PN Mailbag #6: End of the Year Edition

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, December 30, 2012 11:10 AM | Comments: 23
Analysis, Fun Stuff, Mailbag, Posts

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' Here was my favorite album this year.

Welcome to the sixth Phillies Nation mailbag! Because nobody asked for it, and everybody else is doing it, here are some of my picks of my favorite things that happened this year. Just hit “Page Down” a few times to get to the baseball stuff. Or just click on “Read More” – it’s after that jump. I promise I answer Phillies’ related questions eventually.


Favorite Album of 2012: Here – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Favorite Pop Single of 2012: “Some Nights” – fun.

Hardest Pop Song to Get Out of My Head in 2012: Three-way tie – “Want U Back” by Cher Lloyd, “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, and “Domino” by Jessie J.

Most Disappointing Album of 2012: Wrecking Ball – Bruce Springsteen

and finally, the coveted:

Album from 2012 That I Am Most Likely To Confuse for Something by T. Rex (and that’s a good thing) Award: Be the Void – Dr. Dog

Was it me or was this a weak year for pop and rock music or what? If not for Bruno Mars, this might have been the weakest year for music since 2006. That year, Rihanna hit the scene with “S.O.S.” and the Raconteurs put out their album but the well was pretty dry then like it is now. The big singles were easy to digest but nothing memorable musically like the subtle key change in 2007′s “Umbrella”


Movie with the Most Bootleg Looking Commercial: Life of Pi

Movie with Commercials That Set Impossibly High Expectations: The Dark Knight Rises

Worst Sequel: With apologies to The Expendables 2, Madagascar 3, Twilight Breaking Dawn 2, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Journey 2, The Bourne Legacy, Taken 2, Resident Evil: Retribution, and Paranormal Activity 4, all of which I have not, and likely will not, see, this award goes to the mailed-in Men in Black 3. It wasn’t particularly bad, it wasn’t particularly good – it was there. Sadly, it had very few funny moments and the nostalgia just wasn’t there to keep me interested the whole time.

Was this the year for sequels, though, or what?

Best Movie Where the Parents Suddenly Realize They Have a Half-Boy, Half-Plant hybrid for a Child: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Worst Execution of Digging Something Wayyyyyy Out of the Archives and Trying to Sell It To 18-49 Year Olds: The Three Stooges


The “We Can Finally Stop Talking About This” Award 2012: LeBron Wins a Championship

The “I’d Like Everyone To Talk About This More” Award 2012: The NHL Stoppage

The “Everyone Here Would Have Gotten Kicked Out of High School, College, or Both if We Did This”, Non-Steroids Award 2012: ESPN repeatedly plagiarizes

The “Everyone Here Would Have Gotten Kicked Out of High School, College, or Both if We Did This”, Steroids Award 2012: Tie: Took steroids and broke our back or Took steroids and were still super out of shape

When Kearns is among the best available, it's time to go into battle with what you already have. Photo: AP


Alright, now that that is over and forcefully imposed my views on non-baseball related things on everyone, let’s get to some questions!

Russell V. on our Facebook FanPage asks: “so when are we gonna sign a right handed power bat….”

Well Russell, there just isn’t anybody who fits that description for the Phillies to sign, really. Here are some of the triple-slash lines from 2012 of some of the “top” righty outfielders available, see if you like them:

Player A: .245/.366/.367 v. all, .196/.304/.299 v. LHP in 2012

Player B: .263/.299/.504 v. all, .286/.317/.550 v. LHP in 2012

Player C: .264/.332/.365 v. all, .206/.261/.298 v. LHP in 2012

Player A is Austin Kearns, Player B is the much discussed Scott Hairston, and Player C is Carlos Lee. That’s what is left from the right-handed side in the outfield. Thankfully, the Phillies passed on Cody Ross and I have a feeling they will do the same with this crop of players. More and more, it is feeling like what you see is what you get with this team for 2013. To officially answer your question: not this year.

Thomas G. on our Facebook Fan Page asks: Does it seem like Ruben Amaro is kind of “punting” on 2013 and already looking at who’s available next year?


