Phillies Swap Arbitration Figures

Posted by Paul Boye, Tue, January 19, 2010 05:06 PM Comments: 128

The report has come in from CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury, and the three remaining arbitration-eligible Phillies have let their demands be known. The team has also submitted its proposed figures for each player.

There is still plenty of time for one-year or even multi-year deals to be worked out before hearings begin in February, something Salisbury says the Phils are looking to accomplish with Victorino above all others.

Here are the reported figures exchanged:

Joe Blanton, SP: $10.25 million. Team offers $7.5 million.

Carlos Ruiz, C: $2.5 million. Team offers $1.7 million.

Shane Victorino, CF: $5.8 million. Team offers $4.75 million.

What do you think? Is Blanton asking too much? Is now the time to work on multi-year deals for Ruiz and Victorino, or even Blanton?

UPDATE (Wednesday, 8:00 PM): MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that contract talks have begun for all three of the remaining arbitration-eligible players. Both one-year and multi-year deals are reportedly in the works, but details are unclear as to what length each player is discussing.


Big Names Top Offseason Wishlist

Posted by Corey Seidman, Mon, November 09, 2009 02:05 AM Comments: 120

Coming up two wins shy of another World Championship was, indeed, a tough pill to swallow, but the Phillies were simply the second best team in 2009. All of the ugly flaws of this team made their way to the surface in the World Series, whether it be a lack of situational hitting, a decrepit bench, or the continued struggles of ’08 heroes and ’09 goats, Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge.

Brian Cashman, along with whichever Steinbrenner is currently running the Yankees, spent close to $210 million on the 2009 payroll to limit weaknesses, field a near-perfect team, and win a World Series. Congratulations to the two men and their quarter-billion dollar payroll. The money was thrown around properly and resulted in celebration, and a flustered Mark Teixeira running around the field exclaiming, “We did it!” as if this was a bunch of rag-tag players nobody believed in. To that, I “LOL.”

Room for Improvement

But what I took from the World Series is that, as incredible as the Phillies were this past season, there were still many aspects of this club that needed, and will need, improvement. It’s truly amazing to me that I even sit here writing this piece, as a fan and analyst of a team that had a better year than 28 other clubs, all of which were surely envious of the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies.

Alas, here we are, entering a great time of the year – the offseason. Some call it the “hot stove,” although I don’t really understand why. It’s one of those unexplainable things, you know, like the nickname “Melky” being derived from Eudernyi Cabrera.

The Phillies have the chance this offseason to transform into a near-perfect team. With two consecutive World Series appearances, exponential growth in local and national popularity, and some hefty contracts coming off the books in 2010, Ruben Amaro will have some serious cash to spend in the coming months. If spent properly, there is no reason the Phillies cannot wrap up the NL East early, sweep through the playoffs, and reclaim their rightful trophy from the feminine hands of Johnny Damon and company.

Off the Books

First, let’s take a look at which contracts come off the books next season.

  • Brett Myers is gone, which is sad in some ways, but necessary in others. The long-time Phillie understood how to endure the expectations and tough-love from Philly fans, probably because he was such a blue-collar guy, himself. I, like all of you I’m sure, wish Myers all the best in his future endeavors, but am glad to see his $12M salary erased from the Phillies payroll.
  • Also subtracted from the payroll are the $8,833,333 the Phillies were still paying to Adam Eaton, and $6.75M to Geoff Jenkins. Due to buyout provisions, the Phils are still on the hook with both players in 2010, but only for a combined $1.75M.
  • Matt Stairs made $1M in 2009, but due to declining power and usefulness, he will only receive a minor-league contract from the Phillies next year, if he receives one at all.

Quick math shows that this is $26,833,333 coming off the books in 2010. The Phillies opening day payroll in ’09 was $113M, fifteen million dollars more than the 2008 opening day payroll. But, according to Mat Swartz, a Phillies fan and writer for Baseball Prospectus with a doctorate in economics from Penn, the Phillies have shown in recent years that they value marginal wins over strict payroll trends.

What this means is, under Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro, the team has shown a willingness to add players who can contribute a win or two (think Kyle Lohse, Joe Blanton, etc.), because the difference of winning 90 games instead of 88 will also boost regular season AND playoff revenue, making the added contracts well worth the price of admission.

For this reason, it is not unrealistic to expect the Phillies to spend MORE in 2010 than they did in 2009. A payroll between $125M and $135M is, by no means, unreasonable.

Plenty of Raises

Just so we’re all on the same page at this point, let’s recognize that the subtraction of $27M from the contracts of Myers, Eaton, Jenkins, and Stairs would leave the 2010 payroll at $86M. But, we then have to factor in the raises that certain players have that will increase the ’10 payroll.

