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Amaro: “Trading Valdez Was Foolish”

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, March 23, 2012 05:45 PM | Comments: 97
2012 Spring Training, Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

PHOTO: AP

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was on 97.5 The Fanatic with Mike Missanelli this afternoon and mentioned that the Wilson Valdez trade was “foolish”. Of course, looking back at the Michael Martinez injury–which now leaves a hole on the bench that Valdez could have filled quite easily–it’s easy to say that it was foolish to get rid of Valdez. He’d be quite valuable to the Phillies right now.

But that doesn’t mean that trading him was foolish at all. The fact of the matter is there are many, many Wilson Valdez’s out there. Contrary to the belief of many fans, Valdez was below average at the plate. In his time here, he hit at a .254/.300/.351 clip. Ben Francisco, a guy that we all grew to dislike after his underwhelming offensive performance, hit at a .254/.335/.396 clip over the same time period. Sure, Francisco’s expectations were much higher, but facts are facts–Valdez was easily replaceable. The only thing that wasn’t replaceable about Valdez was his constant shenanigans on camera that made us all laugh.

He would have been a better option than Michael Martinez, but Valdez in 2012 will make about double what Martinez made last year. The differences in the two aren’t that great, so the cheaper option in Martinez was the right decision. There’s no reason to feel foolish about that.

In addition, the Phils got a young pitcher in return for Valdez that pitched to a 2.93 ERA in 15+ innings in Cincinnati last year in Jeremy Horst. Chances are that Horst may never even pitch for the Phils at the MLB level, but it never hurts to have a young pitcher that maybe, just maybe, turn out to be a good player in the future over a replaceable bench player.

It’s always easy to see 20/20 in hindsight, and Amaro is mistaking hindsight vision for actual vision. The trade itself, at the time, wasn’t a mistake. He can’t control injuries–at least I don’t think he can–but he can control player movement and moving Valdez was the right call.

Avatar of Jonathan Nisula

About Jonathan Nisula

Jonathan Nisula has written 207 articles on Phillies Nation.

Just a regular guy writing his thoughts for Phillies Nation. Grew up in Yardley, PA and current student.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Chris

    What was foolish is having mini-mart lined up to be the middle infield utility guy.

     
  • Posts: 432 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    I agree with both Jon and Chris here. Good stuff.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andy Simon

    Like it matters. Martinez will be back before the season is lost with or without Valdez. So instead of 105 games, we might only win 104 now. Big deal.

     
    • Posts: 0 Mat

      That’s a VERY generous prediction. Injuries to the infield/core players and an aging roster, plus the upgrades in Miami and Washington, and the fact that the Braves remain well stocked for the long term, means that the Phils aren’t even guaranteed the division like they were in the past, let alone 104 wins. I would say that 95 is about as high as I would be willing to bet, probably closer to 90. And that’s assuming everything goes right from here on out.

       
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Yeah but he got them RISP in….was our backup SS 2B 3B, emergency pitcher and catcher…How you like them apples…

     
    • Posts: 5 Kendo

      Avatar of Kendo

      Tell me how many DP’s he grounded into??? He was used once as a Pitcher.

       
  • Posts: 93 Ted Bell

    Avatar of Ted Bell

    RAJ should really curb the Cole Hamels comments. It sounds like he may have started negotiations publicly on 97.5 which is rarely a good idea. I’m not in a place where I can hear the full clip…I’ll check it out later this evening…

    I’m Ted Bell.

     
  • Posts: 2965 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Yeah, well, it WAS foolish. Made no sense to me then and it really doesn’t now. Yeah, he’s a replaceable utility guy. I realize all that. ……. Blah. Blah. Blah. But still, it was a dumb move and I’m glad Ruben had the balls to admit it.

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Its foolish in the sense that they knew Utley was probably going to be out. Foolish that there plan B was a .192 hitter. I think the Horst guy has some upside to him. However so do a bunch of other guys. Martinez gets hurts and i dont even want to think about if J-Roll gets hurt. The answer was already there with Valdez. Foolish that now that Plan B got hurt they will have to scramble for a plan C. That is all…Now the Technicolor goatee is gone…

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      He started all but 16 of the last 116 games (8 of the 16 due to a concussion). How would they know that “Utley was probably going to be out.”?

       
  • Posts: 426 Publius

    Avatar of Publius

    Oh my god.

    Of the myriad dumb moves Rube has done: The Raul contract, the Howard extension, the second Lee trade, the Papelbon contract, the Blanton extension, the continual mismanagement of Dom Brown, this, THIS is the one he regrets? Are you SERIOUS?

    Un-freaking-believable. Guys like Valdez are available all the time for cheap and there are plenty of utility guys out there or who were available this offseason for peanuts that will contribute more in 2012 than Valdez ever did. Just fire Ruben already. Unbelievable.

     
    • Posts: 2965 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      Yeah, OK…whatever. But then there’s the good moves that he has made that people like you don’t want to point out cause your so obsessed with the negatives all the time. …

      Stuff like:
      - trading for Roy Halladay
      - trading for Roy Oswalt
      -re-signing Cliff Lee and basically STEALING him right away from the Yankees at the 11th hour
      -trading for Hunter Pence and not having to give up either Vance Worley or Domonic Brown in the process

      -re-signing Jimmy Rollins to a very team-friendly contract

      … and I’m sure there are others and will be others.