Nick O. on our Facebook Fan Page asks: Since Christmas is over and Ruben didnt provide as he has done in yrs past, whats the next move if any? Is it a Right Handed Power Bat That could happen to play the outfield defensively as well, if so who do you think it will be. What if anything does he have up his sleeve, I know id like to see a magic trick!

That’s a tremendous question, Thomas. A few folks thought that may have been the case last off-season with the bounty that would be available this off-season. I can remember the mock line-ups being posted at our FB page that included Josh Hamilton in the outfield and Zach Greinke in the rotation. How these folks thought the Phillies could afford them, I don’t know.

Last year’s off-season was a lot quieter than this off-season. Remember, last year’s big thrills were making essentially a lateral move or slight upgrade from Ryan Madson to Jonathan Papelbon, trading for Ty Wigginton, and signing Laynce Nix and Jim Thome. This year already provided way more improvement and useful pieces than that: the Phillies picked up a center fielder for the next four years at the least, they signed a legitimate and proven eight inning man, a fifth starter with a pretty under appreciated track record, and a guy who stands at third base who can still hit the ball pretty well. Those upgrades are already bigger than anything they did last off-season.

Let’s take a quick look, though, at who is available next year, with their ages for 2014 in parenthesis. Since Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Michael Young, and Roy Halladay may be gone after 2013, I’ll only list some of the highlights from catcher, second base, third base, and the starting pitching crop. Big thanks to MLB Trade Rumors for compiling these lists, which can be found here.


John Buck (33)
Jesus Flores (29)
Ramon Hernandez (38)
Gerald Laird (34)
Brian McCann (30)
Jose Molina (38)
Dioner Navarro (30)
Wil Nieves (36)
Brayan Pena (32)
A.J. Pierzynski (37)
Humberto Quintero (34)
Ruiz (35)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (29)
Geovany Soto (31)
Kurt Suzuki (30) – $8.5MM club option with a $650K buyout

Second Base:

Robinson Cano (31)
Alexi Casilla (29)
Mark Ellis (37) – $5.75MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Mike Fontenot (34)
Aaron Hill (32)
Omar Infante (32)
Nick Punto (36)
Omar Quintanilla (31)
Ryan Raburn (33)
Brian Roberts (36)
Ramon Santiago (34)
Skip Schumaker (34)
Utley (35)
Ben Zobrist (33) – $7MM club option with a $2.5MM buyout

Third Base:

Wilson Betemit (32) – $3.2MM vesting option
Alberto Callaspo (31)
Eric Chavez (36)
Mike Fontenot (34)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (38)
Placido Polanco (38)
Martin Prado (30)
Mark Reynolds (30)
Juan Uribe (34)
Kevin Youkilis (35)
Michael Young (37)


Bronson Arroyo (37)
Scott Baker (32)
Nick Blackburn (32) – $8MM club option
A.J. Burnett (37)
Chris Capuano (35) – $8MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
Chris Carpenter (39)
Bruce Chen (37)
Bartolo Colon (41)
Jorge De La Rosa (33)
Scott Feldman (30)
Gavin Floyd (31)
Jeff Francis (33)
Matt Garza (30)
Roy Halladay (37) – $20MM vesting option
Jason Hammel (31)
Aaron Harang (36) – $7MM+ mutual option with a $2MM buyout
Rich Harden (32)
Dan Haren (33)
Roberto Hernandez (33)
Tim Hudson (38)
Phil Hughes (28)
Ubaldo Jimenez (30) – may void $8MM option for 2014
Josh Johnson (30)
Hiroki Kuroda (39)
John Lannan (29)
Jon Lester (30) – $13MM club option with a $250K buyout
Colby Lewis (34)
Ted Lilly (38)
Tim Lincecum (30)
Paul Maholm (32)
Jason Marquis (35)
Ricky Nolasco (31)
Mike Pelfrey (30)
Andy Pettitte (42)
Wandy Rodriguez (35) – $13MM club option with a $2.5MM buyout
Ervin Santana (31)
Johan Santana (34) – $25MM club option with a $5.5MM buyout
James Shields (32) – $12MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Jason Vargas (31)
Ryan Vogelsong (36) – $6.5MM club option with a $300K buyout
Edinson Volquez (30)
Tsuyoshi Wada (33) – $5MM club option
Adam Wainwright (32)
Suk-min Yoon (27)
Barry Zito (36) – $18MM vesting option with a $7MM buyout