  • Jayson Werth made $2.5M in 2009, and will make $7.5M in 2010. He’s a steal at both prices.
  • Ryan Howard goes up from $15M to $19M, once again, a steal at both prices.
  • Chase Utley goes from $11.3 million to $15.3 million.
  • Raul Ibanez goes from $7.167M to $12.167M.
  • Cole Hamels’ contract is raised from $4.35M to $6.65M.
  • Ryan Madson goes from $2.33M to $4.83M.
  • Finally, Greg Dobbs goes from $1.15M to $1.35M.

All of these raises equal a $23 million payroll increase from 2009 to 2010. When subtracting the $27M from Myers, Eaton, Jenkins, and Stairs, then adding the raises, as well as the $8M option that was just excercised on Cliff Lee’s contract, the 2010 payroll is $108M as of today.

The Arbitration Guys

However, this leaves out the contract statuses of Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, Joe Blanton, Clay Condrey, and Chad Durbin, all of whom are subject to arbitration this offseason. Last year, the Phillies successfully avoided arbitration with guys like Hamels, Howard, Madson, Blanton, etc. by working out deals prior to the hearings.

The following are merely educated guesses based on what players made in 2009, what they will be worth next year, and Ruben Amaro’s preference toward locking guys up during several arbitrations years.

  • Shane Victorino will likely be signed to a deal similar to that of Jayson Werth (2 yr/$10M.) I could see Victorino getting a two-year deal as well, between $8-10 million. So, his 2010 salary will be in the $4-5M range.
  • Carlos Ruiz will also likely be signed to a two-year deal, totaling $6M. Can you believe he made $475,000 in ’09?!
  • Joe Blanton made $5.475M in ’09, he will probably settle for around $6.5 in 2010.
  • The Phillies will likely only keep Chad Durbin OR Clay Condrey, not both. Based on the fact that Durbin would command at least $2.25M next season, while Condrey would make $1M or less, Condrey looks like the more efficient, safer choice.

These theoretical raises to Victorino, Ruiz, Blanton, and Condrey would add approximately $15M to the 2010 payroll, making it $123M.

The Undecideds

This leaves three guys – Chan Ho Park, Scott Eyre, and Pedro Feliz. The Phillies have already contacted Scott Boras about re-signing Park, which, if accomplished, would be a deal worth about $3.5M. Eyre has said that he is undecided, but if he returns, it will be with the Phillies. I’m guessing that he comes back after a stellar 2009. He’ll match his 2009 earnings, making $2M or slightly more.

The decision to decline Feliz’ club option was made over the weekend. If the Phillies had exercised his option, he would have made $5M; the buyout costs just $500,000. Based on a bad offensive second half and a lack of postseason production, I think Ruben Amaro will explore other options at third base. Feliz has been a great defender at the hot corner, but the Phillies could greatly improve their offense by signing or acquiring a better offensive third baseman who will get rid of the “black hole,” as my brother calls it, in the seven-spot.

The Wishlist

Now that the boring part is over, let’s take a look at potential upgrades the Phillies could make. If the contract issues are worked out similar to my hypotheses, the 2010 payroll would be around $125M, before any additions are made. Some tinkering needs to be done, and I believe Ruben Amaro is the right man for the job.

Roy Halladay

You thought you were done seeing his name on this site? Think again. The Blue Jays STILL need to rid themselves of Halladay while he still has some value, and this winter is the time to do it. The pricetag on Halladay will not be as high as it was several months ago, because now the team that acquires him will only have his services for one season. He is a free agent after 2010, a season in which he is scheduled to make $15.75M.

The idea of trading for Halladay is not as unrealistic as you may think. He would be a MUCH better option than John Lackey, the top pitcher on the market that every Phillies writer is seemingly already calling for. Why? Because, A) he is undoubtedly better, and B) he’ll be cheaper.

Lackey likely won’t earn $15.75M or more in 2010, but he will receive a five or six year contract, similar to the value of what A.J. Burnett made. It would be unwise for a team like the Phillies to commit five or six years to a pitcher like Lackey, who will likely not be worth the money several years down the road.

New Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous has subtly stated that the Halladay talks will only involve a few teams, because many do not have the finances or young talent to acquire the former Cy Young winner. The Phillies are one of those few teams.

What would it take to get Halladay? After consulting with several other prominent baseball writers, the consensus seems to be J.A. Happ, either Dominic Brown or Michael Taylor, and a fringe prospect. This probably sounds similar to the deal that was once on the table, but keep in mind that Kyle Drabek would stay put, as would either Brown or Taylor.