       
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        The Pence trade was awful.

        Getting Halladay was great, but the argument can be made that the Phillies gave up too much, seeing as Toronto had very little leverage due to Halladay informing them that he was going to walk after his contract was up.

        The Oswalt trade was beneficial, but Gose & Villar are two very young (21 & 20), very talented players who have a ton of upside. It’s not as if the Phillies pulled off some kind of steal there.

        Re-signing Lee didn’t require a skilled GM. It was dependent upon two things, money and Cliff Lee’s desire to play in Philadelphia. Now, if you want to say that second one was a result of him coming here in the first place, fine, but don’t act as if getting Lee to sign here was some sort of coup by Ruben. The Phils just offered a lot of money and as it turns out Lee preferred Philly to NY.

        Waiting out Rollins was one of the smarter things he’s done as a GM, which makes it all the more perplexing that he didn’t take the same approach when looking for a closer, which would have likely saved them a significant amount of money.

        Listen, Ruben isn’t the worst GM in baseball. Sabean is worse. Colletti is worse. Jim Hendry was worse, the list goes on and on. But there are also a lot of GMs who are much better than Ruben. I’m not hating on the guy because I think he’s a jerk, I’m hating on all the stupid things he does with the baseball team that I follow, because there’s a lot of short-sighted moves that are made which have, in my opinion, lessened the chances for continued success.

        There’s a reason smart teams like Boston, New York and Tampa don’t have “windows” which close, and that’s because they’re able to balance a ‘win-now’ attitude with adeptly mixing in youth and cheap players at easily replaceable positions. (New York is able to eat more mistake contracts due to their fat wallet, but they still have a good amount of home-grown talent) Smart teams don’t have windows that close, and don’t panic when they think that window is closing. They have a steady stream of quality players and manage not to do the kind of short-sighted, knee-jerk moves which diminish the quality of the player-development pipeline and payroll flexibility that seem to have become a staple of the Ruben Amaro Jr. era.

         
    • Posts: 903 betasigmadeltashag

      Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

      I try so hard not to get frustrated with some of you on here but you make it really difficult. The Raul contract was not bad, it did not stop them from making moves to become better, he carried the team until he got hurt the first year and help them get to a WS. In his second year he had a terrible start but help a struggleing offense in the second half. And I know we are all sabermetric crazy but he still had a decent old fasion numbers last year in HR and RBIs yea his average tailed off a little bit, and he became a platoon guy, but you expect that a littlein the third year with his age, but that is what it took to get him here. To pay 8-10 million to a pitcher who pretty much until he got hurt would give you 7 innings and 3-4 runs most starts happend to be the going rate. And he had no injury past so you can not say that was that bad. He has not mismanaged Brown the kid has a hard time taking direction and did not always play hard and he is still young and needs more work to be major league ready, if not for injuries he would have been a late season call up. I have given up on trying to defend the Howard extension, but say it might have been a little early, but he wanted to lock the guy up and he did. You can not judge the Papalbon signing until you see what he does for the team, a lot of baseball people who know more then anyone on here are saying he should thrieve here in philly. You are joke as a poster and just like to be negetive and a pain in the ass. Not everything RAJ touches turns to gold no one is perfect but he has done more good than bad. I forgot about the Lee thing, that allowed us to get Doc, a pitcher that looks like if he can get his control will be a solid reliever in the majors and a couple of position players that probably will be playing here within 3 years, oh yea he got Lee back so how is that a bad thing.

       
      • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

        i agree with you beta people tend to forget all the good things thatget them in a position to be there at the end. nobody is perfect especially GM’s and i would give amaro lots of slack here. simply because yes there might be a better GM here or there but most of them aren’t as good as rube so people should lighten up on the guy.

         
      • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

        oh and another thing ! people should get off this valdez thing ! i mean really guys like him float around the 2 leagues every year! does he deserve 1 mill plus really? for what? he got a win pitching in a 19 inn game. what are the phils supposed to do pay him millions and retire his stinkin number? i don’t usually like to lash out but there are a lot of foolish blowhards not just here but on other lesser sites who say the same foolish crap over the loss of valdez the great. come on the mets let him go ! lets see if he can propell the reds to the top with all his gidp”s .

         
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Miguel Tajada still has not signed and he has experienced playing all infield positions. He’ll be 38 in May and might have a couple of decent utility years left . We know he can hit and could join Jim Thome as part of the Gray Panthers of Philadelphia.

     
  • Posts: 0 BoilerUp

    Tejada is done. Aaron Miles would be an intriguing option.

     
  • Posts: 1135 EricL

    Avatar of EricL

    Seriously, this is total results-oriented thinking, which is wrong.

    The Valdez trade was good, because he was able to get a young player with potential upside in exchange for a AAAA player on the backside of his career. Guys like Wilson Valdez are a dime a dozen around MLB. Just wait until the final roster cuts are made and you’ll probably find guys capable of putting up similarly poor offensive numbers while providing the slow-but-steady defense he does.