A couple quick observations on those lists. Zito’s contract is FINALLY over, maybe. Cano and Wainwright will likely be the biggest, and most expensive, prizes of the 2014 Free Agent class but I honestly think the Phillies have no chance at either. And wow, does that third base list familiar. It’s almost identical to this year’s.

Let’s pretend the Phillies let Chooch, Utley, and Young walk and Halladay’s option vests next year. That combined with Nix’s expiring contract gives the Phillies about $27 million to work with for next off-season. There are going to be a number of raises for the young players, including Revere and some of the bullpen. So, the Phillies will have probably around $22-24 million next off-season under the luxury tax to make a splash. And if you’re thinking “sign a corner outfielder then!”, those pickings are slim, too. A then-31-year old Hunter Pence might be the best corner outfielder available at that point and probably expects $14-16 million a year.

Sometimes, I quietly wonder if Amaro knew the free agent crops would be pretty thin in 2013 and 2014 so that’s why he just went gung-ho and locked up Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee with the aggression he did. I like two of those contracts a lot, too. I’ll let you guess which one I don’t like. There’s almost nobody who is “splash-worthy” next year aside from Wainwright or Cano although fliers on Hudson or Santana are interesting.

Nick – I think you may be underestimating the upgrades made this year. While Amaro did prove pretty crafty in acquiring Halladay and signing Lee a year after trading him in the 2009 and 2010 off-seasons respectively, there just wasn’t an unequivocal, no-doubt-about it, pull-out-all-the-stops free agent or trade target this year. Hamilton came with his well documented risks, Greinke struggles with anxiety issues which might have been a nightmare with the two sports talk radio stations and 100+ dedicated Phillies blogs, and Michael Bourn‘s skill set does not age well. Bourn is still out there, though, and will likely have to take a pillow contract. Which brings me to…

How disappointed is Bourn that he did not sign for over $15 million a year yet? Photo: AP

Jordan W. asks on our Facebook Fan Page: What do you think about the idea of giving Michael Bourn a pillow contract?

Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely. Bourn averaged just over five fWAR per season in the last four seasons -adding Bourn, in theory, gives you an immediate 3-4 win upgrade over what the Phillies had last year. I would absolutely avoid Bourn on a long-term commitment but if he’s still available and he says either a one-year, $16 million deal or a five-year, $80 million deal, which, it is not in his best interests to sign anything in the middle, I would love to give him that pillow contract.

Adding Bourn comes with its advantages: Ben Revere instantly becomes a more valuable defender by moving him to a corner and there is less pressure on Domonic Brown to carry the outfield and less pressure for Darin Ruf to mash.

That being said, there are clear disadvantages: if Ruf tears the cover off of the ball in Spring Training, Brown doesn’t get the 550-600 ABs to see if he really can do what a lot of folks think he can do, the Phillies are then over the luxury tax threshold, and Ender Inciarte, possibly the coolest named player the Phillies have ever acquired, is all but guaranteed to be headed back to Arizona. As much as I would love to see Brown and Ruf play every day, and to keep Inciarte, who I really, really like as a speedster and defender, Bourn would instantly upgrade the outfield and probably put the Phillies firmly back in the contender pool for 2013.

My colleague Eric Seidman wrote a pretty fine and way more comprehensive piece about this right here.

One last one…

Rob J. on our Facebook Fan Page asks: any chance if unloading howard ? maybe balt or texas ?

Thanks again for all those that wrote in this week! Hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year!
Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 892 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

  • Posts: 0 Eddie J

    What I wouldn’t give to hear Harry Kalas enunciate “Ender Inciarte.” If HK and Whitey aren’t calling games in heaven, I don’t wanna go.