To those thinking that Happ and Brown/Taylor is still too high a price to pay for one season of Roy Halladay, let’s take a look at a little bit of logic. Having an outfield of Ibanez, Victorino, and Werth means you do not need two great outfield prospects, you only need one, at most. If Brown/Taylor gets traded to Toronto and becomes an all-star, very well. That doesn’t change the fact that both face major roadblocks.

Losing a very good rookie like Happ would be hard, but is there any doubt whatsoever that Halladay is a massive upgrade over Happ? Sure, Halladay would only be around for one year while Happ could be for five, but isn’t the goal to win now, while this nucleus is in its prime and still intact?

At first glance, the notion of trading for Halladay may seem unrealistic, but due to his impending free agency, he is actually a relatively cheap acquisition. Expect the Phillies to once again make a serious push for him.

Adrian Beltre

For a while, I was calling for Chone Figgins. During Game Six of the World Series, I wrote on the Phillies Nation twitter that I would be the campaign manager for “Figgins to Philadelphia 2010.” But Figgins is coming off of a career year, will likely carry a price tag greater than his actual worth, and would realistically be a weird fit with the Phillies. He is more of a leadoff batter than a seventh hitter, so either he, Jimmy Rollins, or Shane Victorino would have to drop in the order. It wouldn’t be an ideal situation.

Adrian Beltre, on the other hand, would be a perfect fit in Philadelphia. He is an incredible defensive third baseman, ranking in the top three in all of baseball in Ultimate Zone Rating in five of the past six seasons. Not only would there be no dropoff in the field from Pedro Feliz to Beltre, there would actually be an improvement. With the exception of 2007, Beltre has finished with better defensive metrics than Feliz in every season since 2004.

Beltre is also a much better hitter than Feliz. Discounting this past season, in which Beltre was limited to 111 games due to injury, the former Mariner and Dodger has compiled a slugging percentage above league-average every year since 2001, hit 25 or more homers four times, and better than 35 doubles three times.

Beltre’s clear flaw is plate discipline, but he represents an upgrade over Feliz in THAT category, too. Beltre’s career .325 on-base percentage is not ideal, but it is a massive improvement over Feliz’ unbelievably low .293 OBP.

Since Beltre is coming off a down, injury-riddled season, he will be much less expensive than Figgins. At age 30, with better speed, power, plate vision, and defense than Feliz, Beltre would be a very nice addition to the Phillies.

J.J. Putz

Putz was awful for the Mets in 2009, so it was no surprise when New York declined his $9M option for 2010. Despite never finding a niche with the Mets and missing half the season with an elbow injury, Putz would be a good low-risk, high-reward signing.

The flame-throwing righty would serve as an insurance policy to Brad Lidge, should Lidge struggle again. Putz’ presence would also allow Ryan Madson to remain the setup man next season, even in the event of continued scuffling from Lidge. As we saw this past season, taking Madson out of his eighth inning role creates a domino effect where every reliever must begin pitching outside his comfort zone. Adding Putz would aid this potential problem.

Since so much uncertainty surrounds the former Mariners closer, Putz will likely command an incentive-laden contract. If he meets many of the incentives drawn out in his contract, you will know that he’s done his job as a late-inning reliever. Signing Putz and letting Durbin or Condrey walk would significantly improve the bullpen.

Yorvit Torrealba

Torrealba is the prototypical backup catcher: he is a powerful right-handed hitter who can be very dangerous when in the midst of a hot streak, but below average defense subtracts some of his value. He would be the ideal understudy to Carlos Ruiz, because he could step in several days a week and actually provide some offense, unlike Chris Coste and Paul Bako in 2009.

Torrealba would also add another semi-dangerous bat to the Phillies thin bench, which was an evident weakness all season.

Nomar Garciaparra/Jason Giambi

I list these two former superstars because the Phillies need experienced offensive threats on the bench. Even at age 36, Garciaparra is still a very good right-handed bat off the bench, and could be had for a reasonable price. He can play first, third, and even shortstop, if necessary.

Should the Phillies choose not to re-sign Matt Stairs, Giambi would be an adequate replacement. Despite our collective affection for Stairs, it should not be overlooked that everything that Stairs does, Giambi does better. The one thing Stairs did do well in 2009 was work deep counts and take free passes, but plate discipline is also Giambi’s strong suit.

Jerry Hairston, Jr.

Hairston is a utility man that can play the infield and outfield. Due to his superior speed and offensive ability, Hairston would be a massive upgrade over Eric Bruntlett. He is also a decent option as a pinch-runner or late-inning defensive replacement.