    At the time of the trade you had Utley, who had played in a majority of the games after his return last season, Rollins resigned, Polanco who can play 2B/3B, Wigginton who can also play 2B/3B if necessary, Michael Martinez and Freddy Galvis all available to fill in as needed. Valdez was just a huge redundancy, and getting a young LH reliever with some upside was a nice return for him.

    Of course it seems bad now that Martinez’s foot is broken, but tell me, what percentage of major league teams are going to be in a great position if a key positional starter and then the utility guy backing him up BOTH go down to injury in spring training? The answer is going to be very, very low. Just because a couple injuries happened to befall the guys in line for those positions does not mean the deal was bad.

    Ruben is just so bad at basic logical concepts it’s appalling.

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Oh, let me add…

      If trading away Wilson Valdez is a move that is highly detrimental to the success of your team, your team was already pretty much screwed.

       
  • Posts: 0 chuck s

    You people are worrying about a utility infielder problem? Get you heads out of you behinds and look at this teams offense. It was pathetic at the end of last year and we signed NO ONE to help pick it up on a starting, every day level. Thome pinch hitting is not a gain in offense. Now Utley and Howard are out for how long?? Mark my words get used to losing close games, you can’t win games (no matter how good your pitching is) unless you score more than 1 or 2 runs a game. Third or fourth place here we come.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      You’re overstating it, IMO.

      From the time Utley returned in May (replacing some of the worst hitters in baseball, who had a .538 OPS at that point), the Phillies had the highest scoring offense in the league, with among the fewest games with 3 runs or less.

      Until Utley went down, these were the changes from that lineup:
      1) Howard out until mid-May
      2) likely regression from Mayberry
      3) full year of Pence
      4) almost certain improvement on 2011 left fielders’ .714 OPS
      5) better offense off the bench

      Before it because apparent that Utley was going to miss at least some time (and maybe more), there was no reason for concern.

       
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        *Before it became apparent…

         
    • Posts: 5 Kendo

      Avatar of Kendo

      What big bat was out there to get???? Pujols? Fielder? You do know that we have a 100mil first baseman already right? This isnt football we can cut Howard and wipe our hands free of the contract. There was no one out there to get with a “big bat”. They filled in nicely. Everyone wanted JMJ to play well he has his chance now. Nix and Wiggington are good additions to a platoon. Our bench is better than any year since 08. Our bench was HORRIBLE last year. You mean to tell me that you would take Gload over Thome, Fransico over Nix or JMJ, Valdez over Wiggington? Come on. There was no way the Phillies were gonna be able to sign a big bat bc we have our team set. You just dont cut guys like they do in Football. Im sure if they were able to we would have Fielder or Pujols but contracts are way different in baseball.

       
      • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

        here here kendo! you hit it on the nose. our bench wasn’t that good last year they stepped up and helped win some games and kept us affloat till people came back. BUT they cost us games also because they had no power and really weren’t good hitters. i thinl they had career years and rube knew that and acted on it! there’s not much you can do with the signed regulars. especially if their health has questions. you wouldn’t get a good return on a trade, and you can’t sign a player (cudyer) to a multi year 10 mil plus contract on the premis that someone might get hurt! as far as the phils knew utley could play! he wasn’t forthright with them and rube is covering utleys ass IMHO because he’s such a popular player. i blame utley for not being honest with the FO

         
  • Posts: 2965 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Like I said, some of you are OBSESSED with pointing out the negatives…and ONLY the negatives.

     
  • Posts: 2965 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    I wouldn’t say 3rd or 4th place …. but winning the division or even making the playoffs won’t be easy by any stretch.

     
  • Posts: 521 Bruce

    Avatar of Bruce

    Amaro is reportedly shopping for a utility infielder. The regret for Amaro is that he has to do this because he was “foolish” (to use Amaro’s word) in trading a valued ‘super sub” player in Wilson Valdez. The value that most here choose to ignored is his ability to play many positions and do it very well. Plus his ‘rifle’ arm even served him in the role of a emergency relief pitcher. Utility players that can play many positions without a problem are not exactly easy find in the open market. Phillies’ Michael Martinez is one and therefore has “value” but is lost to the team for the next 6 to 8 weeks.

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Exactly Bruce…..My thinking is that they see something in this Horst guy…Guess Rube figured Horst potential upside was more of a Value than a super sub…I believe RAJ had to know that at the time of the trade that something was up with Utley….

     
  • Posts: 5 Kendo

    Avatar of Kendo

    God Im sick of some people thinking Valdez was gold. He wasnt that good. The man grounded into more DP’s than some regular everyday players. He was a good fill in but they are a dime a dosen. You can get a UTIL INF that is much better than Valdez.

    Also you people calling RAJ a bad GM your joking right??? Cliff Lee (Twice) Oswalt at the perfect time. Roy Halladay. Raul carried us for the better part of the first half of 09. In 2010 he struggled but if you research Raul he has better second half numbers and 2010 showed that. His Hr’s were high bc he was playing in Seattle which is a hitters nightmare. Of course he has made mistakes but hasnt every GM in baseball??? The Howard signing looking at it now yes was to soon. But some of the same poeple who are bitching about it now were the ones who were screaming for the Phillies to re-sign him.