    • Posts: 0 wit55

      GREATEST COMMENT EVER!!!! Wheeler makes my ears bleed!!!

  • Posts: 0 Betasigmadeltashag

    More Hiward hating the guy has not been healthy for two years. And say what you want that those injuries don’t effect what he swings at but they might because of compensating for the lack of a base. If he has been working out this winter and is healthy for spring training he may be comeback player of the year and a top five MVP

  • Posts: 452 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    Hmm. If hating consists consists of “I don’t like his contract” and answering if there’s a chance if he could be traded with “none”, please just assume that I’m a frequent guest to “The Player Hater’s Ball”.

    • Posts: 0 George

      I don’t think the “Howard hating” comment was directed at you personally, Ian. But it’s pretty obvious when so many people appear to want him traded that there is a lot of Howard hating going on, or at least “Howard disliking.”

      My own feeling is that Howard hasn’t performed to some pretty unrealistic expectations, but he’s also a very valuable player. I also think the contract, though excessive, isn’t the total disaster so many people think it is. Productive players, even if they have trouble with lefties, or making throws to second base (not a constant occurrence for a first baseman, anyway)don’t exactly grow on trees.

    • Posts: 5434 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      Yeah- we gotta give Rob J., the guy that asked the “unloading” question, some blame/credit pending your viewpoint, for the Howard hating. BTW You never actually did say which contract you didn’t like- well, until now. (Not that we didn’t all know) I’d say join the club, but my NEW least favorite contract is the Papelbon one, and for more reason than that they paid too much for a closer.

      I showed you this graph once before when we were talking about Roy Halladay, but take a very worrisome look at what happened to Cinco-Ocho’s Fastball in 2012, and he’s here for at least another three years.


  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    “The “I’d Like Everyone To Talk About This More” Award 2012: The NHL Stoppage”

    A misplaced nomination, I’d have to say. Like the NBA regular season, and like the MLB regular season has kinda sorta become with a 2nd wildcard, the NHL regular season is meaningless. Oh yeah, I forgot, the playoffs are, too. But the one shining star on the NHL calendar is one of the truly great days in sport, that of the annual Winter Classic. There are still 2 days left to hold out hope that the game somehow, someway, miracle of miracles takes place. If ya think people can stop complaining about Dom Brown, then ya can hope for a 2 day miracle of miracles.

    Now what more people should be yakking about is the all but inevitable exit of the payroll tax holiday that’s on the brink of ecrutiatingly about to take cash out of many of the common fans pockets. Never mind that it’s gonna cost starters, relievers, regulars and pine sitters alike caishe as well. At least it makes 2013 budgeting more of a challenge. Joy to the world on that opportunity. As a “wise” former American Leauge club owner once said after selling his franchise for a 14 million dollar profit, “read my lips, no new taxes.” I guess a little time passed between the sale and the comment, but why let the truth interfere with a point?

    • Posts: 5434 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      KB – I give a “Lefty personal guarantee” that no one in the middle class will see one penny more taken out of their paychecks. And not necessarily because they come to agreement, but because they finagle some sort of “continuing resolution” even though the present law says they can’t.

      BTW “Lefty personal guarantee’s” are great because I never have to back them up. I simply deny that I ever gave them despite the ease with which they can be reproduced.

      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        I would be more shocked if the Social Security tax doesn’t revert to what it was prior to the break of the last 2 years than if the Phillies even take the RUMOR lead in the Giancarlo Stanton derby. But your guarantee was smart since the middle class is a fading demographic. Leave it to Beaver gone bye bye.

        Must run. Working on my NHL playoff preview.

    • Posts: 452 Ian Riccaboni

      Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

      KB – This was only just for the sports category – I have a few other nominees for other categories but that would get wayyyyy too off topic.