If the Phillies cannot land Hairston, other upgrades over Bruntlett include: Adam Kennedy, Mark Loretta, Wilson Betemit, and every other living human.


Ruben Amaro should pursue a Joe Beimel-type just in case Eyre retires and/or J.C. Romero fails to recapture his mojo from seasons past. Guys like Beimel can be signed to very cheap contracts, so there should be no excuse to entering next season with few options outside of Romero, Eyre, and guys like Sergio Escalona.


Commentary: Phillies Are Now A Top Shelf Franchise

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, February 09, 2009 11:01 AM Comments: 30

Twenty-four hours removed from the Ryan Howard deal, and there’s one easy determination: The Phillies are a lock-stock elite-market franchise. Look at the last six world champions. Sometimes, winning a title might be a curse for the payroll:

  • 2003 Marlins: $45M; 2004 Marlins: $42M
  • 2004 Red Sox: $127M; 2005 Red Sox: $123M
  • 2005 White Sox: $75M; 2006 White Sox: $102M
  • 2006 Cardinals: $88M; 2007 Cardinals: $90M
  • 2007 Red Sox: $143M; 2008 Red Sox: $133M
  • 2008 Phillies: $98M; 2009 Phillies: $130M*

Of the last six champions, only one besides the Phillies (2005 White Sox) substantially raised their payroll the next season. Those White Sox made the following moves to raise their payroll:

  • Signed Jon Garland to 3Y/$29M extension, avoiding final arbitration year.
  • Traded Aaron Rowand to Phillies for Jim Thome, adding approx. $30M over four seasons.
  • Signed Paul Konerko to 5Y/$60M deal; Konerko was free agent.
  • Traded for Javier Vazquez, adding approx. $19M over two seasons.
  • Signed AJ Pierzynski to 3Y/$15M deal, avoiding final two arbitration years.
  • Signed Joe Crede to 1Y/$2.675M deal, avoiding arbitration.
  • Traded for and signed Alex Cintron to $1.6M deal, avoiding arbitration.

Meanwhile, the Phillies patched up 11 arbitration cases and signed free agents amounting to approximately $10M in 2009. The White Sox had some internal moves to make, but they mainly figured to improve the team, it was better to look outside and make deals.

The Phillies were in a position unlike any team in the past. With the influx of arbitration cases at hand, the Phils had a seemingly impossible goal: Lock each case down. Somehow, they did it. Somehow, Ruben Amaro Jr. and Co. were able to satisfy their young stars, keep the window for contention open exactly three years and work the payroll to allow for flexible spending in 2010 and beyond. Those 2005 White Sox, meanwhile, went too deep on Konerko, took on a Thome contract that spread over a long period and took most of their arbitration cases into and through free agency. The Phillies? They merely handed out raises for good work.

The White Sox contended in 2006, winning 90 games, but finished in third place in the AL Central. 2007 was not kind to the Sox, as injuries (and the length of some of those contracts) started to eat at the franchise. Luckily enough, the farm system kicked in and a few good deals for cheap talent made the Sox contenders again in 2008. But their window is almost closed. This writer can’t see the Sox taking the Central in 2009.

The Phillies will contend until 2012. And it’s very possible they’ll contend beyond 2012. They’ve left room for signing the foundation players into their twilight years, while leaving plenty of space for the farm system talent to take over. For now, however, the Phillies are solidly an elite-market team. No longer can we cite the Yankees and Red Sox without mentioning the Phillies. No longer can we complain about being “small.” No. The Phillies are at the top shelf of baseball, now, and are surely acting like they belong.


Stark: Phillies Are Biggest Offseason Spenders

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, February 06, 2009 03:54 PM Comments: 5

Jayson Stark writes the Phillies have spent the most money this offseason, pouring about $30 million into the payroll. According to Stark, the payroll will be in the $130M range:

Amazingly, that entire increase was spent on keeping the Phillies’ World Series cast in place – not on adding to it. Their two free-agent signees – Raul Ibanez and Chan Ho Park — will actually make significantly less money this year ($11 million combined) than their outgoing free agents – Pat Burrell, Tom Gordon and Rudy Seanez – made last year ($19.9 million).

Look, the Phillies spent money! Hooray!

That’s what a ring gets you.


And Now, How The Payroll Shapes Up

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Wed, January 21, 2009 06:57 PM Comments: 33

So in the past few days, Ruben Amaro Jr., Scott Proefrock and Co. have dwindled the long arbitration-eligible list to one. Of course, that one is the big one, Ryan Howard, but wasn’t he a shoo-in for a table discussion?