    Papelbon is gonna have one hell of a year. You mean to tell me you wanted Madson at 45mil when no one else in baseball did?? The contract he signed doesnt reflect the Phillies losing out it reflects on him losing out. He was only this great big game closer in the eyes of the Phillies fans. No other GM wanted to take that gamble bc he isnt a proven closer. He had a good year last year yes but so did Lidge in 08. Plus the Phillies said from the start with Madson that if Scott Borus was gonna play his little games that they were gonna move on and explore other options and thats what happened. Did you know that Madson wasnt even the opening Day closer last year? Jose Conteras got that knod. Do you know why?? Bc they didnt trust Madson. Did you also know when the Red Sox got off to that god awful start the Phillies were kicking the tires to try and trade for Paps if the Red Sox whoes would have contiuned through out the middle of the season?? Paps was a great signing and the Phillies had to jump on it fast or we would have no one. Maybe Antonio Bastardo would be our closer.

    Oh and one more thing. Madson could have accepted arbitration too. I mean whats the difference in the one year deal with the Reds and the one year deal in arbitration??

     
    • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

      I never remember fans “screaming to re-sign” Ryan Howard. There was no need for that…he had two seasons to go on his current deal.

      The entire Lee saga was bizarre, to say the least. RAJ (Mr. Cost Certainty himself) already had Lee under contract for 2010 at below market value. The same team that now pays Joe Blanton $8 million a year couldn’t keep Lee at $9 million for 2010? What would the harm be in letting Lee play out his deal and file for free agency? At the very worst you end up with a couple of draft picks. Then, they suddenly bring him back in 2011 on a huge deal. Very strange…

      I don’t see a lot of people saying RAJ is a bad GM. I just see people saying he’s probably in the middle of the pack, which I’d agree with.

       
      • Posts: 0 George

        In case you don’t remember, Amaro tried to trade Blanton before he traded Lee. He got no takers. In fact, he got no interest at all.

         
      • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

        George, I remember it all too well – probably better than you. Why exactly do you think that the team “could not” carry a $9 million Lee but “could” carry a $3 million Blanton in 2010? Do you think the franchise would have went under because of that extra $6 million in salary? Do you really believe that? Any team would take Lee over Blanton in that case – there’s no debate to be made. The team had a $113 million payroll in 2010, $138 million in 2011, and $165 million in 2012. Again, why couldn’t they afford Lee over Blanton in 2010? It was a $6 million difference, for a team coming off back-to-back WS appearances that was practically printing money.

        To top it all off, he brings Lee back in 2011 with a $120 million deal. So, the finances of the team changed so much during one season that they went from not being able to afford a $6 million difference in salary to being able to hand out $120 million guaranteed (and lose a number one pick in the process)?

        I don’t know why people think it’s their duty to defend everything RAJ has done. He f’d up most of Lee scenario, why not just admit it instead of defending him with these lame excuses? It reminds me of Dave Spadaro and the Eagles (you know the Eagles have NEVER made a mistake, don’t you??).

         
      • Posts: 0 George

        The plan was not to save money, but to rebuild the farm system after having traded off so many prospects in order to get Lee in the first place, then Halladay the following year. I’m sure Blanton would not have brought back Aumont, who is very close to being a major league reliever, or Gillies. Gillies has had more than his share of injuries, but Amaro could not have predicted that. They also got a third pitcher in the deal.

        I’m not duty bound to defend Amaro; he’s made some dumb moves. But you’ve got to look at everything, not just the money. The Phils’ farm system is fairly thin now; it would be completely empty had Amaro not traded somebody. And if you’re going to gripe about trading Lee instead of Blanton, you can’t cherry pick your facts. Only politicians are allowed to do that.

         
  • Posts: 5 Kendo

    Avatar of Kendo

    @EricL so your telling me you would have rather Brown or Fransico in RF last year over Pence?? Please tell me Im reading that wrong and I will say Im sorry for calling you out.

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Francisco, no. Brown yes.

      Because not only do you get Brown something like 500 ML AB under his belt, you also still have Singleton, Cosart & Santana, (+$11,ooo,ooo).

      The Phils were in first place (by 5 games) at the time of the trade. From May 23 (Utley’s return) through July 29th (Pence’s first game) the Phillies were averaging 4.71 runs/game. That pace over 162 games projects to 763 runs, or more than any other team in the NL scored last season.

      So basically they didn’t need to improve their offense, and they had a comfortable lead in the standings so the move was wholly unnecessary, and thus gutting the farm system on a move that wasn’t necessary was a mistake, IMO.

      Pence is a fine player, and now that he’s here I hope he does well, but I just don’t think his acquisition was necessary and the price paid was exorbitant.

       
      • Posts: 0 George

        You may also have gotten 500 bad defensive plays.

         
      • Posts: 0 Kendo

        Was Brown gonna be as productive as Pence was? He sure wasnt showing it. We needed an upgrade and more and more Brown was showing that he just wasnt ready for the show yet. Ive always said the offense wasnt as bad as people were saying it was but we needed an upgrade. At the time you look at SIngleton and where was he gonna play? He was blocked by Howard. They tried him in teh outfield and it wasnt working out and his offensive production was suffereing for it.

