely no reason to sign someone like Cuddyer. He is also a relatively poor defensive player.

    As far as Papelbon goes, its a good signing, but the years on the contract are too much. Still, of any of the closers on the market, he’s the only one worth a big contract given his career numbers.

    However, generally speaking – I am someone who prefers to assemble a cheap bullpen every year with young arms and a few one year deals for cheap veterans. Let them all compete. That generally works out just as well as having one big money guy.

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    This Schneider thing is as confusing as a reverse black hole. Too trade Hamels would be insane right now. Especially to the Yankees would be even worse.

     
  • Posts: 1190 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    If they even think of trading Hamels, I’m leading the charge. #OCCUPYAMARO’SHOUSE

     
  • Posts: 955 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    It looks like Schnider is going to sign a one year deal. Which I do not think is good or bad, he caught Woorley well and is a strong defensive catcher. But I would think if you could get Pudge at around the same price that would make more sense. Because he can still hit, and is going to the Hall of Fame, still with a decent arm and I think can still play one or two days a week, and if Chooch would go down for a short time I would feel comfortable with him starting four five times a week for a three week period.
    A little outside the box what about bringing Posoda for one year, would he still be able to play once twice a week behind the plate. He can still hit and play a little first base

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Maybe to Pudge, if he can stay healthy, a definite no to Posada. He’s got no ability left as a catcher and was related to batting ninth when he batted at all. He was also a bit of a problem when he was asked to sit.

       
      • Posts: 0 George

        Having some keyboard trouble. “Related” should read “relegated.” Lots of letters I hit lately don’t make it to the actual computer. Guess I’ll have to scrounge up a new one.

         
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I wonder where they going to go with the bullpen. Are they going to sign another Vet. Or will they just go with Contreras, Papelhead, Kendrick, Stutes, Bastardo and fill in the blank Rookie.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    No comments so far about Cespedes, so I might as well be the first.

    The Phils are right to at least take a look; that stupid and boring video really didn’t show much except strength and a flare for showmanship. If he’s all that great, it would be nice, but judging solely on hard swings and leaping about would be a very limited view. I’m sure Babe Ruth couldn’t jump over a pony keg, but everything the man did was smooth as a baby’s butt cheeks. I didn’t see that with Cespedes; the film was too short and too limited.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Is this like the Madson 44 milllion deal?

     
  • Posts: 0 geoff

    Well, Amaro is meeting with Oswalt and CJ Wilsons agent today. At this point, nothing surprises me. I wouldn’t even be surprised is he signed Wilson and traded Hamels, which is the worst idea ever. But Amaro is becoming a fantasy baseball guy. He broke the SABR metrics rules long ago.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Pat – There is nothing sure about Hamels or anyone else. If the money runs out someone will have to go. You can’t be against a trade until you hear the other half ot the trade (unless you are 10 years old). Sooner or later the Phillies will reach a financial limit and they will have to move some salary so anything is possible.

    By the way, did anyone else notice that Amaro got Pabelbon to accept $11 million for 2012 which was a cut from $12.5 he made in 2011? Gives Amaro a little more room to maneuver this year. I did not like the option but the details make me less concerned.

     
  • Posts: 0 geoff

    Sooner or later as in this year. What happened to this business with getting a new feel to the lineup Amaro was talking about? In order to do that you need to get new players and get rid of some others. These same players will behave largely the same way next year without new blood in the batters box.

     
  • Posts: 5076 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Speaking of Hamels he spoke. Talk is cheap, but it’s encouraging to read things like this-

    “You don’t really think the grass is greener on the other side,” Hamels said. “This is the organization I’ve come up with. We’re winning. Why would you ever want to leave? You want to be on a winning team, and the team wants to win.

    “We have a house here. It’s very enjoyable. It’s a great division — good traveling within the division. Sometimes there are the comforts that you really get used to, and you just really go from there.”

     
  • Posts: 5076 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Don M- You are right, Ruiz is getting up there in years, my point was that if he wants to keep catching effectively, mentoring from a catcher that is older than him makes perfect sense. In terms of how to keep his knees and body from deteriorating, and how to be a better player than he is now. Chooch is very good, but he’s no Pudge in his hey-day, or Molina now. So, even though he does block the plate on breaking balls better than any of them, he can always learn. It’s the younger guys that don’t listen to mentors, hell, I admit to that 35 years ago, thought I knew it all.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Ruiz has taken too many balls to the head.
    Then there is Donny who has had too many to the chin.

    And then we can laugh about it or not.

     
  • Posts: 1135 EricL

    Avatar of EricL

    Regarding Cespedes, I’d just like to point out that 26 in South American years is like 30 in US years. I’m sure everyone knows that by now, since it’s obvious that Livan Hernandez is approaching 50, but I figured there might be one or two uninitiated lurkers that I might be helping out.

     
    • Posts: 0 loupossehl

      That calculates out to 1 chihuahua year equating to 8.077 human years. (A rounded result; hopefully there will be no need of a mid-course correction.)

      Now I understand why my neighbor’s 3-year-old dog looks like crap.

       
  • Posts: 432 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    Matt Gelb has an interview with Cole that is posted over at MLB Trade Rumors that says Cole absolutely wants to be here and that there’s no urgency on Cole Hamels’s part.