Here is the Phillies payroll for 2009:

C – Carlos Ruiz – 0.6 ML (proj)
C – Chris Coste – 0.5 ML (proj)
C – Ronny Paulino – 0.5 ML (proj)
IF – Ryan Howard – N/A
IF – Chase Utley – 11.0
IF – Pedro Feliz – 5.0
IF – Jimmy Rollins – 8.5
IF – Eric Bruntlett – 0.8
IF – Greg Dobbs – 1.15
OF – Raul Ibanez – 8.5
OF – Jayson Werth – 3.0
OF – Shane Victorino – 3.125
OF – Geoff Jenkins – 6.75
OF – Matt Stairs – 1.0
SP – Brett Myers – 12.0
SP – Adam Eaton – 8.5
SP – Jamie Moyer – 6.5
SP – Joe Blanton – 5.475
SP – Cole Hamels – 4.35
SP – Chan Ho Park – 2.5
SP – Kyle Kendrick – 0.5 ML (proj)
SP – JA Happ – 0.42 ML (proj)
RP – Brad Lidge – 11.5
RP – JC Romero – 4.0
RP – Scott Eyre – 2.0
RP – Ryan Madson – 2.0
RP – Chad Durbin – 1.635
RP – Clay Condrey – 0.65

The payroll of the 25-man roster, with a few additions (28 total), currently is $112.455M. This is before Ryan Howard. The 2008 payroll for the 25-man roster was $98.269M. A loss in arbitration for Howard would give the team a payroll of $126M; a win by Howard would make it $130M. Add in Jim Thome’s final $3M, and you’re approaching $135M.

Here are the current indicators for the 2010 Phillies payroll:

C – Carlos Ruiz – ARB 1st year (3)
C – Chris Coste – ARB 1st year (3)
C – Ronny Paulino – ARB 1st year (3)

Clearly a logjam at catcher. With Marson’s resurgence, don’t be surprised if two of these guys are gone by year’s end. The third (Paulino, in my mind), might get a one-year deal before arbitration.

IF – Ryan Howard – ARB 3rd year (4)
IF – Chase Utley – 15.0
IF – Pedro Feliz – 5.0 option (0.5 buyout)
IF – Jimmy Rollins – 7.5
IF – Eric Bruntlett – ARB 3rd year (3)
IF – Greg Dobbs – 1.35

Utley jumps up 4M. Considering the dearth of prospects at third base (and a possibility of a Jason Donald trade in 2009), they pick up Feliz’s option. The Phils could stay with Bruntlett another year, long as he performs well enough in 2009. Howard could be looking for 20M or so. So it might be the time to trade him.

OF – Raul Ibanez – 11.5
OF – Jayson Werth – 7.0
OF – Shane Victorino – ARB 2nd year (3)
OF – Geoff Jenkins – 7.5 option (1.25 buyout)

Ibanez and Werth make a combined 9M more than in 2009. Victorino will likely see a jump in salary (or a long-term deal). That said, the Phils won’t pick up Jenkins’ option, saving 6M (which is what Victorino would likely get with a multiyear deal in 2010). Look for young, non-arbitration talent to fill the holes, and by then, Michael Taylor and John Mayberry Jr. could be ready.

SP – Adam Eaton – 9.0 option (0.5 buyout)
SP – Jamie Moyer – 6.5
SP – Joe Blanton – ARB 3rd year (3)
SP – Cole Hamels – 6.65
SP – Kyle Kendrick – 0.7 ML (proj)
SP – JA Happ – 0.6 ML (proj)

Myers and Park come off the books, and the Phillies would be the dumbest franchise alive by picking up Eaton’s option. These three losses would save the Phillies 23M. Blanton may expect a raise to about 7M, or a long-term deal. By now Carrasco might enter the picture, but he’d only be making a half million. Happ and Kendrick wouldn’t be arbitration eligible yet. Still, I don’t expect a Hamels/Moyer/Blanton/Happ/Carrasco rotation. Re-signing Myers might cost about 10-14M, and that’s if 2009 is a good season.

RP – Brad Lidge – 11.5
RP – JC Romero – 4.0
RP – Ryan Madson – 4.5
RP – Chad Durbin – ARB 3rd year (3)
RP – Clay Condrey – ARB 2nd year (3)

Durbin would probably get 2M or so, if not a longer deal. Condrey would likely get close to a million. Eyre becomes a free agent, and might lean toward retirement. Obviously a starter could take a bullpen spot; moreover, a bunch of hopefuls will fight for spots. Still, expect a middle relief signing or two by 2010.

So, just as a very early indicator, the Phillies might be searching for starting pitching and maybe a first baseman in 2010, while dealing with nine potential arbitration cases. Expect that number to dwindle before the offseason.

I’ll have more about the offseason moves later.

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