         
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        @George, we’ve had countless bad plays in LF over the last decade seeing as this team has run out two of the worst defensive outfielders of the 21st century in Burrell and Ibanez. Nobody seemed to care all that much about those guys, and Brown’s speed and arm are better than either of those guys had, and, at this point, his offense is better than Ibanez’s was last season. Further, Pence is a bit of an abomination in right as well, so it’s not like any of the complaints about his fielding are something that people are at all consistent about.

        @Kendo, No, Pence, at this point, is a better offensive player than Brown. But that’s not the point. The point is that the Phillies didn’t need to upgrade because their offense at the time of the deal was the best in the NL and they had the best record in the National League with a comfortable lead in the division. There was no need. They had the best offense in the NL, so improving the offense at a huge cost to the farm system was stupid. It’s not like they could move up in the standings, or finish in first-er place. It was a wasteful move.

        Singleton is an asset. It doesn’t matter if Ryan Howard was at first base, because he’s still got a lot of value as a trade piece (if, for example, they now felt a need to try to find a quality IF replacement) or as a potential fill in in the case of an injury. Where would this team have been the last 6 years if Ed Wade had taken your position and said, “You know what, I’m going to deal this Howard kid because we’ve already got Thome at first, and, you know, we’ve got this Utley kid coming up but Placido Polanco is a great second baseman, so let’s trade Chase while we can get something for him?” That’s just nonsensical. If you have talented players you don’t let them go to fill non-existent needs just because you currently have another player covering that position.

        The most important thing in any season is making the playoffs, which the Phillies were almost assuredly going to do without Pence. From there, as has been said a million times, it’s a crapshoot. So selling out to stack your team guarantees NOTHING. So it’s wasteful to do so. If you have a glaring weakness then you address that, but if you don’t–and as is evident by the statistics I’ve mentioned, they didn’t–it’s wasteful to spend a lot of your trading chips to marginally improve at any position.

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Eric, well said (12:25).

         
  • Posts: 2 simimittal

    Avatar of simimittal

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    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Great!

      But, wait, do I have to travel to Dubai for these escorts? Because I don’t think I’m willing to do that. I think the $2000 airfare is going to really put a dent in my escort budget by the time I get there, you know?

       
      • Posts: 4874 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Wait, – you have an escort budget? Does it have a L.T. threshold?, Salary Cap? Rewards points?

         
  • [...] by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, March 23, 2012 05:45 PM | Comments: 302012 Spring Training, Analysis, News, Opinion, [...]

     
  • Posts: 2965 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    The thing is, GMs are gonna get it right sometimes and not right other times. Everyone loves Pat Gillick for all the successes he’s had with different organizations, including the Phillies, but it was he who gave Adam Eaton what is probably the most ridiculous contract of the Phillies last decade. That deal makes the Blanton deal look almost genius and I recognize the faults with the Blanton deal.

     
    • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

      And if you look at it realistically, Ed Wade built the nucleus of the WFC team. Gillick himself has acknowledged that…

       
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        And, interestingly enough, Wade did that through an almost steadfast refusal to part with highly regarded minor league prospects.

        (I will add the caveat that at the time the Phillies operated on a much lower revenue stream, and thus had to run their team a bit differently)

         
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      You can’t say “most ridiculous contract” without mentioning the crime-against-humanity that is the Howard contract. Which, if you’ll recall, was a Ruben move.

      Gillick made small mistakes, when he made them (Garcia, Eaton, Jenkins, etc), but also made smaller acquisitions (and knew when to cut the cord with others like Rowand) that ended up making a huge impact (Jayson Werth, Matt Stairs, Greg Dobbs, Feliz, Lidge, etc)

      Gillick didn’t generally didn’t make huge splashes in the free agent market, and didn’t sign people to long-term contracts. Now, that means he didn’t sign any huge deals like the one that brought Lee back to Philly, but that also means that any mistakes he made were limited in scope and wouldn’t financially hamstring the team for years on end. Feliz, for example, totally fell apart toward the end of that contract, but he was signed cheaply and on a 3 year deal. Eaton was probably given more than he was worth, but again, it was only for 3 years and it was still only $8mm/yr.

      When you make a habit of going for the brass ring every single time your misses are going to be huge and have the potential to cripple the personnel moves that the team can make years in the future. What do you think a 36 year old Ryan Howard is going to look like making $25mm? This is the National League, it’s not like they can just relegate him to DH (vs. only RHP if his splits continue to decline).

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    My only problem with Ruben as is a GM is that he tends to “jump” at players in order to sign them. He rarely waits the market out. Ruben either doesn’t realize, or doesn’t care, that you can get great value if you can just wait out the free agency period. Ruben gets the man that he wants but out makes too much of a commitment. Papelbon, Polanco, Ibanez, and to an extend, Moyer.

    My retort to those that will tell me that if he waited then he couldn’t have gotten those guys is: Well, too bad. Wait for some others guys that ALWAYS straggle and hang towards the end of the free agency period and pick them up cheaper. They’re always there. Ruben falls in love with free agents and then just gives them whatever they want. The above named players are not special players, save for Papelbon.