  • Posts: 5434 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    “The “I’d Like Everyone To Talk About This More” Award 2012: The NHL Stoppage”

    I like hockey a little, not appointment television, but I’m glad it’s there when I flip through the channels. But I had to laugh the other day when I heard someone say the TV ratings for the NHL are up this year so far. :-)

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Ian –

    Saying that there were more “improvements” in 2012 offseason than 2011 offseason depends on your starting point. If you consider that Victorino and Pence were in the OF last year I am not sure that the starting 25 of 2013 beats the starting 25 of 2012. (note you have to consider your expectations for Polanco 2012 vs your expectations for Young 2013.) While our new SP is solid I don’t consider him an upgrade over Worley.

    So consider it this way –

    Young vs Polanco
    Lannan vs Worley
    Revere vs Victorino
    Adams vs Qualls

    Yes, Amaro was “more active” but he had to be because he traded away or did not renew contracts of various key players. I am not saying this is bad but if I look at the four major changes I don’t think there is an improvement.

    Young vs Polanco is an unknown. Probably a little better but we really don’t know.
    Lannan vs Worley I think may be a slight negative but you can throw it either way.
    Revere vs Victorino is a downgrade.
    Adams vs Qually is definitely an upgrade assuming the injury is not a problem.

    Now, one more thing – no replacement for Pence. Ruf may be good but I don’t think Amaro thinks so otherwise he would have brought him up before September.

    • Posts: 452 Ian Riccaboni

      Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

      I’ll go piece by piece here as well:

      Adams over Qualls is an easy, easy win for 2013.

      Revere over Victorino is also an easy win if you use 2012 stats and hindsight. If looking at 2011, where Victorino was a legitimate MVP candidate through August, no. But I would absolutely take a 25 year old player who posted 2 and 3.4 fWAR seasons back to back to start his career over Victorino who was worth 3.3 wins last year and posted career lows in all triple-slash categories. I agree, it’s not so cut and dry if you view it from the lense of last off-season, but this off-season? Absolutely a win for Revere. I’d rather have Revere right now than Victorino, no question.

      Lannan v. Worley is probably a push from the perspective of this off-season – I’d give you this one if looking through the eyes of last off-season, though. Lannan is good for a win, win and a half above replacement every year, Worley is a big question mark with the injury. Not injured, he’s, at best, a 2.5 win pitcher. Long term? Downgrade, absolutely, but this year? Probably a push. Don’t be surprised if the regression for Worley is a little harder, too, because of his league switch. (Also, long term, they have Ethan Martin, Jonathan Pettibone, Adam Morgan, Jesse Biddle, and many, many others. Worley is very replaceable long term.)

      Finally, Young v. Polanco. Polanco was essentially a broken man last year and everyone knew that. Even though I’m low on Young, I’m more excited this year entering the year with him than I was Polanco there.

      About Pence: A lot of folks had high expectations for him. His monster 2011 made him look like the replacement for Jayson Werth a lot of fans didn’t think the Phillies would find. I’d agree the expectations were higher for him in RF last year but the fact is, he didn’t deliver as a Phillie in 2012 or a Giant for that matter. He put up a league-average 1.8 fWAR in time with both teams, hitting a career low .253/.319/.425. One of Ruf/Brown is going to easily be able to out hit that.

      And about Ruf: the reason Ruf wasn’t called up sooner? A lot, and I mean a LOT, of reasons: his advanced age, his limited sample size, his lack of pedigree (20th round pick in 2009), because he played first base, among many many other reasons. The main ones though? Because he had rarely played outfield before last year’s conversion and his explosion did not happen until late July and early August. Ruf hit 38 HR last year – 20 of them came in August. Up to that point, the 18 that he had would have been a career high for him. He had a very successful stint in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he hit 10 more home runs and playing a decent left field before being told to go home because he has nothing left to prove. This Ruf thing is a pretty new development but the average has always been there, whether it has been at Creighton or in the minors. He’s finally using his big frame (6’3, 220 lbs) to drive the ball more and he’s getting quite good results.

  • Posts: 1048 EricL

    Avatar of EricL

    Bourn on a pillow-contract would be awful, because you’d be giving up the 16th overall pick for one season of Bourn. Hopefully you can recover a supplemental pick in 2014, but that’s a pretty big risk and downgrade for one season worth of production.

    As for Bob’s comment, I think he’s spot on. The starting 25 going into 2012 were easily better than the starting 25 going into 2013 should be projected to be.