     
  • Posts: 1190 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    It’s funny and somewhat ironic how much Cole loves this town and its fans after all the CRAP that he occasionally gets from some of them… (those who wanted to run him out of town in 2009 after a subpar year, the booing after his first outing in 2011, etc).

    The guy is a rock. And if anyone deserves credit for the Phillies being World Champs is him. He –not Chase, not Halladay, not Lee, not Rollins, not Howard– should be the most beloved guy in Philadelphia simply because of what he did to change the history of Philly sports… I hope he’s a Phillie till the day he retires.

     
    • Posts: 0 Bob Myers

      I agree. Cole has incredible heart, a great competitor. It would be a travesty to trade him or let him get away.

       
  • Posts: 955 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    I get that Cole likes it here and wants to stay, but I feel that is even more reason to extend him before arbitration, going into arbitration sucks for both sides as far as media fallout. It is exactly the reason you extend him now and structure a contract that is loaded in the back end so when Roy is done that is when you start paying Cole. Give him a four year extension that Avg 18 million a year with the last year you are paying him 23-24 million. He will still only be 33-34 years old and showed still be an Ace.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    I just read somone
    Proposing to pay a 34 year old 24 million?
    5 years from now?

    Seriously no BS no crap.
    What planet is this? Where does the money grow?

    Its not my money I dont care. But there is a luxury tax and a pay roll in reality.

    I guess in a way I will have satisfaction in the old tired line up all making 25 million at age 38.
    And sucking but I wont.

    Ill hate it. But I guess Ill come here and you will all love them. Say how great they are.
    But really why 38?
    Sign me a 58 year old.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Moyer

    The funny part? When he was here you all abused him endlessly.

    While wanting to sign the big contract and Utley and Rollins and whoever forever for whatever they want the Phillies to pay.

    You dont live in reality to the big ticket guys who cause the problems. But you love to bash the bit guys who carry the day.

    Minus Ben Fran the Phils win 1 playoff game not two.
    No game 5 without him.

    But pay the big guys $25,000,000.00

    Ill goto war with 25 Moyers well before your 25 $25,000,000.00 men.

    Why do you guys love the big ticket guys? Outside Halladay every one is a dud.

     
    • Posts: 955 betasigmadeltashag

      Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

      Read the whole coment before you go back to your spouting off about the howard contract. Cole is going to get his money. the suggestion was to formulat a contract that pays out avg 17-18 million dollars a year for four years so you pay him 15 million 16 million 19 million and 23 million Which would give you four years 73 million and it would give you some flexability in the the next three years of then Roy will probably be retired or making less than he is now, the luxury tax will be higher by then. It is called back loading a contract to give you flex ability now. If you do not lock him up he will, and he continues to progess into his early 30′s he will be able to get Lee money or Halliday money and you lose the home grown lefty. Really you would not pay Doc 22 milion or Lee who both are 32-33 now (I think) I know I should not get in it with you AFW, but sometimes I can not help myself because you are such a child rambaling on on about the same sht that no one cares about. You can have you 25 Jamie Moyers 5 in the starting rotation with 4 plus era. I wil spend the money on Doc Lee and Cole and there sub 3 eras

       
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Ummm about the mentoring Ruiz stuff…Ummm Schneider has been around a while so thats kind of a moot point…How much more mentoring does these players need theyve been around for awhile now…

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Cole – Princess? CoCo? A “rock”. Excuse me for a second: BAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAhAAA. I like Cole’s game a lot and he’s come a long way and his wife is totally hot….but a “rock”? Nah. “Rocks” go 9 innings. He’s not on Cliff and Roy’s level yet but he might get there someday.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 1190 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      Exhibit A of some our dbag fans…

       
      • Posts: 2978 Chuck A.

        Avatar of Chuck A.

        I wouldn’t call Dipsy a dbag. He just has a …..different…..way of putting things sometimes. I actually find it kind of amusing. And…..he’s kind of right. In a way. Cole is a stud….or becoming one. I wouldn’t necessarily call him a “rock” though. Although I think that he’s actually BETTER than Cliff.

        Oh, I don’t know.. Who cares anyway? He’s an awsome talent, he’s ours, and hopefully he’s here to stay.

         
    • Posts: 0 George

      It’s true Hamels doesn’t go nine all the time, but he’s pitched over 200 innings most years, including 2011, when he did it with a hernia and “loose bodies” in his elbow. Maybe he’s not Halladay, but how many pitchers are? And how many more CGs would Hamels have if the Phils actually scored him some runs?

       
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I think Cole is nearly i mean a half step away from Lee and Roy H. He was the only one that was able to shut the Cardinals whilst the other ones could not. Get with the program….That means you Dipsy Doodle..lol….

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    The Dipsy is NOT a dbag. Not by any standards. Many times he’s expressed opinions that I felt were spot on. He may have some odd thoughts at times, but at least he’s not calling other people names when they post a dissent.

    Of course, if he’s arrested tomorrow for beating up his grandmother, I might change my tune.

     
  • Posts: 0 actuallyChilled

    about mentoring… it doesnt matter how old you are, you can always benefit from the company of wisdom. ruiz can also be a mentor as well as a mentee.

     
    • Posts: 0 actuallyChilled

      as well as a manatee the way he blocks those pitches.

       
  • Posts: 0 bostonkate

    oh sweet baby jesus thank you. i can sleep easy now.

     
 
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