    My point: Ruben oughta realize that he has one of the premier teams in baseball and that guys wanna play here. You don’t have to show up on Day 1 of free agency and with a sackful of money in order to get good players for your team. Please, just play a little coy once in awhile.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 0 Kendo

      Agreed he does jump fast but also its warrented. Who do we have as a closer if we didnt jump on Paps? We re-sign Madson and now look. Bastardo?? He also fizzeled out something serious last year in September the month where closers are most needed IMO. He has one of the premier teams in baseball bc of his moves. Hard to imagive Burrell putting up Raul’s numbers in 09 and carrying to a huge extent the team on his back for the better part of the first half of the season. Getting Lee when it was obvious that we didnt have the 08 Hamels. Has he mad mistakes? Yes he has. Trading Lee was horrible. But that trade was a three team deal and the Mariners had him hostage.

      We would not have gotten Papelbon if he waited to sign him. When you have holes you have to fill them and not think of they will still be here in 2 weeks. Alot of the players coming through now JMJ Brows etc werent ready in 09 and Rubin needed to fill out LF. You cant live on the wait and see bc while you are doing that teams are getting those players you want. Mets really wanted Raul and we finally had them on the down swing to why let them get some of these players. Blaton is a horrible move yes bc now its hard to unload him. But, did we really have the confidence in Kendrick? Thats one of the reasons why IMO we went out and got Blanton in 08 bc Kendrick was not the same pitchers he was in 07. Like most of us have been saying he has made some mistakes but he also has made some huge moves that helped. Oswalt while we were how many games out of 1st? He didnt give up anything in the first Lee trade and the Oswalt trade he gave up JA Happ look how he is doing now. Afew pieces than was able to get money back? A genius move. And the Phillies never looked back after that trade. The Pence trade. Do people really think Brown could have stepped in and take the everyday player role from Fransico? Werent they trying that before the Pence trade. Brown needs to either playe or stay in the Minors so he can play. Pence right now is a huge step up from Brown.

       
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        Wow. You’ve managed to pack a whole metric ton of inaccuracy into that post. Congrats.

        Nearly everything you said there is either misguided or just flat-out wrong.

         
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Here is the problem…Rollins, Vic, Polly are very similar hitters.

    .250 to .280 hitters. get you 7 to 15 homers. Thats not good. Outside of Pence there is no power on this team. They did not prepare for this. They should of prepared better instead of bringing in a 50 million dollar closer. Such a bad move. Madson would of been cheaper and if not Madson they could of found a cheaper option. Remember these guys can pitch complete games. This team is not scary.

     
    • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

      get over the closer thing jeff . it is what it is. madson would have cost almost as much and pap is better anyway! big deal . and besides i think i read somewhere that madson is having an arm problem? i don’t remember but if he is, can you imagine the panic that would cause if he was still with us?

       
    • Posts: 426 Publius

      Avatar of Publius

      Here’s the problem with relying on traditional metrics.

      Here’s their full 2011 stat lines:

      Victorino: .279/.355/.491
      Pence(combined HOU and PHI) : .314/.370/.502
      Rollins: .268/.338/.399

      Those are 3 INCREDIBLY DIFFERENT types of hitters. Hunter is a slugger with a good eye and some serious pop. Victorino is more of a doubles hitter with an AMAZING eye (.075 IsoD is pretty danged good) while Rollins was more of a singles hitter with a mediocre on base ability.

      These are the intricacies you miss when you focus solely on batting average and homers. These are 3 very different ballplayers with 3 very different skillsets.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    BTW – The Garcia move was egregious. You take a Freddy Garcia, fresh off of shoulder problems, NOT look at the his MRI or have your doctors examine him, and then trade Gavin Floyd AND Gio Gonzalez to get him.? That was just about the worst thing I have ever seen a GM do outside of the Harold Katz/Jeff Ruland debacle.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Another bonehead Gillick move: Geoff Jenkins. The Phils ate something like $11 million on that one. I think it was under Gillick, too, that Lidge got his three year deal.

      If three years is short term, five years isn’t exactly long term. And enough of those three year bad contracts can be just as devastating as one five year deal.

       
  • Posts: 2965 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Eric…. I CAN mention the “most ridiculous contract” without mentioning Howard ……or anyone else for that matter…..because it’s my comment, my opinion and I can say whatever the hell I want. I wasn’t a big fan of the Howard contract or, better yet, the TIMING of it….but time will tell if it really falls into the “most ridiculous” category. I’m willing to wait to totally judge that one in a fair way.

    Dipsy…. the Garcia trade was criminal. I had forgotten about that one. Horrible.

     
    • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

      Don’t worry about forgetting it…Gio Gonzalez is now in the division to remind us of it all season long!

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    The problem with teams like the Phillies is that if you want to keep a superstar you HAVE to overpay with a lotta years or you lose him. In hindsight it would have been better to let him go but…….. Ryan was playing well when Ruben gave him the extension. Every WS contender has a bad contract or two, and if you don’t, you’re not trying hard enough. That said, “bad” is one thing, but Howard’s contract is Godzilla Bad.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Ryan H

    yea. i’d rather have a galvis type out there than valdez. the phillies are seemingly militantly against developing younger players at the major league level. its maddening.