    Pre-2012 Halladay >>> Post-2012 Halladay
    ’12 Hamels = ’13 Hamels
    ’12 Lee > or = ’13 Lee
    Blanton > or = Kendrick
    Worley >> Lannan

    2012 Howard < 2013 Howard
    2012 Utley (we didn't know he was injured until ST) or =2013 Rollins
    2012 Polanco (2.9 fWAR in 2011) > or = 2013 Young (-1.4 fWAR 2012)

    Pence >> Brown
    Victorino >>> Revere
    Pierre/Nix/Mayberry = Ruf/Nix/Mayberry

    ’12 Ruiz = ’13 Ruiz (Debatable. Expectations will be higher after his 2012 season, but he’s already going to miss the first 25 games and is another year older at a position which doesn’t age well. Call it a wash)

    Kendrick (long man) > Cloyd (long man)
    Herndon = De Fratus
    Savery < Horst
    Qualls < Adams
    Stutes = ’13 Papelbon

    (For players on the wrong side of 30 being compared with themselves I’ve given a slight edge to the younger versions)

    I think you can make the case that both the OF and starting rotation are significantly worse than we thought they were 1 year ago today. Of course, nobody knew that Halladay, Worley and Polanco were going to break down, that Victorino and Pence would have down years, that Utley would miss the first half of the season and that Howard would have his setbacks, etc. So those were kind of outliers, which all happened to befall the team in one year, which was unfortunate. That said, we have to take that into account looking at the older players going forward. There are no guarantees that Howard will ever fully regain his strength and explosiveness, or that Halladay will ever return to form (he really wasn’t good the 2nd half, after he returned from his time on the DL). Just as a lot of things had to go wrong for a 102 win team to fall 21 games in one season, a lot of things need to go right for this team which consists of a group of guys who are either questions (OF corners) or coming off of seriously bad or injured seasons (Halladay, Howard, Utley, Young). They basically need all of those guys to return to their previous form and they need the unknowns in the OF to turn into something decent.

    I think the bullpen is going to be better, as a whole, but I really don’t think Adams has much to do with that. They had a bunch of good, high-K arms in there the 2nd half of the season and were really dominant after they jettisoned the people they realized weren’t well suited for their roles (Savery, Qualls, etc). Adams, in fact, is kind of a scary guy to me, seeing as he’s old, coming off an injury plagued season, has a declining K rate over the last few years, has seen decreased velocity and put up the majority of his eye-popping numbers years ago in the most pitcher-friendly stadium in the bigs. Not a terrible move, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn into a less-bad version of 2012 Chad Qualls.

    For as many people are lauding Ruf, I think we should prepare ourselves for failure. I can’t tell you how many Jayson Werth comps I heard when people were talking about Ben Fransisco going into 2011. Ruf may just be some phenom late-bloomer, the likes of which Major League Baseball has very rarely seen, but I think it’s much more likely that he turns out to be a shorter, paler version of John Mayberry Jr – a guy who can really punish LH pitching but isn’t really an every day major leaguer. And while I want to see Dom Brown succeed, he certainly doesn’t have the track record of a guy like Pence, and I don’t think there’s anyone who thinks that it’s not possible for him to end up being a bust. Maybe unlikely, but not out of the realm of possibilities – and with that being the case, if you have busts from 2 of your 3 starting OF, with the third being a defense-first, no-power, light hitting guy, you’re potentially in trouble.

    Overall the team has huge question marks, for one reason or another, with their 2012 opening day starter, 1B, 2B, 3B, LF & RF. That’s problematic, to say the least.

    Can this team compete for a playoff spot? Sure, if things fall right. But they’re certainly not the divisional favorites, and I don’t think they’re anywhere near as good as the team that entered 2012.

    • Posts: 1048 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Something weird happened to the IF portion of my comps. Here they are again:

      ’12 Howard /= ’13 Utley
      ’12 Rollins >/= ’13 Rollins
      ’12 Polanco >/= ’13 Young

      Again, the >/= are debatable, but generally, would anyone say that a 34 year old SS is going to be better than the 33 year old version of the same player? Etc.

    • Posts: 1048 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Wow. Did it again. I don’t think the code likes all the brackets. Last time; going into the season:

      ’12 Howard worse than ’13 Howard
      ’12 Utley better or equal to ’13 Utley
      ’12 Rollins better or equal to ’13 Rollins
      ’12 Polanco better or equal to ’13 Young

    • Posts: 0 hk


      I agree with almost all of your analysis except I’m not sure what “Stutes = ’13 Papelbon” means. However, the pre-2012 expectations are irrelevant to me at this point. I’m more interested in comparing the actual 2012 results to the current expectations for next year. Not that you asked, but I currently predict the following changes in wins (+3 from the starting pitching, +1 from the bullpen, +5 from the IF and no change from the OF). If you add 9 to the 81 games that they won last year, you get to 90.

      With some good breaks (i.e. Brown becomes a 4 win player or Sandberg helps Charlie manage more optimally and introduces him to the concepts of platooning and bullpen management, one of the SP prospects comes up and produces better than KK or Lannan), maybe there’s more upside. Of course, there’s also the chance that Utley only plays 81 or fewer games, that Halladay continues losing fastball velocity, that 2013 is worse than 2012 for Adams and Young or that a myriad of other situations could take the wins number much lower.

      Your thoughts…

      • Posts: 1048 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        For some reason the code seems to randomly eat lines with too many greater-than or equal-to signs. I compared Stutes to Aumont, Bastardo was in there, and then compared ’12 Papelbon to this year’s version. Same thing happened when I tried to do it for the infielders. It’s weird.

        I think your estimates are close, although a slight bit more optimistic than mine are. Howard will be better, and Utley should be, but I’d expect a drop off from the C and SS positions. I don’t see Young as an upgrade over the Frandsen/Polanco/Dreck combination at third (which contributed something like ~2.5 wins total). The pitching rotation looks pretty static to me. The bullpen will be better, potentially significantly.

        I basically agree with Matt Swartz’s projections for this year (you can find them on his twitter feed from December 15th: https://twitter.com/Matt_Swa/status/280004486519463936 and https://twitter.com/Matt_Swa/status/280004257141362688 – see his timeline around that period for a bit more detail), which, if you add them to fWAR’s hypothetical (fWAR) replacement-team value of ~43 wins you get ~87 or so wins.

        The problem is we run into WAR-estimation leakage.

        If you do a team-to-team comparison of the 2012 to those projected 2013 WAR values, you get an equal-to-slightly worse team in ’13, but yet one that’s expected to win more games than the ’12 team. The ’12 Phils compiled 45.4 fWAR, which means the calculation puts their 2012 replacement team level at 35.6 wins, rather than the assumed 43 or so.

        So, in a more “typical” year, the Phillies could trot out the same broken, crappy ’12 team and expect to win closer to 88 games. Which is where I think right about where the talent level is with this year’s version of the team. No real improvement, although I expect their record will be better. And either way, a clear dog to the Nationals, and potentially the Braves (although I haven’t done the same calculations for them yet)

  • Posts: 1048 EricL

    Avatar of EricL

    P.S. – Halladay’s contract won’t vest.

    In order for the vesting option to kick in he needs to pitching 258 2/3rds innings.

    The last baseball player to pitch that many innings in a season was…Roy Halladay. In 2003. At the age of 26. Repeating that, something nobody in baseball has done in a decade, seems…exceptionally unlikely.

  • Posts: 23 DadsInKeyLargo

    Avatar of DadsInKeyLargo

    I’m curious. Does anyone know what Ruben offered for Josh Willingham? Willingham would be the perfect right fielder. Philadelphia had great success with someone else that had the nick name “Hammer”
    Maybe history could repeat itself.

    • Posts: 5434 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      I don’t think there is any way we could ever know. They don’t like to let players they didn’t trade know about it, causes all kinds of issues. (they feel betrayed or unwanted) But I agree Josh would be the perfect guy for this team. I’m hoping they might still be talking about it.

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