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Yeah, they didn’t allow Victorino, Bastardo, Herndon, Martinez, Mayberry, or Stutes any chance to develop in the ML, did they?

       
  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    I still find it very strange that Ruben would actually admit to a trade being foolish especially when, in this case, I agree that it was not. I do not think this is a very big problem because I am alright with having Galvis being the starting second baseman since, unlike Brown, he can actually play defense. I am fine letting him develop his hitting with major league at bats as long as he can save runs with his glove. If Ruben can find a decent, right handed utility player for the bench at a reasonable price then that’s great. If not, I am still happy with Galvis.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jay from Leonardtown

    Now that Madson’s out for the year for TJ, due to elbow problems the Phillies may have already known about, will not signing him long term go onto the “good” side of RAJ’s ledger?

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Probably not. A lot of fans here don’t think RAJ’s ledger has a good side.

       
    • Posts: 4874 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      In fairness, it certainly should IMO, and I am not the biggest RA Jr. fan.

       
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      No. You evaluate deals in light of what information you have at the time deals were made.

      Let’s say you’re in a poker game. You get AA and push all your chips into the pot. The guy across the table calls for all his chips as well. You flip over your cards and he shows 33. The community cards come, he catches a 3, and you go busto while he doubles up.

      Now, does the fact that he won the hand mean that his move to call an all in with 33 goes to the ‘good’ side of his ledger? Not at all. He did something dumb that happened to turn out well.

      The same thing applies here. The Phillies got lucky (if you consider paying a closer $15mm/yr lucky).

       
      • Posts: 4874 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        I made that point the other day. RA Jr. is an impulsive gambler that wins frequently. But, in the end, the casino always wins.

         
  • Posts: 2069 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    I am pretty amazed about Ryan being out for the year, I had no idea he would be declared “damaged goods”.

    Eric, Hunter Pence has improved every season in the majors, including last year. I don’t think we should be at all surprised if Pence snags us a .300 (+), 40 hr and 120 rbi (+) season. He is young, has a ton of power and now has the fan base, team support and a reason for motivation. I would venture to say that Hunter Pence will be in the running at the end of the year for the MVP award. And something like that could be the only way the Phils sew up this division for the 6th season in a row.

     
    • Posts: 0 Kendo

      Here here Brooks I said the samething. Also people started to get scared bc Pence went into alittle slump a week or so before the trade. What 45,000 strong every night an energetic clubhouse and a WINNING team does for a players confidence. Look at Cliff Lee in 09 he was not in any means the Cliff Lee of 08. He actually had just over a .500 record with a high ERA. He came to Philly and was a Cy Young pitcher. Some people dont relize that alot of players thrive more when they go to a winning team bc the season isnt over July 31st when all the talent around them went to other teams.

       
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Well, you’re delusional if you think Pence is going to hit 40hr. He’s never hit more than 25 in a season, so you think it’s probable that he’d hit 60% more HR than he’s ever hit? That’s just crazy.

      It’s possible he hits .300 again, he’s done that before. As for your assertion that he’s improved every years? Well, no. He was worse in 2008 than he was in 2007 and his 2010 season was worse than his 2009 season.

      RBI is a pointless stat, so sure, he might get 120 RBI (although that’s unlikely as well), but that’s more due to his position in the lineup and the guys in front of him getting on base than to anything he does. FYI, the last Phillies player to pick up at least 120 RBI was Ryan Howard in 2009, and he did that on the back of a 45 HR season.

      And, no that’s not the ONLY way they sew up the division for a 6th year in a row. They do that by having an extraordinarily dominant rotation, just like they did last season. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that Pence gets nowhere near 120 RBI and 40HR, yet the Phillies still repeat as division champs.

       
      • Posts: 2069 Brooks

        Avatar of Brooks

        Lets see, Pence is 28 now. In 2007 his OPS

         
      • Posts: 2069 Brooks

        Avatar of Brooks

        Pence is huge, 6’4″ and 225. A few adjustments in his swing could generate a lot more hrs. He is so young, and the numbers are so close in comparison, I would say yes he is improving.

        The entire point is that your assertion that his acquisition was a “bad idea” is way off and I will wager with you that this season if anyone steps up offensively, it will be Hunter Pence.
        Eric, what do you feel the key ingredients to a winning season are? Aside from the most stable and reliable starting staff in the ML today, what else is in the Phils favor? No team stands much of a chance if their defense is shaky, that’s not my perspective, that is historical data. And what about this offense could be exciting? Chooch with 2 ST hrs? Galvis at second base? Pitching alone will not produce a WS ring. It will take some extraordinary performances to elevate this team.

         
      • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

        i agree eric on the 40 hr thing . i think 30-35 isn’t out of the question though. and as far as RBI being a pointless stat i bet to disagree. i’ll take 5 or 6 players in the lineup with 100+ pointless RBI.

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Ryne obviously, because that means the team is scoring a lot of runs. It’s a stat that is greatly impacted by the team, and in particular who’s on base when you come up.

        To put a lot meaning to any single player’s RBIs is what is pointless. They may hit well with RISP, or they may just have a lot of runners on when they come up (or both, like Howard).

         
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Wow. I wonder if the Phillies did have some idea that something was wrong with his arm. That would certainly explain the alleged RAJ “reneging” on his purported offer to Ryan. The offer, the physical before the signing, and then the “uh, no thanks Ryan?” At least RAJ conducts physicals before he acquires players. Perhaps the whole Garcia fiasco coming full circle?

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 2069 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    Thanks for bringing up the Garcia nightmare Dipsy. People you love to hate. Freddy’s name rises to the top.

    Perhaps a physical does little good, look at Kevin Millwood. He won 18 games 2 times for the Braves but was a wash (OK, not as much as Freddy the freeloader) for the Phils.

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    So stick with me here: The Phils do a physical and they see something in Ryan’s arm they don’t like. They don’t tell make this public because A) Its screws Madson, and: B) the news also serves to drive up Papelbon’s price tag up even farther since now he is the ONLY closer out there. The Phils need one or the othe so now they have to sign Papelbon, and quickly, before any news of Madson’s arm leak, and in this way they save money. And that’s the story of How The Phils Went Nuts To Sign Papelbon. Is that cynical?

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

      I don’t get the “saving money” part, because there are still no indications that teams were lining up for Papelbon. Boston already indicated they weren’t bringing him back and I don’t see any other teams that would have given up that much (years AND dollars) to a closer (the most overrated position in the game). The fact that Madson signed so late shows that a frantic closer market never developed.

      I think the part about seeing something in a physical was dead on. It’s actually against the law to disclose anyone’s medical conditions (HIPPA), but in sports things get anonymously leaked all the time. It’s nice the Phillies didn’t do that…

       
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Yes it’s cynical. As I posted above, the torn ligament occurred this spring.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    *further, not farther.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 4874 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Well it’s nice to believe that RA Jr. and staff were so in tune to their players’ health, that he was on top of the Madson situation, and snagged Papelbon quickly for that reason.

    But if that’s the case, why no high quality back up option for the right side of the infield? Wigginton, who slugged .416 in the mile high city?, Thome, with a balky back, who hasn’t played first in 5-6 years?

    I don’t know, I just don’t know.

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Jeff – Papelbon was on the market for about 5 minutes when RAJ snagged him. For that reason, I don’t think the market for him really had time to flesh out. But if you’re Ruben, then you know you HAVE to have him and you don’t have any time to eff around lest other teams start getting interested or try to drive the price up on the Phils. I think the fast signing makes perfect sense now.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Also – The Phillies would have never leaked info about Madson’s arm because that would have screwed them because it would have given Papelbon more leverage because that would have made him the only top shelf closer on the market (that is, if you ever regarded Madson as one).

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    Madson out for the year. This magnifies the failure on Boras’ part. Now Madson will not make much money next year as teams will be leery of him coming off that surgery. You have to wonder if this is a reason why the rumored deal got pulled back so quickly.

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      I have never read anywhere that torn ligaments are predictable. Sometimes crap just happens, and I feel badly for Madson for having it happen to him.

      If the Phils did somehow see it in their tea leaves or Tarot cards that Ryan’s arm was going to pop, they may not have told the public, but they would have been obligated to tell Madson. If he even had an inkling, he never would have inked a one year contract to build his value.

       
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        This.

        If the Phillies knew then Madson HAS to know, and if he knows he immediately takes any of the multi-year offers extended to him and doesn’t settle for a one year “pillow” contract.

         
      • Posts: 4874 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        I’m not in disagreement with either of you. But have a question I don’t know the answer to- Did Madson actually get any multi-year offers after the Phillies deal (apparently) fell apart?

         
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    No, but he would have taken a one year deal if that was all he could get because teams knew that the Phils nixed the deal because of a physical.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 2965 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    I think it’s entirely plausible that the Phillies knew or sensed SOMETHING with this whole Madson thing. The way that whole thing played out was just strange. In any event, in hindsight, the Phils are better off. And ask yourself this: If Madson had signed that 4/44 deal and then missed a year….would you rather have HIM at what would in effect be 3/44…..or Papelbon at 4/50?

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Eric L – Of course Madson is gonna say it happened at the beginning of spring training. He also said that he gets this annual ailment at the beginning of each spring. If you were expecting Madson to say “Hey, I wasn’t surprised that I need TJ surgery based on past exams on my elbow”, well, that would be somewhat naive. You gotta stop believing everything that comes out of peoples mouths.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Yes, and you, Dipsy, have to stop inventing things to believe.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    And RBI’s are pointless stats.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    *RBIs

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 2965 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Maybe the actual tear happened this spring but the Phillies HAD to have seen something they didnt like last November in order for this whole deal to get derailed like it did. That whole thing was just too weird.. Doesn’t matter…it’s not our problem.

    Batting average is a pointless stat, too.

     
  • Posts: 4874 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I would agree that it isn’t likely the Phillies knew Madson’s ligament was about to pop off the bone. But I would not be so quick to say that the team trainers and F.O. in general didn’t know something was wrong. Watch how his velocity falls off both from years past and at then at the end of last season.

    *http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfxo.aspx?playerid=1852&position=P&pitch=FA

    *I can’t take credit for finding this, the source was a poster on the MLB.com Phillies forum

     
 
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